It’s been a great few weeks meeting lots of new Cabin Bluff visitors and training to be a bonafide quail hunting dog! I’ve learned some cool things this week about what I’ll be doing in the field when I’m old enough to go on a real hunt.
The normal method of training dogs to hunt quail is to use a pointer to find and point birds and to retrieve them after they are shot. At Cabin Bluff, we do things a little differently using a combination of dog breeds. Our pointers are trained to be Steady to Wing and Shot – they range out further than the hunting party and then go on point to let the hunters and guides know where the covey is hiding. Then, retrievers are taught to flush the birds out of the cover and make them fly, and then to retrieve the birds after they are shot. It’s a great example of playing to each breeds’ strengths and totally captivating to watch (so I’ve heard)!
So where do I – a Boykin Spaniel- fit into all this excitement?
The type of cover we hunt in at Cabin Bluff is denser and different than other quail hunting environments. I’m a small, compact dog (I’ll be around 40 lbs. full grown) so it will be easier for me to get through the cover and make a bird fly than it is for the larger, standard Labrador retriever. I’ll be taking on the role of flushing, chasing the birds from their cover. I’ll stand or sit very still while they fly, and wait until the bird is down. Then I’ll go in and retrieve!
In fact, that’s what I’ll soon be working on – learning to sit after the birds start to fly. It will take a lot of patience and practice, but the reward of retrieving will be worth it! This fall I’ll be spending more and more time in the woods with the other dogs so that I’m comfortable in that setting.
Hopefully, I’ll still have plenty of time to do my second favorite thing (after hunting) – hang out with guests! Be sure to stop by for a cuddle next time you’re at the Bluff!