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The hunting party - Cabin Bluff's exceptional dogs

Hi there! Glad to see you are back. As always, it’s been an exciting few weeks of training and socializing with new friends at Cabin Bluff. In my last post I explained how I’m learning to flush a covey of quail from their cover and remain patient while they fly.  I’m also learning to retrieve the bird after it is down. Check out the photo to the left– that’s me in the woods, working hard!

I’ll be learning all of this in one-on-one sessions with my pal, Ron. After I’ve mastered those skills, I’ll be stepping into the woods to get a feel for what it’s like to actually hunt with the big dogs. That brings in a whole lot of new factors and distractions for a newbie like me! So how do I get prepared?

A typical quail hunting party includes a flushing and retrieving dog (that’s me!), two pointers, two hunters, and a guide. All of these aspects can be very distracting to a novice bird dog, not to mention the startling sound of a shot gun and the workings of the quail buggy! After my ability to flush, sit on command, and come when called are down pat, I’ll be joining one of our talented pointers in the quail woods for training sessions. During these sessions I’ll work on my manners, allowing the other dog to do his pointing job while I focus on flushing and retrieving.  I’ll also have to get used to the shot gun noise. It can be very startling, so we will start with the shot being fired far away. My trainer will slowly move closer with the shot gun so that I learn to be steady through the shot and focus on my job. Later we’ll add a second pointer and imitate what it’s like to be on a real quail hunt.  

So who are these seasoned, exceptionally talented dogs I’ll be joining? We have more than 25 dogs currently living at Cabin Bluff, with plans to add a few more to the family. Most are pointers – like my friends Ann, Cricket, Doc, and Spot. During our busy season, everyone goes on 3-4 hunts a week, with plenty of rest in between. We’ll all work until we are 11 or 12 years old, when we finally get to the golden years of retirement. Some of us remain at Cabin Bluff, and some find a comfy new home.

That’s how things work here at Cabin Bluff for a bird dog! I expect to have a long and happy career in the field, mixed with plenty of rest and relaxation with my Cabin Bluff friends in between exciting hunts. I plan to keep you updated as I hit major milestones and learn new things, and hope to share lots of pictures. Thanks for your interest – let’s stay in touch!

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