Our dogs are our biggest and best asset out in the quail courses, so we’re spending lots of time readying them for the season to ensure successful hunts for our guests.
Conditioning consists of running the seasoned pointers in the woods at short intervals (usually in the cooler early mornings or late afternoons), as well as obedience sessions to help reinforce commands we commonly use in hunting situations. After several months of off-season, these sessions help strengthen the dogs and slowly re-acclimate them to hunting conditions.
Flushing dogs are also being conditioned as they spend much more time on the ground compared to the pointers. Basic commands such as “heel”, “sit”, and “stay” are used in the conditioning process, as well as more complex commands, depending on the individual dog.
Our new Lead Quail Guide, Kenny Pope, has been working closely with all of our guides to ensure the dogs are kept to a higher standard of performance. Kenny comes to us from Turkey Hill Plantation and has 14 years’ experience guiding hunts and training dogs for individual owners and for private plantation dogs.
As the season draws closer, the month of September will be spent releasing birds for training purposes. This enables us to put the dogs into controlled situations with the birds, allowing the handlers to create different scenarios that offer opportunities for training and correction.
The dogs benefit from the exercise and the refreshers with the birds, and it will show when they are expertly flushing and retrieving through the longleaf and pine timber later this fall. And let’s be honest, the guides could use some conditioning too!