CH Realta Rosario Cooper SH CD RN CGC, aka “Cooper,” spent yesterday doing what he really loves to do — finding his own birds to retrieve. A week ago, when Cooper got his CD title, we scheduled one last hunting trip to central Oregon with Norm and his Boykin Spaniel, “Scarlett,” before the close of the season on March 31. So less than 24 hours after earning his AKC Senior Hunter title, Cooper got to go from retrieving ducks on Saturday to finding and retrieving pheasants on Sunday.
The high dessert of Oregon is one of the nicest places to be working with your dogs at this time of year. There had been 7″ of new snow just 4 days earlier, and now the temperatures were pushing into the low 50′s. The pleasure of hunting over Cooper and Scarlett is always enhanced by being outdoors with good friends, basking in the spring sunshine, and watching these two curly brown dogs solve the problem of finding birds in their own distinctive ways.
Cooper, a typical male Irish Water Spaniel at 65 pounds, put his nose to the ground and started going after scent. Once he picked up a trail, off he went looking for the source. Once he spotted a bird, he hesitated with a momentary “point” and then flushed the bird. Scarlett, a female Boykin Spaniel weighing in at just 26 pounds, covered the ground with a delightful close quartering action at full speed. The birds had no choice but to flush with that kind of action.
Between the dog’s hunting skills and Norm’s good shooting, we were able to bring home 5 pheasants. The dogs flushed 7 birds in total and they marked and retrieved every bird that we successfully brought down. (My own shooting success was limited to one bird down and delivered to hand.)
A day spent working behind skilled Spaniels in the field is just about as good as it gets.