All the weather reports looked bad. Rain, rain, and more rain. Of all weathers to hunt in, pouring rain is my least favorite. I even asked Russ three times the night before if he wanted to cancel our hunting trip. Fortunately, he said no all three times.
It did rain from time to time in the fields on the Luckiamute Valley Pheasants hunting preserve, but mostly it was just cloudy, with even a few sun breaks. It wasn’t cold (by Northwest standards — in the low 40s F), and I even had to take off my jacket because I was getting too warm hiking back and forth along the rows of corn and milo, following the dogs while they hunted for pheasants.
We started the morning “airing” the dogs. After the 1-1/2 hour car ride, they were ready to stretch their legs and take a pee or two.
After that, we put the two boys back into their crates in the car, and took Tooey out to the hunting field. Tooey is a very methodical hunter. Not flashy, not fast, not stylish. But she gets her job done, finding birds and flushing them up. In fact, she put up five birds in the space of only an hour or so. Too bad our shooting wasn’t as good as her flushing. We only brought down two of those five.
Then we got out Cooper. He put up several birds, too. He’s flashier than Tooey, working more quickly. But his nose wasn’t working as well as Tooey’s was this morning. In fact, I saw a rooster hunkered down in the corn that Cooper had passed by without finding. We had to call Cooper back and handle him to the bird, so he could flush it up for us. But even so, Cooper put up three birds, of which we brought down only one. At this point, it was confirmed that the dogs were hunting better than the people were shooting.
Then we decided to see what Carlin would do, so we dressed him up in a blaze orange “skid plate” like Tooey’s, and took Carlin and Tooey out to cover the last three rows of corn.
Carlin, of course, had no idea what we were doing out there. To him, this was one great big field to run and jump around in. I was very glad that he stayed close to Tooey, pretty much following her in and out of the downed crops. Although, while Tooey was trotting in, through, and around the corn, Carlin was leaping and jumping — perhaps he was channeling his inner Springer Spaniel.
While we were out there, Tooey put up two more birds (and I think Carlin was in on flushing one of them). Of those, we got one, and I was thrilled that Carlin didn’t so much as blink when the gun went off.
Tooey ran out to retrieve the bird, Carlin following along. She got out to that bird first, grabbed it up, and turned to come back to Russ. Carlin thought that that bird was pretty interesting, so he raced Tooey back almost neck and neck, trying to get the bird from her. Tooey didn’t let him have it though (and even appeared to be a bit annoyed with the brat), and brought it to Russ.
So after about 4 hours, we walked away with four birds and three happy, tired dogs. We even had time to stop off at the dog wash on the way home.