Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Dog with Wheels...

or a Boot Polisher... What's for you?

I've always contended that a dog that can, and will reach out far beyond gun range will produce more gunnable birds.. Provide of course that the dog is solid. Grouse will not always allow themselves to be pinned for any reasonable amount of time by a Pointing Dog, but I'll only shoot over properly handled birds, so for me at least, the prospect of shooting at birds flushed, for whatever reason is a moot point (no pun intended). I'm also not a subsistence hunter, so when I absolutely need to put a bird on the table, there's always the nearest grocery store on the trip home.
I like a thrilling dog with a lot of range, and a lot of run. In the old days, it took some serious stomach to run a dog of this type in the big woods... Out of bell, and even beeper range! There's no reeling the dog in by any artificial means. We have to believe in the dog, and when our charge doesn't check in, make haste to hopefully find the dog on point.. That was then, this is now... The Astro has changed the rules, and it has certainly taken some of that sick feeling in the pit of one's stomach when a dog goes missing on an extended cast.. They always manage to show up don't they? After providing a good dose of agita and sometimes a ride home in the dark.
In any case, to me it stands to reason that a big running dog is bound to produce more action than a dog that stays within gun range.. But, everything is a trade-off, and I wonder how much longer I'll be able to keep up with the dogs that can really motor.. The qualities that keep me comin' back for more though, is the hair standin' up on the back of my neck as I spot that blur passing in front eatin' up ground like there's no tomorrow..
It's an addiction... albeit one that at times can take a toll on our psyche..


  1. I prefer a closer working dog in the covers that I hunt, although my Llewellin Tucker does have some get up and go in him. I like to watch him and am fascinated with his ability to cover the ground and its barriers as though they are not there. I am new to this setter game, so my insecurities have a lot to do with my preference, but my greatest learning tool is the observing of my dog. The sense of connectivity as we move through the covers is most exhilarating as we move through the woods in closer proximity.
    I vote 'bootlicker' as the choice, but reserve the right to change.

  2. It's all a progression, John...
    As I get older (and slower), a more methodical and closer working dog is getting closer and closer to being a reality for me. But, there's one more "big" dog in my future.. I don't really know what the allure is, but I've got a good friend who's motto is.. "A dog can't run too big for me"... And he lives it... Of course, he often doesn't mention the fact that he's had to stay behind for up to 2 days to collect a dog... LOL

  3. Hey Bill

    Put me down for a bootlicker too I guess. 50 to 100 yards are all the farther I can hear a beeper now adays so thats my comfort zone and I like to hunt comfortably :).


  4. Bill:

    Having one of each, I'll play devil's advocate: I don't think it's one or the other as long as the dog that runs harder and ranges wider a)can actually find as many birds as the closer dog, and b)will stand for you. I think it's either our nerves or our faith in our training that determines what we'll prefer. And the great dog will adjust its range dependent on the game and the terrain.

    Like John, I love the comfort of knowing Momo, who you know well, is relatively close. In addition to an Astro, I am also lucky to have my little speedster sufficiently broke to stand on point. And I love to watch him eat up ground. But I wear out boots keeping up.


  5. Greyphase,an Astro will cure that hearing problem,you won't hear better,but you will not care.You will know that dog is on point,255 yards away at 2 o'clock,nearest highway is 1.3 miles from your position and the Appalachian Trail is just to the left of your dog on point and might provide a gunning lane.

    I LOVE my Astro!!