At a little late in the game, Paul and I realized we had about 3-4 days off in a row so we managed to head to Indiana to visit my parents and do a little bird hunting with my Dad. Paul hasn't been since he was a little kid and Bubba, his lab, had never been so, we were both excited to see everyone and get Bubba out in those birds. I brought the new border collie puppy, Annie, along to spend some quality time with her and work on some of those house training skills she might need in the future.
We first stopped in Carmel, IN to visit my Mom and Stepdad and relax for about 12 hours. Ha! We got up in the morning and took a morning walk to 'air out' the dogs. The Carmel house's backyard goes right into the Monon trail so we headed out for a couple hours walking. Beautiful paved walkway with no cars. Reminded ourselves that the roller blades didn't make it in the truck this trip and to make sure they do next time. It was quite cold, about 31 degrees, I think.
After breakfast, we did some relaxing and talking with them about their huge RV trip across the west and Alaska. Jay took some amazing photos and that will be saved for another blog as I am completely jealous of that trip! Someday, I'll go too!
We headed out that afternoon to North Salem, IN to my Dad's 120 acre hardwood tree farm. We took a little trip out on the 4-wheeler to show Paul all the property since he hadn't been there before. We left the puppy at home and let Bubba get some exercise by running along. He chased a stick a few times in river at the back of the property.
The next day we headed out to a game preserve to see what the monster dog can do. Bubba is 3 and although he has had lots of basic training and retrieves, we hadn't actually taken him quail hunting. First dog out, 12 year old Jazz, my Dad's German shorthair pointer. He has recently recovered from Coonhound paralysis. He got in a fight with a raccoon, that carried the disease, and he was paralysed from the shoulders down for 12 weeks. He slowly recovered and it's amazing that he is now back and hunting again just 1 year later. Jazz is great hunting dog because he points to the birds and says,
"Shhhhh, they're right over here. Hurry up, they're right here. I'll hold 'em for you, hurry! Shhhh, over here!"
While getting ready at the truck, Jazz headed just over the drive and went to the first bird. Paul had to run over to him and get his gun ready at the same time. Jazz just waited for him to get there and let Paul flush the bird.
Then a few minutes later, Jazz found another one for my dad.
Then we brought out Bubba and he had a blast. He stayed nice and close and wasn't really sure the purpose other than just out walking around. He came across a bird, caught the sent and went to town. Flushed it, Paul hit it, and Bubba brought it right back!
We were sure he would destroy the birds, as he does his Frisbees and toys while bringing them back but, he had the softest mouth. So soft, in fact, that he found another bird, stuck his nose in the thick brush and came out with a live bird in his mouth.
He handed it so nicely to Paul without hurting it at all.
Not sure if Bubba got what we were really doing there but when he came across a scent, he was right on it and had no trouble finding the downed birds and bringing them back. A few more times out and he will understand, I'm sure!
Next we took out, Millie, my Dad's other dog, a black lab. She is so fast and so quick that I couldn't get photos. Sometimes she chases down the birds and catches them. She's young, just under 2, and only been out a couple times herself so, she still has some learning to do. After all that running around, she gets tired and then decides she will just follow Dad back to the truck.
Most of my Dad's dogs have been given to him as, "no good dogs that stop working" Well, he has gotten some of the best dogs that were tossed away by someone else. He believes they were meant to come to him and they have all turned out to be great hunting and companion dogs. Jazz is his all time best dog that he's had for 10 years now and Millie is right on his heels learning from Jazz.
At the end of the day, we had 11 yummy quail, fried in bacon grease and butter, mmm They were delicious and everyone was tired but happy!