Bird dog construction 101; Huntsmith foundation training

This past weekend, my 14 year old Joshua, our 3 year old orange Belton, Leah, and I attended the Huntsmith Foundation (first level) bird dog training seminar at the beautiful Burnt Oak Lodge near Crawford, Mississippi.  Our instructor was Ronnie Smith of Huntsmith, an organization dedicated to teaching  hunters how to train their dogs.  His command of the subject, amiable personality, and ability to relate to dog and owner alike made this both a valuable and enjoyable weekend for us.  This is Ronnie with our setter, Leah:

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The event was hosted by Gun Don Supply, Inc., of Starkville, MS.  Owner Steve Snell, a seasoned hunter and gun dog man,attended both days with several of his employees, along with about 20 other hunters like us embarking on their first foray into gun dog training.  This little guy was getting an early start on hunting, at only 12 weeks of age! Image

Over the next few posts, I will try to relate to you some of our  experiences, and some of the knowledge we gained at this event.  I will admit that this was the shot in the arm that I needed to get me oriented and fired up to get these guys field trained and hunting, and as such was worth every minute and every penny I spent.   The venue was classic Southern quail plantation, with a beautiful lodge, 900 acres of habitat managed primarily for quail, much of it planted in native grasses of the Black Prairie region.  This is a well run preserve, open for hunting approximately 4 months of the year.  And,the food was delicious!check co

Day 1, Saturday, broke cold and clear, with a nice breeze making for excellent hunting.  After some instruction from Ronnie, we took our dogs out on check cords in groups of 3, alternately backing and pointing pigeons that were hobbled out in the fields.  We gained experience in check cording our dogs, leading them into the wind traversing the bird’s “scent cone”, and finally locating game!  Leah was a little ho hum about her first bird, but as the weekend went on, became more and more intense on finding birds.

Leah homing in on a pigeon:

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When our dogs found game, or were to back another dog’s point, we worked our way up the check cord and steadied our dogs.  Jim steadying Leah:Image

Great fun, for hunter and dog alike!  It is a wonderful thing to watch these magnificent dogs do the work that they were bred for, and an honor and a joy to be part of the process.

More on the Huntsmith seminar next time.

Links: www. huntsmith.com,   www. burntoaklodge.com  , http://www.gundogsupply.com

Thanks, and God bless,   Jim

About Jim Barger

Veterinarian, English Setter breeder, father of 12, hunter.
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