Summer is over. Well, not officially, but close enough. With summer behind us it's time to start preparing for the fall, and the the hunting season. I've always got a lot I'd like to do. Some of it I actually do. My number one fall pastime is grouse hunting, and my annual grouse camp. Plan for this are in full effect, and it's going to be great to see the guys again. Unlike many the guys I hunt with, and enjoy camp with live no where near me, which I think makes grouse camp even more special as we don't see each other regularly.
Of course this year will I will be under a bit more pressure at camp. This year will be the first season the guys get to see Ginger in action. Logistical issue this year have kept me from doing as much meaningful training with her as I'd wanted. My plan was to get her on birds this summer, turn her into a bird crazy spaniel, and educate her on the meaning of steady to flush. It hasn't happened, and time is not on my side (though there is still time), so I decided to reach out to a local, well respected trainer for some help. Friday Ginger and I will spend some time with Pat Perry, of Hedgerow Kennel for her introduction to birds, and steadiness. Our goal is to flip the switch in her head and make her realize what all this work we've been doing is all about. I'm not too worried about Ginger's performance, and expect that a couple of good, solid bird contacts is all it will take to turn her into a bird finding fanatic. She's been a very biddable dog, and is quite smart too,so I'm sure she'll take to the steadiness training quite easily. We've worked on her manners, and her stop to the whistle for some time. She stops so reliably to the whistle in fact that I consider it bomb proof. Coupled with her desire to make me happy I'm eager to see what she becomes. I expect I'll even shoot a bird or two for her, though I hadn't initially planned to do so on her first day of bird work, but Pat told me to bring a gun, so.... I expect this to be the first of several such training sessions before the actual season opens in a month, and if things goes well I will probably even book a day at a preserve somewhere to further sharpen her. Now, if only the woodcock would start to repopulate our local training spots.
The logistical issue of the earlier half of the year are now resolved, so I expect to become a regular sight at the skeet club again. I've got three cases of skeet loads ready to go, and to make up for lost time I plan to make my way to the club for both evening, and weekend shooting hours. I'm not sure how I'll break this news to my wife yet, though.
Should the training with Ginger go smoothly I may try to find some time to get in a little early season goose hunting. I may even sneak off sit on the edge of long abandoned apple orchard I know in hopes of filling the bear tag I buy ever year, but never use. This of course means I'll need to make a little noise with my black powder rifle. Yup, it's that time of the year.