Dogs are such great hunting partners. They all have their unique qualities just like we do, and our current hunting labrador Sugar is no exception. She is 2 years old and has really started to figure this game out, despite my lack of training over the past year. She lines out on blind retrieves as well as any dog I’ve hunted with, sits quietly when we’re in the field, and has a good (and developing) nose. On the flip side, she’s also learned I’m not paying close attention to her when I am taking photos and/or filming during hunts which means she has figured out when she can break on a retrieve- but we’re working on that! These are just a few of my favorite photos from the past 2 years, with many more to come I’m sure.
Sugar at 8 weeks
Sugar with Wile E. Coyote
Sugar loves geese!
Sugar with a face full of mud on the GSL.
Lucas just turned 14 while Sugar is 2 now. She’s the dog he’ll grow up hunting over. Here they are with a pintail on a recent duck hunt. Luke has the whistle around his neck, he’s learning to direct her during our hunts. She’s learning to pay attention and mark when Luke shoots!
Lucas and Sugar
Lucas waits for the next flock of teal to come
I love early season teal shoots, especially when you can take a new hunter along. Lucas and I decided to go to one of my favorite spots this weekend to take advantage of the great numbers of teal that are around right now. He’s shot teal before, but he’s never hunted for them when there are this many around. We saw both cinnamon and green-wings, although we only connected on the GWT’s. Flocks of 2-50 were coming into the decoys regularly, offering shots that were a little too close and tight for Luke at first. He began to connect once he started to take the ducks a little farther out, around 25-35 yards.
Lucas with a green-winged teal.
I know teal are supposed to fly at the same speed as most ducks, and that might be true if they’re at altitude just cruising along. But when they decide to come into the decoys and do their thing, there is just no way they’re flying the same speed as a mallard or gadwall. Truly like shooting at little rockets! We laughed and reloaded all morning long.
After a little while, Lucas was able to take his first limit of 7 teal. Our yellow lab Sugar was pleased with the results.
SoftShell's in the shallows
Luke takes the easy way home
I really hope they stick around for next weekend so we can do it all over again. We have another new hunter to take with next week, I hope she’s game for getting up at 4:30!