Training and everyday events.

First Day of the Shooting Season

First day of the shooting season which to me starts the best time of the year off.
It brings with it sun filled crisp days with autumnal leaves and flying geese that beat their wings over our heads on the way to the crop fields. I hate to see the geese go as winter comes in, but winter brings so many joys with it and is a very hopeful season that it makes up for the loss of them. It is hopeful season, as one hopes for snow deep enough to lay a hush over the countryside, forcing us all to slow down and turning everywhere into a Winter Wonderland for all who want to open their hearts to enjoy.
In times gone by it would bring us days of rain which would make the air smell so sweet and clean, and feeling the chill of the day as we came back with the dogs we would relish the warmth of the home, whilst the dogs would fall asleep dreaming of their walk, pure bliss. This year however seems to have had all its rain during the summer :) and I do love true seasons.
Winter also holds Christmas and being the child at heart that I am, I love looking forward to the giving, to seeing so many happy faces, and getting the humbugs of the season to feel that joy through drink if needs be :)
But back to the shooting day, yesterday.
We have only been to this particular shoot once before, at the end of last season where I tested my knee on the beating line, though this time we were going to be part of the picking up team, so we only took Jay Jay as whilst this would be a good experience for her, Mama Mia would have got bored out of her skull :)
As you all know, we have finally been able to provide Jay Jay with plenty of game,  but not game shot and then retrieved, so I would not have been
shocked if she had wanted to continue in beating mode so-to-speak and not
picking-up mode, on the first day of the shooting season.
But no, sweet jay babe performed well.
First drive brought no birds for her to retrieve, not the guns fault,
just the luck of the pegs for the gun. But I didn't mind as it showed me that even after all the game Jay Jay has had put in front of her over these past few weeks she is still as silent as a rock as she has always been, bless her. And yes I know that is a mixed- up saying but she is not as silent as a mouse because a mouse squaks and she doesn't, he he he!
Second drive, brought a very tempting scenario for Jay Jay.
We were lined up behind the guns, the main man of the Picking-up team to my left and a thick cover to my right, behind me a hedgerow of trees dividing the two fields and unbeknown to me as I am so short and couldn't see him, a back gun in the divided field directly behind.
Now a pheasant only flew into the trees behind falling to the ground, not shot, but we never want to leave an injured animal, so I sent Jay Jay knowing she would bring it back to me and we could asses its damage from the collision. Anyway, it was then that I noticed a black lab also running for the bird from the other field, so Jay Jay was recalled back by me, which she did straight away, leaving the owner of the black lab to attend to the bird and teaching me that I must double check where everyone is.
This 'recall' was obviously sitting in the back of Jay Jays' mind as when the next bird fell over the brow of the hill Jay Jay went to run in, but swiftly remembered not to. It must have also been in the mind of the head picker up that she had relinquished a bird gracefully as bless him he gave us the nod to send Jay Jay for the bird that was really his. So off Jay Jay went up the hill over the brow and came back with a phessey wing over her eyes, bless her she couldn't have seen a thing so I gave her a few toots on the whistle to keep her coming straight.
The start of the shooting season had begun for us, and she and I were both very happy that it had.
  There was also a bird that had been shot and had fallen into the bramble area, a big section fenced off with barb wire that apparently opened up in the middle. So because of the fence and not knowing the ground, I went into that area with her, and as they said it did open up in the middle, so not knowing exactly where it fell I worked her up covering all the bramble to enable her to pick up a scent line. As it was, it was in the open, so an easy retrieve once spotted :)
Knowing the land one is on, and the dog knowing the land and where the birds will often fall in that land, is certainly an added aid and one that I look forward to Jay Jay and myself having.
Two other birds I was very  pleased with were both on the fourth drive.
The first one had gone into very thick bramble and she had worked her socks off to bring it back through the cover undamaged, even though it was a very big old cock bird. The other bird being one we had not marked fully as I was dealing with the bramble bird. Anyway, I kept putting her in the area we had thought it had landed, another thick bramble area that was in front of the woods, and she kept working her socks off but not finding it. Now I had totally confidence in Jay Jay that if she couldn't find it in there, it wasn't in there, and not wanting to push her further back into the woods without knowledge of the area and knowing that the beaters were moving that way, I entered into the wood behind the bramble, which was a lot more open ground. I worked her past the point we had thought it had gone in, hence her not finding it :) and then 'bang' she hit the scent line, which lead her to a stream that had carved its way through the wood so was running below ground line. My angel got into the water and started to work down, so knowing she was on it my eyes followed the line she was taking and there in the stream with just a tiny bit of breast showing, was another big cock bird which she safely retrieved back to me. Thankfully it hadn't had time to soak the water up as it would have been really heavy for her.
What made it even better was the pleasure the gun expressed at how hard Jay Jay had worked for the two birds and how pleased he was that she had found them for him. It is a joy to one when you know your dogs work is appreciated and enjoyed by the guns.  
The last drive for Jay Jay and myself held no birds, which again I would not moan about as it was a great reminder that not all shots produce birds for Jay Jay. I swear the girl fights back her natural desire to blink during drives, and she shakes with pure anticipation of what may come, bless her.
We came away from our first shoot day having meet a cracking bunch of pickers up, and the pleasure of knowing that we had a good first day to open up the season with. I must say how grateful I was to Gary being there and being my second pair of eyes that really did help.
Roll on the rest of the season!
Beautiful Blonde babe with the boys
Gary taking a rest during drives, enjoying the sun.

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