Shoot Diary with the Small Black Dog - Update 17 December

Discussion in 'Gundog Training, Fieldwork, & Field Trials' started by David, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. David

    David Moderator Forum Supporter

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    I used to worry a lot about the SBD when we were picking up rather than shooting. She did ok but I had to be on the case the whole time to keep her shortcomings under control. She is now a peg dog and I can’t really concentrate on shooting and having complete control of her at the same time.

    These days I start her off tethered while she is fresh, full of beans, and excited. Later, when she has settled I walk her to the peg on lead or at heel then leave her free. She lies down beside me and pretty much brings back anything I shoot and sometimes the odd bird shot by a neighbouring gun, but she acts as a free agent most of the time and, of course, that’s not to be recommended. Usually there’s not too much for the others to complain about. I won’t go through the whole of the action on Saturday, but there are a couple of Small Black Dog incidents that struck me and I thought worth mentioning.

    I was a walking gun making my way up a hedge to my peg near the start of a piece of woodland. Lady was off lead at heel and we were just behind and to one side of the beating line who were making their way up through a cover crop. I was unsighted on the beaters behind some bushes when I heard the keeper call to me that a bird was coming through in my direction. It was a high fast hen pheasant. It fell in the field over the hedge behind me and I sent the SBD off which she did with enthusiasm including slithering at high speed under a field gate. I left her to it and continued to move up. A voice called my name and looking back there was Lady complete with hen pheasant completely stumped by the field gate she’d so easily found her way under about 1 minute before! Dogs just don’t seem to be able to generalise a lot of situations and she needed a lot of encouragement to duck under the gate. Mind you it could have been the legs and wings putting her off!

    I was asked to walk up to my peg a second time later in the day, this time in a field together with a flock of sheep including a ram. I know this flock quite well and they have a bit of “attitude”! There are 25 Ewes and 1 ram – I’ve counted them. Lady was at heel again and off lead with me ahead of her walking slowly up the field as the beaters progressed through the wood, and the sheep were bringing up the rear and following us. A few birds came out and Lady did her stuff and I cursed myself for not having my game carrier as I was on my own. When we reached my peg position at the top of the field Lady and I of course stopped and Lady lay down just to one side of me, but the sheep continued to advance rather alarmingly for sheep, I thought. They formed up around Lady who steadfastly tried to ignore them by having her back to them, but I did note she had her ears back listening. I so wish I hadn’t been busy and had a camera to record the scene. A Small Black Dog lying down with a three-quarter circle of black faces looking at her intently from a distance of about 5 ft!

    I think it must have been a defensive reaction in the sheep to the presence of Lady. A bird came over and the moment was lost. I shot it and Lady picked it up. The magic moment having been broken, the sheep wandered off about their sheep business having decided, I guess, that Lady wasn’t interested in them that day.

    Spotted during the day were a Roe deer up close and personal and later a sizeable flock of Lapwings passing over and five Herons all together in a field.
     
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  2. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Sounds like a lovely day David, thank you for the report, so interesting to read!
     
  3. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Sounds great! I'd love to see Lady working. You should take some video!
    Isn't it funny how something that's obvious to us (come back under the gate) is such a alien concept to them? :)
     
  4. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

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    You'd proofed 'come back under the gate' but not 'come back under the gate with the pheasant in your mouth' :D
     
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  5. David

    David Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Oh no! Can't do video as it will show just how much I put rose tinted spectacles on!

    :oops:
     
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  6. drjs@5

    drjs@5 Moderator Forum Supporter

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    I think a lot of us have these"
    :D
     
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  7. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

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    Mine are bi focals :rolleyes:
     
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  8. Beanwood

    Beanwood Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Gates are interesting. While on gundog training, I had to climb over and send Bramble under the gate (it was locked..) She would not go under. Eventually we worked out it was actually me going over the gate that caused her distress. So, much to SWBO delight, this meant a LOT of me going over, and over the gate until Bramble got comfortable!
     
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  9. David

    David Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Dogs are great!
     
  10. David

    David Moderator Forum Supporter

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    We’re over halfway through the season now. I only participate in one shoot and we’ve just 4 more outings before the end of the season. Last Saturday marked the halfway point and proved to be another good day out with friends, acquaintances and our various dogs.

    My usual car was in dock for some repairs after a driver had run into the back of me a week or two ago. The courtesy car was a brand new lovely but really tiny Citroen C1 hatch back loaned on the basis it was returned in a clean condition. Oh dear! With both back seats folded down there was just enough room for the Small Black Dog. I covered as much of the pristine surfaces with various bits of Vet Bed, dust sheets and dog towels and kept my fingers crossed that if the day was wet Lady wouldn’t shake as soon as I put her in the car at lunch and then again at the end of the shoot. My other car, a Vauxhall Insignia hatchback, has a neat evenly spread coating of mud across the headlining in the back where the SBD has done just this. A dog shake seems to be a most efficient way of shedding huge quantities of mud and water in all directions.

    Amazingly all our gear (dog and me) fitted in without too much trouble and Lady was much interested in the new car and the fact she could look out of the front window by sticking her head between the front seats. Here’s what we packed in.

    · Dog towels – several

    · Dog dressing gown, green, towelling, large SBD for the use of

    · Dog 1st aid kit

    · Dog bowls 2 – one for water and one for a lunch snack

    · Dog corkscrew tether and attached slip lead

    · Spare lead

    · Bottle of water large SBD for the use of

    · Spare shooting jacket (see below)

    · Waterproof thorn proof over trousers

    · Gloves

    · Fleece (just in case)

    · Shooting stick – human for the use of

    · Old wicker creel used these days for sandwiches, flask of tomato soup, flask of black coffee, choc biscuits.

    · Wellington boots and boot jack

    · Bin liner for boots later

    · Shotgun in slip

    · Ear defenders – sound cancelling type

    · Cartridge bag with sufficient cartridges

    · First aid kit – human for the use of

    What was the human wearing you ask?

    · Long sleeved shirt muted pattern

    · Tie

    · Tweed gilet – I have a lightweight one for summer. Shotgun certificate in inner pocket. Large cartridge pockets.

    · Thorn proof trousers

    · Lightweight waterproof jacket (on account of it being unseasonably mild). I also have an old but truly brilliant Beretta woollen jacket that keeps the water out all day whatever the weather throws at me, but not needed this time.

    · Flat cap. I take a spare for the afternoon if wet.

    We were a bit late leaving on account of difficulty in packing the above into the car! Do you think I take too much?

    It’s just a short drive to the farm where I shoot. The last mile is down the private lane to the farm. The lane has just been re-surfaced at vast expense and a nice job has been made of it too. There were several pheasants running on the lane near one of the woods.

    I parked in the yard as near as possible to the barn where we have lunch. I’ve got to have a new knee and hip so I try and minimise the distance from the car to barn as much as I can. The little Citroen proved its worth at his point because it’s so short and I could park nose in to the side of the barn in the gap between two 4 x 4s parked longways!

    Little groups all around chatting and having coffee or tea, and mince pies. I get my boots on and the SBD out. Put the picnic creel on my usual seat in the barn ready for lunch. Guess the number of birds for the day and cartridges used for the sweepstake and put my £2 in the sweepstake box.

    A call for the guns from the keeper. We draw for peg position. I draw 9. We move up two peg positions after each drive. We are 10 guns and one guest.

    The safety briefing follows for everyone including beaters and pickers up. Guidance on safe shooting; remember we have some youngsters along; guns are live on peg but no shooting of vermin until pheasant or partridge have started coming over. No shooting of ground vermin or game at all. No Woodcock. No wildfowl. Horn signals the end of the drive.

    And we are off ….
     
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  11. drjs@5

    drjs@5 Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Good luck!
     
  12. Beanwood

    Beanwood Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Oh good luck from here too! Very interested and have taken notes @Bensons-dad. We have our first shoot coming up soon so your comprehensive list is very useful! :) Looking forward to hearing how you get on today :)
     
  13. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

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