Best retrieve or bird recovery ?.

George

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I was always impressed with old Maya. Surrounding the wood duck hole was a thick tangle of tree branches, tules and vines. You dropped a duck outside of the hole the dog would have to work for it... Slowly navigating, threading her way through obstacles and obstacles to retrieve the birds just to please you. She was a good dog. I miss her and the woodie hole. I miss not having a dog.

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Mudtoes

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Cork was a Chesapeake I had that had a great marking ability and never give up attitude. Was dove hunting on the edge of an almond orchard down in the Madera area. My brother called me the laziest dove hunter as I’d sit in a folding chair shoot doves and Cork would retrieve to hand and sit down waiting for the next one. Shot one going over high and it fell 3 or 4 rows back. Sent Cork and saw him working about where it should have folded. Several minutes later he comes back without a bird, send him back to find it, see him circling a tree and then jumping up. I walk back there and the bird is impaled on one of the sharp points almond trees have. Reached up with my gun barrel and knocked it down. Without Cork smelling it up there I’d of never found it.
Few years ago had a Chesapeake/Chocolate mix named Skeet. Dog could mark with the best and had a desire to retrieve, the longer the better. Was hunting my goose pit with my partner and his son and his son’s friend. My buddy’s son hits a Snow hard but back and it goes down about 130 yards away, with it’s right leg just dangling. There is a big south wind blowing, like 30 mph and on the property 400 yards to the south of us are about 5,000 geese in a grind. We’d been shooting swing outs and the birds on the ground aren’t disturbed by this. I send Skeet, after the downed snow, and just as he gets to it the bird gets airborne, not high but like 7-10 yards and heads towards the grind. Skeet is in hot pursuit and there is no calling him off in the wind. Well this snow heads for the grind, and I see Skeet clear a check and runs right through the grind. Every bird flushes and I watch as Skeet is last seen jumping over rice checks to the south west. I lose sight of him. About 10 minutes later looking down to the southwest I see him clear a rice check with a snow in his mouth. When he handed it to me it’s right leg was dangling, is it the same bird? We all believe it was, was our perception of the dog and goose such that the goose wasn’t in the middle of the grind? Just wish I had a go-pro attached to his head to see all what transpired. Skeet passed 2 years ago, I have a 11 month little CLF, I got big hopes for her!
 

#1WATERFOWLER

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What Chase (AWS in my avatar) lacks in size he more than makes up for in tenacity for finding a downed bird. I was hunting a backwater of the Mississippi River in WI a couple years ago during the opener with some buddies. Water was HIGH. Winged a Woodie that went down out of sight but I had a good line on it. Tried wading to the spot but the bird fell across an underwater channel that I couldn't access, even in chest waders. Gave Chase a line and sent him for the blind retrieve, roughly 40 yards away. Easy peasy. Chase worked the area and I could see he was birdy but couldn't come up with the bird. I let him work it for a good 10 minutes giving encouragement occasionally. Finally I called him back figuring he found where the duck hit the turf but that we had a runner. I made a mental note of the spot and proceeded to try and find a way across the channel in the flooded timber. 45 minutes later we were back at the spot where the bird touched down and, sure enough, there was a few feathers there but no bird. We looked around there for another 20 minutes, even digging out under a rotten stump, to try and find that bird. No dice. We finally decided the bird wasn't there and started working the area away from the channel in concentric half circles hoping to pick up some scent. Having worked away from the channel we were able to access some dry land. It was on the fourth or fifth arc when Chase caught some scent. He took off and headed directly away from the channel, nose glued to the ground. After 50 or so yards Chase leapt over a downed tree and pounced on a very lively drake Woodie. This was a good 90 minutes after I shot the bird. I was so proud I could've cried.
 

Red foot

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Was in the Colorado and dropped a greenhead that went a touch north. Had my awesome golden that rarely lost a bird. After 1/2 hour of searching and yelling at dog to get back over here where I "knew" where the bird was, I gave up and trudged back to my hide. When I got there, there was a dead greenhead laying on my tule stool...uh......
 

bojingles

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Not my dog or even a good dog for that matter but one of the most amazing “retrieves” (saying that loosely) was hunting with a buddy and his dog on the junior pheasant hunt at Nelson slue a number of decades ago. We flushed a planted bird and both shot and missed and that bird flew a solid two/three fields over and the dog let lose and somehow marked it while running after it trying to catch it mid flight and I watched that dog run hundreds (probably a quarter mile) of yards after that bird and I could barely make him out where I saw that bird land and twenty minutes later he came back with that pheasant alive in his mouth. How he marked that bird I will
Never know. He probably didn’t—just didn’t have the will to give up. I would have thought he brought back a different bird if it wasn’t for the fact that he appeared to be in the exact are that bird landed.
 

bojingles

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As I think about it the best retrieves to me are not the ones where dogs make incredible marks at long distances, it’s when a bird falls deep into cover to a point that neither you or I would ever find it and you hear that dog make that snorting sound as it scampers back through the reeds and the water with the bird in its mouth hearing the success before you even see it. That’s where dogs truly “work” for us—finding birds we would never find.
 

Mort

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My first Lab flushed a big doe while we were Pheasant hunting around the perimeter of our duck pond. She chased it along the bank for about 100 yards and into the pond. Then she swam after it and tried climbing up on her back (I guess to grab her by the neck), before I was able to call her off. She had never seen a deer before, but figured it was her job to bring it back.

I took my grandson goose hunting on a blue bird day when he was about 4 years old. I wasn't expecting to see any birds. He was busy checking out the blind and eating his snacks when I spotted a lone Specklebelly off in the distance. I was not, and still am not a good Speck caller...but I gave it my best shot. To my surprise it turned toward us. I told my grandson to keep his head down and not move because I was only going to get one shot. The bird flared at 40 yards and I took my shot. The bird dropped I turned to my grandson and asked if he saw the shot. His reply; " No Pappy. You told me to keep my head down."

I picked him up and set him outside the blind. I told him to go get the goose. He tumbled down through the standing rice, and climbed over disced up dirt clods bigger than he was until he reached the goose. The goose was still alive and now standing. My grandson yells back at me; "Pappy...he's still alive." I yelled back; "Grab him around the neck and drag him back here." It took him quite awhile, but he got the job done. He is now 17 years old and has shot quite a few birds of his own.
 

ducknutz

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3 of us in the blind one day in 50yd fog. Heard some heavies so gave them a couple clucks and here they were. Dropped a couple and I see one lock his wings for the long glide. Dog saw it too and broke :mad:. We pick up the other birds ourselves and buddy says no way my dog will find the other bird in this fog and dog is probably lost. Had to be at least 5 minutes and I start to think he's right. Just about ready to climb out of the blind and another bud says he hears something. Unmistakable sound of a dog slogging through the water. Sure enough, my dog with the heavy. Have no idea how far he went or how he found him as he couldn't have marked the fall other than the direction the bird was headed. Best bird dog I've owned, even though he broke!
 

Kevin Burroughs

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A very long time ago I was asked to bring my dog to a youth hunt day at a pheasant club outside of Valley home. For most of the kids it was their first hunt. I jumped at the chance. I was amazed by the amount of kids that were there and the guys that brought their dogs to the hunt.

Thinking ahead I packed a little 28 ga and a little .410 SXS. Both guns belonged to my grandma and were well trained for upland. Having shot with lots of kids and new hunters I brought a bunch of shells, thank God.

The first 2 kids I took out were packing full sized pump 12 gauges. One of the boys wasn't as tall as the gun, or just barely. We went over safety again and how we were going to walk up on the dog. I took charge of loading and unloading the guns. Shadow was a staunch steady dog that never broke, thank God.

We head off into the field and I turned Shadow loose, not far and he locks up tighter than a drum. I load and close the guns and set the boys in for the birds. One shot about 8 feet in front and one was about moon too high. Your guess is as good as any where the last 2 were. This went on for about 6 or 7 points and old Shadow turned and looked at me like come on dad I'm doing my part. Thank the good lord they were fat lazy planted birds or I might still be there. Their shooting got better and they ended up up with their 2 birds each.

We came in and there were a couple of the cutest little girls with their moms that had been out hunting with a flushing dog and never scratched a bird. One one them was friends with one of the boys I took out and he kinda rubbed it in that she didn't get her birds. The little tear that ran down her cheek was all I needed to grab the guns, dog, moms and those 2 little girls. Smiles all around and tears are gone, and Shadow was ready to go. 2 boxes of shells and many points later they have their birds. They both had tears of joy holding their birds Those smiles will last me a lifetime.

We took out 2 more pairs of hunters that day and everyone got their birds. I had less than 10 shells out of 200 left and one very tired dog.

I knew my grandma was looking down and approving of all her shooting her guns got, most likely scolding the guns for not doing a better job.

If you ever get the chance to take a child hunting like that, do it you won't regret it.
 

AmiableLabs

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We had a field-bred Irish Setter that loved to hunt but HATED to retrieve. She was a dainty princess who did not run hard, did not like mud or briars, but she had a nose on her every hunter dreams of.

One day she pointed, and we flushed and shot a rooster pheasant that fell into some soybeans. We all entered the crop trying find the downed bird, but she being the prissy she was, remained outside the cover, ultimately deciding to begin hunting again a short distance ahead of us.

But we still couldn't find the downed bird. She came back to us to check on us, then again, started hunting ahead again. We kept looking for the dead bird. Finally, she looks back at us, all exasperated, marches back to us, into the soybeans, right to the dead bird using that magnificent nose. She picks it up carries it over to me and spits it out at my feet. Then with a look of disgust, she starts spitting out the feathers that clung to her mouth, turned her butt toward me, and returned to hunting ahead.

I will NEVER forget that.
 
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