Firelight Bird Dogs

Firelight Bird Dogs

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Profit, Bird Dogs and My Dog Ate My Lottery Ticket

To anyone who actually hunts and breeds a few bird dogs, the first part of the title is obviously a joke that they fully get. But the second part of the title is unfortunately true. 

Yep.  I rarely buy a lottery ticket but for some reason, yesterday I did. Once home I tucked it under my laptop for safe keeping and in the hopes that I would remember to check the numbers since I have been known to buy tickets and for months forget to check them.  But this morning I carried my laptop into another room for some work, forgetting about the ticket until I noticed one of the dogs - okay, it was Flint, I am not going to protect the guilty - chewing on something. What I took from his mouth was just enough to tell me that he had just eaten my Powerball ticket. So if the news announces that the winning ticket was sold in northern Michigan and unclaimed, please don't tell me.

As far as making money on bird dogs, that is a serious topic which deserves its own post one of these days.  But the bottom line is that hunting and being a conscientious small breeder of bird dogs is a labor of love and is an expensive one: it certainly does not bring a profit.  Yes, a litter of pups a year brings in a short burst of money - thankfully - because the ledger hangs long and heavy on the expenses side IF you are raising bird dogs who are actually hunted and proven to have talent before they are bred. A breeder who just keeps a large number of dogs in kennels and always seems to have puppies available, make no mistake, that is a commercial kennel operated for profit, not bird dogs. 

If you are a serious hunter who wants a talented bird dog, please understand that the genetics of hunting talent are intangible and somewhat fragile. Even two outstanding parents might not pass the same level of talent on to their offspring. So why would you risk buying a pup whose parents have not been proven to have any talent at all? Whose only claim to fame is that somewhere back in the pedigree are the names of dogs and breeders who did indeed work hard to earn reputations of talent. If you are a wild bird hunter, the fact that a pup's parent was able to locate a chicken pen-raised bird in a training situation tells you nothing about talent. So, if you are a wild bird hunter, give yourself better odds than my Powerball ticket once gave me and buy a pup from parents who themselves have been proven talented on wild birds.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Dog Speed

I am test-driving a new camera right now and taking lots of awful photos with it. Wonderful new technology and equipment fail to overcome my shortcomings as a photographer. But I have fun any way. 

This photo caught my eye and made me laugh.  I am calling it: which speed of dog do you like?  On the surface it is just a poor quality but fun photo. But it is also a conversation starter. I have many discussions with hunters about how fast their bird dog covers the ground but find that since our dogs do not have speedometers on them, words such as fast, moderate or plodding have very different meanings to different people. GPS units report mph run by the dog but that is skewed somewhat by things such as terrain, did you leave it on as you drove between covers, how often the dog went on point or even how often the dog stopped to pee. Without actually seeing a dog hunt or a really good video of the dog, it is a difficult trait to measure. Yet footspeed is an important topic to hunters - and therefore breeders - and there is no right or wrong.  So, which flavor of speed would you choose from this silly photo?