After vacationing with my parent's for the last 12 days, Sadie had the best hunt of her short career on 1/21. Her quartering was fantastic - range was good. Best of all - she started retrieving on command! With the 3 - 5" of snow-fall, the birds were slowed ever so slightly, and the cover was pushed down. Makes for a perfect day of hunting! My dad and I decided to work right in on the birds in the field, opting to enter at the middle of the field. We then circled around the edge of the field, and pushed a tree-line on the South of the field back toward our field, which yeilded 3 birds into our field (one of which flew to the tree-line from our field. I brought my camera, and got a couple of good shots.
First, Sadie pointed here, and held for long enough for me to snap this shot:
Although we didn't hit the bird in the picture, I was able to take this picture of her retrieving
Later, Sadie pushed a couple of roosters, that we had flushed out of the South tree-line, into an almost perfect opportunity. I spotted both birds tail-to-tail in the cover, and motioned to my dad, who was about 20 - 30 yards to my right. The first bird flew to my left, and I brought it down with one shot. Sadie ran to retrieve it when the second flushed. I waved at it to "shoo" it toward Dad. He brought his rooster down with a single shot as well.
Dad also had a great shot where we were working the tree-line on the West side of the field. We started to hear a cackling, and Sadie locked-up on point. The rooster flushed in front of us, and Dad made a great shot which sent the rooster into a barrel-roll dive kamikazee style. Sadie made a great retrieve in heavy cover.
The last bird of the day was a brown rooster. Sadie pointed it on the Northern tree-line of our field earlier in the day, but it flushed out into the field to the North of us, where a group of hunters were. It circled around back to the treeline. Later in the day (although we were picking along the Northern tree-line periodically), Sadie went on point, and I spotted the brown rooster in a clump of cover by a downed-tree. It flushed, and I shot twice, but failed to bring it down. We moved to where it had landed, and Sadie trailed it for almost a quarter mile before we put it up. I shot, and finally brought it down. Sadie was sent to retrieve, and, once she was on the bird, I started to jog backwards. I saw her pick it up as I fell flat on my keyster. I looked up as she stood over me, bird in mouth, looking at me like, "now what, stupid". I got up and took the bird from her mouth. We headed back to the car, a perfect 8 for 8 birds released, 5 roosters, and 3 hens. I snapped this shot after commanding her to "Hold" the hen. She released on command as well.
Just a couple of things to work on with her from this hunt. First, she pushed a couple of birds at range (at least 3 to speak of). She seemed to realize she goofed when she had, and recalled. This may have been from inactivity, and her youth. Retrieves need to be cleaned-up as well (I can do this by having her heel after she retrieves) as she spit a couple out at my feet - which is WAY better than leaving them in the heavy cover. For me, my whistle froze, as did my feet - I need some thermal socks, and a way to keep a metal whistle from freezing.
Overall, however, it was the first time I could give Sadie an EXCELLENT rating. She has a little to go to achieve a "PERFECT". Great day!