I don’t think anything can light a fire under a pup quite like their first retrieve. After Elettra brought in her first duck today she was running, bouncing, twirling, spinning, chomping at the air, you name it.
I had scheduled Sophie for two therapy visits this morning so the fact that it was too cold to hunt (-17 degrees) was irrelevant. Sophie did some good work and was rewarded with deep fried chicken strips. After lunch I loaded Elettra into the truck and off we went.
Our first stop was at the local Wildlife Management Area to get her on some Pheasants. I primarily wanted her to stretch out her legs a little since we’d been duck hunting as of late, and didn’t want her to become rusty on her other skills. Rusty is the last thing she is, judging from the way she held some really nice points for me.
After the refresher training on Pheasants, we turned to ducks. The last time Elettra and Mia hunted together, Elettra told me she was ready to begin retrieving and I really wanted to give her the opportunity. She would have had some retrieves the last time out if I could have hit anything, but today was different. We flushed several ducks but I was unable to get a shot, then we came on a couple of little diving ducks. I was afforded only one shot but I made it count.
I was really hoping that Elettra would retrieve it because I didn’t want to wade out myself, and didn’t want to walk all the way back to the truck for my waders. The first time I sent her out, she nosed the duck and returned empty-handed. I gave her some encouragement and tossed a little stick at the duck, and sent her out again. This time she nosed the duck, pushed it around a little, then picked it up and brought it back like a pro.
We hunted a little longer before calling it quits, as the sun was starting to set. The temperature was a warm 13 degrees when we began hunting and on our return was fluctuating between 2 and -1. Still, even considering the wind chill, it was rather pleasant and didn’t seem all that cold.