Well today was open day for waterfowl for Gauge and me, we went out with another guy I know so I could handle while he shot just to make sure that Gauge knew what was going on her first hunt. Well all the hard work and training, choosing a great breeding and getting a great dog paid off. This was my first hunt with a dog, my dog that I trained made it all the better it was absolutely amazing.
We headed out to the reeds at 6:30 am put a make shift dog stand in the water for her and gave her the kennel command, up she climbed and I went to set decoys. Ten minutes later we were waiting, I started in on the call and I could see her excitement build she knew that something new and exciting was going on. The first small flock of Mallard's rounded the corner heading for the creek into the decoys. I waited and waited my buddy was ready and I yelled take 'em as he came up the birds flared hard down the creek he fired off a single shot and picked one out of the bunch. The bird by this time was 30 yards off and behind us over my right shoulder, Gauge was on my left. Moments later a loud splash came from the bird piling into the creek, not knowing how muck she seen I gave the call....."Gauge." She leap off her perch and cornered the reeds heading down creek.
Moments passed it seemed like forever, I could here her swimming and swimming and thought to myself oh no a disaster she didn't see the bird and is hunting. I walked out around the corner and seen her chasing down the cripple about 200 yards away by now heading down creek with the current. She was gaining fast and that was when she picked up he first Mallard form a hunt. I quick "here" and back up the creek she came swinging back into the reeds and with a couple kennel commands she climbed up on her perch to present to me her trophy.
It was a very proud moment for both of us, I was worried how the first real hunt would go, my buddy said man that was a great retrieve I don't think she even seen it go down. I let my buddy take another bird and seen the light go on for Gauge, releasing her a second time I knew that she was in the game. I went and picked up my gun and soon after we shot two pairs of doubles both of which were scooped up without a second look. Not too long after that I hit a winger poor shooting and it landed in the deep reeds far right. Gauge took off in hot pursuit she made the far bank where she thought the bird went down, started her hunt and came up short, I blew a sit whistle, gave her a back case bounding into the deep cover I decided to head to her and help get her in the right location, moments later out she came bird in mouth.
I couldn't have asked for a better opening day, great marking, picking up doubles and even taking casts. Gauge picked up 9 birds today and we never lost a one. Five Mallards, two Gadwall and two Teal. Thanks to everyone who helped me with all my questions I can't wait for the rest of the season.