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first lab i had was 25 yrs ago. she went dove hunting at 12 weeks. she was great for 13 yrs.
next lab went dove hunting at 9 weeks, made first retreive in 8' tall cane on bird i thought was lost forever. she was big and bold and an awesome companion for 11 yrs.
now have an english pointer, she was barely 5 weeks old last yr on first day of dove season. retreived 5 birds before laying under my feet and going to sleep. she is just now 14 months old and starting to water retrieve. did not try to get her into water before this past summer. was pretty shy at first, but acts like a lab / fish now.
IMHO, what age to take them, as soon as you feel they can. mine were all very mild tempered and I hunted alone or very small group for several trips.
Good luck and enjoy, a good dog is the best hunting companion you will ever have.
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