We had some really fast hunts and some really slow hunts over the holidays with all the crazy weather and I wanted to share a story from my favorite hunt of the holidays. I was able to take a good friend who is 72 and trained pointers and brittanys in his younger days, very seasoned hunter and probably more of a seasoned trainer.
We had pretty slow morning with a poor set up, had a few groups come in but only managed 2 ducks. The first duck was splashed about 30 yds out in front of us. So I give my dog one enthusiastic 'Ruby' command and she is off. Gets the ducks and swims back I take it from her and she hops right back in her dog box. Next group comes in and we hit one but it glides about 200 yds to our left in front of another group, it gets shot again and retrieved by the other hunting party (on private land so no big deal). Last bird we hit ends up being crippled and glides about 100 yds directly away from us across from into some thick swampy stuff. Once again I give her one quick 'Ruby' and she is off. See her head straight out to were it was then hear lots of splashing about 5 min later she is on her way back bringing the cripple back to me.
After the hunt his over my friend tells me this was one of his most enjoyable hunts he has ever been on. I give him a sort of surprised look since I didn't think much of the hunt other than I screwed up the set up and we missed out on several birds. He then tells me, 'Matt I have never seen such a natural retriever in my life. Do you realize you only gave 2 commands all morning? Not once did you say load up, stay, steady, hold, over... anything. Just 2 'Rubys' and that's it. You didn't have to talk to the dog and she was plastered to the front of the blind watching patiently. No whining, squirming, moving or anything. I just want you to realize the all don't come like this and you need to appreciate how lucky you are for having a dog like that.'
Turned my worst hunt over the holidays into my favorite hunt yet.