February 27, 2012

Hastings Island Hunting Preserve - 2/26/2012

4:45AM on Sunday morning. What was I doing? No, not sleeping... I was dragging myself out of bed (or rather, being dragged out of bed by my husband). This was an important milestone in Riley's life... her first hunting experience!

Of course, "princess" Riley slept on my lap for the entire hour and a half drive. We witnessed a beautiful sunrise over the Antioch bridge. FYI - it's a $5 toll bridge, so bring some cash if you make the trip without a Fast Pass!

When we arrived, we were loaned some attractive orange apparel to wear so that other hunters wouldn't shoot us by accident.  I was happy to wear a coat over my sweater because it was absolutely frigid at 7:30AM (about this time the lack of sleep was kicking in and I was starting to wish that pheasants slept in a little later...). As soon as we got the dogs out to run, I forgot the chill and found myself in awe of how naturally Riley took to the field. It was as if she was meant to be there. She had a great time romping around and we even got a cute point at a small bird. Poor Chloe heard some gunshots a *little* too close for her liking and became a little worried. We put the puppy and Chloe back in the cars and that's when the real fun began!

While watching Bailey hunt, time seemed to stand still. I've never seen a dog hunting in-person and it was absolutely breathtaking! There is this amazing bond between dog and hunter that is almost tangible. My husband and I were enjoying it so much that hardly any pictures were taken

After flushing a couple of hens, we moved over to another field farther out from the clubhouse. We let Riley out into the field to run with her 30 foot check cord on and she had a blast. I laughed at her because she is still short and hopped through the grass like a bunny rabbit in order to see where she was going. Bailey found an injured hen and we tried to let it fly off but it didn’t make it very far. Riley, meanwhile, found a pheasant wing and enjoyed playing around with it. We didn’t end up getting any pheasants, but it was a GREAT first experience and I am definitely hooked. We will be back! 

Please check out Rod's blog @ redbirddog.blogspot.com

He is a wealth of Vizsla information!