January 30, 2011
Another hunt, the fourth one this winter. As always, we ordered 15 quail for zone 4. We got there at 1 p.m. and to our surprise, nobody else was around. The manager pulled up and announced that zone 4 was set up, and that there was a left-over pheasant and two chukars in other fields, and that we were welcome to hunt the entire plantation if we like.
The weather was gorgeous - sunny with a very light breeze, 70 F. The warmer temperature actually posed a little problem to the dogs, especially old Shane. 70 F is not that hot but coming from two months of 45 F and below it was quite a change, and it felt hot to all of us.
Tessa was working it. Shane was good but much slower than usually; he showed some excellent backing but did not got that many points, mainly because Tessa grossly outran him on this warmer day. There were more water breaks for both of them, and after 90 minutes, Shane was done and Tessa was out there alone.
When we took a longer break around 3 p.m. Tessa kept glancing down to the other fields, then slowly got up and trotted down the hill, at a faster and faster pace, until she was back in hunting mode, making one big round through the fields, then trotting back and sitting down next to me.
We then decided to work the fields all the way down to the pond where I wanted Tessa to cool down. She found three quail but we weren't able to locate the pheasant and chukars. We sat by the edge of the pond and watched Tessa retrieve tennis balls (LOL). The water was quite cold so she only went in five times, then decided that was enough for January. We trekked back up to the cars, very slowly, but Tessa still searching, running wide, to the very last minute.
Paul and Chris bagged 11 quail. The other 8 or 9 escaped in the woods where it was too dense to hunt and safely shoot, or towards the duck pond which was off-limits. Basically, Tessa gets the job done and puts meat on the table, but she is still far from the Senior Hunter level - retrieving, honoring and staunchness are lacking. Lots of work to be done.
On the way home we stopped at Checkers for some burgers and fries. Because of Tessa's hard work, I was rewarded with a free meal - whereas poor Tessa had to wait for dinner until after her bath.