Four hours, one way through pea soup fog, snow and Christmas travel, was time well spent in order to check out the A litter of puppies from Snake River Drahthaars. I arrived at Tina and RC’s house around 2:30 pm. Didn’t leave till after 7 pm. RC was out hunting quail and pheasants…….jealous, I was, that he lives so close to great bird hunting. West Yellowstone is the in the heart of flyfishing and I really can’t complain that much, but sliding out to hunt upland birds on Christmas Eve would make my day.
The whelping box was full of tiny little bundles of pure crazyness joy, waiting to become sure fire bird dogs. Even at 6 weeks, they are a terror – rollin’ eachother, ear-tuggin’, barkn’, chasin’, howln’, bitin’,…..crazy little SOBs. Watching 13 Drahthaars roam around the garage was a sight, I now realize what it must like for my wife to pick out new shoes, skate skiis, or clothes. Three females were placed on the floor for me to choose from, but honestly I had already picked mine from the video and photos which RC had posted on his web site. At 3 weeks, RC had picked the dog he thought I would choose. He was spot on. The tempation to hold all the puppies was overwhelming and so I stuck around to help RC with the shots. New hunting dogs spark every hunter’s life. Watching them grow, teaching them the boudaries of obedience, introductions to the adult hounds at home, anticipation of next season in Eastern Montana are all things to look forward to. It also makes one look back at the memories made from years of hunting over bird dogs. Growing up there was Duke and Mack, both duck dogs. Then came the years which make or break youth hunters: If there is no dog to hunt over while in college or just after, some turn away from hunting. Lucky for me, my guide buddies had dogs – Kizzy, Drake, Ista, River, Drake the Shorthair, Nally, Bean……When you hunt behind someone elses dog, one quickly realizes the drawback of not having one. 8.5 years ago, Huckleberry came along and all of the sudden my bird hunting trips became epic adventures full of stories: 20 minute track downs on winged roosters, creeping points from a hundred yards out, 400 yard retrieves on diving ducks, a triple on huns – not shot by me, the frustration of a young dog and running pheasants to watching your dog mature and aquire the constant ability to point birds no matter the conditions.
She will come home to our cabin on Horse Butte, if all goes well, by the end month. Time to puppy proof everything.