Experiencing the Hunt

Recently, someone asked me why I don’t post photos of me, my bird dogs and the birds we were successful in hunting. I had to think on my response. My immediate response? I’m not that good of a shot. If I was money with my shooting you bet your a$$ I would be posting pictures of me…big, huge smile next to a pile of 200 or so birds. Um…okay…exaggerations aside, you get the gist. I have no shame in sayin’… ;-)

But, seriously…

I guess because for me the beauty is in figuring out the puzzle–the game between the birds and the bird dogs and me. It’s about feeling the slightest breeze or the biting wind on my face and trying to understand what it means to the dogs and birds. It’s about watching the athleticism of the dogs–moving so gracefully through the cover–like they’re dancing–barely slowing to dart under barbed wire, so efficiently clearing downed trees…quartering through tall prairie grasses as though they designed the landscape, knowing where to place each foot. For me it’s about watching a story unfold. A story I haven’t read before. A story that at times holds me to the edge of my seat. And other times plays out so beautifully, peacefully I don’t even realize I just read 100 pages within minutes. Time fades away for me when I’m watching the bird dogs work. Will they be rewarded with a find in that fence row they’re moving toward? Is there a bird hunkered down in that patch of brush so thick I can’t walk through without getting caught like a fish in a net but yet the bird dogs dodge and dive through at speeds I’ll never know. What are they smelling? What are they seeing? What do they hear and feel? What do they taste?

It’s difficult to capture these moments of the hunt as it’s playing out. I try to as often as possible. I want to tell the story of every muscle twitch and what I interpreted it to mean…of every twist and turn the dog made, nose to the ground as she worked the path a bird had taken. I want to capture that moment when a bird dog is hunting hard then slams into a point. I catch myself holding my breath to see what will happen next…will he hold? Or will he move, stealthily…quietly, carefully so as not to spook the bird…but just enough to pin it, tell me he’s got it. And, will I believe him?

I’m rewarded by watching the work the dogs do–how the puppies stumble through acting like they know what they’re doing and how the experienced ones open up with the confidence and deep desire to go find those birds–hell be damned, pulling me along with them. I know the bird dogs ultimately love the end game–watching the bird fall then getting to retrieve. I’ve watched so many of them–that change in their eyes as they light up, on fire, they stand up tall on their toes…ears forward watching so intently as that bird flushes then, hopefully, falls. So, I understand how important it is for them to be rewarded with retrieves. It’s why I’m working so hard to become a better shot.

I have posted a few photos of the success of the hunt over the years. And I love seeing the photos others post–their smiles, so proud of their work and their bird dogs. Hours of hard walking, hours of prep work to even be ready to hunt. Maybe I’ll have my “frame-able” someday…me and my bird dogs with a very successful hunt at our feet. Until then, I’ll keep watching and writing the stories my bird dogs are setting out for me. And, so I don’t experience a mutiny, I’ll keep working on my shot. :-)


BISS RBIS DC GCH Boulder’s N Fusion’s Power Trip MH CGC ROM on point.  Trip is bred by/owned by Judy and Edj Hetkowski of Boulder Vizslas, cobred/co-owned by Mel Reveles of Fusion Vizslas and Aaron Davis


Written by Mel Reveles of FusionVizslas.com.  All content is original with the exception of key words/phrases as quoted and credited to the source.  I am proud to be a founding member of the Rocky Mountain Vizsla Club– “The Specialty Vizsla Club of Colorado” and a member of the Vizsla Club of America. I am also a participant in the American Kennel Club’s Breeder of Merit Program.

Note: I understand the use of “who” in reference to a dog is grammatically incorrect but I’m  just not able to refer to dogs, my beloved companions” as “things”.  :-)

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