Counting the Retrieves

   The topic of counting your dog’s retrieves is something I don’t see too many people talking about… so I will get this conversation rolling. 
    People hunt for different reasons. They hunt in different ways and use different techniques that work for them. I count retrieves for one main reason… that’s for Miss Cabo.
    I know you are thinking, “Oh you only hunt for your dog?” I do not just hunt for Cabo, I hunt for several reasons. The Camaraderie, the team work, seeing a bird get sideways and drop from 500 feet with no hesitation, and making a great shot on a big drake Mallard.
    During one of this season’s hunts, my partner and I hunted without our dogs due to the thickness of the ice. We chased down crippled birds, broke ice to get to birds outside the broken ice area and were completely wore out at the end of the day. We commented several times on how much we missed our pups that day and what they mean to us; most importantly, what they mean to the hunt.
    What these dogs do for us every time we go out is just short of amazing. They sit in the blind never taking their eyes off the pond, sit and wait for one word so that they can go after the prize. 
    I can sum up one hunt this year from a retrieve Cabo had made. From the cries of Watch out, Heads up, Incoming, and us scrambling to take cover, Cabo stood and watched the bird. She only had to go 2 feet to pick that one up.MissCabo6
    Or the retrieve on a crippled duck that kept diving, then she learned she had to go under the water to get it. The most memorable being the 35 retrieve day in 2.5 hours. Even after picking up and walking away from the blind and seeing her still in the dog box waiting for the next bird. 
    Yes, I count retrieves for my dog. I count to see how we do from season to season. Do I hunt for my dog? You bet I do. Just like I hunt for my buddies. Just like I hunt because I love to. Just like I hunt for the limit of green heads.
    Counting retrieves gives me a gauge on how I’m doing for my best friend. Cabo is part of the team and so I hunt for her too. Every retrieve she makes I remember. From the first retrieve to the hundredth retrieve, they are all special to me. Cabo is special to me. I have a goal every season and that is 100 retrieves for Cabo.
    You see, dogs are apart of MY team. They are part of the camaraderie, they are part of the hunt and the memories of each hunt. Do dogs know or care about the numbers? NO, but we have to recognise them for what they do for us.
    So when that guy tells of how many retrieves his dog made that season, Maybe he’s not conceited but proud of his pup!
     Its about the dogs.
Mike Sommer

2 thoughts on “Counting the Retrieves

  1. This is a good piece Mike. One of the joys of waterfowling isv that there are so many things that each of us get a thrill from, or that we take pride in. I don’t hunt with a dog, but can appreciate good dog work. Just as some guys collect calls and enjoy calling in birds with a certain call, celebrating your dogs work is something to be proud of. Glem

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true Glen. I understand some guys don’t hunt with dogs and I get it. I just hope that what ive done with cabo makes people smile when we are hunting with new people. Thank you for your kind words.


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