While I was out planting I took my Golden retriever Jager with me to keep me company. Its pronounced (Yah-grr) which means hunter in German. Well he was sniffing around the edge of the hay field, casting into the wind, back and forth and started to work into the hay. I stopped because I saw he was on a scent and watched his tail through they hay as he worked the scent cone.
A scent cone is created from an object that produces the scent and it spreads out in the shape of a cone from the source. The scent gets weaker as the cone gets wider and dogs learn to work the cone, weaving in and out finding the edges then turning back into the scent following it as it gets stronger to the source. The concept is the same from bird dogs through detection dogs. So long as the scent is in the air, and not on the ground this is how dogs work it.
So my curiosity was up to see what he was following so intently. I didn't have to wait long. I heard the cackle of a rooster pheasant and a sudden explosion as that pheasant exploded up out of the hay my boy in hot pursuit. He flew away and I recalled Jager letting the rooster land at the edge of the hedgerow and off he went to go find shelter there. Jager came back all proud of himself and I was praising him furiously for a job well done.
We've had this rooster around the property now for a while. About a month a go I saw him strut past the french doors all full of himself. He's a beautiful boy, and doing well. Sometimes Ill hear him call and I keep hoping he's talking to his lady friend with a mess of chicks in tow. Its probably wishful thinking but I can't help but hope.
When Jager returned to a heel and I then released him, I thought about how many times that scene has played itself out again and again all over the country, for generations of hunters. Good dogs chasing wily birds only to have them suddenly take flight for us to take up the chase. That brief moment when the bird had just cleared the hay and Jager was leaping up chasing him skyward was pure poetry. Watching a dog doing something he's been bred to do over generations and being able to witness all that hard work and instinct coming to be, its just pure magic for me. It never, ever gets old. Doesn't matter if its coon dogs baying treed, or Border collies moving sheep, or retrievers plunging into icy cold water to pick up a downed mallard. There is something about good dog work to me that I absolutely love.
I have no intention of chasing that rooster. He gets a free pass. We don't get many of them around here anymore. Not like how our parents, and the grandparents remember. So when I see a wild one like that refuse to chase him. He's got enough working against him without me and my good dog pressuring him. That won't stop me though from enjoying the time when Jager gets wind of him and wants to give him a run for his money though.