Wednesday, February 9th, 2011...10:09 am
How Many Dogs are the Right Number for My Hunting String?
Right now I have 16 dogs. The breakdown of these are 11 pointing dogs that are still hunting, 1 lab that is used for Dove, Duck and Pheasants, 1 pet cocker spaniel and 3 retired pointing dogs (1 english pointer and 2 brittanys.)
It’s rare for me to actually get rid of a dog. I’m not really sure I ever have really. I sold one of my younger pups to a buddy of mine, but ended up buying him back a few years later.
I have room for this many dogs and I can afford to keep them. The question is do I have time to properly train and condition this many.
The other question is how many dogs do I REALLY need on my hunting string? I think the correct number is 8 active pointing dogs and one lab. That gives me 4 braces in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. That’s a full day but it is doable when the weather is right.
I can also easily travel with 8 by myself. Anything over that is more than I really want to deal with on the road.
So if I go that route, who gets cut from the team?
Click, Sage and Stud are in. Cash, Merle and Brandy are also locked in. That leaves 5 dogs to fill 2 spots.
Bu, Mac, Apple, Izzy and Axl.
Bu is the dog we found a few years back that had gotten off a chain gang and was lost in Texas.
I like several things about her. She has an amazing nose but lacks the speed of my other dogs. She would fit someone that prefers a slower paced dog. I have put a good bit of time and money into her and she is steady to wing and shot. Her retrieving needs some work but she likes to find dead birds.
Mac is a half brother to Stud, Click, Merle and Apple. He is showing a bunch of promise and I think he fits my program as well as any of the five I am looking at cutting. My only concern with him is that he is very head strong. While that isn’t normally an issue, I already have a couple of bull headed dogs and I’m not sure I want more. The other side of this is that he showed more promise as a young dog than any I have ever had.
Apple is a half sister to Stud, Click, Merle and Mac. She also fits in my system really well and is one of the classiest young dogs I have ever owned. She is a keeper, but she would also be pretty easy to move. I have had a couple of offers on her already.
Izzy is out of National Champion Lester’s Snowatch. She is a birdy dog and I love watching her run. She shows some signs of being the kind of dog that could replace Em as my number one dog. I don’t really know how do describe it but there is a certain personality trait that my better bird dogs have shared. They tend to not really care about other dogs and have a aloof nature about them that I don’t see in many dogs. They also tend to be very fond of me while ignoring other people. I will have a hard time letting her go.
Axl is a granddaughter to Nation Champion Funseeker’s Rebel. She has the typical Funseeker look – tall and leggy. She has an awesome nose and is doing really well on pen birds. She needs some time on wild birds. My only concern with her is that she isn’t going to run as big as I prefer. At this point I am a little up in the air on her. No question that she will not make a horse back dog but I seldom hunt off horseback and having a few close dogs would not be the end of the world.
If I had to make a decision right now, I would keep Mac and Izzy to round out my 8.
This little exercise has helped me get my thoughts in line, but I still don’t know if I want to let these dogs go.
End of the season really isn’t the best time to sell dogs. The smart move would be to work them in the spring and summer and make my choice closer to next season.