August 28, 2013
Dove Hunts: How To Answer the "Can I Bring My Dog?" Question
By Phil Bourjaily
With dove seasons opening and the rest on the way, hunters and their dogs are off the couch and back in the field. If you are putting together a hunt, you will have to face the question: “Can I bring my dog?” Eddie Nickens passed along this answer, which is, I think, the final word on the question. Here’s Eddie:
As my buddy Harold Cooley was planning on annual Southern-style dove hunt, he was asked if he would mind letting a few hunters bring along their dogs. Cooley wasn’t so sure about that, so he tossed the question over to his pal Lee Holder, a dog man, as they say around here, from the word “go.”
Holder’s response is near scriptural. For all of you dog owners thinking that a day in the dove fields—or duck blinds—is just what the doctor ordered for a pooch that’s been hanging out in the family playroom for the last 8 months, listen to these words of Southern wisdom. --T. Edward Nickens
A man with a trained dog who is allowed to bring the dog on your dove hunt will be a very, very happy man. He will have exponentially more fun than any other man there.
The man with the trained dog will delight in helping those around him find their birds. His trained dog will be a blessing to the other guys in the field.
A man with a ½ trained dog ( or less) will appreciate the opportunity to help his dog learn from this hunt, because he likes having his dog by his side. Sadly, he will be the only one who likes having his dog there.
A ½ trained dog runs across the field at ½ the birds that fall--yours, mine or anybody’s. His owner hollers. Now his owner is very embarrassed for everyone has now seen this disobedient dog he hasn’t trained. His owner wishes he never subjected those around him to this distraction from their hunt. His owner is convinced at each incident that the next time the lesson will have “taken” and the obedience and retrieve will be much better.
Likely it won’t. It is just too much wonderful excitement for the dog. This is heaven for the dog, but the owner hasn’t had enough private prayer sessions with the dog yet, and the whole experience is far from heaven for anybody but that dog.
Loving Christian men will feel and show mercy and grace. As part of their very nature they will plead with the Lord to help the man and his dog. The other part of their nature, the virile hopeful harvester, is muttering something ugly under his breath every time the dog breaks and the man hollers.
I pray that this treatise be termed discernment from 40 years in the good Lord’s dove fields. I pray it is not being judgmental.
He who has ears, let him hear.
Git down, heah dey come