Want to Hunt More Often? Make a Dog Bucket List

On a hunt last weekend, I watched my chessie bring back a drake common merganser I shot. While a common merg may not be the most desirable or glamorous species, this bird marked the fifteenth species of duck the old lady has brought to hand. It got me thinking about a dog's life list, and the idea that in pursuing that list our dogs take us far more places than we would go alone.

David alluded to that very idea in a recent blog post and it's true; Our dogs dictate much of how, where and why we hunt. They give us, for lack of a more original term, a dog-based bucket list.

Not only is planning a hunt based on your doggie bucket list a lot of fun, it's a great way to dream up a hunt for which you otherwise might not have the motivation. Next fall, take your dog on a trip away from your normal hunting grounds. It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate. Then set a goal, which could be as simple as a point, flush, or retrieve of a specific species or in a specific state or location. The trick is to not get too ambitious.

As an example, I'm planning a road trip next fall with the goal of getting my setter on all four species of prairie grouse. I'm also going to try to get my chessie's species list to 20 and hopefully target a couple sea duck species. Considering I live in Oklahoma, it's a tad ambitious, but manageable. The lifetime goal is every (huntable) species of North American grouse, quail and waterfowl, but you have to take it in bite-sized chunks.

So forget about you, what's on your dog's bucket list?