In the midlands of South Carolina, deer season began September 1. And on opening day I sat in a stand in 89-degree weather while a small 6-point, a 4-point, and a spike ever so gently sparred in a field (the 4-point was still in velvet), and four does went about eating. I was sitting on a harvested cornfield. I didn’t pull the trigger, but it was a spectacular evening.

Still one of the more entertaining moments of the day happened before the hunt when I came down the stairs in my camo, and Pritch went bonkers. First she ran up and sniffed my legs like I was fire hydrant at a dog park. Then after a good whiff she started hopping around the living room as if the carpet had turned to hot coals, turning in tight circles with stubby tail working like mad. As I packed the truck she followed my every step. When it was time to leave she sat by the front gate whimpering as I pulled away. My wife tells me she positioned herself by the front door until I came home later that night.

You gun dog owners know exactly what got her riled up–my hunting clothes. She, of course, thought she was going to the field for some birds. Not boring bumpers, but birds. My friend, T. Edward Nickens, has a Lab that goes nutzo as soon as she sees the E-collar because she knows they’re headed for the duck blind.

If there’s anything better than the hardwired genetics of a gun dog I’m not sure what it is. I could list a few hundred more reasons why I love my gun dog, but I’ll spare you. Instead, feel free to let us know what makes you gush when it comes to your dog.