This past weekend, we attended the Southern Michigan Springer Spaniel Training Club's (SMSSTC) hunt test in Highland, Michigan. Friday night we convoyed part way with friends who stayed with us at Michael's parents home, shortening the late-night drive. Saturday morning we made the drive to Highland, arriving at around 8:30. Wooster was entered at the Senior level.
Michael got the high sign to get Wooster to the line, but unfortunately they ended up waiting well over an hour at that point. By the time they actually got to the line, Wooster was pretty jazzed up. He worked the field pretty well and was listening to Michael. Unfortunately, he trapped his first bird. When the bird tried to resist (as Michael says), Wooster felt the need to teach it who was in charge, so he chomped it! Bad luck for the bird, and definitely bad luck for Michael & Woo, since that was basically an instant DQ. (For the uninitiated, hunting with a dog is partly about conserving game-- making sure you eat what you shoot. If the dog renders the bird inedible during the retrieve, that purpose is defeated...hence, the DQ.) Too bad, because he looked great in the field.
Sunday they thankfully had a much shorter wait by the field. Wooster was in good form, working and listening well. Unfortunately, his first bird was a flyaway. They reached the end of the field and replanted. On the second pass, the gunners shot at (and missed) a volunteer. Not sure why they shot at it, since it was nowhere near the dog. Almost immediately, Woo flushed a pheasant, which the gunners also missed. Wooster followed the flyaway briefly. Michael was able to get him back, but he was determined to get his bird at that point and was tuning out the handler, so Michael picked him up and that was that for the weekend.
Unfortunately, the Wisconsinites didn't have such great luck over the weekend. We did enjoy seeing some friends, though! Congratulations to Ann and Blaze on Blaze's new title! Thanks to the SMSSTC, who put on a quality event as usual.
There's always next weekend...quite literally, we'll be in Iowa for another test next weekend.