Lab Ellie is doing the retreiving in the photo. Britt Puppy will retrieve uplands if the birds are crippled and I'm hunting her solo. Dead birds she'll just stay with till I find her. She will attempt to retrieve any duck on the water. Has a fascination for ducks! Lab Ellie doesn't have a great nose for finding geese, not like her predecessor Black Pearl. But this Lab is absolutely deadly hunting pheasants. Works very close and a dynamite pointer. She can find pheasants every time in the same awful crap we were battling yesterday. I have no hesitation wading into cattails over my head to shoot roosters. Formerly, when I was hunting two other Labs and Puppy, I kept them out of that stuff because most of the time downed birds were lost. In the last three years I know I have shot more than 75 roosters and probably 2/3 in cattail thickets. She lost three downed birds, not counting three others that got back up again and flew off. Puppy is an excellent pointer but often works a bit too far for spooky late season shot up roosters. I almost never work the dogs together as they keep bumping each other out of range. One is always kept beside me while the other works. No electronics. I've been raising hunting dogs since 1964 and never had to resort to outfitting them with technocrap. Just live with them. Then everyone is bonded and on the same page.Ontario, you worked hard but got yourself into a great spot and for a No Boat/No Decoys hunt - you shot a mess of geese. Sounds like a fun Hunt - although the walk back to the truck was more of a “workout” then hunt. Your Brit did a fine job on the retrieves - geese are like lifting a cinderblock for that small dog....but you wouldn’t have recovered those geese without a dog. My first Brit was also a do-it-all dog and water retrieved well for ducks & geese, ducks were delivered to hand but geese were “Left at the bank”, just didn’t want to carry 10-12lbs and he was a larger then standard Brit. He’d also retrieve rabbits, woodchucks (liked to catch/kill them himself). For grouse, woodcock, pond & freshwater ducks/geese I think Brits are great - not too big but “big enough”. I switched to a Lab when I started doing more duck hunting and always on tidal water or ocean bays - the upland bird hunting in NJ really deteriorated by the late 1990s, fewer house and almost no wild quail.....but great waterfowling. My lab would also retrieve in icey water and temps well below freezing, they have the same gentle affectionate temperament and a shorter coat that keeps cleaner and never picks up burrs. I like both breeds and hunting dogs really change-your-life....I found myself hunting many days (that I would’ve stayed home) just to spend time with the dog. My days afield “tripled” after I got my Brit, hunted before work or cut out early to catch last few hours of daylight. Later when I switched to my Lab - I hunted 40 days of a 60 day waterfowl season and (while still working FT in Manhattan). You must enjoy your dogs greatly - they add value and enjoyment to every hunt - even the ones with an empty bag
Well ... most of the time.