by Bret “T-Bone” Amundson
We’ve been over the fact that fall is almost here. We’re seeing cooler temps, leaves starting to turn and guns that have been released from their summer holding cells.
I live for this time of year and everything I do for 230 odd days are geared for the last 4 pages on the calendar. Exercising the dog, shooting skeet and fixing decoys are all part of the offseason regimen. Once we hit this time of year though I try to get more realistic in the training. I say “it’s for the dog”.
But let’s be honest. If I can take out the gun and crack off a couple of shots, I’m in the truck before you can call “shotgun”. Anyone who’s seen me shoot wishes I’d practice more often.
We recently made a stop down the road from the office at Hunts Point Sportsman’s club for a little preseason rust elimination. A good bit of walking does the body and canine good. Mika, my 1 ½ year old yellow lab did a great job finding birds even if she did need a refresher on the whole “retrieving” concept. It was better to give her the reminder now rather than on my big pheasant hunting trip with the guys. Plus we’ll get to have a nice staff pheasant fry despite helping repopulate the wild population with a few birds.
I was a bit disappointed after the great showing Mika had at Game Fair (see video below). But a young dog sometimes needs a quick refresher course when you change over to real feathers and real birds. Not just my trainer wrapped in wings and duct tape.
Overall I was extremely happy with how she’s progressed for her age. Some of you know that this is my first lab that I’ve owned and trained myself. I’ve had some help along the way and I did pay for some bird and gun training, but for the most part I worked this dog solo. I have an article coming out in the fall issue of the Minnesota Sporting Journal that chronicles the trials and tribulations involved, including a few utterances of “what the heck am I doing?”.
The fall issue is really shaping up to be my favorite issue. But then again we’ve been over how much I love fall. Now, I won’t hang up my rod and reel on September 1st , as evidenced by an evening of standing ankle deep in brisk water trying to lure my first brook trout from it’s cozy cold water stream. It almost took all night, but with help from my “guide” Ben Brettingen and MNSJ cohort, I was able to seal the deal.
We’ll be revealing the cover of the fall issue soon, keep an eye on our Facebook page to see it. I’ve gotten a sneak peek. It’s awesome.
For those who haven’t been to Game Fair, here is a video of Mika giving it her all in the friendly trial competitions. A summer experience that got my mouth watering for a big ol’ heaping of FALL! *Don’t forget the MNSJ Radio show debuts this weekend! Find out more here.
by Bret “T-Bone” Amundson