Stuck On You

Stuck On You
If It Sticks Or Pricks, Chances Are It'll Find Its Way On To Your Gun Dog

A guy I know was hunting quail in West Texas when his Brittany started acting as if one of its paws had caught fire. Correctly surmising that the dog had picked up a sand burr, he called him in, pulled it out, and, as often happens, got it stuck in his own finger. He then did something ill-advised: he used his teeth to remove it.

(left) This setter doesn't look too happy about the ear ornaments he picked up hunting pheasants in central Montana. There's no question he was busting cover and looking in the birdy places, though. (right) Pointers shed burrs like Labs shed water but cactus plays no favorites. This encounter happened on a Mearns quail hunt a wide cast from Mexico near Sonoita, Arizona, proving once again that the border is a wild and woolly place.

The next thing he knew, the burr was lodged in his windpipe, and he was in real danger of choking to death. Fortunately, he was able to stick a couple fingers down his throat and knock it loose. The blood and saliva kept it from re-attaching on the way out.

The great Nash Buckingham once described a favorite setter as having a "burr-curdled hide." He must have had something like this in mind. (inset) Cactus spines aren't usually so obvious. It's more typical of them to break off flush with the pad, making them devilishly hard to locate and extract. Speaking of extraction, no gun dog person should ever venture afield without some sort of pliers or multi-tool.

For as long as there have been gun dogs, there have been gun dogs with things stuck on (and in) them. Smeared, spattered, and sprayed on them, too. Burrs, thorns, spines, quills; blood, mud, and gooey dreck of every description: It simply goes with the territory. You can't do the things gun dogs do, in the places they do them, and emerge unscathed. The fact that it hardly fazes them only enhances their heroic aura and our abiding admiration for their courage, desire, and tenacity.

(left) Sand burrs, buffalo burrs, cactus: If there's a meaner place to run dogs than the Nebraska Sandhills, I don't want to know about it. Jim Reeves and his string of Kentucky quail dogs were new to the Sandhills when this photo was taken, but they got schooled in a hurry. (right) Some dogs literally attack the cover, no matter how nasty it is, and suffer so many slashes, scrapes, and punctures that they come out looking like they've gone 15 rounds with a bobcat. Desire that burns that hot is almost frightening and always deeply impressive.
Seaweed salad, anyone? This was at Mike Lardy's training grounds in central Wisconsin, where Lardy and his assistants turn out National Retriever Champions the way Remington turns out 870s.
Many hunters in the Southwest boot their dogs as a matter of course. This pointer (who's clearly no stranger to the process) is also getting his tail wrapped, protecting it from the beating it'll take from the mesquite and shinnery oak where Texas bobs and blues hide out from the law. (inset) Burdocks stick to setters like stink sticks to limburger. Combing out a tangle like this takes the patience of a saint, but that's the thing about setter people: Many are called, few are chosen.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 4

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 4

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 4

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 7

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 7

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 7

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 10

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 10

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 10

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 3

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 3

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 3

Trending Articles

A gun-shy dog is created, not born, and once the damage is done, gun-shyness can prove impossible to cure. Puppies

Introduce Your Pup To Gunfire The Right Way

Gun Dog Online Staff

A gun-shy dog is created, not born, and once the damage is done, gun-shyness can prove...

Profiles

Gun Dog Breeds: Standard Poodle

James Spencer

"Poodles hunt? You gotta be kiddin' me!"

In the market for a new upland shotgun? Here you'll find shotguns to fit every pocketbook and every style, from side-by-sides and over/unders to semi autos. Shotguns & Ammo

Best New Upland Shotguns

John Taylor - September 10, 2018

In the market for a new upland shotgun? Here you'll find shotguns to fit every pocketbook and...

From the 2019 SHOT Show, here are a several new upland shotguns that caught our attention. Shotguns & Ammo

New Upland Shotguns for 2019

Lynn Burkhead - January 28, 2019

From the 2019 SHOT Show, here are a several new upland shotguns that caught our attention.

See More Trending Articles

More Health & Nutrition

Nothing matters more than a healthy dog, so Tony J. Peterson has a list of 14 items to help you keep them that way! Health & Nutrition

14 Foods, Meds & Supplements for Healthy Dogs

Tony J. Peterson - August 03, 2018

Nothing matters more than a healthy dog, so Tony J. Peterson has a list of 14 items to help...

Train your pup with a purpose. Health & Nutrition

Canine Fitness: Work Your Bird Dog Into Hunting Shape

Tony J. Peterson

Train your pup with a purpose.

Follow these tips to keep your pup healthy throughout summer training and early season hunts. Health & Nutrition

How to Keep Your Bird Dog Hydrated & Cool

Tom Dokken

Follow these tips to keep your pup healthy throughout summer training and early season hunts.

We should never “cut corners” when feeding our gun dogs. Health & Nutrition

Nutrition Guidelines for Your Gun Dogs

John Holcomb, DVM - May 08, 2018

We should never “cut corners” when feeding our gun dogs.

See More Health & Nutrition

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.