I have a few problems, very serious problems in fact, with Ginger. I’ve attached a few photos to better illustrate the issues. With the temps in the 50’s Saturday morning, I decided that I had to get Ginger out on some birds. Apparently, not many game farms have birds yet. I did find that Wings North in Rush City has some Chuckars, so we took a little drive. Being early in the morning and early in the year, I had the entire west side of their property to myself. I decided to put out a bird at a time, just to see how she’d do. I put her in her crate and planted the first bird. She started working toward the north end of the field and locked up pretty well. As I came up to her, she broke a few times, but was back on a solid point when I kicked up the bird. She retrieved it and came right back to me. That was pretty cool. The next 2 birds were about the same. She’d lock up, but then begin to creep a little. No problem, we can work on whoa.
The fourth bird is where the issues begin. The north boundary of this field is a ditch. They had 7” of rain in the 4 days prior, so the ditch was now about 8’ wide and 3-4’ deep. The north side of the ditch is head high tangled, thick crap, that you can hardly fight your way through. Oh yes, the issues. Ginger came up to the 4th bird and held much better. Apparently my top barrel is crooked, because I missed a Chukar at 20 yards (first issue). The other barrel is only slightly tweaked, because I was able to wing that little sucker and watch it sail about 30 yards over the ditch, into the thick stuff (second issue).
Well, Ginger was off like a shot. I saw brush moving for about 30 yards, then nothing. A few seconds go by and I started wondering if she was heading to Hinkley. What kind of fool questions his dog? I hear a splash and here comes Ginger up out of the ditch with a rather lively Chukar in her mouth. The best retriever guys out there can only dream of their dogs making a retrieve like this one.
The 5th bird brought up the final issue I have with Ginger. I planted this guy in a smaller clump of waist-high grass, in the middle of some knee high stuff. I walked back to the truck, got Ginger out and waited a few minutes for the Chukar to clear his head. We started working the field. Ginger is quartering perfectly, until she gets a whiff of the bird. I know where the bird is, I put it there. But, she locks up about 20’ to the right of where it was. I start wondering what the hell kind of nose do these Ritterburg dogs have. She’s pointing the wrong way. I walked up to her and tap her nose. “Okay, find the bird.” She was having none of that. She looked so good, I had to take a few pictures. After the photo shoot, she still hadn’t moved a muscle, so I went in and kicked around in front of her. I was so surprised when the bird got up, my crooked barrel almost missed again. That was the first bird that actually moved from where I put it, so that was really cool. The point on the last bird was just as solid as number 5. Another crooked shot, but the bird had a massive heart attack and died.
So back to my serious Ginger problems. She’s going to make me look bad this fall. Anyone with a dog like her should be a great shot also. The other problem is my wife. I’m fairly certain that I won’t be spending a weekend at home until about mid-January. That’s a lot of pheasants and grouse for a guy to eat.
On a more serious note, I can’t put into words how happy and impressed I am with Ginger. My wife absolutely adores her, and all of my neighbors can’t believe what a well behaved dog she is. All of there idiot dogs start barking, but she won’t make a sound.
I was out by myself Saturday, so the pictures aren’t great, but I have a feeling I’ll have many, many photo ops this fall.
Thanks again for a great dog Dan, and for gently nudging me away from the puppy route. Although, you can get me on the list for a puppy in about 3 or 4 years.