Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Breeding for the perfect bird dog...a different way to get there.

bird dogs and bird hunting
2XNSTRA CH FlyBoy Ace's Delta Captain (Cap)
Since Ace passed away, his puppy, Cap, has been my main dog.  In the field or on the trial grounds, Cap has stepped up and is outstanding in both venues.  As close as last February, when I took the dogs to Oklahoma for the closer, Cap was a star.  At five years old, Cap spent most of his life in the shadow of his dad, Ace.  When birds needed finding, when conditions were tough and adverse, Ace was the main guy.  Whoever got to run alongside him needed to know how to back and have the manners Ace demanded.  Cap was second fiddle.  Now, at the top of the list, he's showing the mettle that his dad passed down.  His mom was a daughter to Nolan's Last Bullet, so the genetics are there.  It's good to see him fulfill that potential.  In Oklahoma, we arrived at the end of the season.  It was perfect hunting weather, cold and damp. The parking areas were beat down and bird feathers were scattered around- I just knew the wild birds had been shot up.  I put Cap and Shack (another Ace puppy, 2 yo) out and jumped the fence, loading my gun.  Before I even had my mind straight, Cap's Alpha pager went off, followed closely by Shack's. 200 yds away, Cap had a covey nailed with Shack backing from a respectful distance! It was a small covey, 10-12 birds, and they didn't hang around long, but we managed to put one in the bag and move on.  Over the next hour, Cap pointed 3 coveys and Shack 1.  We never moved more than 300 yards from the truck. I was very impressed with the little guy! The numbers don't reflect his drive and intelligence, all subjective stuff a dog man can sense more than see.  Shack was coming along, as well, and that thrilled me, too.  

bird dogs and bird hunting
Cap 2nd Place 2015 GA Region Championships


Several friends in the field trial world and hunting world, as well, contacted me to breed Cap to their females.  I figured his genetics were well worth passing on, in fact, my next breeding here at home will be to Ruby (NSTRA CH FlyBoy Ace's Ruby Deux), a direct daughter of Nolan's Last Bullet and 2016 GA Region Champion.  From that litter, I will keep two pups for my my follow-on bird and hunting dogs.   When we arrange a breeding, it's the old fashioned way.  Wait 10 days from when the female first started bleeding and couple them 3 times over the next 5 days (or variations on that theme).  This last month, a friend wanted to breed Cap while we were at a field trail in N. GA.  We were pressed for time and a little concerned about finishing in time.  The owner of the property is a vet and his brother, also a vet, said we should "Fresh AI" them.  New to me, it's a procedure whereby the semen is collected on the spot and then inserted into the female- all within 5-10 minutes!  Easy , fast and with no drama!  After 2 of those sessions over the 3 days of the trail, I feel very comfortable that the results will be positive.  Turns out, after talking to several people in the know, this procedure is becoming very popular- and I can see why!   Of course, there are cautions, and initially I would want a vet to do the procedure. But, the process is not difficult and I know a few pros that do their own Fresh Artificial Insemination.  I was impressed with the entire procedure and I think it's the way of the future for breeding these bird dogs!