Katy Thinks Public Service Is Fun!

In October of 1998, Deb wrote, "A couple of weeks back Katy and I were invited by David Wisnefske (an expert on prairie restoration) to take part in a youth pheasant hunt sponsored by the local Pheasants Forever Chapter, the DNR, and a local gun club. It was the weekend before the opening of pheasant season and was for the kids who had taken (and passed) hunter safety classes this past year. The day involved a review of hunter safety, some trap shooting, information about pheasants (biology, game management, hunting, cleaning and cooking - all in 1 hour), dog training and demo (Katy's part), and a hunt. After doing our demo, several kids begged to hunt with Katy. Although we couldn't stay all afternoon, I agreed to a short hunt -- another dog would take over if the hunt took all afternoon.

"Katy and I went out with three brothers -- two had just passed hunter safety and were in their early teens. The younger would take it next year and was just along for the walk. The hunt was well organized and each young hunter had an adult mentor. But, I was nervous about how the hunt would go because the gun club had failed to buy game loads for the kids that had 20 gauge guns. As a consequence, both the young hunters with Katy would be shooting 7/8-ounce loads of number 9 shot. I warned Katy several times about not rushing ahead, and the boys' grandfather (one of their mentors) warned them not to let the birds get too far out. I could tell that he and I both feared that this might be a long, difficult hunt.

"Our party was hunting on roughly 40 acres of restored grassland that contained several food plots. It was a beautiful cool fall Wisconsin day -- just perfect for the first pheasant hunt of the season. Katy gently quartered the grass field. As we approached the first food plot Katy's pace quickened and she tightened down her pattern. I whistled her to a stop and talked with the young hunters. TJ followed Katy up to the edge of the food plot. Katy paused momentarily and then quickly put up a nice rooster. TJ was right there behind her and dropped the bird with one shot! Katy made a quick retrieve. What a success!

"We hunted the open grass a bit more, but Katy made it clear that she wanted to return to the food plot. We came in from a different angle, this time with Steven close behind her.

Steven, Deb, Katy, and TJ

"Katy eagerly entered the dense plot and there was a lot of rustling around. On the outside Steven worried about where Katy was. Suddenly all was silent. I knew that Katy was on a bird, and I knew that she was very likely on point. This was not a place that I wanted to go into to kick up a bird, so I told Katy to "hunt it up," and just hoped that she wouldn't catch the bird. I could hear the "pounce", and a fraction of a second later another rooster came shooting up out of the cover!

"Steven was right there and dropped the bird with a single shot. Katy came busting out of the food plot, spinning round to figure out where the bird was. I whistled her to a stop, cast her "back" up the field the general distance the bird had gone, and then sent her with an "over" into the plot. Katy hunted for a few minutes. Steven got nervous that his bird wouldn't be found, but then Katy emerged with his bird in her mouth!

"There was a 1 bird bag limit for this hunt, so we were done for the day -- the whole hunt had taken less than 15 minutes! We went back to the clubhouse for photos, and the kids spent the next hour giving Katy water, treats, and endless hugs.

"Although Katy and I enjoy training and trialing, this day was what having a bird dog is really about -- and Katy certainly agrees!"