THE WHITE WONDER: ELECTRICAL PERSUASION

This is a photo of Farley right after Kari picked him up. Looks pretty goofy to me!

When I lived in Deary, Idaho during law school, the property upon which we lived had these tantilizing bass ponds. Every day after school, I would grab my family, my flyrod and little Farley and walk down to the ponds for some fun fishing. Farley loved to run and explore during these excursions. At the edge of the pond was a thick patch of cattails. As Farles sniffed around this spot, he suddenly locked up on point along the fringe of the cattails. I wondered: What in the heck is he pointing? Farley then thrust himself headlong into the thicket and came out with an upset, but unharmed hen Mallard in his mouth. As I released the poor duck from her tormentor while the sun set over the hill, I could hear turkeys gobbling from their not-too-far-distant roosts. Over the next couple of weeks Farley caught that dang duck two or three more times. Each time I released it unharmed. From day one, he was definitely birdy.

By the time hunting season rolled around in fall of 2000, I figured Farley and I were in for something special. I was in for something alright, but it was anything but special! As soon as Farley hit the ground he went AWOL. On the first couple of hunts, I quickly lost sight of him and wondered if I would ever see him again. Farles ran so big and had so much energy that he could not be contained.

This is one of our first hunts together. I think this picture is the only time I saw him during that hunt. This is the property I lived on during law school. It was ruffed grouse heaven!

At the time, I had some permission from a stingy old farmer to hunt this birdy property and regrettably, I specifically recall the first time I took Farley there as if it were yesterday. I spent more time yelling in frustration at my out-of-control dog, than I did hunting. After I finally horse-collared Farley, I decided that was enough for one day, and dragged him back to the car. As a witness to the whole debaucle, the amused farmer noticeably chuckled at us from inside his barn. I’m sure we were a sight to behold! I decided then and there that the only way for Farley and I to see eye to eye was with a little “electrical persuasion.”


My brother-in-law Scott T. with a ruffed grouse Farle’s found in September of 2000. Note the shock collar we borrowed from my brother Shawn! With a little “Edison Medicine,” Farles hunted great for the gun.

I went home that afternoon and told my wife that I just had to use the credit card to order an Innotec e-collar from Cabellas. My wife gave in to my incessant begging and I purchased the collar, which became the key to mine and Farles’ tenuous relationship. With the e-collar on, it did not take Farley long to figure out that I meant business. In fact, Farley started to mind well and I rarely had to zap him.
I was eager to retry the same farm in Kendrick where it all went wrong before. Upon reaching the destination, we hunted down this thick buffer strip adjacent to a road on one side and a plowed wheat field on the other. As we worked through the thick cover, Farley froze on point and a big cantankerous rooster got up right in front of me. I quickly shot and watched the rooster drop a wing as it plummeted to the ground. Farles ran forward and I thought for sure he had it, but as I approached, without first putting a new shell in the chamber, the rooster flushed right in front of me, but behind Farles. Farley had run right over him without any clue. All I could do was watch helplessly as the bird flew away.

We continued down to the end the strip and then crossed the road to a small hillside covered with short rosehips bushes. As we hiked up the hill, Farley instantly became birdy. I quickly realized that the hillside was literally covered with valley quail. The only problem was that the farmer’s wife had a soft spot in her heart for quail and the farmer had given me permission to hunt the roughneck roosters, but told me not hunt the quail or the Hungarian patridges. With that limitation, I could only watch as my young dog’s natural instincts took over. In short order, he slammed on point numerous times and I flushed multiple quail out from under his staunchness. After flushing about thirty quail, Farles locked up one final time. The raucous rooster that got up with his harem of hens scared the crap out of me and I could not pull it together in time to get off a shot. This did not matter to me one bit as I was thrilled to watch my puppy become a birddog.

This is my brother Shawn, Ginny-girl, and Farley. As you can tell, at any given time, Farley had only two things on his mind: Birds and Babes!

The bulk of the quail that we flushed on the hillside flew down across the road into the same narrow buffer strip that Farley and I hunted when we first got there. Eager to see more of Farles’ points, I followed him down near some cotton wood trees with brushy understory that was almost impenetrable. On the banks of the brushy creek Farley again cranked down on point. I then intriguingly watched him do something that he would do numerous times throughout his life. Like a wolf, Farley snarled with teeth flaring and then succintly pounced and came up with a still-live bird in his mouth. Farley had caught an uninjured wild quail right before my eyes! You see, his points were so intense, that he literally paralized the birds to where they would not–or could not–move, and then he would catch them. I’ve never seen another dog do this, but Farles did it time and again.

That October day was definitely a milestone in Farley’s progress towards greatness, and I attribute this to two factors. The first is obviously, the target rich environment of the farmer’s property. As the saying goes, “it takes wild birds to make a birddog,” and there were plenty around that day. The second contributing factor was definitely the “Edison Medicine” from my shiny new shock collar. Farles had all of the drive and natural ability anyone could ever ask for. The only thing needed to harness this energy and make him hunt for me was a little electrical persuasion.
This is a picture of Farles pointing the bird of his heart, valley quail.
To be continued . . . .

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Dale Hernden says:

    I would have loved Farley………..my kind of guy…birds and babes!I’m anxious to hear more.

  2. Dale, Sometimes I wonder if anyone is actually reading this stuff. I’m glad your enjoying it. There is so much to tell when it comes to Farley. He was simply amazing! Andy

  3. troutbirder says:

    Very nice. I have fond rememberences of all my hunting dogs, a lab, and two Chesapeakes.

  4. Eric G says:

    It is amazing what electrical persuasion can do for a dog. Good post, I really like the title!

  5. Dale, Troutbirder, and Eric, Thanks for your comments! With Farley, there is so much to tell. I’m glad that I have this forum and a listening ear (so to speak) to share his story. He was an incredible birddog. Andy

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