Cover Dogs: Makings of Great Quail Dogs


Grouse River Gretchen was 4 months old when she arrived to DIA from Pinkney MI.  My first impression was “Where’s the other half of my dog?”.   At 16 weeks she was scrawny…smallest setter puppy I’d ever seen.  She was a juvenile hellion on wheels around the house.  Several times I recall her jumping the furniture to go check out the cat.  She was a terror to her siblings…canine and human.  I was excited for the following September to roll around…to finally get her on wild birds.  We’d work in the yard throughout the summer and worked on her coming back when I called her. I swear she didn’t know who the heck I was until she was almost 2 years of age. I took Gretchen to eastern Montana that first year at the end of October. I can remember sitting on the tailgate of my hunting partner’s truck for an hour praying and hoping that she would return. Over the horizon she went. Eventually she did come back but it wasn’t until the following year that Gretchen made an amazing point on 4 Colorado scaled quail sitting in a yucca plant. I’ve been enamored with her ever since. Gretchen has become the best quail dog I’ve ever had…she learned from my Elhew pointer Geppetto and now she has certainly surpassed Gep’s training. She’s not perfect, but I love everything about Gretchen.
I’m not a field trialer but I appreciated all age dogs and wild bird cover dogs. Their offspring make for great bird dogs. I’m looking forward to this following year…I plan to get another cover dog setter to learn from Gretchen.

We’ve had a great last few weeks in Kansas and Colorado on wild birds. This has been one of the best quail seasons here since the early 2000’s. Here are a few more photos of our recent trips.

Setter Feathers…

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dale Hernden says:

    Your lucky you found each other. Great Dogs don’t come around often enough. It’s unusual though (but not unheard of) for a setter. Usually they start slow and gain speed and range as they mature.

  2. birddogdoc says:

    Dale you’re so right about that…my first setter was a granddaughter of Tomoka and she turned into a great bird dogs at the ripe ol’ age of 7…loved her but who has 7 years to wait for a dog to develop? Haha

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