We’ve finally settled in at home and got ourselves caught up so we thought we’d post our assessment of the first Ryman Setters .com breeder’s gathering in Kansas back in January. We were quite impressed with the turnout, both in terms of the number of breeders and their dedication/commitment to producing healthy first rate hunting dogs.
We are to the point of wanting to add more outside bloodlines to our breeding program and we’ve been hoping to find something more similar to our current dogs than what we’ve used in the past, albeit successfully. So our objective was to see and evaluate as many of the other breeder’s dogs as we could. Kansas was the perfect venue for this hunt. The open habitat and good numbers of wild Bobwhite Quail made it possible to watch dogs perform in a way that isn’t always possible where visibility is restricted by taller vegetation. It was also an advantage that most of the dogs were not familiar with quail so we could see how quickly they adjusted to a new challenge.
In addition to lots of good dog work it was an opportunity to meet people we’d only corresponded with as well as renew old friendships. It was a real treat to watch this group discuss everything from training to performance to health issues and so much more with the same focus and concern for the future of the Ryman-type setter. We want to thank everyone for their efforts to make that happen and especially Lynn Dee and Mike for arranging the lodging and scouting the hunting in advance of our arrival.
We had good hunting (our first time hunting Bobwhites), good dog work, and good times throughout the week so it’s hard to single out one “highlight” but I can’t resist recapping one hunt that stands out for us. Chuck Robinson (Parker Hollow) brought two pups for their first actual hunts. We followed along as he and friend Brian ran Samson, a five month old that had never seen wild birds. He started out a typical puppy, alternating between hunting and screwing around and not quite sure what he was looking for. Then along a field edge he got a whiff of something and stopped to investigate.
The covey flushed before he pointed but he saw them fly off and now knew what we were looking for. Following up on the covey we eventually came to a large pile of brush and Samson stopped again, testing the wind.
He had them but didn’t realize it yet. As he started around the end of the brush pile three Bobwhites flushed from the other side.
That really got his attention and he was more focused on the task at hand. It was a big covey and we knew there were more birds close by. We didn’t get far before Samson again stopped testing the wind. This time he moved forward a few steps then slammed to a stop.
His first wild bird point! and we even managed a photo before Brian flushed the rest of the covey. We never tire of watching the lights come on for young setters and this was no exception. It’s also a perfect example of what we like to call the “Third time’s the charm” rule. Over and over we’ve seen youngsters put it together after having three bird finds on the same hunt and it always seems to follow the same pattern. They get a snootful and flush some birds – next time they slow down but get too close and bump the bird(s) – third time they point. It’s a beautiful thing to watch every time it happens and ever after that they know how to point without getting too close and bumping birds. Samson is well on his way.
All in all it was a great experience and, at least in our minds, a big leap forward for the future of the Ryman-type setter. We’re already looking forward to next year.
Cliff and Lisa