The goals behind the event were to provide an opportunity for serious hunter-breeders to see each other’s dogs hunt as well as to have time to discuss topics impacting the dogs we love with the overall goal of figuring out how to keep these Ryman-type setters alive and well for future generations to enjoy. Although photographs and videos are good, there is simply no substitute for getting hands on dogs and for seeing hunting and bird work with your own eyes. In closing conversations with the breeders who attended, everyone felt that the Gathering & Hunt was a resounding success and we are already looking forward to the next one.
Each morning members scattered in pairs across the region to hunt some of the many WIHA areas (KS public hunting access) in search of wild bobwhite quail. This species and its habitat were brand new to most members and figuring them out along with their dogs contributed to the challenge and the fun. The dogs proved that good wild bird dogs simply adapt to new species and habitat and productive dog work started happening quickly. Focus was on dog work, not filling game bags, and overall the group took only a modest number of birds (less than 20) while following good conservation guidelines regarding covey size, number taken, leaving time to covey-back up, etc.
Evenings found us all back at the lodge, sharing food and beverages and recapping the day’s events. Discussions ranged from stories and joking to serious topics. Questions and issues about field ability, training, breeding and health were all brought up and we ran out of time long before we ran out of interesting subjects to discuss. Everyone enjoyed seeing the diversity in the dogs such as size, range and style and all agreed that variance in preferences is natural and in fact a good thing for the breed. The group continues to invite all breeders who share our mission to join us. (http://rymansetters.com/our-mission/)
The following is an alphabetical list of the Breeder Members who attended:
Aroostook Setters, George and Theresa Zarish, NJ
Classic Setters, Fran & Frank Thompson, MO
Firelight Bird Dogs, Lynn Dee Galey, KS
October Setters, Lisa & Cliff Weisse, ID
Parker Hollow Setters, Chuck Robinson, NJ
Rum Creek Setters, Mark Alteman, MI
Sugar Creek Setters, JC Smith, NY
Submitted by Lynn Dee Galey