This week we’re heading north to Nova Scotia for our F&S Gun Dog of the Week. Fittingly, it’s a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever owned by Douglas Blades.
These dogs are bred for the heavy waters and rocky shores and are adept at tolling, which, I’m told, is essentially frolicking along the shoreline to attract ducks. Here’s how Doug put it:
When it comes to shoreline hunting like bluebills (lesser scaup), buffleheads, wood ducks, etc., I hunt from a blind while Sadie is trained to run the shoreline, back and forth paying no attention to the ducks, tolling them in close enough for a shot (it’s a natural phenomenon of ducks, most widely believed to be a nesting instinct to fight off foxes).
That’s pretty cool stuff. Now, onto the questions.
Dog’s Name: Sadie
Breed: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever ****
Age: 3 ****
Type of Hunting: Upland (pheasant, geese); Water (eiders, black ducks, teal, bluebills, whistlers) ****
Favorite Place to Hunt Together: South-West Nova Scotia coastlines, rough seas, rocky shores, amazing hunting. ****
Moment You’re Most Proud Of: Sadie’s first Canada Goose retrieve. The goose dropped over a hill, Sadie gave chase, and next thing I saw was a goose bouncing across the field, so big that at first I couldn’t even see my dog carrying it! ****
Moment You’d Like to Forget: Trying to leave the field with a full bag limit, but Sadie was determined to stay. ****
What Has Your Gun Dog Taught You: She has taught me many things about training a gun dog, the most important of which would have to be the importance of natural instincts. Her first retrieve was an Eider while hunting out of a boat. I hadn’t managed to train her with directional hand signals yet, but when she hit the water and lost sight of the duck in the swells, she amazed me by paddling hard and lifting her head high above the water, sticking her nose straight up in the air until she caught the scent of the duck, then made a straight bee-line for the retrieve. ****
Best Advice for a New Gun Dog Owner: My best advice would be to start with a breed you can handle. A naturally smart, instinctive dog will help you with the training just as much as you will help her/him. More demanding and stubborn breeds require specific training methods, and they can easily be too much to handle for a beginner.
If Your Gun Dog Could Talk It Would Say: When are we going again?
Great stuff. Good looking dog. Keep up the fine work, Doug.
Given the amount of entries for the F&S Reader Gun Dog series it looks like we’ll be continuing through summer. If you haven’t sent me info about your dog click here to learn how. If you’ve already submitted your entry, there’s a good chance you’ll be hearing from me soon.