As a life-long hunter, we have owned Labrador Retrievers since 1977. We have had American bred Labs, which we field trialed and we also have purchased a few Labs that were imported from Scotland. Many of the kennels had excellent dog lines and hunting dogs. I was primarily a waterfowl hunter, but I also used my dogs for pheasant hunting. As time went on, I decided that I enjoyed the pheasant hunting more so than the waterfowl hunts.
I started looking for an experienced pheasant dog when our dogs aged and I found Todd Agnew of Craney Hill Kennel and I found his website. After I looked at the information he had about all of his dogs and how he trains we went to look at his dogs and I found Frick, a small Lab different from the other Labs that we have owned. We were instantly impressed with her and how she worked in the field and she then became our newest family addition. She is an excellent hunter and retriever; it is great to have a steady to wing and shot dog who then waits till she is sent to retrieve them. She truly is a joy to hunt over.
In 2014, we knew that our only other hunting Lab needed to be retired, so that left Frick as the only one with no relief if I hunted consecutive days.
Needing a second dog to help Frick out, we once again contacted Todd after seeing Throttle, a young Springer Spaniel male on his website. In late May, we went to see Throttle in action. It was love at first site and Frick had her relief hunter.
After having had Labs for over 30 years, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a different hunting breed, but I was surprised to find out that I now had the “Energizer Bunny” to hunt with me! There is no wearing him out. He keeps tuned by terrorizing all the local squirrels, he has caught a few; and is deeply disappointed when there aren’t any to chase. His prey drive is off the charts.
A friend of mine who hunted with us this fall commented on Throttle’s hunting speed. He said that he couldn’t watch Throttle in action as it made him dizzy. He had never seen a dog attack cover like Throttle does! Throttle is hunting in very effective gun range to the front and both sides. There is no cover that can stop him and his ballet jumps amuse my wife. If there is a bird to be found, Throttle is going to find him.
I will be working with Throttle over the summer and I am hoping to steady him to wing and shot. If I am able to do that, he will be the perfect hunting companion.
Frick will also be worked over the summer, basically to keep her in shape, as she already does a great job and it would be hard to teach her anything more. She will be swimming as much as possible as she loves the water.
Both are excellent dogs and they are what makes bird hunting so much fun!
We flushed 13 birds in 4 hours (terrific for Indiana). We got 2: one each for Frick and Throttle.
Our season is over. Throttle has been such a joy to hunt with and I will definitely get his ears trimmed before the season!