Kwick Retrieving Goose Dogs
About five years ago, in 2005, my first trip to
was challenged with the fact that
1) I’d never hunted or shot a goose in over 40 years and 2) my
experienced hunting and test
hardened dogs had never picked up a goose.
So the plan was to make sure they could….......before they had to. The
first step was to start
using my "never been used before" 4”X15” black and white canvass dummy.
I won it in a
hunt test raffle, and it just barely fit my wingers.
The next step was kind of a coincidence. I was visiting my pro friend
when he was doing
some kennel cleaning and it just so happened a huge Canadian Honker
Trainer appeared. I borrowed it for awhile and the dogs adjusted to it
The time was drawing near and luck continued to enhance the effort.
Driving by the local
golf course, I spotted a goose sitting in the ditch. The light went
on…this might be semi-road
kill (pun intended). Well, there wasn’t much traffic…..so I stopped. It
was obvious the goose
was nearly dead.
I suppose in the heat of the moment….........the legality of picking up
an almost dead goose
escaped me, but I was thinking of the greater conservation benefits this
single donor goose
could make to my dogs’ progress…..and to be honest I just didn’t pick
him up. As I got closer,
the obvious changed. I’m not sure a 66 year old, bad legged man chasing
a crippled goose
down the 9th fairway looked all that impressive from the
However, the golf course was empty so that meant (to me) that I could
“play through” (in a
manner of speaking). I figured it was early goose season. I had a legal
hunting license with
the State and Federal waterfowl stamps and a goose card. Well, that was
my rationale. It
was an ideal sized goose and tipped the scales at over 9 pounds.
All three older dogs had picked up a lot of birds. Cripple pheasants
were a normal experience
from all the tower shoots they had worked. Actually, I believe all the
exposure to retrieving birds the experience obtained from dealing with
crippled roosters had the most significant impact on
being able tackle a crippled goose. Their force fetch program was
Therefore, taking them to water for their first goose encounter seemed
unnecessary. It can
make things much easier for an inexperienced dog to fetch the first
goose if it is in the water.
A few minutes of sizing up the task, and they were making short
retrieves in the front yard.
In addition, they were given some extra training the day before we left
for ND. Each ran a 150
yard cold blind with that goose. Since then Taffey, Daisy, Kooly and
had a lot of
goose hunting. Lively cripples and big geese (water or ice and on land)
have never been a
problem. I kept the goose in the bird freezer. Gunny, my latest pup, has
had his moments with
that goose, too. (It's no longer around.)
Now in retrospect, some of the things that happened when they were young
pups may have had
a positive impact on how easily they adjusted to retrieving geese. I
always give my young pups
large bumpers, full sized Dokkens and large dead birds early on.
Big is normal from the start. It
seems this may have turned into an unplanned, proactive approach to
easier ”big bird” retrieving.