Every bird hunter has that one dog. The one that every other dog gets compared to. The one dog that no other dog will ever live up to.
I am lucky. I have had two of them.
Dee was my first bird dog, but Em is the reason I still bird hunt.
I grew up hunting with Brittanys when they were still classified as Spaniels.
My father preferred a closer working foot dog and he also wanted to have dogs that were different from everyone else’s. I always wanted pointers. Once we started hunting in Texas, I just could not get it out of my head.
Around 1999 my dad picked up my first pointer from the pro trainer in Kansas that he had known for a few years. Her name was Emerald but we went with Em. She was black and white with lots of leg. Em was about 18 months old and was pretty much trained and ready to hunt.
She was also one of the reasons we started running tracking collars. She liked to go until she found birds. She really didn’t care how far of a trip that would be for me or my dad. She was going to birds no matter how far she had to run. Warner was not a giant fan of Em but I loved her.
Em is the kind of dog that required that I ran her first. She would throw a fit if she didn’t get to go on the first round. She always found birds so it was a pretty easy issue for me. We always would run Em first. No questions asked.
This became an issue over time. As I started adding dogs to my string, I had to make sure everyone was getting ground time, especially the young dogs. I ran into an issue that if I didn’t plan accordingly, some of the younger, less experienced dogs were either not getting enough ground time or were only getting time in the heat of the day.
One trip in Texas, I realized that one of my younger dogs had not been run in two days. I was hunting with a buddy that had several dogs and I had just messed up my rotation.
I really needed to make sure this dog got some ground time so I left Em in the truck on the first round and ran Patch instead. This was not taken well by Em and she proceeded to throw a out of control bird dog tantrum. The barking, howling and scratching was a bit much but I figured that she would get over it or I would get out of hearing range soon enough and she would get over it. It didn’t take long to get out of hearing range but she never stopped her ruckus.
We had three dogs on the ground, all pointers. About 1 hour into the hunt I looked up and counted four long tails in the tall grass. Em had showed up out of no where and was happily hunting along. I called her in to check her out. She had a small cut on her but no other damage.
I assumed I must have forgotten to latch her door and she figured out how to open it herself and decided to join us. I took Patch’s tracking collar off her and put it on Em. That way I had a tracking collar on the bigger running dog and a training collar on the other. We worked our way back to the truck.
When we got there, I found quite the mess. My dog box at that time was a lite, aluminum truck bed box. We had used them for 10 plus years with never an issue. Em had ripped a small hole in the aluminum door of her dog box.
I expect it took her most of the hour to punch it in and pull it apart with her teeth. I was lucky that she didn’t cut herself on the sharp metal edges that she squeezed through and bleed to death as she made her escape.
I have never seen a pointing dog that had as much drive and desire as Em. Needless to say, I purchased a stronger dog box and Em got to go first the rest of her career.