It runs in the family..

On the left Flatastic Platinum Alignment “Gurbe” and right side his mother Rumi.

At 4.30 am my alarm sounds – out of bed, into my hunting gear and with a hot cup of chai I drive to Friesland again. Me and Rumi. I love to be away with my great girl – hunting with her is such a pleasure. This time she has the responsibility of showing her son “Gurbe” how to retrieve goose.

Because of the low temperature and harsch winds – I took a minute to put both dogs in their warming vests as Lieuwe walked up to his hiding spot. As I came out of the car the first goose fell in the plowed soil. I was not sure if it was a perfect shot but Rumi had not had the time to mark it well. I had to direct her to the right spot and so we got the goose back quickly. It was perfect for Gurbe to see his mother work and he started to become very eager. The second goose was a good job for me to handle as it was still alive and while I was receiving the goose from Rumi Gurbe was looking and learning. Dogs learn much faster from watching other dogs than when we have to teach them alone. This phenomenon is called social learning.

I have written before about how I enjoy bringing meat to our table, about how the craftsmanship of hunting is a part of flora and fauna preservation. The less attractive part of this proces is that we take a life in order to do so and at the same time have love for the beauty of the animal and enjoy them alive. This is very dual and sometimes difficult to hold that I can be both in the same person. I always look into the eye of the animal before I release its life. I want to maintain the feeling of it – the difficulty of it. When I prepare the meat – every little piece carries that value and respect. I proces the animal as much as I can. The wings are being dried and given to bee keepers or used as training for puppies, the feet used to distract glucosamine and the bones for broth.

The making of goose terrine with pistachios
Bones and meat from 1 goose.
Time to relax in between.. very important for young passionate working dogs to learn to do nothing
The flatcoated retriever is an excellent gun dog for water work, they have courage, technique and plenty of perseverance if bred from working ancestors – they love to retrieve and will naturally be in and around the water. Here Rumi shows how to jump over a frozen waterway.

Another part of flora and fauna problem has unfortunately become human trashing. Apart from the plastic soup also general littering of food leftovers keeps the numbers of Jackdaws high. These birds predate on song birds’ nests and due to their numbers they interrupt balance of species.

A strange bird: a partial albino Jackdaw

This above bird was a bit of a humerus thing. Lieuwe and I had just done a drive in a field. He and Rumi held post and walked up to a duck pool. Ducks flew up including a couple of males, they flew around and Lieuwe called the ducks. He had a perfect shot and I saw Rumi jump into the water and she came running back to me with a nice big male duck.

During mating season many female ducks drown because they are more or less raped by several male ducks – so keeping the numbers down is the wise thing to do in order to preserve a balance.

Lieuwe and I were talking about the great retrieve of Rumi and we re-entered a bicycling path and just around the corner was a woman walking straight at us. She was very spontaneous and asked kindly if we had been lucky to harvest anything for the dinner table. I had the duck in my hand so I showed her the bird and enjoyed the talk. Meeting people with understanding of hunting is becoming a rare phenomenon and I hope that future generations will take this trend to a turn. While continuing our walk back to the car I talked to Lieuwe about the importance of maintaining the practice of retrieving less attractive birds such as crows for our young dogs. Then the black and white Jackdaw flew in circles above us. Lieuwe looked at me, got the bird and Rumi retrieved it. We both had to laugh a little about this coincidence.

Before driving back home I got to enjoy a cup of coffee and a traditional beandish at Lieuwe’s place. Giving me plenty of time to hug Gurbe, Rumi’s son. I am very pleased with how he has developed- a very charming young male with a lovely character, a good portion of flatcoated tweekyness and great hunting drive. Oh I almost forgot to mention – after watching his mother in the morning, he retrieved 2 big geese himself. I think he will become the goose specialist of the dozen. Thank you again Lieuwe for the lovely day in the field and your hospitality.

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