Thursday, December 21, 2023

Rebel's Rough Life

Went goose hunting the last two mornings solo. Well, I had Rebel, my black Labrador with me, of course. We sat out at my buddy Steve's farm.  I get there and set out the decoys, and while I am doing that, I break the ice in the mudholes that were made by a tractor so Rebel can get a drink. Then he runs back into the goose blind because he knows that if he sits in the blind, sooner or later he will get to retrieve a goose. This sucker is all business when we hunt. He's very serious. And even if we get skunked like we did the last two days, he doesn't want to leave. He just sits in his spot in the blind scanning the sky for a goose. 

All hunting dogs are special. Hell, all dogs are special, but to me (super biased), there is something about the companionship of a man and their dog afield together. It's crazy when you get a little puppy and he doesn't know anything about retrieving and then you train him and really just try not to screw him up , and then one day you shoot a goose and he runs out there and brings it back to you and gives it to you. I have had 4 labs and all of those moments are magical, every single one of them. He's such a good boy. Super affectionate and well behaved at home and a Beserker when hunting. My friend Steve "designed" this litter with some perfect breeding. Two of his siblings that I know of are very good hunting dogs. 

So we sat there for hours waiting and waiting for geese. Some days you shoot your limit in an hour and the geese never stop flying. Rebel and I didn't have that luck this time. I stay because maybe, just maybe a goose will fly by and say, "Well, lookie there, I see some of my friends and I believe I will go for a visit." And it flies in and I shoot it and Rebel retrieves it. After about an hour, I say to Rebel that they will fly soon. And after another hour, I say to Rebel, "Fuck these geese, I hate these damn things." But we still stay, hope springs eternal. And then when I finally figure out that they are not gonna fly today, at least not where I am, and I go out to pick up the decoys, Rebel stays in his spot in the blind, still hopeful. 

Now that I think about it, I talk to Rebel the whole time that I am hunting. He doesn't answer, but I swear he understands what I am saying. Hell, dogs read us like a book anyway. They get tuned into every gesture or tone of voice and they get it. And he knows that after every hunt, we stop at High's Dairy store for dog bones. As soon as I pull in, he perks up. When he gets done eating, he takes a nap. He has a hell of a rough life. Sometimes I tell him how lucky he is that I am his dad and not some non hunting loser. I can't imagine him not hunting, or being with me while I am hunting. I'm gonna go outside with him now and retrieve. He demands it several times a day. He has me well trained.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.