First Point Essay: The Day the Fire Ignited
by Jeff Leggio
I brought home a male Brittany pup on June 22, 2016, after picking him out of a litter of a dozen from a breeder in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. Ned was a very bold, fearless puppy that rarely needed a slow introduction to anything.
After giving him a couple of days to get acclimated to his new home, I started taking him for daily walks in the morning woods and showing him pigeons. He was solid to whoa in no time, and I introduced the gun with the pigeons. Eventually, he would find planted pigeons in the tall grass and would really canvass areas over where wild birds had been after they flushed but showed no pointing instinct.
On August 4th, the day Ned turned three months old, I ran him and my six-year-old female as a brace in a logged-over area near my home. My female was at the end of her bell, and Ned was working in sight of me. We had only gotten approximately 150 yards from the truck when Ned went from a dead run to a screeching halt. I whoaed him and snapped a picture as I approached. I saw a woodcock slinking away in the ferns in front of him. I flushed the bird and fired the blank gun. Ned stood through it all. I felt like I could have picked him up in my arms and run 10 miles!
That day ignited the fire for Ned. He pointed two more woodcock and had wild bird finds every day we went to the woods from that day forward. He had an incredible first season this past fall as a five- and six-month-old pup, and got to hunt in three states for grouse and woodcock.