The Wandering Tails of a Lanky Dog

Lainey and Mazie on a nice fall walk

Snowy Oaks Elaine – “Lainey”

So much of why I enjoy upland hunting comes from the dogs. I’m sure that’s a shared feeling among many of us. Dogs, unlike many other things, bring immense joy into our lives.

The Tale of Lainey started in 2018. My then girlfriend at the time and I had finally moved in together. I was in the home stretch of my graduate studies, she was working, and we had decided we were going to get a dog. This dog however was not going to be a hunting dog as it was not the right time, or place. It was during this time I had stumbled upon Craig Koshyk’s book “Pointing Dogs Volume 1.” I read that book front to back on more than one occasion. I had never met anyone who had the experiences and expertise on so many differing breeds. Someone who could write without bias (or very little at least). Someone who had researched so many different breeds and the history behind them.

This is all to say, I read that damn book a lot, and even though I knew we weren’t getting a pointing dog to live in our apartment in our busy schedules I had a pretty good idea on what I wanted coming out of school. It had lead me to a few breeds and breed clubs which I began researching. Ultimately I decided upon Large Munsterlanders or Großer Münsterländer if we wanted to delve deep.

Before that saga all began, my girlfriend at the time decided we were getting a Welsh Pembroke Corgi. The fluffy butts and short legs couldn’t keep her away. I can remember the very day she sent me a text stating “i’m going to go look at a dog.” That’s the only text, and the only cell reception she had I got before she called in tears driving home. Tears of overwhelming unknowing unknowns. Tears of being unsure if it was the right decision. She got home with this little tiny nugget in a tote since we didn’t have any of the things needed for a dog at the time. I can remember waiting in my uniform for her to get home near the mailboxes of the apartment building. Her 2003 Tan – Grandma spec Impala pulling up. Blue packing tote without a lid in the back seat. And a little tiny Corgi smiling up at me. We were in love right away. That’s the beginnings of our Corgi Maizie. The polar opposite of a dog in which I wanted.

Fast forward 3 more years. I’ve graduated school, we’ve gotten engaged and married, bought a plot of land, bought a house, and we’ve been living with my in-laws for the past year and a half. The lady had finally given me permission to get a dog since we would be moving out soon. I had landed between choosing 2 different breeds – Epanual Picard/Picardy Spaniel or Large Munsterlander. I was looking for something that was versatile, would handle the cold well, and fit the behaviors I was looking for. Something easy hopefully. I basically tossed a coin, going for the Large Munsterlander after much deliberation, more or less for the color at this point.

Here is when I began reaching out to breeders with upcoming litters. I joined the LMAA. Talked with a few breeders. It sounded like it was going to be a year until I could get one. Finally after talking with the Shreve’s, they mentioned how they give preferences to people who are out of state and could be in line for a Female this year. I was ecstatic. Not only would I get the dog I was hoping for this year, but it was from a breeder who has been involved highly in the LMAA as well as one of the first and longest running in the United States. The parents Dam – Snowy Oaks Xushi (NAVHDA NAT 112 (I), HD-Free (excellent), Elbows Normal) and Sire – Breezy Point’s Quail Hunter (NAVHDA NAT 110 (I), UT 172 (III), HD-Free (good)).

Xushi and her puppies on the day they were born

April 5th Elaine was born. Named after my favorite show Seinfeld – I love the name from the show, and it worked with the litter lettering/order so it stuck. I believe I was told she’d be pretty average in size. 50-60 lbs, and a normal height. But boy were we wrong. She’s now full grown, a stout 70lbs, and about 4 inches taller than the upper range for males usually are. So she’s our “big girl” and our “Lanky Lainey.”

1st stop on the way home from Prior Lake MN, not far from Appleton, WI
Pit stop in Manistique on the way home from pickup in Lainey

Anyhow puppyhood was fun, her personality is so much different than our Corgi. They really are a ying and yang. Lainey is a very relaxed dog most the time, until a ball is out, or we go hunting. A couch potato at home, and very affectionate. Maizie while lazy most the time is a very alert high strung attitude, and a very independent dog.

1st 4th of July with her sister Maizie at Grandma’s house (Maizie was born on the 4th)
Enjoying the boat in Cedarville before Mom starts her graduate studies
lots of naps
lots and lots of naps

Our first year out hunting I was going to follow a plan. Wild Birds. That was the M.O.

Of course I was afraid she was going to be gun shy. And I for sure was nervous I was going to screw something up. So the plan was, go to an area I know with Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock. Get her on the birds. Only shoot to kill if she had goodish dog work. Shoot to condition her anytime she flushed or bumped a bird nearby.

Cooling off on the way back to the truck – one of her favorite things to do.

A little luck

Well it all seemed to work. Birds got her excited. She began pointing and holding point until flush. Gunshots got her even more jazzed up. The occasional chipmunk got her distracted, but for a 6 month old dog the results were surprising. I don’t want to be the next Ronnie Smith. I read the book, I’ve read other books. Had plenty of people tell me what to do. Tell me go to a preserve. Etc. Etc. I stuck to the plan, it played out, and I’m sure there’s plenty of luck in that. We had plenty of woodcock our first season, a great bird for young dogs, sitting pretty tight, and two Grouse. It wasn’t a lot, but I’m not going to ask much of a young dog.

One of the first woodcock at 6 months

What’s to come?

This next year I’m hoping will be an evolutionary year for Lainey.

I took her two weeks ago to a game farm with some planted Chukar to see where she’s at. She first B-lined it for the trees – as that’s where we tend to find our normal prey, but then she came back and hunted the field I asked her to. The first Chukar she bumped after getting too close to it after getting the scent – it flew away towards the tree row. I helped her flush it out from there and she proceeded to run it down and catch it out of the air some 30 yards later. Not what I was hoping for…

Anyhow the next 4 birds went a little better. Pointing them whilst dam near on top of them. 3 of the next 4 got up and I shot them. 1 of them she caught. To say the least they weren’t the hardest flying birds like the wild ones of last year. I knew there was a reason we avoided game farms.

I hope this year to get her on a lot more birds to help develop her abilities. She’s been pretty bad about bumping birds, getting too close. Relying a bit too much of eyesight and not scent. I’ve got two trips booked out in North Dakota. First in September for Sharptails and Huns, and second in October for Pheasant as well. Maybe we will do more than those two out of state trips, however there’s lots of ground to cover in Michigan compared to the 5 places we frequented last year.

Here’s to the next year and this upcoming upland season

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