Written by Durrell L. Smith
To many hunters, dogs are like family. After spending countless hours in the car and in the field together, you get to know them as you would a person. You figure out how they think, their physical abilities, and how they like to hunt with you. In the spirit of sharing my love and connection with my dogs with others, I bring to you a contemplation of a metaphor about them: The Pickup and The Porsche.
I drive a black, four-wheel-drive, mud-equipped Toyota Tundra that my wife calls “The Decepticon” and enjoy window-shopping at the Porsche Experience Center down here in Hapeville, Georgia. I’d like to think that if I ever got another car, it would be a Porsche 911 Carrera S Model. Until that time, though, I’d like to transition your imagination to “auto-po-morphize” my fully polished Labrador, Ruger, and my sleek and stylish Pointer, Vegas.
I was chatting with my buddy Andrew Wayment, an expert author and grouse hunter, and he mentioned that my team–a young Labrador and my even younger Pointer–were much like having both a heavy-duty pickup truck and a Porsche. My Lab, Ruger, has been extremely reliable and able to stick things out with me in the field when situations got muddy. He kicks into high gear when it counts the most, and he just doesn’t care how dirty the job is. In training, he’s hard-charging and ready for just about any task that we have laid out in the field.
Vegas, on the other hand, requires a bit more finesse. He’s is a bit more “wax on, wax off” during training, but I love the look of the finished product in the field. As natural ability finds its way throughout the creases of our training, Vegas grows bolder, more stylish, and evermore confident. He is a dog that shines on top of the barrel brighter than the candy red on a ’69 Impala. That dog is crispy-clean, and I run my hands up his chest and tail to staunch him up better than my Momma’s can of Niagara Heavy Duty Spray Starch on my khakis on the first day of school.
Like hunting with a close friend or family member, each of my dogs bring something different to a hunting experience. Although I dream of having a real Porsche along with my beloved Toyota, I’m happy to be working with the dog equivalent of both as I embrace the allure of next season’s potential and possibilities.
You can listen to Durrell’s podcast, The Gun Dog Notebook, by clicking here. You’ll also find it wherever you get podcasts.