I don't want to go on a huge rant, but I have learned so much from training my first bird dog, and it's something I take very seriously. A previous version of myself would cringe at the thought of being controversial, especially on a social media platform, but I firmly believe that you and your dog have to EARN the title of being a hunter.
A dog isn't automatically a hunting dog just because of their breed or the price you paid for them. Raising a hunting dog means that you train them from an early age, in multiple environments, around guns and other dogs, on live and dead birds, shooting over them and not just around them, in realistic scenarios, and also out in the field before the main event. It takes time, research, hard-work, and a sizeable investment. It's not just the gear -- it's the food, the live birds, the gas to get out to the best spots. It's also making sure you're a decent shot so that your dog has something to retrieve for you! It's a commitment in every way -- and it is my passion, and something I am extremely passionate about... clearly.
With that said, a fair warning to those who want to post about "hunting" and their "hunting dogs"... Do not expect me to like your photo or comment when all you've done is run your dog on a leash for the past year or when you buy your dog an e-collar one week before your season starts or when you buy a shiny new shotgun but you haven't practiced shooting it...
This might come off a little bitchy, but I don't care. If you think some Sitka gear and a lifted truck earn you the title of "hunter", then hear me when I say:
YOU. ARE. NOT. ON. MY. LEVEL.
I get it if you're new to the community, or if you are just starting out on your training journey with a new or young pup... but if you are a grown adult with a year-old pup and you are claiming all sorts of things without having worked towards earning any of them, I'm gunna call you out.
Hunting is in my blood. Meet my family and you'll have no doubt. It is a huge part of who we are. And those we choose to hunt with, our friends and extended family who share our passion and our standard of excellence... we live to hunt.
If you don't feel the same way -- that's fine. I'm not planning on going hunting with you anyways. But just know, that if our paths cross and hunting is the topic, then the answer is "No... you can't sit with us".