© 2013 Aaron Atkinson

A Setter Man

Indie is a setter. She’s a beautiful dog with a feathered coat and a gentle, loving demeanor. She’s also a pheasant fanatic and a wonderful bird hunting companion. For my lifestyle, she’s the perfect blend of house pet and field partner. But just as there are dogs (like Lola) who make better lapdogs, there are breeds of dogs whose intensity and single-mindedness make them better at finding birds.

Case in point, each year a plantation in Tennessee hosts the Field Trail National Championship in which a bunch of dogs hunt a bunch of birds with the hopes of taking home the championship. For the last several decades English Pointers have taken home the top prize. The same intensity, drive, stamina and hard-headedness that make pointers field trial champions can also make them pretty crummy house pets.

Earlier this year, something wonderful happened that greatly pleased setter-men like me – for the first time in more than 40 years a setter won the National Championship. With bird hunting season right around the corner, I’m almost certain that this will mean that Indie and I will shoot more birds this season than our pointer, shorthair and brittnay spaniel running hunting buddies.

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