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Posts tagged ‘retriever’

Heavy duck showers forecast

The first time Husband took Jed duck shooting, he ran away at the first volley of gun fire. (The dog not the husband.) He sprinted across paddocks, crashed through hedges, and splashed through creeks in his desperate bolt for the Outlaws’ farmhouse.

I had trained him to sit whenever he came to a gate, in order to open it without being impeded by a muddy puppy trying to batter it down with his tongue. Hence when he came to the farmhouse gate he sat in front of it over an hour, waiting for it to open.

Jed’s duck shooting experience was more successful this time round, despite his scooting under the car and refusing to come out. Eventually I went after him, crawling over several cowpats before I could get a good grip on his ear and pull him out.

I put on his lead before we set off after the hunters, who were stalking stealthily towards the creek. I had to coax Jed (it is possible that the uninformed observer might interpret ‘coaxing’ as coercion supported by some muted yet heartfelt verbal abuse).

Jed’s antipathy must have been the IDEA of gunfire, because he didn’t flinch when the guns went off; and when released, he charged across the creek and worked the ground like a pro.

He was extremely excited, and expended much energy swimming around in circles, but after the third duck shower he retrieved a real live semi-dead duck!

Husband pulled its head off.

He said it was an accident. Only intended to wring its neck, he said. Didn’t know his own strength, he suggested. Could have happened to anyone, he alleged.

Jed ran around the paddock with the duck’s head in his mouth.

As a child, I used to dream of the shape my future might take. Funny how NOT ONCE did Prince Charming rip the head off a duck.

I’m just saying

The masked raider

Curly coat retriever

On Friday as we drove through Swanson in the process of calling it a day, Husband suddenly exclaimed, “Look! A dead duck!”

He sounded so excited, I almost expected him to continue, “Oh, WOW! I feel so HAPPY! This is BETTER THAN SEX!”

Of course, the appropriate response to a dead duck alert – not that I’ve come across many – is along the lines of, ‘yeah, it looks dead all right,’ or ‘well, that’s what you get when you play chicken with cement trucks. I hope you’ve learned something from this.’

Instead, no doubt carried away momentarily by Husband’s enthusiasm, I shouted, “Quick! Stop the car! Do a U-turn!”

Narrowly avoiding the kerb and a stray recycle bin, he did just that.

“Er, I was just joking, you know,” I said, as he pulled up next to the dead duck and, hopping out, picked it up by the legs. “Woah- hey, I don’t want that thing anywhere near me. What are you doing-”

“It’s for Jed,” said Andrew, tucking the carrion into his footwell. “He can retrieve it.”

Indeed, Jed instantly picked up the scent – well, it wasn’t subtle – in fact, you could say it was pretty gamey – and went berserk in the back of the car. He attempted to bodysurf into the front and when that was not effective, contented himself with a spot of yodelling. If you haven’t heard Jed in full cry, check out his vocal contortions in the videos on this post.

I never thought I would end up the type of person who would be an accessory to picking up dead animals on the side of the road and stuffing them in a footwell. I don’t know; I just expected . . . MORE out of my life, you know?

Yesterday, we took Jed out to get acquainted with his dead duck. I was present in an official capacity to record the momentous occasion. Andrew was the duck handler.

Curly coat retriever and duck

To check check relative deadness of duck: hold upside down and shake. If it quacks, try again.

Curly coat retriever

Husband and Jed keep a close eye on duck, in case it makes a break for it.

Curly coat retriever retrieving pre-dead duck

Jed poses with duck for the camera.

Curly coat retriever

He's not usually cross eyed.

Curly coat retriever

The masked raider: who needs vision?

One man and his dog


Cruelty to animals: Husband attempts to pull off Jed’s ear.



Call the RSPCH: Jed gets his own back

Portrait of pluckers

Actually, several of them. Just back in Auckland and updating the blog with news from the weekend.

My Stepfather In Law, Craig (the one on the right) and his dog Morty. Craig was supposed to pull a sneer for the photo, but in fact this is more or less how he looks all the time. He is half as terrifying in person, but twice as terrifying when holding an axe.

The other duck shooters. All men had strict instruction to look menacing, but Husband figured the suit was enough. From left to right: Husband; Husband’s mother’s daughter’s boyfriend Ian aka Taffy; and Dave.

The men tried to persuade me to pluck, but I was having none of it after the stunt Craig pulled with Trevor the Trout back in 2004. I reckon thems that shoots it gots to pluck it

Duck cemetary


When I first met my Mother In Law and Stepfather In Law, they lived on top of a hill in Te Anau. Dusk was falling as Husband drove the rental car up the 70° driveway. We rounded a corner and there, silhouetted against the lowering sky, was a tractor with its digger raised. At the corners hung two bloody carcasses twirling idly in the breeze.

If the moment had a soundtrack, it would have been violin strings plucking up a scale.

“What the . . . what the <expletive deleted> is THAT?” I said, pointing a quivering finger.

“Drain the blood, meat tastes better,” responded Husband as if that explained the matter.

This was my gentle introduction to a world of killing sheds, gut holes, knocking on the ‘ead, projectile pus and anal probing. I am now accustomed to eating breakfast while Margaret drains a doe’s abcess, or sitting on the living room sofa shooting possums out the window when the milking’s done. It has got to the stage where I’m all: ‘Dead deer? Pass the knife. And the steel’.

Given the way I have embraced country life, I was gutted (when Margaret or Craig are involved, it is important to point out that this is not in a literal sense) that I wasn’t allowed partake in the duck shooting. As a female, I was present in a purely supportive capacity: food preparation and provision, construction and materials, transport and logistics, underwear technician and specific totty.

I got over it fairly quickly when I realized how much hanging around is involved in duck shooting, allied with the ambient temperature in South Island at this time of year.

Yesterday, the Duck Shooters, their support team and associated groupies, went to cut broom to conceal the blind – or mai mai as it is called in these parts. Afterwards, the Duck Shooters modeled their camouflage suits, which essentially make them look like mouldy Yetis.

The Duck Shooters set off at 05:00 this morning. I was supposed to cook breakfast and massage Husband’s trigger finger but, well, I was asleep.

Since Husband wouldn’t pose for an official portrait in his Yeti suit, I am going to have to go with this one featuring only the pants:-

Terrifying: Husband’s killer instinct

[You were warned about the graphic images.]

Duck cemetery

Morty and Bambi: Craig’s dog confuses deer for duck

In keeping with the horrifying theme: abalone mince. Actually tastes pretty good


Craig’s mad dog

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