The working day starts early at the Plantation during hunting season. Before dawn, our guides are loading dogs and shotguns onto the hunt truck, checking and double-checking the list to make sure nothing is overlooked. Are the food and drinks iced and ready to go? Do we have enough shells in each gauge for every type of bird we might see today? How are the horses feeling this morning? (They get petulant if you don’t ask.) It takes hundreds of seemingly insignificant details to make a successful bird hunt seem effortless.
And that does not include the things you cannot control like the weather. Will that front hold off long enough for us to finish the hunt? Which direction is the wind and how will that affect the dogs? Should we turn the heaters on for the guests? (They too can be petulant at times.)
It’s enough to drive our borderline OCD guides over the edge. So how do we gird ourselves against the inevitable flood of things that can go wrong? We start with finding the best dogs and gear available for the type of hunting that we do. Using the best is like buying Murphy’s Law insurance so you have one less thing to worry about when you are surrounded by thousands of acres of Walmart free habitat.
At British Gundogs, we use British Labradors exclusively for retriever work at the Plantation on our hunts. British Labradors are sought after around the world for their calm demeanor, intelligence, fearlessness in the field and inherent game-finding ability. These characteristics were developed and refined for over 100 years through thoughtful breeding and training priorities. In a British field trial, anything approaching poor manners (barking, whining, unsteadiness to name a few) is automatic grounds for disqualification; yet these same dogs must be capable of retrieves of tremendous distances – often out of sight of the handler but still in control and working in concert as a team. This isn’t a critique of different types of gundogs, just our observation over the past 15 years that British Labs work best for us in the type of hunting that we do.
As for our gear, we rely on two of the finest names in the outdoor world to get us through the demands of a long hunting season: Orvis and Orion Coolers.
We use Orvis for our hunting clothing and accessories. They have been a leader in outdoor gear for over 150 years and we are proud to be one of only five Orvis-Endorsed retriever kennels in the United States.
From drinks for our guests to keeping the game cold after a hunt, we use the best coolers in the business, Orion. We put our poor coolers through all types of abuse over the course of a hunting season. The type of abuse that a regular cooler would need counseling to survive. In fact, we buried many a brand-named competitor over the years until we tried the Orion line made in Tennessee by the same team that brought you Jackson Kayaks. With Orion, the hinges don’t break, the latches stay closed and the seal stays sealed which means they get a coveted place on the British Gundogs hunt truck. One less thing to worry about.