Happiness is finally fetching a coot

Birders have life-lists they value. It’s their collection of every feathered species they’ve seen, no matter how fleeting or how few times, in their birding lives.

I figure a dog should have the same rights. So ever since Hank began hunting at a tad under five-months-old, I’ve kept a mental list of the species he’s fetched. The number was more than 15 species by the time he was a year-old, thanks to some serious waterfowl hunting.

After 10 years of waiting, Hank finally got to fetch a coot last Sunday. Scaled quail and woodcock are about the only Kansas gamebirds he needs for his life-list.

Just this past season he added two more. We got a ruddy duck in November. Sunday he made a biggie – a coot.

The birds have always fascinated the dog. I think it has to do with their slow, water-spraying, wing-flapping take-off so resembling a wounded duck that needs to be retrieved.

(Yes, there’s a season on coots. Yes, they are very edible and the limit is a generous 15 per day.)

I’d always intended  to do some coot hunting with Hank but we always seemed to get distracted by things like mallards, or teal or geese.

Sunday friend Andy Fanter flushed one from some flooded weeds and made the shot. Recognizing the bird for what it was, Hank’s ears perked and his attention was fixed on the floating bird. When I said his name he was off in a hurry. (Well, a hurry for Hank…he’s one of the most mellow Labs ever,… until it’s time to get to work.)

So with coot officially added to his life-list there’s no much more in Kansas that we can add. All I can think of are scaled quail and woodcock, and I doubt they’ll ever come.

No biggie, I’m sure in Hank’s mind he got the most important one last weekend.