Here in North Dakota, we have numbers of youth programs and conservation programs offered that I help with, including the Pheasants Forever Banquets as a Mossy Oak representative. I attend the Delta Waterfowl Banquets. My dad is on the Lincoln Sportsman Club board, and it conducts numbers of programs for young people. They put on fishing fun day programs; they sponsor a big-buck contest; and they have many-other programs specifically designed for kids in the outdoors, and I help with those programs also. On the fishing fun-days for kids, I help the kids put the baits on their hooks, cast and take the fish off their hooks. I do whatever I can to make fishing fun for them. I go to the state fair with D.J. Randolph and represent Mossy Oak at all these events. As a young Mossy Oak pro, I represent young people. I promote Mossy Oak and help young people learn more about the outdoors and how to enjoy more types of outdoor activities.
Mossy and Me:
A friend of ours had a female British Lab that was having puppies. The friend knew how much I wanted a British Lab. He told me that when his dogs had pups I could get the pick of the litter for free. British Labs are really-expensive hunting dogs. The dog I picked, Mossy, has 21 field-trial champions and 15 winners in her pedigree. I just recently learned that Mossy Oak has started breeding and training British Labs. So, I was ahead of Mossy Oak, because I got my British Lab in 2011. The company just recently introduced this breeding and training program of British Labs into the Mossy Oak family. I guess I'm so tuned in to the people at Mossy Oak that I accidentally got into a new program that they’re just starting with British Labs (grin).
Mossy and I represent Mossy Oak at dock dog-jump competitions. You may have seen these programs on television where a dog and his handler are standing on a dock. When the handler sends the dog out to retrieve a dummy, the dog jumps off the dock and goes as far as it can through the air to recover the dummy. This competition simulates other types of retriever dog competitions. However, the purpose of the dock dog-jump contest is to see which dog can jump the farthest from the dock and land out in the water. To enter the competition, the owner or the handler has to pay $30 per jump. So, dock dog jump competitions can get fairly expensive. I’ll often spend $200 per weekend for Mossy to jump.
If your dog jumps 8 to 11 feet, you and the dog are in the novice division. If the dog jumps 12 to 15 feet, you're in the junior division. If your dog jumps 15 feet or more, you're in the senior division. Mossy always can hit right at that 15-foot level. So, she always scores either first or second in the junior division, but she never has jumped past that 15-foot barrier. For winning, you get ribbons. Many of my friends think I'm crazy, because I spend money to see how far my dog can jump. When we go to these competitions, Mossy really gets excited, since she loves to jump. I enjoy seeing her jump and get so excited. When we go out on the dock, she knows what’s about to happen, and she wants to jump.
Mossy will be 6 in April, and she has been in these jump contests each year, almost since she was 1 year old. Mossy is not just a show pony. She is a working dog. She loves to hunt waterfowl, but she is also a really good pheasant dog. She is a flusher, which means her job is to pick up the scent of the pheasant and follow that scent until she gets close enough to the pheasant to flush it into the air, so we can shoot it. I've learned to read Mossy’s body language. I can tell when she gets really “birdie – excited” when she smells a pheasant. When Mossy gets on a pheasant’s scent, she starts zigzagging across the field in front of me until she finds and flushes the pheasant.
Mossy only has one problem when we go pheasant hunting. Regardless of who shoots the pheasant, Mossy will pick up the pheasant and bring the pheasant to me. So, I usually have everyone’s pheasants in my hunting coat, until I can find someone to unload some of the birds in my coat. Most of the time, she’s the only retriever on the hunts. Even though other hunters will try to call Mossy to them when she picks up the pheasants they’ve shot, she doesn’t even slow down until she brings that pheasant to me. I've had as many as six or seven pheasants in my hunting vest at one time.