EASTON — With the flurry of splashes at the Bay Street Ponds on Friday Nov. 8, the Waterfowl Festival’s first day of retriever demonstrations drew more than 50 guests.
Eight dogs braved the chilly weather to get their share of fetching a thrown or hidden dummy.
“I hope guests take away the fact that these dogs are very helpful in conserving wild fowl,” said Butch Chambers, president of the Talbot Retriever Club. “Because without the dogs, in many places you wouldn’t retrieve the birds you shot. The dogs enable every bird you shoot to be retrieved and used.”
The first dog was 8-month old Maggie, a chocolate Labrador retriever, handled by Dave Wheeler. They demonstrated a single. The simulation was Wheeler was hunting in the pond, a single duck was shot and Maggie was sent to retrieve it.
Colbey, handled by Phyllis McGinn, demonstrated a double. Colbey is a three-legged dog who could not be kept from retrieving after suffering an accident. In this simulation, a pair of ducks was shot in the pond and Colbey was sent to retrieve them.
Rose, handled by Sam Anderson with assistance, did a double and blind. The scenario is that they were hunting at the pond and three birds came in. Two were shot and landed in the pond, while the third one glided off to the hillside. Rose picked up the two in the water, and then Anderson sent her to retrieve third duck across the pond.
Rusty, handled by Jerry Harris, demonstrated a bulldog. They were hunting the same pond and a pair of birds came in. Harris sent Rusty to pick one up, and as he was coming back, a third bird came into the pond.
Boo, handled by Winston Chance, demonstrated the blind first. They were hunting the same pond, and this time a pair of ducks came in and one of them was shot in the pond the other one was lying on land.
Moe, handled by Augie Argabright, demonstrated a triple.
The last demonstration was handled by two dogs: Maggie, handled by Jerry Harris; and Keeper, handled by Larry Hindman.
According to the Waterfowl Website, one doesn’t have “to be a hunter to appreciate the intelligence demonstrated by the retrievers and the training skills of their handlers who are members of the Talbot Retriever Club.”