Chugach Chesapeakes


Stacks Image 18
I am an extremely avid and passionate hunter. The whole reason I got into Chessies in the first place was because of hunting. Hunting for me is all about the dogs and their work in the field. The highlight of our year is a 2-month bird hunting trip to the Lower 48. The dogs get to do what they were bred to and excel at, i.e. hunting, and that is a joy for me.
Stacks Image 16
Most people assume that since I am associated with Chessies, that my interests lie in waterfowling. Indeed, that was why the breed came into existence and what they are best known for. The breed was created on the east shore of Chesapeake Bay for the purpose of waterfowling. As chronicled in the Eulogy to Katmai, my passion for waterfowling was what got me into Chessies in the first place.

However, again, chronicled in the Eulogy, those interests and passions expanded around halfway through Katmai’s life, and while I still waterfowl hunted, an evolution took place. By 2010, I was almost exclusively an upland bird hunter, pheasants in particular.

While most are unaware of their upland bird hunting prowess, I want to tell you the Chessie is a great pheasant dog. They have, courtesy of the bloodhound (one of the breeds in the Chessie), a top of the line nose. (Their independent thinking , for better or for worse, can also be attributed to the bloodhound). For my dogs, a snoot full of pheasant scent is intoxicating. They get higher than kites. They show a natural interest in the smell of upland birds at a young age, they don’t have to be taught. It is honing that interest and instinct that is the key, and that is what training is for.
Stacks Image 23
One of the major differences between waterfowl hunting and upland bird hunting is the dog, the dog’s purpose, and the dog’s training. In waterfowling, the dog is the retriever, the hunter is the hunter. The hunter sets the decoys based upon various factors, and does the calling in order to get the birds within range. The birds are seen, they are not hidden. The dog’s job is to retrieve the downed waterfowl. This is pretty straight forward, and any well bred Chessie that is birdy will, with a minimal amount of training, do this very well.

Upland bird hunting is very very different and requires more talent on the dog’s part and requires more training. We are now trying to find hidden birds, and therefore the dog has become the hunter. The hunter, is now the shooter, and, hopefully, a controller of where the hunting is taking place. In order for success, the shooter and the dog must be a team, working together. This is not easy to train for. The Chessie certainly is extremely capable of finding the hidden birds, and has the instinct to do so, but the team concept is something that must be learned for if not, the Chessie will be out there flushing birds that are way out of range (like all flushing breeds). The team concept takes time and has varying amounts of buy-in for they trust their natural instincts and don’t trust you. Tazlina was the absolute best, she’d actually stop and see where I was. She totally bought in.
Stacks Image 40
Stacks Image 25
We kill a lot of pheasants, far more than most, but that is due to the training and the training starting at an early age. My dogs are retrieving and delivering to hand by 6 months and have a full hunting season in prior to being 1 year old. I like hunting multiple dogs at a time for if they are in control, more ground is hunted. At this point, I have gotten them to the point where I can control 3 of them at a time, which is really something. This takes some training and it, again, starts at an early age. When you have multiple dogs, they compete with one another and this leads to them getting out of range. Everybody wants to get to the bird first.
Stacks Image 29
Stacks Image 35
We also have hunted quail quite a bit. The dogs go nuts on quail. Size doesn’t matter; the number of birds flushing and their sound does. Jago, I really can’t take him quail hunting, because he is too birdy and gets so amped up that he does stupid stuff and hurts himself.

If you get one of my dogs, you can be assured of a very birdy dog who is very passionate about hunting, no matter what birds you hunt.
Stacks Image 44
Stacks Image 33

My tired pheasant hunters