Does it make sense to haul a four-month old springer pup to the sporting clays range? Recently, I was followed most of the morning by two “hunters” who seemed to be turning a beautiful dog into a whimpering, gun-shy puddle of canine misery. She cowered and whined in the corner of a crate lashed (not so securely) to the back end of a golf cart, while her master enjoyed a day of sport with a friend … each station appeared to be a lesson in terror, at least to this observer.
Back in the day, many folks thought this was a sound (pardon the pun) strategy … flood the poor thing’s ears with the sound of hunting, and it would become inured to the bangs and booms and soon transform into the ultimate bird-finding machine, afraid of nothing, including shotgun blasts. As I understand it, many of those dogs ended up “living on a farm,” as the euphemism goes.
Okay, at some point in a young dog’s upbringing, exposure to several up-close shots is part of the strategy. But a first-time experience? To 200 rounds (two hunters, 100 targets each)?
I was shooting with acquaintances, not good friends, on a new course where I don’t know the operators well. So I kept my thoughts to myself. But I wanted to give them a piece of my mind (you might suggest I can’t afford that.)
What would you have done?