We took to the field yesterday for the second tune up session of the season before the grouse opener on the 26th. It was a picture perfect fall day with the temperature just around 70. we ordered up 12 quail and took off. Gus had some great points through the day, but also showed room for improvement on listening to commands in the field. HIs bird work as always was very good, steady on points, finding every bird and then some, good quartering, reasonable working range in the open field and good close work when in the thick stuff. The cooler day (compared to the last hunt) kept him from really wearing down and he worked more cover over 4 hours than I’ve maybe ever seen him work. He just plain does not like to stop, or come when you call him. The e collar was is just not cutting it when he’s amped up like that. It may be time to retire the old innotek in favor of something a little farther reaching with enough umph to get into his head when I need to. I think a couple of reminders would solve the problem, but then again that’s what these preserve hunts are all about. Brian pulled off some really nice shots, I missed more than I should have including the one that we unfortunately have video documentation of. The highlight of the day came when a last ditch shot at a quick flying bird went wide and we watched the bird land in a cedar tree in a thicket. This stuff was thick by any standards with greenbriars interlaced with heavy fir cover and everything inbetween. We searched having seen the tree the bird landed in to no avail. I sent the dog in and he flashed a point almost immediately. I relocated him twice, but he only circled to point in the same spot. Brian and I took the small brush pile apart. It was an area about the size of a 5 gallon bucket with pine needles covering it…no bird. I got on my hands and knees as Gus was insistent and took a stick to further demolish the brush pile…nothing. Gus was sure though and one thing I committed to in a similar situation last season was to trust my dog. Sometimes he does actually know more than me. If he didn’t I wouldn’t need him. After about 5 minutes of trying, I was thinking he must be wrong. One more poke into the displaced pine needles and the bird ran out, flew straight up, and away and was never seen again. Incredible, maybe a little frustrating, but very fun to watch.