Walt: A Young Setter Shows His Stuff / by Phoebe Bean

The end of Daylight Savings Time, though it’s only been one measly week since the change, has proven to be both a blessing and a curse. I’m grateful for early morning sun because it not only helps me get out of bed, but also makes it easier to get in a quick duck hunt before heading to the office. However, coming home at the end of the day in the dark is really putting a cramp in my style. Now, it’s nearly impossible to stir up any grouse or woodcock on weekdays, something I had grown accustomed to doing. Have I mentioned that I’m really bummed that the fishing season here in Vermont is over, too? Maybe I’m spoiled.

Jess eagerly waits to get some retrieves on a rainy morning duck hunt in NY.

Jess eagerly waits to get some retrieves on a rainy morning duck hunt in NY.

Last Monday morning proved to be exciting and busy at the office, which helped distract me from feeling too sorry for myself. After lunch, I headed over to the Manchester Shooting School to take photos with the Orvis Adventures team, a fun project that went well and was a nice break from the computer screen. A thousand photos later and only a few short hours of daylight left, I figured the rest of my afternoon would be spent holed up on the couch editing.

Pete Kutzer and Scott McEnaney from Orvis tackle the "Quail Walk" at the shooting school.

Pete Kutzer and Scott McEnaney from Orvis tackle the "Quail Walk" at the shooting school.

Plot twist: Andrew Pierce, the Outdoor Digital Marketing and Merchandising Manager at Orvis (who’s also my super awesome boss), happened to bring his four-legged buddy to the shooting grounds (this may or may not have been secretly planned). Walt, a two-year-old setter that Andrew adopted, is about the sweetest pooch you’ll ever meet and loves to go looking for birds, which was all the excuse we needed to grab our shotguns and camera for a late afternoon hunt.

Walt enjoys the sun and some love from Andrew.

Walt enjoys the sun and some love from Andrew.

Walt was amped up and ready to go; watching him cover ground with such exuberance was a beautiful sight to see.

Walt races through the New England covert.

Walt races through the New England covert.

We entered some thicker cover and Walt, 20 yards ahead, instantly locked up. Andrew walked up in front of him and out darted a woodcock, zooming right past my head. Unfortunately, my position prevented Andrew from taking a safe shot, but Walt’s steadfast performance was just as rewarding as having a bird in the bag, if not more.

A rock-solid point.

A rock-solid point.

It’s always a joy to hunt over an excited pup, and Walt did an exceptional job. As the sun started to disappear, I felt refreshed and content after our outing, and the subsequent photo editing on my agenda for the evening seemed less tedious.

Taking a much deserved break, Walt grabs a drink.

Taking a much deserved break, Walt grabs a drink.