My first exposure to hunting Gordons came at the Collins Public Hunting area. I was hunting a brace of Springer Spaniels at this time. I came to a hunting field and here
they were, an older gentleman and his two Gordons. He was walking with his gun broke open over his shoulder and his dogs were at front working the field when the one
dog locked up on point. The second dog coming around and honoring. He walked in, flushed, shot the bird, broke open his gun and walked back to the dog still standing
on point and released him for a retrieve. The second dog never moved. When the pointing dog retrieved the bird, the man called to the back dog to come and smell the
bird. This scenario was repeated farther down the field, but on this point the second dog was released to retrieve. He then walked off the field with both dogs at heel and
his gun broke over his shoulder again. I pulled up into the parking lot and asked this man, "what kind of dogs are those?" "Gordon Setters", he replied.
Little did I know at the time the amount of training it takes to get dogs to hunt in that fashion or that there are two types of Gordons.
I just had to have one. I looked and looked. Remember this was before internet so newspaper ads and magazine classifieds were my only source to find one. Finally, in
January of 1990 I found an ad from Marshfield. My only question to the breeder was "do your dogs point?" He said, "of course we hunt our Gordons." So that was good
enough for me.
"Digger" the Gordon pup, grew and grew and grew. He topped out at 28 inches tall and weighed in at 86 lbs. The good points about him was he had a great nose and a
love of water. He would retrieve any game I shot from upland birds to ducks and geese. Yes, I took him into the marsh often to duck hunt. Mostly jump shooting and early
season when it was warm. Gordons do not have the coat to hunt and sit in a blind when wet.
The bad points - he ran like no dog I had ever seen. Not just fast, but he kept going. Later I learned his mother was cut from field trialing because she did not have a big
enough run, but Digger sure did. He had hair to spare. I clipped and cut until he was just about bald. He was a house dog and he drooled it seemed like all the time. I was
always wiping up the saliva.
Digger calmed down at 4 years old and started to point grouse with consistency. I never trained him, I just took him hunting. Looking back now I think I could have really
had a great field trial dog and a broke hunting dog by two years old. He was really fun to hunt behind. He was put down at 8 1/2 years old, the Friday before the gun deer
season after completing a great Fall of hunting. He had a rare intestinal cancer.
In the Spring of 1990 I got a copy of Outdoor Life, March issue. The story "The Guru of Gordons" at the end of this article was an ad to buy Norm's book, "The Black and
Tan Bombshell". I got the book and saw what I was looking for. Here were the dogs I had seen the old guy hunting back in the Fall. Same size and hair length.
So when Digger passed, I decided I no longer wanted to trim and comb a dog so I got a Weimeraner. Orion was a good hunter, but had an alpha dog personality. He died
at 13 months from what I think was fertilizer poisoning. After losing him, I went a couple months thinking about my next dog. My wife told me to call Springset and order a
pup. In May of 2000, Gavin came flying in from California. He is everything Norm said he would be. He said he would be a great hunter and family dog. I was then
completely sold on field style Gordons with Springset backgrounds.
My wife just has a soft heart for pups so I just keep looking for good hunting lines and buying pups and even surprising her by bringing two home when I only went to get
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