FIELD TRAINING: WIREHAIRED POINTING GRIFFON
– [Narrator] Dogumentary
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breed documentaries on YouTube.
(upbeat bluesy music)
– My name is Scott Ackerman.
What do I love about hunting?
The adventure, the thrill, the uncertainty
if you’re gonna be
successful or not successful,
the rush when birds get
up in front of your face,
watching your dog participate in that.
I enjoy one) making ammunition.
Two) harvesting birds.
Three) watching my dog’s
involvement in all that.
Four) Preparing the birds.
Five) Eating the birds and sharing them
with friends and family.
I’ve been hunting about 40 years.
I started in 1979 with a big yellow lab.
He was a rufous.
He was a great dog.
He had no formal training ’cause I didn’t
understand there was formal training.
I said, “Let’s go get ’em.”
And we went and got ’em.
And he was far from any
type of a finish labrador.
He was just a great dog in terms of
doing what I thought he should do.
And he lived 15 years; he hunted 14 years.
So he had a great life
and serviced me very well.
My dog today is a pointing dog.
It’s a wirehaired pointing griffon.
I knew nothing about this breed, okay?
I talked to my…
After my chocolate lab passed away,
I didn’t have a dog
for four or five years.
And then I decided I’d get
back in the dog business.
Went to my vet who had
cared for both of my labs,
and he said, “You oughta
look at these griffins,”
as he called them.
He says, “We hunt in Montana twice a year,
“and that’s all we hunt over.”
I said I’d never heard of them.
I Googled them up.
They have a shaggy face;
they look like a werewolf.
And I said, “I’ll go look.”
So I went and looked and found a breeder.
I found that I was on six
waiting lists for a puppy
because all the litters were sold out
from 15, 16, and 17.
Well, it turns out there
were some dogs available
that I was unaware of.
So I went out, and I looked at them.
I said, “This is the dog for me.”
They’re just a neat little dog.
The breed, it was formulated
in the Netherlands.
From the Netherlands…
See, in those days,
everybody hunted on horseback
so they had bigger dogs.
The foot hunter didn’t need a dog as big
as if you’re riding a horse
so people got together and decided
they’d try to breed a
dog for the foot hunter.
And so they started mixing breeds,
and all kinds of German breeds,
German wirehaired pointers,
German shorthaired pointers,
Poodle pointers, all were kind of
derivatives of this
as well as the griffon.
Now they took the griffon;
they went to Germany
and bred with several other dogs
to come up with a final breed.
And there’s several
different sizes of griffons.
Mine is like 22 inches at the shoulder.
Some are a little bigger,
but pretty much they
weigh 50 to 60 pounds.
Mine weighs 70 pounds ’cause he’s a little
thicker than some of the
other griffs that I’ve seen.
The griffon stands out as
a versatile hunting dog.
The griffon hunts upland game as well as
any dog on the planet.
And that’s their primary thing.
Depending on geographically where you go
and where you hunt, but upland game:
doves, pheasants, quail,
Anything of that nature
that’s considered upland game,
that’s right down their alley.
And they hunt waterfowl surprisingly well.
His ability to retrieve
in any conditions, okay?
He’s a pointing dog.
He is steady on the point.
He will take you to the bird.
Now, it’s up to the handler and the dog
to unite and come together a a unit
because the dog knows what to do.
The handler has to know
how to help the dog
do what it already knows how to do
and keep it under control.
And training the handler
is probably a bigger job
than training the dog.
Yeah, I read all the griffon information
so I’m biased.
Yes, they are smart.
They have a big heart, a lot of drive.
They will hunt all day for you.
They’re a super family dog.
They are super in the field.
They’re a little on the stubborn side,
and they have tender feelings.
You can’t yell at a griff like you
yell at a bigger, like a labrador,
like I yelled at my old labs.
They said, “Okay, Daddy, I love you.”
He goes and puts his head
down and his lip comes out.
You gotta be a little different approach
to training and handling him.
But they are big hearted,
and they will hunt all day.
I have been fortunate enough to be able
to hunt Mexico the last 36 years.
And I hunt basically every other weekend
from September through
the end of February.
My wife hunted with me for ten years.
She’s an active part of not only Willie,
but of the labradors that I had previous.
And she traveled to Mexico, as I say,
for ten years every other weekend.
And did a great job as a hunting partner.
My bucket list would
include going to Uruguay
A lot of guys have gone
down and hunted Argentina.
These two countries offer
trips that are similar,
but yet still unexplored
by the American hunter
going down and shooting
upland game down there.
And I would like to go to a place
that not everybody had been to.
You can go to the Yucatan and hunt
and hunt ducks and stuff.
Not a lot of guys go although
there’s a lot of ducks there.
You can go to South Africa.
I have a customer who’s from South Africa
showing me pictures of all the upland game
and waterfowl that they
have shot over the years.
So those two places, I’d
like to go and explore.
Willie has now finished, just finished the
end of February, his
second hunting season.
He loves it.
He can’t get enough.
The thing you have to be careful about
early in the year, September, October,
it’s very hot.
110, 112, so I don’t put
Willie out in that heat.
I wait until it gets a little cooler,
and he does much better
’cause he runs all day.
You’ve gotta keep him hydrated.
I will hunt as long as
I’m physically capable.
Willie is only two.
If Willie can go another
seven, eight, nine years,
and I can go another seven,
or eight, nine years,
then that’s where we’re headed.
That’d put me basically around 80,
and I’d be an old man
walking in the field.
And Willie, by that
time, would be an old dog
walking in the field.
Everybody that knows me,
knows if I’m not in my office
or I’m not at a grandson’s baseball game,
then I’m in Mexico hunting.
It’s just been after 36 or 37 years,
I enjoy everything about it,
the total program.
And that’s how I…
And that’s how I view it,
and that’s how I do it.
It’s the harvesting, and it’s the dog.
And it’s the camaraderie,
and it’s the people
that I’m friends with.
It’s the guide that I have.
All those things mixed together make it.
I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
I quit playing golf.
I quit playing surfing just so it doesn’t
cut into my hunting time.