by Simon Lusk
I was given Fudge when she was three and a mate moved to Australia. Fudge came a week into the season, and we got a rooster the first time we went on a solo hunt. After that we had a bit of a tough season as I had a new Fabarm Lion Reverse which was too light and I never liked, and missed a lot of birds. Fudge kept flushing them too far out, but the real reason was I was mentally cluttered living with a girl who was putting me off my shooting.
Fudge has very dark eyes for a chocolate Lab, and is an out and out killer. She loves hunting, and doesn’t mind what she is hunting as long as she gets there first. I hunted for a season with Fudge and nearly got to the point of getting her an electric collar to make her listen. As soon as she was on a scent she would take off, and wouldn’t stop until the third “Fudge”.
Fudge is headstrong and independent, which caused some pretty major disputes between us. She didn’t learn very fast, and would usually only hunt properly when she had been booted after not listening. Fudge is a free spirit who never really liked the discipline and teamwork required for upland as much as duck shooting where she could do what she wanted as soon as the ducks were shot.
Fudge loves hunting but is also an attention hound, and she now lives down in Central Otago. She is now the meeting and greet dog at Bendigo Station, and gets rave reviews for her duck retrieving prowess. She got 45 on her first opening day down there, and no one had seen a dog as good as her, which was a bit of a surprise as she and I had disagreed on just about everything to do with upland.
Fudge is an inside dog and gets shampooed, unlike when she was with me. If she ever got dirty we went down to the river and she went for a swim, which seemed to work for both of us.