The mutt is now just over 2. HWV so still behaves like a pup but I have been religious about taking him out stalking with me for over a year now, no matter how painful it was, and he is calming down, walking to heal, just about, and will sit and wait very reliably if I park him up. I put him on everything I shoot, but most of the time they lie dead in the field or in plain enough view and it's not really a challenge.
Went out this morning. Put him in his harness before we left the car as usual and he behaved as well as normal. About an hour and a half in I sat him up about 5 yards before the corner of a long hedge and field margin and snuck up to the corner, just in case. Sure enough there were Roe in the field about 70 yards away. Picked out the Doe, nice broad side heart shot, kicked her back legs in the air, and legged in through the hedge - right into 2 acres of standing maize cover crop.
Went back to the dog who was still parked up, but somewhat excited, clipped on the tracking lead and took him to the point of shot. Lots of claret on the ground which he stuck his nose into and then for the first time, behaving like a scent hound rather than his usual air scenting mode, stuck his nose on the floor, picked up the blood trail and dragged me through the hedge. When we got through I had no idea which direction to go in but he was pulling like a train and charged right into the middle of the maize dragging me along behind him, where after 30 yards he bumped right into the dead Doe.
There was a good fresh blood trail, so it's not time to declare him as tracker of the year, but I was impressed.
He is turning out to be a true dual purpose dog. He is now after 2 seasons a great pointer on the grouse moor and on the partridge and pheasant on the little walked up shoot we have at home.
Chuffed to bits!