About ten months ago we first posted pics of our new springer spaniel puppy. Echo was purchased in November 2011 from a highly regarded breeder in Seattle and quickly became a beloved member of our family. With two year old twins and a 6 week old puppy, let's just say we were oozing in cuteness -and working our butts off catering to the needs of all three.

Springers are known to have amazing noses and have an uncanny ability to sniff out and flush grouse in thick, dense brush and thickets that would be impenetrable to humans. To see a springer work the woods is an absolute thing of beauty and it is quickly evident why they are called "springers". They really do spring up and over fallen trees and brush -and when running through tall grass or weeds they jump up frequently to pop their heads above the grass to gain a view of where they are going.

A thousand generations of selective breeding have made these thoroughbreds supreme bird dogs.

Grouse season opened here in Western Montana on September 1 and I was anxious to take Echo out and let her do her thing. She has been well trained using grouse scents on her toys and grouse wings as rewards for good flushing... but until now she really wasn't quite sure what to make of it all.

We headed out a few miles north of our hometown of Whitefish, Montana in a mountainous region we have been scouting for grouse. Within a few hundred yards of hiking the gated forest road Echo had her first flush. Two plump grouse flushed straight up and I was able get clean shots on both. The site of seeing Echo retrieve her first fallen bird, leaping through the thickets with bird in mouth, is a something I will always treasure.

It all came full circle for her with that first bird and she now truly understands what her calling in life is. Now just the sight of my 20 guage shot gun is enough to get her whining and spinning and howling in anticipation of going back out in the field.

She is only 11 months old and I hope to have many, many wonderful years of grouse and pheasant hunting with her.