Best Retriever Photos of the Year

Best Retriever Photos of the Year

Capturing the beauty of retrievers doing what they do best naturally is an art form. These dogs were born to hunt and in this exclusive photo essay, photographer Matt McCormick captures some of the year's best retriever images while Gun Dog Editor Skip Knowles reminds us why retrievers (and what they do) are something to celebrate.

Maybe it was a smelly old Chessy, or a cute-as-hell white Lab pup that once wrestled your kids and looked like a baby polar bear. Or a semi-spastic golden that somehow got the job done with outrageous vigor. It could have been a poorly performing chocolate that would kill itself trying and was a total sweetheart. Or maybe just your first gun dog, and that's enough. But somewhere, somehow, a retriever at some point sunk its canines deep in your heart.


Maybe it was not a great dog, but just happened to bear witness to a happy era in your own lifetime: Your personal good old days of hunting, a time when year after year you really got into the birds. Sometimes a dog will nail you in the heart when you are in a lonely place. Perhaps its growth is associated with that of your children's, their wonder years.



Or maybe, just maybe, you are one of the lucky few who happened upon a pure thoroughbred, a bird-fetching machine, one of those tremendous canines that are simply a pleasure to be a round and make you glow with pride, make you look like a good trainer when you knew the truth, you just needed to get out of the way.

Whatever the circumstance, only a hunter understands the rue potential a relationship with a canine can hold. They are born to hunt, and so are you. Those who don't live this can't understand it. Any dog can be a man's best friend. But a hunter who has spent years in the field over the course of a good gun dog's lifetime has the deepest relationship with a retriever, with the exception perhaps only of rescue and police dog owners. The hunter and his partner become more like a couple old war buddies who have seen a lot of action together.


It runs much deeper than the vacuous term "pet." Much talk in this magazine centers on " dog owners." But we all know who-owns-who in the end. Here's to our most loyal field companions, and a photo essay that celebrates their existence.

— Skip Knowles


borntohunt_1

Maybe it was a smelly old Chessy, or a cute-as-hell white Lab pup that once wrestled your kids and looked like a baby polar bear.

borntohunt_3Or a semi-spastic golden that somehow got the job done with outrageous vigor. It could have been a poorly-performing chocolate that would kill itself trying and was a total sweetheart.

borntohunt_6

Or maybe just your first gun dog, and that's enough.

borntohunt_10

But somewhere, somehow, a retriever at some point sunk its canines deep in your heart.

borntohunt_8

Maybe it was not a great dog, but just happened to bear witness to a happy era in your own lifetime: Your personal good old days of hunting,  a time when year after year you really got into the birds.

borntohunt_4

Sometimes a dog will nail you in the heart when you are in a lonely place. Perhaps its growth is associated with that of your children's, their wonder years.

borntohunt_5

Or maybe, just maybe, you are one of the lucky few who happened upon a pure thoroughbred, a bird-fetching machine, one of those tremendous canines that are simply a pleasure to be around and make you glow with pride, make you look like a good  trainer when you knew the truth, you just needed to get out of the way.

borntohunt_2

Whatever the circumstance, only a hunter understands the true potential a relationship with a canine can hold.

borntohunt_7

They are born to hunt, and so are you. Those who don't live this can't understand it.

borntohunt_9

Any dog can be a man's best friend. But a hunter who has spent years in the field over the course of a good gun dog's lifetime has the deepest relationship with a retriever, with the exception perhaps only of rescue and police dog owners. The hunter and his partner become more like a couple old war buddies who have seen a lot of action together.

It runs much deeper than the vacuous term "pet." Much talk in this magazine centers on "dog owners." But we all know who-owns-who in the end.

borntohunt_11

Here's to our most loyal field companions.

Images by Matt McCormick

Recommended for You

To date, Ducks Unlimited has played a role in conserving 14 million acres. Industry

Ducks Unlimited: A Duck Man's Best Friend

David Hart

To date, Ducks Unlimited has played a role in conserving 14 million acres.

The sweet, tangy flavor of orange juice combined with spicy jalapeños in this duck recipe will have your taste buds screaming for more. Recipes

Sweet Jalapeño Grilled Duck Recipe

Scott Leysath, "The Sporting Chef"

The sweet, tangy flavor of orange juice combined with spicy jalapeños in this duck recipe will...

Make summertime barbecues super easy by grilling up one of these duck recipes from Scott Leysath, Recipes

2 Easy Duck Recipes for Summertime Grilling

WILDFOWL Online Staff

Make summertime barbecues super easy by grilling up one of these duck recipes from Scott...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during 2019, company CEO Charlie Holder shows off the limited edition Yentzen Classic aimed at commemorating the life and times of company founder Jim 'Cowboy' Fernandez. With a special autographed box and a laser engraved call body, the Cowboy Classic is a perfect way to honor the legacy of the 1959 world duck calling champ and inventor of the double-reed duck call.

Arkansas Snow Geese

Arkansas Snow Geese

Wildfowl Editor Skip Knowles took this short video showing all the Snow Geese flying. Let's just say, he had a very good hunt!

Wentz Bros Outdoors - Throwback Waterfowl

Wentz Bros Outdoors - Throwback Waterfowl

This video is a classic! Take a front row seat with Carson as he hunted back in college. The clips are all either filmed with a GoPro or cell phone!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Consistency is what pushes today's shotshell makers to constantly improve new waterfowl loads Ammo

11 Best New Shotshell Loads For Waterfowl

Wildfowl Online Staff - August 17, 2017

Consistency is what pushes today's shotshell makers to constantly improve new waterfowl loads

Check out our picks for the best new waterfowl guns from the 2019 SHOT Show! Shotguns

Best New Waterfowl Shotguns for 2019

Lynn Burkhead - January 23, 2019

Check out our picks for the best new waterfowl guns from the 2019 SHOT Show!

Let's face it, that old mud motor from two years ago isn't cuttin' it any longer.

Of course, it Boats

8 Best Mud Motors for 2016

David Hart - May 26, 2016

Let's face it, that old mud motor from two years ago isn't cuttin' it any longer. Of course,...

See More Stories

More Retriever

Follow these tips to help your hunting dog maintain a healthy weight and avoid joint problems. Retriever

Keep Your Gun Dog Fit to Prevent Joint Pain

Tony J. Peterson

Follow these tips to help your hunting dog maintain a healthy weight and avoid joint problems.

With genetics, if you don't hedge your bets with a well-bred puppy, you're asking for trouble. Retriever

Focus on Pedigree When Researching Puppies

Tony J. Peterson

With genetics, if you don't hedge your bets with a well-bred puppy, you're asking for trouble....

Don't tell yourself any tall tales when it comes to your retriever's abilities. Retriever

Duck Dog Lies

Tony J. Peterson

Don't tell yourself any tall tales when it comes to your retriever's abilities.

See More Retriever

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×