I wonder if folks would like to discuss how they test a litter for field ability, what they look for, and how they start pups on their field "careers" for want of a better term. Do you test every litter? Do you assume "it" is there?
Here's a bit of what I do. I have a lovely friend with Weimaraners named Shirley Nillson. Shirley has been excetionally successful with her dogs in basically every venue one could choose to compete in with a dog. She has bred and trained a triple champion Weim - Show Ch, Field Ch and Obed Ch! she has a wonderful combination of Volhard testing and other tests that she does and I hire her to test my pups for basic temperament as well as aptitude for learning and learning style. It is best to have a stranger do this testing anyway and she is VERY experienced at it, so I pay her to test mine.
Then we have a bird in a harness on a string and show it to the pups and see if we have tendency to sight point, if they wish to play (possibly indicating immaturity still - retest in a few days) high prey drive, fear and so on. The ones who are showing strong desire to point are further tested on hidden birds, and also taken for walks to see their level of independence and such.
For hunting exposere for young dogs I try to take a pup to an area I know has wild birds and with an older experienced dog. Recently 13 week old Mary went with Raisin and Ken and I to an area where there are always wild quail. Raisin pointed a covey of quail which wild flushed in front of Mary as she ran up - she stopped to the flush. WOW! GREAT! Mary ran forward and froze into a lovely point - there was some of the covey left and so she had her first point! The covey wild flushed as we walked up and MAry watched then moved on. Raisin stopped on point and Mary showed a tendency to back, but then ran forward and stopped to point in front of poor patient Raisin! I flushed the covey and we went on - what an incredibly perfect first exposure to wild birds - one could not have written a better script.
So what do you do with your pups?