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Ah, the English language! From the Upland Life perspective, the word "LEAD" has four meanings.

The first, using the word as noun, is another name for a leash or check cord. Unlike a check cord, though, which is usually longer, a lead (pronounced "leed") or leash is usually shorter - perhaps four to eight feet - and is typically equipped with a handle at one end and a hook or other clasp at the other. Material ranges from rope to leather to webbing to chain, and more. Anyone who works an upland dog in the field will tell you that by one means or another, they end up owning at least a dozen different leads: leads for show work, for muddy work, for cold weather, for hot weather, for strong dogs, for smaller dogs, for woods, for field - the lead is one of those indespensibles of which you usually end up carrying two (in case your dog's bracemate isn't listening to his handler and you end up needing to control two dogs).

The second use of the word is related, but treats it as a verb. Pronounced the same way ("leed"), one talks about leading one's team (of dogs, or hunters, etc.), or specifically about leading a dog (usually, on a lead, of course!).

Third, we use the word as an adjective (or adapt it to noun defining a role), as in "That Gordon Setter is definately the lead dog in that brace." Or, "Since Freda seems to be the only one here that knows better than to shoot a hen pheasant, she will be the lead when we head back into the cornfield after lunch."

And of couse, fourth, we use "lead" to refer to the dense, soft metal that is commonly used as a projectile in shot shells. Pure lead is rarely used these days, but rather slightly harder alloys that are much safer for the environment and more ballistically predictable. Lead is not something you want to breath in (or bite down on in your roast pheasant), but your typical exposure to it while hunting and shooting is completely benign.

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