Buy this book: Building a Grouse Dog, From Puppy to Polished Performer

January-February 2020 edition of Shooting Sportsman magazine
January-February 2020 edition of Shooting Sportsman magazine

Check out my latest article from the January-February 2020 edition of Shooting Sportsman magazine. Scroll down to read the entire piece.

My latest Shooting Sportsman article, page 30, January - February 2020
My latest Shooting Sportsman article, page 30, January – February 2020

Building a Grouse Dog: From Puppy to Polished Performer, by Craig Doherty

True love and truly great dog trainers are hard to come by. It has taken me decades to find both. I married in 2012 and, in 2014 I started sending my Pointers to Craig Doherty, author of the new book Building a Grouse Dog, From Puppy to Polished Performer.

Building a Grouse Dog, From Puppy to Polished Performer.
Building a Grouse Dog, From Puppy to Polished Performer.

I met Craig back two twenty years ago when I started hanging around field trials. Since then, he has been breeding top-notch grouse dogs for hunters throughout the Northeast and bringing home ribbons from field trials throughout the country, including a first-place win at the 2007 Grand National Grouse Championship–the Superbowl of upland-hunting style dog competitions. While doing all this, he has also built a guiding and dog-training business in northern New Hampshire. So when it comes to top-notch bird dogs, Craig knows what he’s talking about. He has walked the walk, and his new book teaches you how to walk down your own path to success.

Lexi pointing a pigeon
My pointer Lexi with Craig, the book’s author

As it says on the cover, Craig Doherty’s Building a Grouse Dog, From Puppy to Polished Performer is a how-to, and across its 168 pages, and with dozens of full-color pictures, it covers everything from a pup’s first time out of the whelping box to finishing it up on its second season in the grouse woods and beyond. It suggests what training gear you should own, gives you tips on buying, using and introducing your dog to a GPS e-collar, and even discusses where to hunt Ruffed Grouse, and the gun to carry while doing it.

The lessons it teaches are practical, gimmick-free, and easy to apply to any pointing breed. They’re also kind to the dogs. Some current “alpha dog” training philosophies inspire people to be heavy-handed with their pups. Craig doesn’t practice that nonsense or promote it in his book. Instead, he believes “…you need to work at becoming a hunting partner as opposed to a hunting master” and tells you how to do it.

Craig working a gorgeous pointer he has in his kennel
Craig working a gorgeous pointer he had in his kennel

My favorite parts are the bits of wisdom Craig drops in throughout his book, insights like what the breeder of your next grouse dog should be obsessed with, the best time of year for your new pup to be born, why leather collars are not ideal, and how to deal with bloody tails. I’m sure Craig has spent years gathering this knowledge. Gaining just reading his book feels like cheating — but I’ll take it.

Craig was a writer and educator before he became a full-time dog trainer, and his storytelling skills and ability to break down complex ideas into easy-to-understand lessons are evident throughout his new book. So is his empathy for his students, four- and two-legged. Building a Grouse Dog, From Puppy to Polished Performer is easy to follow and a joy to read. Best of all, its lessons are easy to apply and it’s full of wisdom anyone interested in gun dogs will benefit from discovering.

Like I said in the beginning, great dog trainers are hard to come by. It’s even harder to find ones who can teach you their skills. Craig Doherty new book Building a Grouse Dog, From Puppy to Polished Performer does just that, and like true love, it’s something worth experiencing for yourself.

Building a Grouse Dog: From Puppy to Polished Performer, by Craig Doherty,

Available at www.WildAppleKennel.com

A Hand-Braided Legacy, from Shooting Sportsman magazine…

Lanyards are something I never gave much thought to — at least until I came across Bob Bertram’s Heirloom Quality Braided Lanyards.

Bob Bertram's Heirloom Quality Braided Lanyards
Bob Bertram’s Heirloom Quality Braided Lanyards

Bob’s a painter and a bird hunter, and he’s always looking for ways to express himself and his talent. I wrote this piece about him and his lanyards for the November/December 2019 edition of Shooting Sportsman magazine: A Hand-Braided Legacy.

What’s that?” my friend Frank said, pointing toward my neck.

“It’s my fancy new lanyard,” I replied, taking it off and handing it over for inspection.

Frank felt the leather strap and admired the braided, crisscross pattern. “Isn’t that something.” he said. He was right. It was something. Sporting artist Bob Bertram had made it for me. Bertram calls his creations Legacy Lanyards, and they are just as beautiful as his paintings. But because they hang around the neck instead of on the wall, sportsmen can admire these works of art anytime they’re in the field.

Legacy Lanyards are custom made and hand-braided with premium kangaroo leather. They come in two types of braids, a variety of color combinations and various styles (one clip, two clips, a magnetic model designed for keys, and a waterfowler model that will hold duck calls). All metal components are stainless steel. Bertram also sells Acme whistles for the lanyards and will embellish them at extra cost.

Bob Bertram's Heirloom Quality Braided Lanyards
Bob Bertram’s Heirloom Quality Braided Lanyards

The braiding on the lanyard Bertram made for me was so tight and consistent that neither Frank nor I could tell where things started and ended. As for its looks, “elegant” and “tasteful” were the words that first came to mind when I saw it. Regarding the lanyard’s design, Bertram said, “It’s kind of a form follows function thing with me. I want them to work, but I don’t want them to be ostentatious. And so mine are kind of simple and clean.”

Starting at $175, Legacy Lanyards aren’t inexpensive. But as the name implies, they are built to last—and to be handed down. According to Bertram: “My lanyards are something you wear when you’re having this great experience. And then you pass them on. My kids will get my lanyards. And, to me, that’s kind of a cool thing.”

For more information, visit legacylanyards.com.

Next up, a Pulitzer…

Shooting Sportsman just published my first feature-length magazine article in their July edition. It’s about Addieville East Game Farm, Chokebore Kennels, and Robin Hollow Outfitters.

Shooting Sportsman magazine, July edition
Shooting Sportsman magazine, July edition

I visited them last fall and had a great time at all three.

A Sporting Trifecta

“Move up there and get ready to shoot,” Jack told me.

We were five minutes into our hunt and already had a point. It was a Saturday morning in October, and I was at Addieville East Farm, in northwest Rhode Island. Manager Jack O’Brien was my guide. As the sun broke above the trees, autumn’s reds and golds seemed to burst all around us. I had a field of cover and the whole morning ahead. Life was good….”

Please check out the July issue to read the rest.

And Hemingway, look out.

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