FIELD TRAINING: GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER AND IRISH SETTER

Come Back Red Setter's Audie--2nd Place 2007 Futurity. Pic from Come Back's site.
Come Back Red Setter’s Audie–2nd Place 2007 Futurity. Pic from Come Back’ Red Setters.

I’ve always been interested in Red Setters. Last week, I was clicking around online looking for information on them and I came across this short video from Dogumentary TV.

It features Cliff Fleming, dog trainer, president of the Inland Empire NAVHAA, and red-setter fan, as well as some nice footages of a red setter in the field.

BTW: The title is the video is wrong. Someone who didn’t know dogs must have edited it. The video’s about training an Irish/Red Setter and a German Shorthair Pointer.

For the heart, for Project Upland: A Bird Hunting Anthology, Vol 1…

Essential reading: Project Upland: A Bird Hunting Anthology, Volume 1, No. 1
Essential reading: Project Upland: A Bird Hunting Anthology, Volume 1, No. 1

I’ve been kicking around the upland world for a while. As my friends and covers get older, I wonder what will become of grouse and woodcock hunting. To keep it thriving, it’s important we to attract new voices and new perspectives. Both bring in new blood.

Through their videos, website, and now their first book, Project Upland offers readers and viewers fresh take on upland hunting, gun dogs, and fine shotguns. Last December, they approached me about writing an essay for their premier publication:  PROJECT UPLAND – THE BIRD HUNTING ANTHOLOGY – VOLUME 1.

The book came out a few weeks ago, and if you’re into bird hunting, it’s a must-read. It features lots of cool, full-color pics, and 10 essays with titles like The Quickest Path to Losing Hunting Partners, The Golden Hour, and, my piece, For the Heart. Here’s an excerpt. To read the whole thing, you’ll have to buy the book.

My essay in Project Upland: A Bird Hunting Anthology, Volume 1, No. 1
My essay in Project Upland: A Bird Hunting Anthology, Volume 1, No. 1

For the Heart

Love can be hard to understand, especially when it’s for anything other than babies, puppies, and ice cream. Of all the things I love about upland hunting—my Pointers flashing through the woods, the whirl of a flushing woodcock, the cidery smell of old apple trees—my lifelong affair with shotguns is the most difficult for me to comprehend.

I’m not from a family of hunters or shooters. My grandfather never killed a bird in his life. While my dad was a fisherman, he never even owned a gun or fired a rifle. And I didn’t grow up on a farm with cornfields or stands of Aspen outside my door. I grew up in Connecticut, down the street from a 7-Eleven and a strip mall anchored by a bar called the Amber Light Lounge & Cafe. But despite all this, bird hunting, and especially shotguns, have always been my thing…”

Me & my old Westley in Project Upland: A Bird Hunting Anthology, Volume 1, No. 1
Me & my old Westley in Project Upland: A Bird Hunting Anthology, Volume 1, No. 1

More great quail flushes. Winter training, Hifive Kennels…

Hifive's Unlisted, from Hifivekennels.com
Hifive’s Unlisted, from Hifivekennels.com

Here’s more gundog-quail action from the folks at Hifive Kennels.

Check it out to see lots of great points and lots of fantastic flushes.

Hifive is a well-known kennel in Beulah, MI. They’ve been breeding, training, and trialing dogs for 20+ years, and they’ve produced a long list of great dogs.

Let’s go wild quail hunting in Texas ….

Quail Coalition
Quail Coalition

Here’s something I’m dying to do, and with quail numbers up, I think it’s time for me to head west and check it out. I’ve never hunted quail — wild or pen raised. From this video, the experience looks awesome. The video was produced by the Quail Coalition. They did a great job.

This week’s good guns: Powered by Gunsinternational.com…

Ithaca Grade 2 Flues 16 Gauge SxS STUNNING 98% FACTORY CONDITION
Ithaca Grade 2 Flues 16 Gauge SxS STUNNING 98% FACTORY CONDITION

Ithaca Grade 2 Flues 16 Gauge SxS STUNNING 98% FACTORY CONDITION: SN274592 6lbs 5oz, SxS. Price: $3,950
Barrel Length: 28″
Chokes: .006/.019 IC/M
Ejectors or Extractors: extractors
Case Color: 97% vivid factory
Screws: perfect
Trigger Guard Color: 93% factory
Type: capped pistol grip/splinter forend
LOP: 14 1/8″
LOP To End Of Wood: 13 3/4″
DAH:  2 5/8″
DAC: 1 5/8
Cast: 0
Checkering Condition: excellent factory
Butt Treatment: factory plate

PARKER 28” VHE 16 GAUGE FACTORY STRAIGHT GRIP EJECTORS CHOKED MOD & IC #1 FRAME
PARKER 28” VHE 16 GAUGE FACTORY STRAIGHT GRIP EJECTORS CHOKED MOD & IC #1 FRAME

PARKER 28” VHE 16 GAUGE FACTORY STRAIGHT GRIP EJECTORS CHOKED MOD & IC #1 FRAMEVery nice 16 ga Parker VHE original straight grip with great dimensions 14 3/8 LOP 1 3/8 DAC & 2 ½ DAH and 28” barrels 2 5/8” chambers choked .015 Mod & .010 IC, all matching S/N including the stock Keith Kearcher refinished the wood and it came out beautiful. I did not have to do anything to the metal as the bluing is still good & CC still on the receiver. The bores are good but some light flaking out towards the choke but they are surface only. Price: $3150

 

B. JENKINSON DELUXE BOXLOCK 12GA S/S, BY G & S HOLLOWAY BIRMINGHAM: 28″ BBLS, 2 3/4 ORIGINAL PROOFS, CHOKED IC/1/2, RAISED GAME RIB, EJECTORS, DBL TRIGGERS, GORGEOUS HIGHLY FIGURED WALNUT, ST/SP, LOP 15″ TO BEST LEATHER PAD, 1 1/2, 2 1/2, 6LBS 11OZ, 98% ORIGINAL, VERY LITTLE USE! Price: $2,995

B. JENKINSON DELUXE BOXLOCK 12GA S/S, BY G & S HOLLOWAY BIRMINGHAM
B. JENKINSON DELUXE BOXLOCK 12GA S/S, BY G & S HOLLOWAY BIRMINGHAM
Joseph Defourny Side By Side 12 Ga Boxlock Shotgun
Joseph Defourny Side By Side 12 Ga Boxlock Shotgun

Joseph Defourny Side By Side 12 Ga Boxlock Shotgun: $1,539.99

S/N 6815
Caliber: 12 Ga
Metal Condition: Very Good
Wood Condition: Very Good
Bore Condition: Very Good
Barrels: 29.5 Inches
Triggers: Double
Stock: Checkered Pistol Grip
Fore End: Checkered
Butt Pad: 14 Inches

Husqvarna 12 gauge Deluxe SxS Boxlock Shotgun27 1/2″ full/full barrels,double triggers,extractors,scroll engraved casecolored receiver with original laquer on the casecolors,fancy wood,95% bluing,very nice. Price: $999

Husqvarna 12 gauge Deluxe SxS Boxlock Shotgun
Husqvarna 12 gauge Deluxe SxS Boxlock Shotgun

The Problem with Upland Hunting, from Feather and Fin…

Lynn Bogue Hunt grouse painting, coming up at Copley Fine Art Auctions
What will become of upland hunting? Painting by Lynn Bogue Hunt

Here’s a real interesting post from over at Fin and Feather. I think our biggest problem is habitat: Finding wild birds, and places to hunt them, is getting harder across the US. As this trend continues, what will become of our sport? Please read this entire post and then let me know what you think.

The Problem with Upland Hunting

Spencer Knibbe, Fin and Feather

Is upland hunting headed towards extinction?

Running a website that focuses on upland hunting and fly fishing has been a unique study in the similarities, traditions, and differences between the two industries.

Fly fishing is an exciting and rapidly growing space. The industry and its participants have done a tremendous job in positioning  and continuously evolving the sport – as indicated by the passionate media presence, healthy gear market, dynamic newcomer outreach efforts, and impactful conservation initiatives.

In stark contrast, the upland hunting industry is characterized by growing obscurity, stodginess, and a general sense of decline…particularly in the world of ruffed grouse hunting which is a mere fraction of what it was in the days of Burton Spiller’s storied coverts. Upland continues to be left behind while the hunting industry as a whole is experiencing an uptick in participation rates….

Read the entire piece now

Last day: not really a good one…

Migrating woodcover love this cover
Migrating woodcock love this cover

I love maps, and back before the web, I had a Maine Delorme map filled with hunting and fishing spots.  I still use one like it today- stained with coffee spills, creased like old hunting boots, and speckled with colored dots I used to mark brook trout pools and bird covers – but I supplement it with satellite images on my iPad. When I have them with me, ones give me quick directions to a spot, the other lets fly above the trees and scout covers far from a road. But when I forget both at home, neither one is very helpful.

    Migrating woodcock love this cover
Migrating woodcock love this cover

That’s what happened today. Our hopes were up when we left the house. Instead of the hard winds and heavy rain we were supposed to have, the sky was overcast with just enough of a breeze to puff a flag. Puck and I thought we could pound some ground before things turned bad.

But after 45 minute of driving to get where I wanted to hunt, and about hour trying to find a certain spot, the weather turned from just overcast to overcast with drizzle, and then to black sky with down pour. Then the wind kicked in enough to make the 50′ pines on the roadside sway. So much for hunting. We turned around and headed for home.

What do you think -- coyote?
What do you think — coyote?

The weather did let up some on the way back, so we hit a little spot that migrating woodcock like to bunch into. I think most of the flight birds have moved through now, but we did find a straggler. Puck stuck him with a rock solid point, and the bird flushed up and ahead of me. A flash of umber, a peet-peet-peet, the bird rising up like tossed softball – an easy shot for once. But I let him go and wished him luck. Perhaps we’ll run into him on his journeys back through come spring.

So tomorrow we pack our bags and head back down to Boston, and on to an exciting new chapter in my live: Puck living with me and my wife full time. Check back to see how it goes…

Today’s report: nothing to report…

Happy Halloween. Imgage from Eckert's Family Farm
Happy Halloween. Imgage from Eckert’s Family Farm

Rain, it’s something Puck hates and it’s what we had today. So instead of hunting, we spent the day traveling, running some errands, and taking care of some business.

I hope we can get out tomorrow. It’s supposed to rain in the AM, but then clear up a bit in the afternoon. BTW: Happy Halloween.

Today’s report: still great weather, connected on 2 grouse…

A good day. The gun is a 16g Heym O/U, made in the 1920s...
A good day. M & F grouse. Gun is a 16g Heym O/U, from the 1920s…

Another good day in the field . Puck and I headed out just after lunch and spend almost 2 hours checking out a new cover. I spotted the cover yesterday and thought it might be productive. Turns out it was. We moved 3 grouse and 6-7 woodcock. I shot a lot, but only brought down 2 birds – both ruffies.

Puck continues to impress me with her energy. She charged into each day like a dog 1/2 her age. She tired and a bit stiff at night, but by the AM she much better and anxious to get back in the field.

Grouse crop. Both birds were full of the same green stuff and the buds.
Grouse crop. Both birds were full of the same green stuff and the buds.

Tomorrow will be out last day in this part of Maine. We’re going to pull out and try some covers further south, and then head over to Caratunk for Friday. I hope the rain holds off the next couple of days. Enjoy the pics.

 

BTW: be sure to blow up the pics of the feathers. It’s pretty cool what you can see.

 

Breast feathers on a grouse
Breast feathers on a grouse
Feathers on the back of a grouse
Feathers on the back of a grouse
"ruff" feathers around grouse's neck. Where the name "Ruffed" grouse comes from.
“ruff” feathers around grouse’s neck. Where the name “Ruffed” grouse comes from.
Back feathers on a grouse
Back feathers on a grouse

Yesterday’s report: The birds won again…

Strangest point ever - Puck, on a rock, pointing a running grouse.
Strangest point ever on a running grouse

Pick and I made it out yesterday for a couple hours today. The weather was just about perfect for bird hunting: Sunny, temps in the upper 30s after a real hard frost during the night, and just a touch of wind.

We hit two spots and found birds in both. In all, around 3 grouse and 4 woodcock. My shooting stunk, though. So all those birds are still out there, waiting or another day. Enjoy the pics and video.

Too bad fishing season is closed.
Too bad fishing season is closed.
A small cut. It may look bad, but it's really future grouse cover. Those slender trees are poplars, and they're take over and bring in the birds.
A small cut. It may look bad, but it’s really future grouse cover. Those slender trees are poplars, and they’re take over and bring in the birds.
Classic big-woods Maine cover. I walk the road, Puck works the edges.
Classic big-woods Maine cover. I walk the road, Puck works the edges.
More big woods cover. This is an old skidder trail.
More big woods cover. This is an old skidder trail.
Thick fat on a fresh woodcock.
Thick fat on a fresh woodcock.

First report: Woodcock hunting in Love & Hate….

Road into Love & Hate
Road into Love & Hate

Puck and I just got back from a couple hours of hunting. We hit a big woodcock spot up the road. I call it the Love/Hate cover – you love the looks of it and hate it when you’re in it.

It’s a punishing spot, loaded with nasty tangles, gagging on alders, and loaded with walls of spruces and shotgun-barrel thick poplars. It’s uphill, too. I fell a bunch on my butt a couple times, got poked in the left eye so hard it made me wonder if I still had a left eye, and cursed about every other minute.

Love & Hate. Puck's straight ahead - 178 yards. Go...
Love & Hate. Puck’s straight ahead – 178 yards. Go…

But the birds are always in it. We moved 3 woodcock and 1 grouse in a little over an hour. I shot one woodcock, but never found it. Puck did a half retrieve, dropped it, and then ran off to find another bird.

I looked for it until Puck went on point — again. I looked down at my Astro and it said she was 178 yards out. I marked the bird, and ran off. Not a fun run getting to her, and I couldn’t believe the energy she had. She ran like she was 6, not a decade +1.

We’re going back out this afternoon. The weather was cold & snowing this AM, so the birds should come out this afternoon to grab some sun, gravel, and food for the cold night we’re going to have.

Bigelow Mountain range...
Bigelow Mountain range…
Arnold's Expedition to Quebec passed through this area...
Arnold’s Expedition to Quebec passed through this area…
Puck taking a well deservd nap. Rest up.
Puck taking a well deservd nap. Rest up.
Poplars in the AM sun
Poplars in the AM sun

One dog’s development: Watch Little Jeb get steady…

Check out this short video to see Little Jeb go from wild to steady — right before your very eyes! Here’s a bit about the video from the folks at GunDogDevelopment.com: A chronology of Little Jeb’s steadiness training. Over the last six months, we anxiously waited for him to show us that he was ready to be steadied on game. This video journal, begining May 25, 2013 captures all of his training sessions up to July 13, 2013. All of the clips are in sequence to show his progression.

Although edited, all of the benchmarks to move him through the program have been included. Little Jeb received one E-collar correction in the at the finally. If you watch closely, you can see a slight twitch in his tail when the correction occurred.

Breed of the Week: The Braque de l’Ariège

The Braque de l'Ariège, Continental Pointing Dog, from Craig Koshyk
The Braque de l’Ariège, Continental Pointing Dog, from Craig Koshyk

The Braque de l’Ariège has had its ups and downs, and the fact that it exists today is a testament to how much passion of handful of men and women have had for the breed.

Even though the Braque de l’Ariège’s origins are disputed, what is agreed upon is that these bird dogs originated in southern France and that at least one of its ancestors was the Braques Français. Standards for the breed  were established in 1905. Over the next several decades the popularity of these large, easy hunting white and orange pointing dogs spread. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm petered out, and in 1960 the Braque de l’Ariège was considered dead.

Fortunately, this isn’t the end of the story. To find out how the Braque de l’Ariège was saved, check out this post over at Craig Koshyk’s Pointing Dogs blog. Koshyk is the author of Pointing Dogs: Volume One, The Continentals. If you’re into birds dogs, it’s a bird you absolutely have to have.

The Braque de l'Ariège, Continental Pointing Dog, from Craig Koshyk
The Braque de l’Ariège, Continental Pointing Dog, from Craig Koshyk

Breed of the Week: the Bracco Italiano…

Bracco Italiano, from Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals, by Craig Koshyk
Bracco Italiano, from Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals, by Craig Koshyk

Bracco Italianos are an odd breed. Big boned, and with a large heads, drooping jowls and flopping ears, Braccos looks more bloodhound than bird dog. Because they’re so rare here in the States, very few of us will ever have the experience it takes to appreciate them.

The Italians have been breeding some kind of Bracco Ialiano for several hundred years. In Pointing Dogs: Volume One, The Continentals, Craig Koshyk does an fantastic job of laying out this history. In this post on his Pointing Dog Blog, he talks about what of the things that makes that has always set the Bracco Italiano apart from other continental pointers. It’s their gait.

Bracco Italiano, from Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals, by Craig Koshyk
Bracco Italiano, from Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals, by Craig Koshyk

Braccos are trotters, and in the field they move in a very distinct way. Rather than pressing forward and bounding like a English Pointer, Braccos stride, head high, and back level and straight. All the action takes place in their legs, and when they get up to speed, they like they’re floating across the field. Check out the videos below to get a better sense of what I mean.

 

Let’s go hunting with Dave Brown Outfitters…

Dave Brown Outfitters is a upland hunting and fly fishing outfit that offers trips through the northwestern US. Check out these videos to see a little of his work. From what I can see, he has real nice dogs. Best of all, he knows how to out them into wild birds.

From Steady with Style: Turning the Corner…

 

Puck Pointing
Puck Pointing

Steady with Style is one of my favorite dog-training blogs. Author Martha Greenlee has been working with bird dogs for years, and her experience shows in every one of her posts. This latest one is a good example of what I mean. I went through this same process with Puck. If you have a bird dog, I’m sure you will, too:

“Recently, I was talking to Maurice Lindley about a dog I was teaching to be steady-to-wing-and-shot.

“I think Chalk has turned the corner,” I said.

“What did he do to make you think that,” Maurice asked.

“He’s calmer,” I replied.
“Good,” he said. “A calm dog is what you look for. A fresh-broke dog should go from bug-eyed and intense to calm and composed in the presents of game. If you watch a young dog on point, every fiber and nerve is on high alert and poised to pounce. Then, as more training takes place, you notice the dog’s composure changes when he is pointing. He becomes more confident in his job and confident that you know your job too. The intensity is still there but something has changed. To me the dog just looks different…”

Read the entire post here.

Bad floods = Bad news for Montana and North Dakota…

Water – it seems like some parts of the western US can’t get enough of it and other parts are flooded under it.

Flooding in North Dakota
Flooding in North Dakota

Unfortunately, a couple of the areas with too much water this spring are also big bird hunting regions. Northeast Montana and North Dakota have had a ton of cold, wet weather lately.

This isn’t good for the wild bird population. Spring is nesting season and weather like this makes it pretty much impossible to do. No nest, no eggs, no chicks, and far, far fewer birds come fall.

You can read more about the area impacted by going here.

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