A breeder I used to know was a blunt SOB. Within 30 minutes of our first meeting he cut me off mid sentence and said this: “Someday you’ll grow up and be done with that.”
We had been talking about pheasant hunting in South Dakota, and I had mentioned the numbers of birds we were killing out there. This was back in ’03, when we were seeing 4-500 pheasants a day on the ground we hunted. Limiting out wasn’t the problem. Limiting out before noon was.
But this arrogant breeder wasn’t impressed. He looked down on anyone who gauged success by the number of bird killed — especially if the birds were wild.
Back then, his attitude pissed me off. I get it now, though.
These days, even though I love to upland hunt, killing birds is far from my top priority. Feathers in hand are nice, and a dead bird every now and then does a lot to keep a bird dog interested in the game. but there’s a lot more that
Tom Davis is a great writer, and always check out anything I come across from him. This piece from the Sporting Classics Daily blog is a good example of why he’s worth reading. It’s short, and in very few word Davis touches hits on why we fall in love with bird dogs. Do yourself a favor and click through to read the entire piece.
“I picked him up at the condo he’d rented on the Lake Michigan beachfront. It was more like March than May, a raw wind blowing off the lake, scudding clouds that spat occasional volleys of needle-sharp rain. He wanted to see my dogs run.
“Jesus, Dad,” I said, scowling at his low-cut tennis shoes. “We’re going to be in woodcock cover. Where the hell are your boots?…”
The 116th running of the granddaddy of all field trial — the National Championship – started last month on Monday, February 9, 2015, at the Ames Plantation in Grand Junction, TN. Forty eight dogs were nominated to run this year — seven setters and forty one pointers, and when the trial was over, one rose to the top: Miller’s Dialing In.
Since 2010, I’ve changed companies twice, married, bought a home, lost Puck (my first great bird dog), added Lexi, picked up some nice doubles, and hunted all over the place.
I’m going to try and do more with Dogs and Doubles in 2015. I’d like to get my total visits above 300,000 for the year. That’s a big jump, so Pplease keep checking on a regular basis to see what Lexi and I have going on – and to see all sorts of great side-by-side and over-under shotguns.
I didn’t know English Pointers spoke Swedish. But this orange-and-white female does (hahaha).
Check out these videos to see how much control this guy has over his dogs. He’s running up to four at once: Britta the Pointer plus a trio of Drahthaars. The relationship between them and the trainer is amazing to see. Find out more about the trainer and his dogs here.
Bill Ballin used to be the resident trainer at Grouse Ridge Kennels in Oxford, NY. So when it comes to good grouse & woodcock dogs, he knows what he’s talking about.
Today, Bill trains and handles dogs at his own operation – High Grass Hill Kennels – and he has these pups available from RU CH. Grouse Ridge Bruiser X Lexi. They were born 7-28-2013 and they’re ready to go now.
To find out more about the litter, call Bill 607-316-1917 or 607-373-3376. You can also reach him firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Puck and I get ready to go out the door, I’m reminded that she’s been one of the most constant and dependable parts of my life for over a decade. She’s eleven, and this will be out tenth season together. My life has changed a lot since then – jobs, friends, and family have come and gone, I lost 55 pounds, lived in 4 different apartments, met my wife, married, and much more. But Puck has always been my dog– thrilled to see me when I arrive home, ecstatic to chase birds, and happy to sit in my lap when the day’s done.
I want to thank Spencer at Feather and Fin | All things upland and upstream for bringing this video to my attention. As its name implies, it’s about the bond we develop with our dogs, a bond that has supported me and enriched my life in many ways. I hope you enjoy the video.
Todd Agnew is a well known dog trainer who works with top-notch Springer Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels. At his Craney Hill Kennel, he has worked with hundreds of gundogs and trained a number of them to world-class levels.
In his recent post CONDITIONING…IT IS MORE THAN JUST FINDING MORE BIRDS, he talks about getting hunting dogs into shape – what it takes, why it matters, and how it affects a dog’s performance. If you have a bird dog, I suggest you read it. Here’s a taste of the info, and opinion, you’ll encounter:
“…If your dog can hunt all day, then I do not want to hunt with your dog! There, I said it and I mean it. Let me explain and then you think about it…”
Along with the first red maple-tree leaves and the cool nights, the arrival of Orvi’s Fall Hunting Catalog is one of those things that says “Here come the best time of year”. Take a look at some of the dogs they considered for the 2012 cover.
Well trained dogs are one of those things that make upland hunting special. Once you’ve spent some time in the field with them, you won’t want to go back to hunting without a four-legged friend. Check out the nice dog work in this quick video.
Range is something I used to worry about. Back when I was looking for my first bird dog, a consistent forty to fifty yards out sounded right to me. Any dog that ran beyond sounded like a run away.
Today, Puck has taught me a lot about what to expect from an intelligent, well bred pointer. Breeder/trainer Craig Doherty sums up a lot of what I’ve learned in this recent post on his blog and I suggest reading it.
“Recently I’ve received a couple of phone calls and emails inquiring about puppies and the most important question for the people contacting me is how big will your puppies run? They seem to have a predetermined number in mind. One person said their current dog runs 50 to 80 yards and he was looking for something in the 100 to 150 range. Another seemed to want a dog that he would be able to see about half the time. Another said he didn’t want a field trial range dog. I think this is the wrong question to ask because for most dogs the answer to how big will the dog run is — as big as you let him…”
“That evening I was lonely and I caught a condition the French call vin triste (“sad wine”). I returned to my motel room, packed, and told my dog that we were in the wrong line of work. Her eyes were like pats of butter and radiated a lifetime of trust. How could she know that someday she would be too old to hunt and that soon after she would die? All she knew was that she loved me at that together we had nudged dun-colored skies into fanfare of wings, whimpered and cut ourselves on talus faces, lost ourselves in sweltering bogs, and found birds where there should have been none. We understood each other better than most men understand god. More important, we hoped that when autumn came, the birds would fly.” pgs. 78-79
Meat dog vs. Field Trial Dog. It’s a debate you hear all the time. Of course, the first step to an informed opinion on the subject is to see an actual field trial.
So if you live in the eastern Massachusetts area, here’s the listing for the Setter Club of New England’s trial this weekend. It’s being held at the FA Crane Management Area, Falmouth, MA.
This trial is open to setter, pointers, and to any other breed of pointing dog. It’s being run on liberated quail and native woodcock.
FYI: Dog entered in Saturday’s Classic and Sunday’s Amateur Shooting Dog stake needs to rock steady to wing and shot.
SETTER CLUB OF NEW ENGLAND ANNUAL SPRING WALKING FIELD TRIAL
March 31-April 1, 2012. Starts 7 a.m. daily
SATURDAY, MARCH 31
7 a.m. – PHIL FOGG CLASSIC (45 min.)
7 a.m. – OPEN PUPPY (20 min.)
FLORENCE HARWARTH OPEN DERBY (30 min.) — Follows OPEN PUPPY
SUNDAY, APRIL 1
AMATEUR SHOOTING DOG (30 min). Starts at completion of Classic, but not before Sunday at 7 a.m.
7 a.m. AMATEUR PUPPY (20 min.)
AMATEUR DERBY (30 min.) follow sAmateur Puppy)
GROUNDS: FA Crane Management Area, Falmouth, MA. From Bourne Bridge, take Route 28 South to Route 151 East and follow signs. Lunch served daily. Use of tracking collars and scouting on horseback is permitted. However, handlers must provide collar and make own scouting arrangements.
Over the last 12 years Craig Koshyk has been on a mad pursuit. You should thank him. Koshyk has dedicated thousands of hours and even more $$$$ to create a beautiful new book titled Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals.
You’re probably thinking breed book, great (eyes rolling, fight back a yawn). But please understand this: Pointing Dogs is much, much more than that.
While it is filled with original research on 52+ breeds, Pointing Dogs book is as much about Koshyk’s passion for these dogs as it is about their ancestry, coat colors, and hunting styles. This passion is what makes the book such a great read.
BTW: I want to ask you for a favor: Spread the word about this book. Email your buddies. Talk it up. Give it as a gift and buy multiple copies for yourself. This will help Koshyk complete his next book — Pointing, Dogs Volume Two: The British Pointing Dogs.
Well, I’m back from the 2011 pheasant opener in South Dakota. I had a great time and we saw shot plenty of birds. It took my crew 2 hours to limit out on both Saturday and Sunday. With almost a dozen shooters both days, that’s a lot of birds.
I’m back up in Maine now, waiting out the rain, and hoping to get out soon for grouse and woodcock. I hope to add a turkey to the mix, too.
Woodcock season is a long way away. But that doesn’t mean I can’t start thinking about them. They should be back up my way in just 6 weeks. I’m looking forward to welcoming them home. Until then, here are a few nice videos to enjoy. Here’s to Timberdoodles.