Watch: Flushing Grouse – A Ruffed Grouse Society Film ….

I’m a pointing-dog guy, and for me, the sight of a dog locked up on a grouse or woodcock is crucial to the upland-hunting experience.

But some guys would disagree, including Fritz and Ric Heller. They star in this film, produced by Project Upland in association with the Ruffed Grouse Society.

Exploring the World of Ruffed Grouse Hunting with Flushing Dogs

“The primary reason I go (grouse hunting) is to get away from everything and to be in that moment. It’s really special to be 100% completely present and committed, and it probably talks a lot about the flushing dogs. You know, you’re not listening to a beeper or a bell in the distance waiting for it to stop, you’re 100% focused on what’s going on in front of you the entire time…”

Watch: Flushing Grouse – A Ruffed Grouse Society Film ....
Watch: Flushing Grouse – A Ruffed Grouse Society Film ….

It’s snake season. Time for venom vaccinations…

Angus the Lab suffering from a rattler bite.
Angus the Lab suffering from a rattler bite.

A reader sent me an email yesterday and asked that I post the info below. The pic is of his lab Angus. We’ll keep you posted on how Angus is doing.

To all of our D&D friends:  MAKE SURE to get your animals vaccinated for snakebite..NOW…We did and Angus looks like he’s going to make it through this one. (fingers X’d).
All:  Take a good look at this photograph (taken approximately 10 hours after the bite) of our 15 month old Lab “Angus”.  We live on an large tract of open range here in West Texas.  Rattle Snakes are a common occurrence.
Last evening sometime around 10 PM,  I put the dogs out for their last potty break before bedtime.  Our Labs live in the house with us, so this is our normal routine.  I didn’t notice anything odd about Angus’ behavior before turning in – just the normal licking of paws and settling in.  However I awakened this AM to what you are seeing in the photo.  Scary to say the least, but as a veteran Quail hunter, this ain’t our first rodeo.  So, I checked his vitals (heart rate, temp, focus).  He was very alert, able to swallow and was displaying no serious signs of systemic failure that is sometimes associated with a serious bite (actually all bites are serious).  I called my vet immediately and he didn’t seem to concerned for the immediate time frame given the dog’s vitals.  We took him in and he’s at the doctor’s office under observation until later this afternoon.  Hopefully he’ll continue to improve and we’ll bring him home today.  I got to think the vaccination might have saved his life – especially since he went overnight without us knowing he had been bitten.
Now: I advise all of you to get your dogs in for their snake-bite vaccines.  These are a 2-part series and must be done according to schedule.  Some say they don’t work, but I’ll beg to differ as this is the second dog we’ve had bitten – the first made it through with no complications.  Remember, the aftermath of a bite is the worst part.  There can be serious tissue damage and loss of eyesight, smell etc.  I am a believer that the vaccine mitigates some of the bites aftermath.
GET YOUR DOGS SHOTS TODAY!  This is no guarantee that your dog will survive a bite, but you’d sure hate to face the grim reality of “what if” when your beloved dog passes from a bite and you didn’t have it vaccinated.
We’ll keep y’all updated on Angus’ recovery.
Safe shooting,

Gundogs: is a spaniel or lab from the UK really any better?

English Springer Spaniel
English Springer Spaniel

For some folks, British is always better – from shotguns to gundogs. While I’m a nut for British doubles, I’ve always had my doubts about spaniels and labs imported from the UK. Like our language, the way we hunt differs just enough to make the transition from one side of the Atlantic to the other a bit bumpy.

In this post from Sporting Classic, trainer Todd Agnew points out some of these bumps and explains why you may be better off American-bred dogs when you’re searching for your next hunting companion.

Expectations for a “British” Dog, by Todd Agnew of Craney Hill Kennel

“We all have expectations to different degrees, and at Craney Hill Kennel, they are extremely high for our dogs. The theory is that if we set our standards to an almost unattainable level, when we fall short, our dogs will still be very talented animals. It is hard to keep such a high standard when the public’s is so low that it becomes difficult to continually explain why you can or cannot do something.

Many people have a predisposed opinion of English dogs. This could be body structure, personality or training method. Regarding structure, I think it’s a mistake to think that an English dog looks like this or that. There may be certain tendencies, but the English dogs come in all shapes and sizes just like their American cousins. If you buy a puppy from England, you may get a 60-pound male with no legs or a 60-pound male with long legs. Or, you may get the same legs but the dog is 80 pounds!….

Read the entire piece here

Hunting Dogs for Sale, from

Years ago, I used to hunt birds without a dog. Today I wouldn’t dream of it. If you’re in the market for a new four legged companion, here are some listings worth checking out from

The wrong way to breed great hunting dogs…

Check out this ad. It’s from a small New England newspaper, and reproduced word for word.

“Stud wanted for my canoe sized black lab. she is not papered however she is well on her way to being an exceptional hunting dog. If you have male, who loves to hunt and is canoe sized. please call for possible spring tie.”

Is this guy’s lab as big as a canoe, or small enough to fit in a canoe? I can’t figure it out.

Canoe-Size Lab?
Canoe-Sized Black Lab?



Time for a check-cord check up…

What could be simple than a check cord? It’s just a chunk of rope. You attach it to your dog and train away. Of course,  it’s not that simple. There are right and wrong ways to use this training essential. Here are a couple articles that point out some of those dos and don’t. If you’re training a bird dog, both are worth a read.

2” x 30’ Pro-Trainer Check Cord
2” x 30’ Pro-Trainer Check Cord

Understanding the Check Cord, by Martha Greenless, from Steady with Style.

“Sometimes the more simple the tool, the harder it is to understand. The human mind seems to like making simple things more complicated. Maybe simple is more complicated. Take the check-cord. There are few pieces of training equipment as simple, yet this short piece of rope is the single most important tool you will own, and it is vastly misunderstood. Unlike a leash where the dog walks next to you, a dog should hunt in front of you while walking on the check-cord…”

You can read the complete post here.

The Checkcord, from, the official site for Rick Smith, Inc.

“…In every dog’s training, there comes a time to ask the dog to work out away from us at a distance. This is best accomplished gradually and in small steps using a valuable tool called the check cord. Using a check cord gives us control over our dog’s movement at an increasing distance, reinforcing how and where we want the dog to work when hunting in front of us. This is simply an extension of the previous step, the command lead. If the lead work was done thoroughly and correctly, and we’ve developed a point of contact on the dog’s neck, then the check cord work will go easily. If it does not, it means more time is needed on the lead and development of the cue on the neck…”

You can read the rest of it here.