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.

Old Hemlock Setters: The Legacy of George Bird Evans


Speck, by George Bird Evans
Speck, by George Bird Evans

George Bird Evans is one the patron saints of upland hunter. A prolific artist and writer, George wrote a number of classic books about grouse hunting and, along with his wife Kay, created the famous Old Hemlock line of English Setters.

Today, George & Kay’s home and legacy is preserved by the Old Hemlock Foundation, creators of this video: Old Hemlock Setters: The Legacy of George Bird Evans

And check out this blog post to learn more about Evans and his famous Fox & Purdey shotguns.

Meet Shawn Kinkelaar. His bird dogs are better than yours.


Watch interview with Shawn Kinkelaar, Shooting Dog handler & trainer
Watch interview with Shawn Kinkelaar, Shooting Dog handler & trainer

Shawn Kinkelaar is one of the top bird-dog handlers & trainers in the U.S. He started field trialling in the 1980s, and today he’s one of just two people who have won 100+ Open Horseback Championships–the World Series + Superbowl + Stanley Cup of bird-dog competitions.

He has also won more National Dog of the Year Awards than any other trainer, as well as three English Setter National awards and three National Handler of the Year awards.

For the past 25 years, Shawn has spent his summers training in North Dakota. This year, a local news crew caught up with him and produced this video.

In the video below, you can get a taste for what it’s like training in ND in the summer: Horses, bird dogs, and the space to run both. I’m envious.

No ribbons, but still a great time…

New England Bird Dog Club, August, 2017, field trial
New England Bird Dog Club, August, 2017, field trial

Field Trials are great places to see other dogs and meet other dog folks. The New England Bird Dog Club held their August field trial a few weeks ago and plenty of both were there.

I ran Lexi and Sky, but we didn’t have any luck.

Lexi ran twice, but on her first try she broke on the flush. On her second run, she failed to honor. Those offenses got her disqualified.

Sky ran well and found a bunch of birds. Unfortunately, other dogs dig a better job overall than – so no ribbons for her.

Waiting their turn
Waiting their turn
As handsome as it gets
As handsome as it gets
Lexi, staked out on a chain gang
Lexi, staked out on a chain gang
My rig, waiting to go
My rig, waiting to go
Pointer power
Pointer power
Best part of the day
Best part of the day
Now that's noble
Now that’s noble
Resting after his run
Resting after his run
Cool-down station on the course
Cool-down station on the course
The view from the field trial area
The view from the field trial area
Out of the way!
Out of the way!

A great tribute to a great trainer: Tom Davis on Sherry Ebert…

Sherry Ebert, one the nation's top gundog trainers. From
Sherry Ebert, one the nation’s top gundog trainers. From

Back when I first bought Lexi,  there was one trainer the breeder recommended to me over and over again: Sherry Ebert.

Sherry is one of the top trainers in the country, and she turns out great bird dogs. Unfortunately, she’s booked up solid. I’ll find wild grouse in Manhattan before I ever get a training slot with her.

You can read more about Sherry Ebert in this great tribute Tom Davis wrote about her in Sporting Classics. And be sure to check out the video below, too. In it, Sherry gives some good tips and advice on training bird dogs.

Sherry Ebert: On Top of the Bird-Dog World for Decades, by Tom Davine, Sporting Classics 

In 1963 a 17-year-old New Jersey girl named Sherry married a 21-year-old Pennsylvania man named Harold. Horses she knew, dogs she didn’t, but her husband, a wiry redhead with dreams of making it big in the bird-dog world, was fixing to change that. He took Sherry to Georgia, where since 1959 he’d worked for Fred Bevan, a professional trainer with a considerable reputation and a kennel operation to match.

Soon she was working for Bevan, too—and no employer, ever, got a better two-for-the-price-of-one deal than Fred Bevan did when he hired Harold and Sherry Ray. They worked long hours for short pay, their list of duties and responsibilities was endless, but they were the kind of people who couldn’t bear to leave a job unfinished and knew only one way to do it: the right way…

Read all of: Sherry Ebert: On Top of the Bird-Dog World for Decades, by Tom Davine, Sporting Classics

Five dos and don’ts of bird dog development…

Puppies are a lot like kids: When you’re raising them, there are things you want to do and things you want to avoid. Writer, trainer, and gun-dog lover Betsy Danielson covered five in those points in her latest post at If you have a pup that you would like to turn into a hunting machine, I suggest you check it out now.

The Early Development of Bird Dogs, by Betsy Danielson

“My husband, Jerry Kolter, and I run Northwoods Bird Dogs, a pointing dog breeding and training business.

We’ve found that there are five factors vital to early development of puppies. Some of these practices help foster a good attitude that will make them a better dog in general. Others actually begin the very earliest stages of training—even before the puppy is aware it’s being trained. The five factor are…”

Read the entire piece now.

What do you really need to train bird dogs?

A friend of mine has won some of the top field trials in the country. I asked him once about what it really takes to train bird dogs. Steadying barrels and fancy leads? Nope. Wireless launchers and the latest ecollars? Nope. He told me that the most important things are patience and brains.

Ross Callaway is the trainer featured in this video. If you watch him work this young dog, you can see that Ross has plenty of patience and brains.

Eyes or nose –which one is your pup relying on?

Eyes or Nose--which one is your pup using?
Eyes or Nose–which one is your pup using?

Every pup is different. Martha Greenlee at Steady with Style writes that one of the big differences is how pups learns to find birds. Some start with their eyes. Others discover the power of their noses right away. Greenlees believes these differences can send pups down diverging paths the rest of their lives. Read why in her latest from Steady with Style:

“Have you noticed how differently pups Steady with Style, from Martha Greenleerun? Some pups reach for the horizon and chase anything that flies. Other pups work at a closer range, use the wind and point when they find birds. These differences have a lot to do with whether they use their eyes or their nose.”

You can read the entire post here.

Field Trial this weekend in Mass…

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.

Field Trial
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.

March 31-April 1, 2012. Starts 7 a.m. daily

7 a.m. – PHIL FOGG CLASSIC (45 min.)
7 a.m. – OPEN PUPPY (20 min.)

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.

Breed of the Week: The Pachón Navarro

The Pachón Navarro, a Spanish pointing dog
Double-barrel nose on a Pachón Navarro

I’m interested in side by sides — that’s pretty obvious. So when I came across the Pachón Navarros, a  Spanish pointing dog with a double barrel nose, I was intrigued.

According to Craig Koshyk’s Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals, the Pachón Navarros trace back to the very first sporting breeds to appear around the Pyrenees Mountains, way back in the 13th century. The dogs almost disappeared in the early 20th century, but today a growing group of hunters and enthusiasts are rebuilding the breed.

You can go hear to read more about Pachón Navarros. And for the full story, along with tons of great info on a lot more hunting dogs, pick up a copy of Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals today.

The Pachón Navarro
A Pachón Navarro in the field

Introducing Breed of the Week…

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.

Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals
Buy this book now

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.

Starting tomorrow, I’m going to feature a bit about each breed in the book: one dog a week, 52 weeks. To get the full story behind these dogs, purchase a copy Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals for yourself.

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.

Making sense of scent…

Bird scent – I can’t see and I can’t smell it. But when it comes to upland hunting with girl, it’s important that I understand how works. With that in mind, I’ve been trying to learn more about how scent works and how weather affects it. This recent post from Steady with Style does a good job of summing things up.

“Bird dogs use the wind to hunt and find birds. Hunters use the wind to determine the best approach to birdy objectives, and dog trainers like us use it to help our dogs navigate a variety of bird set-ups. Basically, there are four wind situations: upwind, downwind, crosswind, and no wind…”

Read the entire post on Martha Greenlee’s excellent “Steady with Style” blog.

Here’s a short video of a GSP working the scent on a running pheasant:

Here’s a cool look at a search-and-rescue dogs working a “scent cone” to locate its handler: