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A Dream of Tallgrass Prairie

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Please note that if you are shopping for a puppy, I am currently full on reservations for my 2016 litter.  Due to several other things taking my time, I am a few weeks behind on kennel e-mails.  I will respond to them as soon as I can.  I am also behind on returning phone calls and have taken my phone number down again due to the volume of calls that we’re receiving.  If you would like to be placed on a contact list for this year’s litter in the event that there are additional pups (which is fairly unlikely), if you have questions about the breed, or would like a recommendation on a breeder, please e-mail instead of calling.  I am not responding to anything in a timely fashion right now.  I hope to get back on track and getting all of the phone calls and emails returned once the holidays are behind us.

Yesterday was nearly a perfect day for hunting: around 50 degrees with a solid cloud cover but no precipitation.  It was a bit breezy, but nothing compared to some of the gale-force winds we encounter farther west and north.  The corn and soybeans are all harvested and the southeast Nebraska winter farm-scape makes for a rather bleak picture without snow.

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The Lakota have a legend or a prophecy that one day the earth as we know it today will all roll back and will return to what it was before all of this industrialization.  It fascinates me that so many people in this country are wrapped up about the Amazon rainforest or the African savannah, but don’t realize that the most endangered ecosystem on the planet is right in our own backyard.

The tallgrass prairie of the North America is gone.  If you have ever driven US interstate 80 between Grand Island, Nebraska to around Cleveland, Ohio, you know that it is wall-to-wall corn and soybeans.  That all used to be a beautiful blend of native grasses that grow up to 8 feet tall.

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Aside from limited government land and one Nature Conservancy preserve in Oklahoma, it is only through US Farm Bill Programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) that pieces of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem still exist.  Even if you are not active with a local chapter of Pheasants Forever, it is important to keep your national membership up so that we can maintain pressure on the folks in Washington in order to preserve this national treasure.

Our hunt yesterday took us to a half-section of private CRP thanks to Charles’s friend, Matt.  I saw more bobwhite quail yesterday than I have in the whole rest of my life put together.  I have encountered a handful of coveys over the years, but was never able to put together a shot.  Our hunt consisted of Matt on the left outside, Charles in the middle, and me on the right outside, with Fire and BB as our dogs for the day.  We were probably 15 yards from the truck when one got up on my right and flew to my left.  I swung on it and connected on the first shot.  I had to grit my teeth to keep myself from screaming out loud.  But there was definitely a “Yesss!” and a fist pump in there.

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Charles takes the retrieve of my first quail

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Matt was on the edge of the brush, then Charles, with me out in the middle of the grass.

Another 40 yards down the line, a full covey got up with none taken since most of them flew right over my head.  Then another 30 yards down, a covey got up and Charles took one out of it.  As we worked our way around, we got up another two coveys and no birds taken out of them (but great pointing action from the dogs regardless).  When we got to the far end of the property, we were probably 45 minutes into the hunt and had seen 80 birds.  Right as we had changed direction, BB went on point not too far away from me.  I hustled up to her and fully expected to kick up a pheasant in the tall grass.  But instead out popped a single quail and once again I took it down with one shot.

Then it was Charles’s turn for a singleton.

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Fire is obviously excited about her retrieve

As we were nearing the truck, Charles took one more single bird for his total of three.  There were more birds getting up right before the truck that we missed.  This got Charles all fired up, so he took the dogs and headed back through a small area that we hadn’t thoroughly covered.  Matt and I were like, “Go for it,” and stood there chatting as we watched Charles and the dogs work the area over.  Sure enough, Matt and I were dive-bombed by three and Matt took his single bird right over our heads.

The dog work was excellent on this trip, lots of great points and downed bird finds that we never would have gotten without them.  Even on the blind retrieve on Matt’s bird where they were 50 yards away on the other side of a hedgerow, once Charles brought them around, BB and Fire wasted no time in locating our quarry.  I need to carry a notebook with me on trips and write more details about the dog work on our drive home to share with you all.  The shots always stand out in my mind, but even though their hard work is extraordinary, it all becomes a blur.

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Even as we were approaching the truck and unloading, there were birds getting up.  I bet that we saw close to 100 in total.  Completely amazing, to have a bird that was almost completely gone from our area of the state come back with such power.  The incredible forces of nature at work.

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Since these were my first quail, I had to get a photo with the dogs.  It took me 17 years, but I having finally completed the Nebraska upland bird hunting grand slam.  A Nebraska upland bird hunting grand slam (in the order that I harvested them), is: sharptailed grouse, greater prairie chicken, rooster pheasant, and bobwhite quail.

Last night, Charles and I were talking about what a North American Upland Game Bird Grand Slam would consist of.  Here is what we came up with (I am doing this as much for myself as I am for you, I’m afraid I’ll lose my list):

Prairie Grouse: Sage, Sharptailed, Greater Prairie Chicken (the Lesser Prairie Chicken of Kansas is no long able to be hunted as of recently) [3]

Rooster Pheasant

Mountain Grouse: Ruffed, Blue, Spruce, Dusky [4]

Woodcock

Quail: Bobwhite, California (Valley), Mountain, Mearns, Scaled, Gambles [6]

Partridge: Hungarian (Gray), Chukar, Himalayan Snowcock [3]

Ptarmigan: White-Tailed, Willow, Rock [3]

Is that a bucket list?  I think so.  Charles has one on me that I don’t have: the Hungarian/Gray Partridge he took in North Dakota in 2014.

Several of these we’ll have a chance at during our trip next year to Montana for the AWPGA National Specialty.  There will be some trips to Wisconsin, Arizona, California, and Nevada for sure in this lifelong effort.  The long shots will be the ptarmigan and the Himalayan Snowcock.

But alas, it is time to prepare for some Christmas travels.  I do have some pupdates, but they will have to wait for my return.  May the peace and joy of Christmas be with you all, here is a photo of “Chief” and Caleb from earlier this week, who didn’t quite make it through the movie of “A Christmas Carol”.

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The merriest of Christmases and a Happy New Year to you all!

Planned Breeding Announcement and North Dakota Trip 2015

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Planned Breeding Announcement

Update 12/9/2015: Please note that the reservation list for our Spring 2016 litter is full and closed.  Feel free to e-mail if you would like to be placed on a contact list in the event that there are more puppies than there are reservations, or if you would like a recommendation of a quality breeder in your area.

Ben and Velma are going to be bred for a Spring Litter 2016.  I will be raising the pups the last several weeks before they go home and placing them in their new homes.  We co-own Velma (De Jac’s Zip A Dee Doo Dah, NA I Score 112) and currently have 7 month-old “Chief” out of their Spring 2015 litter.  Ben is the son of our foundation dogs, Sam and Sue.  Photos and more information about Ben, Velma, Sam and Sue can be found on the “About Our Dogs” page.  Information about purchasing a pup can be found on our “Puppies” page or by contacting us at bluestemkennels@gmail.com.  This will be the last litter between Ben and Velma; and Velma’s co-owner, Aaron, will be keeping a female pup this year.  My 6 year-old son has been asking, “Who is going to have puppies?” and saying, “I can’t wait for all of the little puppies to follow me around”.  He has never known a spring without puppies, so I’m glad that we’re able to fulfill his wishes.

Hunting Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Bluestem’s Otoe Chief “Chief” on point in the yard (Ben x Velma).

North Dakota 2015

NoDak sign

Many people wonder why we choose North Dakota as our hunting destination as opposed to South Dakota, since SD is closer.  Really, it is a cultural thing.  Almost everything in South Dakota is pay-to-hunt.  There are slews of “hunters” in South Dakota, many of them just telling their wives that they are going hunting so that they can get drunk and hang out with strippers.  Where we go in North Dakota is stodgy German Lutheran farmer country where you can’t even find a Pizza Hut.  Not to say that there aren’t hunters, but they’re not present in the numbers found further south.  Primarily they are from Minnesota and Wisconsin.  There are a few far flung outfits, but not like the massive migration that SD takes in.  Additionally, if the landowner doesn’t post his property “No Trespassing”, it is open to access, which is really nice that so many of the landowners choose to let us walk in.

The week prior to our arrival, Aaron and Velma had a heck of a time in the same area of North Dakota, with 90 degree heat and 50 MPH winds.  A party of three hunters over a week only harvested 11 birds, which is super tough hunting.  Charles and I took about the same number of birds, except that I’m a notoriously crappy shot on roosters.  One of my Facebook friends posted this meme the day that we got home and it totally cracked me up.

Bad Rooster

There’s something about his cackle and his color and his fancy tail that just throw me for a loop.  I’m a great sharptailed grouse and duck shot, but Charles just expects for me to miss roosters anymore.  As Alice in Chains says, “Yeah, they’ve come to snuff the rooster…you know he ain’t gonna die!”  Yet I digress.

We had fabulous weather: the coldest it ever got was 35 one morning, but usually stayed in the 60s for the highs.  The wind is omnipresent in North Dakota, but it wasn’t obnoxious.  Our arrival was early afternoon on Saturday the 17th, so we hurriedly unpacked the truck and headed out to what we call “the big hill”.  A rooster got up way out of range.  As we approached what we call “the magic bush”, we were both prepared for something to pop out.  Something is always there.  Today it was a lone sharptailed grouse about 10 yards away from me.  I took it with one shot.  Our 1 1/2 year old female, “Fire”, came in for the retrieve.  I had forgotten that I was wearing the GoPro and pulled out my pocket camera (as you see in the video), I was so excited.

The first bird of the trip.

The first bird of the trip.

We hit a couple of other spots and I took some pictures, but we didn’t see any more birds that short day.

North Dakota Landscape

October Blue Sky in North Dakota

North Dakota Landscape

Another shot of the wide open spaces

Looking down on Charles and the dogs from way up high

Looking down on Charles and the dogs from way up high

Monday morning we hit up a Federal Waterfowl Production Area.  These areas turned out to be the areas with consistently great hunting.  In this spot, there were about 200 ducks on the pond, there were pheasants in the lowlands and we could see sharptailed grouse flushing in the high hills.  It was tough to know what to go after.  I am very rarely close enough to Charles to get a good video of him taking a bird.  But the first rooster of the trip was the exception.  BB and Fire were super birdy, locking up, we’d walk in and kick around, then we’d release them to relocate.  Finally we got into this flat and neither one of them would budge.  Charles is trying to release them and they would not move.  I had turned my back to move on (I was really distracted by those 200 ducks on the pond), but then heard a flush behind me.  When the bird flushes, you can see where we are with training.  Fire stops on the flush like she is supposed to, since we’ve been working with her a bunch.  BB is out of practice and totally breaks on the flush, which puts her in position for the retrieve.

We continued to follow the marshy slough and again the dogs got birdy.  A rooster got up in my sights, but I missed both shots and Charles got it on the clean-up shot.

Fire on retrieve of the second rooster

Fire on retrieve of the second rooster

On our way back to the truck, we thought that all of the ducks had flushed from the pond.  There was no sneaking up on most of these guys, they were way too wiley.  But a slow female shoveler found its way into Charles’s bag.  Fire was the first one to get to the duck, but BB was rude and stole it from her.

Charles and the shoveler

Charles and the shoveler

The finish for the day was this little dried cattail swamp chock full of roosters.  We had walked 7 miles at the WPA, so I was pretty fried, but still pushed through as best I could.  I have no idea how many roosters I missed, but it was fun listening to the dogs scrounge around through the cattails and rooting them out.  Charles was able to take his last rooster for a limit on the day.

Fire, Chief, and BB with the pheasant limit and duck back at camp.

Fire, Chief, and BB with the pheasant limit and duck back at camp.

We went back to the WPA on Monday, trying our hand at hauling in our portable duck blind, chairs, and decoys.  Once we got our gear set up, we went after a rooster that we had missed the previous day.  He was waiting right where we expected him and Fire took us right to him.  Both of us shot at the bird and initially Charles took credit, but once we cleaned the bird, we could see that we had clearly hit it from both sides.  So it was a team effort.

Charles takes our teamwork rooster from Fire

Charles takes our teamwork rooster from Fire

After sitting in the blind for an hour, all that we had drawn in were coot.  The 200 ducks that were there the day before were nowhere to be found.

The bale blind setup

The bale blind setup

This is a photo of Fire waiting patiently in the blind.  It was taken off of my right shoulder, so she’s resting her head on the butt of my gun and on Charles’s elbow.

Fire waiting in the blind

Fire waiting in the blind

A few more spots in the area were covered, but to no avail.  That day we spooked up the biggest bodied whitetail buck I’ve ever seen in my life, he was probably 250-275 lbs. and when he ran off it sounded like a galloping horse.  There was also what I’ve dubbed the “Corgi Coyote” that we came upon.  It was the shortest legged coyote I’ve ever seen in my life.  Seriously, it had a normal sized body, was really poufy and furry, but had super short legs.  Fire easily caught up with it and towered over it.  But we decided to avoid getting the dogs torn up and called them off of it.   A one rooster day it was, but better than getting skunked (or coyoted).

Charles with our one rooster with Fire, Chief and BB back at camp.

Charles with our one rooster with BB, Chief and Fire back at camp.

Our Tuesday morning stop was yet another large Waterfowl Production Area.  Not ten steps from the truck we got a rooster up.  I took a shot and missed, Charles took both shots and peppered his butt.  He soared over into a little cattail ditch and we took chase.  Once we got over there Chief and Fire went on solid point, the rooster got up and Charles nailed it.  Another one soared out of range off into the distance, which we took note of as Chief got his first wild rooster retrieve at 7 months.  (I have all of this still on my GoPro and haven’t downloaded it yet.  It was all pretty far away from me and the quality probably isn’t good enough to post anyway.)

Somewhere down in those cattails is Chief giving up his first wild rooster retrieve.

Somewhere down in those cattails is Chief giving up his first wild rooster retrieve.

Instead of chasing after the other rooster that had gotten up, we opted for the north end of the lake, where we found nothing.  So chasing the known rooster to the south it was.  As we made our way along the bank, BB knew that there was a rooster somewhere there.  Shaking her birdy booty, she scooted along tracking the scent.  Then she locked up.  I kicked around and kicked around in the cattails.  Finally, I got under a bent down tree and out he came from the other side, where Charles shot him.  I took a shot, but had no chance, since I was tangled up in tree branches.  But that bird is just as much mine as it is his.

Fire brings back the rooster that tried to hide under the tree.

Fire brings back the rooster that tried to hide under the tree.

It is tough to write about long distance trudging and make it interesting.  It took us nine miles of swamp hiking for us to get those two birds.  Swamp hiking is not like walking across a prairie.  It is high stepping while crashing down cattails and trying to keep your feet from getting tangled in reed canary grass.  It is hoping that your boots hold up to keep your feet dry and praying that you don’t walk into too soft of mud and sink in to the point where you can’t get out.  It is tough.

Fire, BB, and Chief with the two WPA roosters

Fire, BB, and Chief with the two WPA roosters

Our last full day was Wednesday, October 21st.  We were headed towards a new WPA, but saw a promising piece of private ground that we decided to work, with lots of harvested crop ground surrounding our favorite: the cattail swamp (see a pattern here?).  Charles took the first bird, with another one heading around to the far end.  I was on it.  I was not going this whole trip without getting a rooster.  Sure enough, the dogs got in there and rousted him up and I shot him squarely on the first shot.  He went tail straight up and nosedived down.  It took the dogs awhile to find it, the cattails were so thick.  I started wading into them towards the bird when I heard Fire wagging her tail and hitting the cattails behind me.  I turned around and she handed me my bird.

Charity Upchurch Rooster Pheasant

My rooster for the trip

Once we moved on, our journeys took us back to the little cattail swamp where I missed a whole bunch of roosters.  I proceeded to miss a whole bunch of roosters again.  One of my favorites was where I was shooting at this rooster’s tail and he was furiously flying away from me and laughing with his evil cackle as he went, but he was flying straight at Charles.  Charles totally lit him up and he went end over end before crumpling to the ground.  Charles finished off the day with a nice limit.

Charles with BB, Chief and Fire, and a limit of roosters on North Dakota PLOTS ground

Charles with BB, Chief and Fire, and a limit of roosters on North Dakota PLOTS ground

Thursday morning brought us to packing up the cabin and heading for home.  But on our way, we couldn’t help but hit up one more Waterfowl Production Area.  Charles took a rooster and the dumbest bufflehead duck on the planet.  The dogs just so happened to be working back towards us and pushed the rooster so that it was flying right at Charles.  The duck seriously flew into us about 5 minutes later and landed on the pond.  We had to yell at it and flap our arms to get it to fly.  I have both the rooster retrieve and the duck retrieve as video on my phone camera, I just haven’t figured out how to get it into a YouTube yet.  But here is the photo with a big North Dakota rock (there are lots of rocks in North Dakota, deposited by glaciers).

Charles with BB and Fire (Chief is rolling on the ground) and the pheasand and duck.

Charles with BB and Fire (Chief is rolling on the ground) and the pheasant and duck.

I wish that I could muster up some sort of profound conclusion or insight from the trip, but waxing philosophical about hunting is not my forte.  I will not talk about how my soul was reconnected to the spirit of the wild on this trip, or how hunting draws us back to the activities of our primitive ancestors, or that it is all about camaraderie of hunters and spending quality time with the dogs.  Hunting is fun and my dogs need the practice.  As Charles said, “this is the forge”.  We learned what our dogs training weakness is: the NAVHDA Utility Test Duck Search.  They did great searching in dry cattails, open field, or open water.  You get them into cattails with knee deep water and they were at a loss.  Usually Sam covered those retrieves and we just never had to worry about it.  Well, now that Sam is gone, the rest of the crew needs to step it up.  We will be doing lots of practice on that between now and next fall when Fire does her first UT with Charles and I re-test with BB.

Although I was not very happy with my shooting, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for roosters.  I need to practice more.  What I was happy with was that I swamp hiked 45 miles in 6 days while carrying an 8 pound shotgun and loaded down with gear.  And never complained or quit.  My right ankle (which is an old high school sports repetitive injury) took a good pounding from all of the rocks and critter holes, but I’ll be ready for Nebraska pheasant opener this weekend.  We’re going to sit out Saturday to try to avoid some of the craziness and see what we can come across on Sunday.

I do have pupdates, but I’m going to save them for next week when there isn’t so much hunting stuff to post up.  And it is time for me to go to our sons’ Halloween parties.

We ate at a South Dakota Pizza Ranch on our way home and this song came on.  I had never heard it before and thought it was funny and appropriate for this forum.  Good luck to all of the hunters out there!

Sam’s Stud Dog Retirement and other news…

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Sam’s Stud Dog Retirement

It was only just today that I added my contact information back on to the site, but a few weeks back it wasn’t on here.  Troy and Cristen were on their way back to Kentucky from an elk hunt in Colorado and were looking for a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon in the process.  He kept scouring the internet looking for our phone number and eventually found it and called.  I picked up the phone on that rainy evening and Troy was asking if I had any pups or dogs available.  We don’t currently have any pups and I don’t sell started dogs, but we had been thinking about re-homing Sam for several weeks.  He has sired over 65 puppies (so he’s made his contribution to the breed) and with 3 other dogs that we are hunting and training, we just didn’t feel like we were spending enough time with him.  So, I told Troy about Sam and he agreed to drive up from where he was camping in Lincoln to visit us.

Charles and I hit it off with Cristen and Troy immediately.  Very down home, hard working folks who have been long time dog owners and know how to give Sam a great farm home.  I had been hesitant to put anything out about wanting to re-home Sam because of the flood of calls and e-mails that would ensue.  I just seemed to know that the right person for Sam would find us.  Troy has a job where he can take Sam along with him and last I heard, Sam hadn’t left Troy’s side.  I am so glad that Sam has a new bud and I hope that they get to spend several more years in the field together.

Cristen, Troy and Sam

Cristen, Troy and Sam

Troy giving Sam a bath back in Kentucky

Troy giving Sam a bath back in Kentucky

Training and Hunting

We’ve gone back to skeet shooting in order to get ourselves ready for the big push coming soon.  We head to North Dakota for five days starting on Saturday looking mainly for ducks and pheasants, but sometimes sharptailed grouse and Hungarian Partridge find their way into our sights.

Charles shooting skeet

Charles shooting skeet

On Saturday, September 19th we chased snipe at our normal spot, but only saw a pair.  The flock that we had been going after previously must have moved on and there were no new arrivals.  Charles bagged one, but I didn’t take the time to photograph.

The following day, we spent the morning out for the last day of Nebraska Low Plains Early Teal Season.  We did spot a pair of ducks, but hesitated to identify them properly, so they were up and gone by during the time that we were hemming and hawing.  Game and Parks is very clear that we can only shoot teal during that early season or we’ll lose the privilege of having it.  Better safe than sorry.  As the day got on, we decided to sit for doves.  I hate sitting over decoys for anything, it is like fishing with a gun, not really for me.  I didn’t even get a shot off, but Charles managed to bag one.  Once again, not even worth taking a photo of.

The spread of dove decoys

The spread of dove decoys

Dove hunting is obviously very serious business.

Dove hunting is obviously very serious business.

Watching and waiting...

Watching and waiting…

The following weekend, on Sunday, September 27th we had a good day out training Chief for the field portion of the NAVHDA Natural Ability test and Fire for the Utility Test.  With Chief we’re mainly focused on extending his range and pointing.  Fire is currently in the process of getting steady to wing, shot, and fall.  We are using the Smith method of e-collar around the loin, then stimulating the dog if it breaks on the wing, shot or fall.  Right now she is steady to the wing, but she really wants to go on that shot.  She is probably 50/50 steady on the shot.  We get good stop-to-flush, which is when the bird gets up surprisingly and she doesn’t chase it.  Her retrieves are really nice.  I don’t photograph when I’m running the e-collar remote while Charles guns, so most of these are with Chief.

Fire on the run

Fire on the run

Chief on the run

Chief on the run

Chief and Fire

Chief and Fire

Chief on point with Charles walking in (22 blank pistol)

Chief on point with Charles walking in (22 blank pistol)

Chief on point. He doesn't quite have the tail style down yet.

Chief on point. He doesn’t quite have the tail style down yet.

A quail going up and away

A quail going up and away

Nebraska Sandhills Duck Opener

We spent the weekend of October 3-4 in our usual spot for Nebraska High Plains duck opener.  It was a very gray and rainy couple of days.

Dreary Sandhills

Dreary Sandhills

The numbers were not what we were used to and when we did get into a bunch of of ducks, we just weren’t in position to take them.  We jumped this little puddle, probably 20 feet wide by 10 feet across that held 5 teal.  We broke the wings on two of them (each of us taking one) and they landed in the grass.  Since we didn’t have dogs out, we went back and got Chief for the retrieve.  He found the first one about 20 yards from the pond.  When we weren’t making progress finding the second one, we brought out Fire and BB.  BB did an amazing job locating the green-winged teal with the broken wing about 60 yards away from where it went down.

BB's fabulous retrieve

BB’s fabulous retrieve

The next thing we did was walk about 7 miles along a creek that has been turned into a network of beaver dam ponds.  This area has produced for us year after year.  Of course, we’re loaded for ducks and see tons of snipe.  On our second sweep, we were loaded for snipe, but saw nothing.  This is a spot that we’ve taken duck limits for 3 people on opening day, but there was no mojo that day.  I was done.  I had been rained on and all sweated up, so I camped out in the truck while Chief and Charles took 7 snipe in another spot.  I was lazy and didn’t get a picture because I had sat in the truck freezing for 2 1/2 hours.  But Charles said that Chief retrieved every single one of them to hand.

Sunday was a similar story.  We spent several hours walking a very tough 5 miles along a winding creek with a tangle around it, hoping for wood ducks and saw nothing.  We went walked another couple miles at another spot and got a big flock of teal up out of range.  One of the big ponds was full of ducks, but we didn’t have our canoe with us to get at them.  Again, I bail towards the end of the day.  Charles and Fire took a nice wood duck drake.  That was it on the day.

Charles, Fire and the Wood Duck drake with no woods in sight.

Charles, Fire and the Wood Duck drake with no woods in sight.

Pupdates

Congratulations to Matt and Chloe on their recent accomplishments!  Chloe is from our 2015 “J” Litter between Sam and BB.  You can sure tell that she is Fire’s sister (but not littermates, Fire is a year older).  She just earned her NAVHDA Natural Ability Prize II here at the Heartland Chapter test.

Chloe's water approach Photo by Pam Robinson

Chloe’s water approach Photo by Pam Robinson

Matt and Chloe

Matt and Chloe

She also just finished her last leg of her AKC Junior Hunter title on Sunday!  She picked up a fourth place ribbon at the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Nebraska’s Amateur Walking Puppy AKC Field Trial on September 17th.  Congratulations AKC/NAVHDA Bluestem Blooming Sunflower JH NA II “Chloe” and Matt!!

George and Harry (a girl) from our “H’ Litter between Sam and Mae have been busy.  George dropped me a line, saying:

Harry is shaping up to be a pretty good girl. We’re seeing glimpses of the adult dog at this point – she’s very sweet. I believe she my be the most outwardly happy dog ever. The tail is always wagging!  She got out last fall almost every weekend, and by my count had just under 50 birds shot over her.

This fall we’ve chased sharpies, but after three times and no birds, I’m giving up on them for the year!  Blue grouse and ducks have been productive.

We had Harry spayed after last fall. We considered doing the hunt testing and breeding her for a while; however, it seemed like breeding is best left to folks that are more dedicated, responsible, invested, you know the type. It does no one a favor to half-ass genetics.

I’m attaching a few pictures. Pheasants were from last fall. It was the last day of hunting, and she put a limit in my bag as well as a companion’s later the same day.

Pictures of aspen are from this weekend and last. We jump shoot ducks off of beaver ponds in this area, and the scenery is to die for this fall.

Wishing you the best in your autumn pursuits!

Harry and last fall's pheasants

Harry and last fall’s pheasants

Harry and the aspens

Harry and the aspens

Harry in the leaves

Harry in the leaves

Tom and Susan up in North Dakota are always busy this time of year with TracHer and crew.  TracHer is from our 2012 “C” Litter between Sam and Mae.

Tom and Susan with TracHer at the right, and a load of sharptailed grouse

Tom and Susan with TracHer at the right, and a load of sharptailed grouse

TracHer retrieving a duck

TracHer retrieving a duck

Tom, Susan and Friends on ND pheasant opener

Tom, Susan and Friends on ND pheasant opener, TracHer on the right

TracHer retrieving a pheasant

TracHer retrieving a pheasant

I am going to do a better job posting closer to weekly, it is too much to go several weeks during hunting season without blogging, then try to get it all down.  My tales get pretty lean, I leave pictures out that I wish I could include, and just drop whole topics when that happens.  Sorry to have been absent this summer, but I appreciate your patience while I took a break.  Things happen, right?

Before I die I will shoot a snipe and other tales from the prairie…

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My poor neglected readers, I can tell that you miss me.  Yet hunting season is upon us and who needs any other muse?  I typically write forwards chronological, but today I’m feeling reverse chronological.  That way my title makes sense.

Snipe, Sora and Early Teal

Charles and Charity ready for some fun

Charity and Charles ready for some fun

Yesterday we hit the local swamp in search of snipe, sora rails, and early teal.  It is a pretty popular swamp, as there were a couple of sets of duck hunters in there before we were.  Since we were late to the party, we went to the other end of the parcel.  We spent an hour or two there and each of us missed a sora rail.  At that point we figured that the duck hunters had moved on, but first Charles wanted to go to town for a hot dog.

So when you roll into small town Nebraska with a crazy dog box in the back of your truck with dog heads hanging out of it, a travel carrier on top with stickers from all over the country, and both of you are dressed in camo: you are crazy old man bait.  The old man had some great tales: how he had just intentionally ran over a whole flock of turkeys (because of the myth that they kill pheasants and grouse.  He even showed us the carcasses in the back of his truck), his pheasant hunting escapades in South Dakota, how much he wants to retire to Oklahoma (really? why?), he showed us pictures of his purple ’67 Dodge Charger, then proceeded to do a massive burnout with his pickup (when you squeal your tires on purpose) on his way out of the gas station.  I love Nebraska.

We went back to the main parking lot of the secret swamp and had the place to ourselves.  But the duck hunters had left their mark.  Shame on them.

Party foul

Party foul

Once we got up into the swamp, Charles got a sora after I missed a few.  Then with his keen eyes, he spotted a couple of teal on some open water about 20 yards ahead of us.  I love how teal just let us jump them, we never get away with it with mallards.  Charles grabbed Fire by the collar and I grabbed BB (here is where good heeling training would come in handy, but we’re pretty rusty), and we crept up to the pond.  When the two teal jumped, Charles hit the one in the lead with his first shot, I hit the one behind with my second.  Both were really solid hits, his to the head and mine to the body, so we didn’t have any flapping in the water (which I hate).  Fire was right out on the water retrieve, which BB proceeded to steal (bad dog).  Fire went back out for the second duck too.  Chief had no clue really, we just had him out there for exposure.

From there we made our way out to the snipe field.  It is sort of a wet field that cattle graze so that the grass is all short.  It is really muddy in places and where is isn’t muddy it is pocked with deep cow hoofprints.  This place kicks my butt, I have yet to shoot a single thing there and I’ve been hunting it for years.  It has even claimed a pair of my rubber boots: I sank in and couldn’t get out, so I had to walk by to the truck in my socks.  During dry years, we stumble across the embedded boots every now and then.

We worked the eastern end of the field to no avail, we figure the flights aren’t in yet.  We work the central part of it, and again nothing.  Right as we start to slack off and let the dogs work ahead…BB locks on point and Chief and Fire proceed to bust a flock of about 10.  Out of range, no chance of a shot.  Yet the way that snipe work there are always stragglers.  Charles knocks a couple down.  I proceed to whine about how many snipe he’s shot and how I’ve yet to hit one, so he lets me walk ahead.  I proceed to blast away at another 5 with no success, while he bags a couple more.  As we’re walking back, BB again locks on a solid point.  I go in for the flush and yet again miss the snipe.  But wow, to have a dog who knows how to point snipe, that is pretty awesome.

Charles with four snipe, a sora, and a teal

Charles with four snipe, a sora, and a teal

Charity and Fire with a Teal

Charity and Fire with a Teal

AWPGA National Specialty 2015

I just had to drive a couple of hours over to Des Moines, Iowa for the National Specialty this year.  It kicked off on Thursday morning with a fun hunt at Doc’s Hunt Club in Adel, Iowa.  I accidentally left my camera at the hotel that day.  But we had a good turnout and folks took turns taking their dogs out with birds.  I sent all of my dogs to the Sandhills with Charles, so I didn’t have any.  We did a lot of visiting and had a burger and hot dog lunch in the clubhouse.  There was a tracking seminar held in the afternoon, but I have worked AKC Tracking tests with our local kennel club before, so I skipped and sat in the hot tub, then took a nap:)  In the evening, we had our annual meeting and welcome reception.

Friday was the big show.  It was great to see so many owner handled dogs.  Remember Gino Troy from the NAVHDA test in May?  Well his bitch took Best of Breed.  Yay, Gino and Brie (and his breeder Kristi Rogney of Whiskeytown Sporting Dogs).

Best of Breed Ring

Best of Breed Ring

L to R: Kristi, handler, Brie and Gino

L to R: Kristi, handler, Brie and Gino

We were free for the rest of the afternoon and evening, so I found a new home at the Court Avenue Brewing Company in the Historic East Village of Downtown Des Moines.  The people there were so friendly and the atmosphere so nice (like a mini Old Market Omaha Upstream Brewery), that I thought that I’d give them a free plug.  If you need some beer and grub in Des Moines, this is the spot.  It was packed on Saturday for the Iowa vs. Illinois St. football game, but I had the place to myself on Friday after the specialty show.

Court Ave Brewery Des Moines

Court Ave Brewery Des Moines

AWPGA steins

AWPGA steins

We had a great time at the banquet Saturday night following the supported entry show, where I won a set of four of cool beer steins in the newly launched pre-banquet games (pictured here with 24 oz. each of Nebraska Brewing Company India Pale Ale).  I had the winning bid on the silent auction of two books to add to my collection of dog books in French that I can’t read.

French Griffon Books

French Griffon Books

So, that puts learning French on my to-do list over the next few years.

The food was excellent and so was the company.  There are some things in life that I just love above all others.  Food is one of them.  From left going clockwise: roll, seven layer dessert bar, pork chop, potatoes, creamed corn, green beans with bacon, spring green salad, and a fried boneless chicken breast in the middle.

I took some of everything.

I took some of everything.

Jay Hoth of Switchgrass Sporting Dogs was solo, with Lisa back in Oklahoma looking after the kids.  He had some company at the banquet: Sheryl Dierenfield, Shona Welle, and Kina Palmer on his right all from Colorado, then myself and Julie Baker, both from Nebraska on his left.

Jay Hoth's big date

Jay Hoth’s big date

I wish that I had won this sign in the games, but I didn’t.  Some of my other problems:

Addiction

Addiction

I was able to put my amateur auctioneering skills to use at the live auction.  When I was a child growing up in Valentine, Nebraska, there just wasn’t a whole lot to do sometimes.  So my dad would take me to the sale barn to watch cattle being auctioned off.  Between that and all of my time spent as “auction model” in my younger days for Pheasants Forever, I was able to pull it off.

Charity auctioning off a cool welcome sign

Charity auctioning off a cool welcome sign

I was under the impression that supported entry on Sunday was later than it was, so keeping with tradition, I overslept the morning after the banquet and missed it (last year in Maine, I overslept and missed my flight).

It was a small turnout, only 37 dogs entered in the specialty show, but we managed to have a heck of a good time regardless.  Great job, Ruth Vogel and the 2015 specialty committee.  Next year, we will be turning it up in Helena, Montana Sept. 19-26.  Hunting seasons will also be open, so we’ll be there!

Sandhills Sharptailed Grouse Opener

Charles and the dogs had a great opening weekend in the Nebraska Sandhills chasing sharptailed grouse.  They limited out within two hours of their start time each day.  Only 8 shells shot and 6 birds in the bag!  I kept saying to myself in Des Moines, “I can’t believe I’m missing opening weekend to watch a dog show”.  But I’m pretty committed to my dog club friends and glad that I didn’t miss them being in the neighborhood.

Opening day limit. From back to front: Fire, BB, and Chief

Opening day limit. From back to front: Fire, BB, and Chief

Day 2 limit, back to front: Sam, Fire, and Chief

Day 2 limit, back to front: Sam, Fire, and Chief

Parting thoughts

I have probably missed around 100 snipe in my hunting career, so I’m going to be in pursuit.  Probably starting tomorrow.  I’m taking at least a semester away from teaching and am just going to hunt and dog train full-time.  I had thought about going solo and doing Wyoming sage grouse in a week, but I really need to get into shape (and save our money) for duck opener in the Sandhills the first week of October, and North Dakota mixed bag mid-October.  Here’s sort of my goals/timetable:

  1. I’m going to handle Chief for the first time in NAVHDA Natural Ability in the Spring.
  2. Charles will NAVHDA UPT Fire in either the spring or fall of next year.
  3. We’re going to train BB back up, giving her a year off from whelping, so that I can handle her in NAVHDA UT in the fall of 2016.  Depending on where Fire is at, she may also UT at the same test with Charles.
  4. In the next 2-3 years, I want to do Nevada chukar.  I am not in shape enough for that terrain.  Also, I have Montana staring me in the face next year, I’d like to chase some mountain grouse (blue, spruce, ruffed, ptarmigan) and the sage grouse while we’re there.  Time to get to work.

I was super excited to see Brian Koch make contact with the Himalayan Snowcock in the Ruby Mountains of Nevada within the last couple of weeks.  He doesn’t have this pic up on his Ultimate Upland website yet, but here’s the photo from his Facebook page:

Brian's Himalayan Snowcock encounter. Photo by Brian Koch ultimateupland.com

Brian’s Himalayan Snowcock encounter. Photo by Brian Koch ultimateupland.com

That is one for the bucket list!  Keep chasing birds

Heartland Spring Test, Chief, and Pupdates

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Heartland NAVHDA Spring Test

Immediately following the last of this year’s puppies going home, I went down to the Heartland Chapter Spring Test.  Much to my surprise, I had heard that my friend Gino Troy from Austin, Texas and his dog “Brie” from Whiskeytown Kennels were up doing UPT.

Gino and Brie

Gino and Brie

I have no idea what the results were, but it was good to have a visit.  Our one year old female, Fire, her sister Gracie tested Natural Ability but didn’t get a prize.  Still it was nice to see how well she has turned out in the looks department.  I think that she is prettier than Fire.

Gracie and Curt at the Heartland NAVHDA Spring Test

Gracie and Curt at the Heartland NAVHDA Spring Test

Bluestem’s Otoe Chief

I am really happy with how Chief is coming along.  He is really growing and is a nice close-working dog.  It is interesting to contrast his style with Fire’s, who will probably be bringing home some AKC Amateur Walking Derby ribbons this fall: speed queen.  But here are some photos of Chief as we’ve been training him over the summer.

Chief at 3.5 mos

Chief at 3.5 mos

Chief at 3.5 mos

Chief at 3.5 mos

Chief at 3.5 mos

Chief at 3.5 mos

Chief wasn't sure about the quail at first

Chief wasn’t sure about the quail at first

Chief retrieved the quail 20 times once he got used to it.

Chief retrieved the quail 20 times once he got used to it.

Chief at 5.5 mos

Chief at 5.5 mos

Chief pointing a live quail at 5 mos

Chief pointing a live quail at 5 mos

Chief retrieving the mallard Dokken at 5.5 mos

Chief retrieving the mallard Dokken at 5.5 mos

Pupdates

A month or so after the pups went home, I got a few pupdates.  Here is Willa out in Colorado with Mort and Patty.  She is from Sam and BB and would have been about 3.5 months in this picture.  Here is what Patty had to say, “Hello Charity – we have been meaning to email you and let you know what a complete delight our puppy girl is.  Her name is Willa now and she is thriving.  You and your family did such a wonderful job socializing the puppies.  We feel very lucky to have picked your kennel and are so happy with such an amazing little creature.”

Willa in the water

Willa in the water

Megan and John, also from Colorado, sent this update on Remi (who I called “Little Sioux” because she reminded me of my first Griff, Sweetgrass Sandhill Sioux, who would be her grandmother).  This also would have been at about 3.5 months and she is out of Ben and Velma.

Just wanted to send you a quick update. Sioux /AKA Remi is such a perfect fit! Her spunky personality and cuddle-bug nature is the best blend. Logan was NOT a happy camper when we brought her home, but he is quickly coming around and is trying to get her to chase him through the fields. She can’t really keep up with him just yet but I suspect will give him a run for his money soon. Her hidden talent seems to be surprise attacking dandelion fluffs, which entertains her no end. She’s quickly picking up on commands and loves to learn new things.

Remi and big bro Logan

Remi and big bro Logan

Matt down in Lincoln, Nebraska shared some videos of when Chloe was around 3.5 months old.  Here is what he had to say:

Just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know how Chloe is doing.  Chloe has been amazing in the house and has been a breeze to potty train so far.  She loves to pick on our old lab, Ace, but he takes it like a champ.  She gets really frustrated that he doesn’t respond to her little barks, she doesn’t realize he’s deaf!

Chloe loves to hang out in her swimming pool while the kids play in their pool.  https://youtu.be/LzYFENNw2Uo

Chloe has seen pigeons on several occasions.  She has had some awesome points already and is starting to get introduced to the starter pistol.  She went from full speed to perfect point in an instant on the first bird last weekend.  I wish I would have had video because it was awesome!  She came into the bird in this video from slightly upwind and I think she was surprised by how close she was when she found it.  https://youtu.be/uHqLwwVcpY8

She is really starting to love the water!  We started doing some easy water retrieves parallel to the shore last weekend.  https://youtu.be/Fjx6Xmyus_Q   Last night we tried stretching her out in the water a little further and she didn’t miss a beat (even though I forgot my bumper and had her retrieving a piece of wood!).  https://youtu.be/GzS-wRRsK-c

Basic obedience is coming along nicely.  She is so smart and picks up on things very fast and is very eager to please! 

I plan on taking her to her first training day this weekend so we are looking forward to that.

We are so thrilled to have such a calm little pup!  Everyone she’s met just raves about how calm and laid back she is for such a young puppy. 

As you can tell, we are like proud new parents wanting to show off our new baby.  We just wanted to let you know how happy we are that we were able to get a puppy from BB and Sam.

Susan and TracHer took another shot at the NAVHDA UT test, but didn’t take home a prize.  Which is okay, it is a tough test.  In the deed the glory.

TracHer and Susan

TracHer and Susan

Congrats to Ernie and Duncan on a NAVHDA NA Prize III at the Central Dakota Chapter Spring test!

2015 puppies have gone home!

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Puppy shoppers please note that I am not yet ready to start taking reservations for 2016.  I need to catch my breath a bit!

It was great meeting all of the new owners last weekend.  It was a very busy one with 16 pups going home between Friday and Sunday, with the very last one yesterday evening.  Last weekend was not only puppy homegoing weekend, but was also supposed to be my graduation weekend for my master’s degree.  We just couldn’t make it work between the puppies and the Heartland NAVHDA Chapter Spring Test.  We didn’t run any dogs, but Charles and Conrad cooked breakfast and lunch.  But I’ll write more about that later.

Taking 18 puppies to the vet all at once was quite a challenge for me and the staff at Heartland Animal Hospital.  We’ve got a system down to keep all of the puppies straight. (You’ll have to excuse the grubby Pet Porter, I couldn’t get my other wire crate to fit in my van and I was in a hurry)

My copies of the puppy photos and owners

My copies of the puppy photos and owners

The vet tech's copy of the puppy photos and owners, with the mountain of microchip injectors.

The vet tech’s copy of the puppy photos and owners, with the mountain of microchip injectors.

Dr. Andrew Kliewer DVM and Crystal the vet tech.

Dr. Andrew Kliewer DVM and Crystal the vet tech.

Omaha Public Schools Zoo Academy students from Omaha South High School assisted with the pups.

Omaha Public Schools Zoo Academy students from Omaha South High School assisted with the pups.

I have to send out a big thanks to the Kliewers (both Andrew and his wife, Susan, are vets) and the staff for helping us with all of these pups!  The vet techs are amazing!  An extra big thanks to Tracy, who I didn’t get a picture of, but she is always helping me organize all of the records and paperwork.

I had one unplanned air shipment of a pup up to North Dakota, but other than that, everyone else came to the house.  Here’s the departure of the flying pup at the Delta Air Cargo office.  Some people worry about flying pups, but I’ve done it about 20 times now and have never had a problem.

Ivan on his way to Minot via Minneapolis.

Ivan on his way to Minot via Minneapolis.

Ivan arrived in Minot safe and sound for the Christoffersons

Ivan arrived in Minot safe and sound for the Christoffersons

Pickups started right after work on Friday the 8th.  Luckily the rain stopped for us for the weekend, because it has been raining for about 2 weeks straight prior to that and has rained every day since that weekend.  Feels like we’re living in a rainforest or something!  You’ll notice how green it is.  It is illegal to complain about too much rain in Nebraska, so I will just tough out the mud knowing that there are hot, dry summer days to come.

Here are the homegoing photos from Friday the 8th:

Shane took Jasmine home to Plainfield, Iowa

Shane took Jasmine home to Plainfield, Iowa

Patty and Mort took Jane home to Elbert, Colorado

Todd took Iris home to Brookings, South Dakota

Lorraine took Joslyn home to Oskaloosa, Iowa

Lorraine took Joslyn home to Oskaloosa, Iowa

Jim will keep Ichabod here in Omaha

Jim will keep Ichabod here in Omaha

And the pickups from Saturday the 9th:

Charles took Jericho home to Minot, North Dakota

Charles took Jericho home to Minot, North Dakota

Lewis took Jackie home to Black Hawk, Colorado

Lewis took Jackie home to Black Hawk, Colorado

Megan picked up Irene for a temporary stay in Lincoln, Nebraska, but soon on to Jamestown, Colorado

Megan picked up Irene for a temporary stay in Lincoln, Nebraska, but soon on to Jamestown, Colorado

Patty and Mort took Jane back to Elbert, Colorado

Patty and Mort took Jane back to Elbert, Colorado

Mort had an interesting story about purchasing his first Wirehaired Pointing Griffon from Harrison Reimers of Kalispell, Montana in 1978.  Mort’s puppy was the only one who lived out of the whole litter, the rest died from parvo.  High mortality in litters was not uncommon in the past.  It is really a miracle with how busy I was this semester that I ended up with 18 perfectly healthy puppies.  But I am a stickler for sanitation and health care.  The last 2-3 weeks, I was probably spending 2-3 hours a day in the kennels keeping them clean (puppies poop A LOT!).  Yet I digress.  More homegoing photos:

Scott took Janus home to Johnson, Nebraska

Scott took Janus home to Johnson, Nebraska

Andrea and family took Jackson home to Lincoln

Andrea and family took Jackson home to Lincoln, Nebraska

Jeremy and family are keeping Jade here in Omaha

Jeremy and family are keeping Jade here in Omaha

James took Isabel back to Sioux City, Iowa. He and his wife also have a 3 week old human baby!

James took Isabel back to Sioux City, Iowa. He and his wife also have a 3 week old human baby!

Pickups on Sunday the 10th:

Andy took Igor home to Byron, Minnesota

Andy took Igor home to Byron, Minnesota

Trevor took Jenna home to Aurora, Missouri

Trevor took Jenna home to Aurora, Missouri

Shaun and family are keeping Jamaica in Omaha

Shaun and family are keeping Jamaica in Omaha

Yesterday was my last homegoing:

Greg took Jessica home to Bismarck, North Dakota

Greg took Jessica home to Bismarck, North Dakota

Iroquois is now Bluestem's Otoe Chief

Iroquois is now Bluestem’s Otoe Chief “Chief” and will hopefully turn into our next stud dog! (sorry for the bad phone pic)

I have pupdates and pics from the NAVHDA test, but I really need to get on with the day! Oh, new puppy owners, I will get all of the NAVHDA and AKC registration papers in the mail to you on Monday, so keep an eye on your mailboxes for that (I will also send an e-mail when they go).  Thanks to everyone for providing great homes for these little ones!

The last week is here!

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Bluestem Kennels 5th Anniversary

Happy 5th Birthday to our “A” Litter, including Whiskey in Nevada!  Thanks Pete and Deborah for this pic with their daughter, Andi, Whiskey, and some birds that they brought home.

Andi, Whiskey, and chukars

Andi, Whiskey, and birds

I had no idea what I was doing when I let Sam breed Sue in late February 2010 when Charles was traveling to India on business.  I figured I would sell a few pups out of the newspaper just to see what it was like.  But the Omaha World-Herald cost $50 a Sunday to advertise, so I looked for something cheaper.  I settled with gundogbreeders.com and was trying to figure out a way to better communicate with my new puppy owners rather than sending pictures through e-mail.  So, in May of 2010 this blog was born and later on spawned a YouTube channel.  At this point, the blog has had 370,000 views from all over the world.  Some of what I have posted has been flat out dumb.  Some people say that I don’t deserve the attention since I don’t have an alphabet soup of titles tied to all of my dogs names.  But here is what I do have: a love of this breed, a love of hunting, and a love of sharing through writing and photography.  Even though the pressure of the attention on top of my family and work responsibilities makes me want to go and live under a bridge sometimes, I don’t see me changing anything any time soon.  I know that there are people that get bored at their desk jobs and guys overseas who are just homesick for any news from home.  I’m glad that I get to help entertain you.  Of course there are the fun new puppies every year, hunting trips, and good news from our puppy owners that keeps me going.  I have had a very busy semester and have not been the greatest ambassador for the breed or sport lately, but soon that will all change and my schedule will open back up so that I can again be available for phone conversations.  I’ve missed my hunting and dog phone chats!  This whole thread has gone on for way too long and it is time to move on.

Puppy homegoing

Here are this week’s videos:

I will ship one of the puppies to North Dakota via Delta Pet First/Air Cargo first thing Friday morning, then Friday evening the rest will begin their journeys by car.  It will be a weekend-long labor of love.  I’m looking forward to meeting many of my new owners for the first time.  If you have not yet set up a time to pick up your puppy, please e-mail me at bluestemkennels@cox.net.

Instead of re-posting the puppy pics with their owners listed, I simply put the owner’s last name and the state in the captions of the photos in last week’s post.

Here is what you need to bring for a car trip:

Small collar (12-16 in. adjustable), leash, a towel or blanket if someone is holding the pup in the car, a crate if there is nobody holding the pup, paper towels in case of an accident, food and water dishes if the ride is longer than 5 hours (I will give you a baggie of food). And of course, the remainder of your balance for the pup (see e-mail).

Here is what I will give you: a puppy, a bill of sale, a 3-year health and hip guarantee, vaccination record, microchip information and the NAVHDA registration paperwork.  It looks like the AKC paperwork is running behind schedule and I will need to follow-up with that by mailing it to you.  The litters are AKC registered, we just need to get our puppy forms in the mail.

Right now the pups are eating Purina One Smartblend, but feel free to use any high quality puppy food.  Also purchase a liquid de-wormer to administer a day or two after returning home.  Even though the pups will have been de-wormed before I send them home, I want them to be parasite free.  Since they have been living outside and running in the woods, there is a higher risk.  You’ll also want to give your puppy a bath with puppy shampoo when you get home, since they play in the dirt quite a bit.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with additional questions about pickup.

Pupdates

Congratulations to Sal and Bluestem Winchester “Chester” from our “C” litter in 2012 between Sam and Mae.  Chester is now an AKC Senior Hunter!  Great job, gang!

Sal and Chester

Sal and Chester

Susan bought the GoPro Fetch harness, which I have also purchased.  I’d like to see if I can manage to put the Hero2 that I currently own on the Fetch harness, then get either a new GoPro (rumor has it that the Hero5 comes out in October, but I might not wait that long) to wear on the chest harness, then film the same hunt from both angles.

So here is Susan’s video of TracHer in North Dakota, who is actually Chester’s “C” litter sister:

I thought that this was a funny picture that Jimmy down in Oklahoma took of Zoey from our 2013 “E” Litter between Sam and Sue.

Zoey and the Camel

Zoey and the Camel

Time to prepare for the adventures coming soon!  See you in a week and a half with puppy homegoing photos!

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