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Pheasant 2014: North Dakota and Nebraska

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North Dakota Wrap-Up

As mentioned in the last post, Charles and the dogs were in North Dakota last week from Sunday until Thursday.  Sunday they got a hun, and Monday a duck and two pheasants were in the bag (both of those photographs are in last week’s blog post).  Tuesday they bagged 4 ducks, but they were mixed in with everything else on the stringer in the photograph and it was getting dark, so I opted to spare you another body count photo.  Wednesday, they got a snipe and a rooster.

Snipe and Rooster from Wednesday, October 22nd

Snipe and Rooster from Wednesday, October 22nd

One of Charles’s friends tipped him off to a good spot to hit on his way out of North Dakota, where he got a limit in an hour and a half on Thursday.

North Dakota Rooster Limit

North Dakota Rooster Limit

I apologize for the body count photos, especially to one of my regular readers who scolded me recently about having too many of them on my blog.  We’ll get some more artful action photos with dogs in them and such next year, I opted to stay home since I got in plenty of travel earlier in the year.

Nebraska Opening Weekend

We decided not to wade into the fray of opening morning, but I was bound and determined to get out on Sunday.  Charles decided that he wanted to come along too even though he had a cold and had just spent the whole week hunting.  We went out midday and by the time we were headed back to the truck later in the afternoon it was 86 degrees out.  Way too hot.  He got 2 roosters within the first 5 minutes of our arrival to the field.  I got a shot off on one a bit later, but missed.

The second rooster that Charles shot yesterday still had enough juice to fly 80 yards or so into some thick sunflowers, making Sam and Fire work hard to find the carcass.  Fire was the one who found it and brought it right to Charles.  He wanted to make sure that he got the bird from her in a timely fashion, so I didn’t have a chance to take a picture since I was carrying my shotgun.  Darn.

I took Wednesday morning of this week off from work so that I can get out on my own.  Not that it will necessarily change my shooting luck with rooster pheasants, but I’m going to give it a try.

Yet another dorky hunting selfie from Charles and Charity

Yet another dorky hunting selfie from Charles and Charity

It appears that the top pheasant in the photograph below was released by Nebraska Game and Parks this year, if you notice the nostrils are enlarged from the blinders that were on the bird during its time in the pen.  The bottom bird is either a survivor from last year or a wild hatch.

Notice the size of the pheasant nostrils

Notice the size of the pheasant nostrils

Pupdates

Bob from Minnesota sent me an e-mail and photo of “Ed” from our 2013 “E” Litter from Sam and Sue.

Just wanted to give you a quick update on Ed.  We finally made it out pheasant hunting in MN this past weekend.  I managed to get Ed and my oldest daughter, Faith, out for a bit.  In a year in which MN DNR says the numbers of birds are down, Ed managed to find and point 7 birds in a quick morning walk.  We have done no live bird work since last year and he was flat out amazing!  He is definitely ready for our annual trip to North Dakota next week.  I will get you some pictures upon our return from that trip.  Definitely looking forward to it.

Ed and Faith in MN

Ed and Faith in MN

Curt out in Central Nebraska shot this video a couple of weeks ago of our Fire’s sister “Gracie” doing her first water retrieve at 8 months of age: 

Congratulations to Lindsay and Bluestem’s Big Sky Rendezvous CGC NA I “Midge” in Montana for qualifying for the AKC Owner Handler Series.  Midge and Lindsay were #8 (tie) in conformation show points in the series (click photo to enlarge results).

AKC Owner Handler Series Rankings

AKC Owner Handler Series Rankings

I hope that everyone who celebrates Halloween has a happy and safe one.  I do not dress up my dogs, so don’t even think that you’ll be seeing that next week.  Not gonna happen.  But thanks to all of my owners for the updates and I’ll be sure to keep you posted as to what is going on here.  Happy Haunting and Hunting!

 

North Dakota Hunting and Hunt Test Pupdates

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AWPGA Health and Genetics Database

Fellow Wirehaired Pointing Griffon breeders and owners: please participate in the AWPGA Health and Genetics Database.  You do not have to be an AWPGA member to participate.  We are looking to collect as much pedigree and health information as possible, so that we can go forward with a clearer picture of where the breed is currently and make appropriate breeding decisions. http://www.awpgadb.com/

2014 Hunting Issue of the Griffonnier

I am now co-editor of the Griffonnier with Amy Caswell-O’Clair from New Hampshire.  The first issue that I’ll be working on is appropriately the Hunting Issue 2014.  If you are an AWPGA member and have hunting training tips, hunting tales and photographs, or game bird recipes, please e-mail them to griffonniereditor@cox.net by November 30th.  If you aren’t an AWPGA member, please consider joining us: http://awpga.com/beamember.html.  We will be having our annual gathering in Fall 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa and would love to have you all join us.

Pups Hunting in North Dakota

I’m getting good reports out of North Dakota from both my puppy owners and Charles.  Here’s Susan’s North Dakota hunting party, with our pup TracHer from our 2012 “C” Litter from Sam and Mae.  Susan and TracHer are on the far left of the photo.

Susan and TracHer with friends and family.

Susan and TracHer with friends and family.

Susan said that the numbers were great and that they all would have had their limits if their shots had connected.  I know that feeling!

Ernie is having fun in North Dakota with 7 month old Duncan, from our 2014 “H” Litter from Sam and Mae.

Duncan and Ernie with a pheasant limit

Duncan and Ernie with a pheasant limit

Ernie has also picked up a GoPro camera and got some video of points and retrieves from Duncan.  GoPro seems to have improved the distance perception in the newer models, it seems more true to real sight.  I couldn’t be more pleased with this footage, what great work for a 7 month old pup.  

Hunt Test News

Congratulations to Sal and Chester (TracHer’s littermate) on two AKC Senior Hunter passes at the Long Island (New York) Viszla Club the weekend before last!

Sal and Chester with SH ribbons

Sal and Chester with SH ribbons

Also, congratulations to John and his pup, Cle, who is our Fire’s brother, on his NAVHDA Natural Ability Prize III at 8 months with the MidSouth NAVHDA Chapter in Pelham, Tennessee over the weekend.

More North Dakota

The dogs and Charles rolled into North Dakota mid-day Sunday, giving them some time to hunt in the afternoon and evening.  He took his first ever Hungarian Partridge then.  (Sorry for the low quality phone photos)

Charles's first Hungarian Partridge

Charles’s first Hungarian Partridge

I received another truck and bird photo mid-afternoon today, a drake redhead and two nice roosters.  The story on the duck is that he was working a slough surrounded by a cornfield when a group of ducks got up from the pond.  Charles tucked down, with this one flying in range.  The duck landed in standing corn and little Fire retrieved it.  He took the two roosters an hour or so later within 5 minutes of each other, but saw nothing else the rest of the day.  Still a nice bag.

Drake Canvasback and two roosters

Drake redhead and two roosters

Good luck to everyone else in the field out there!

Duck Opener and Fire’s NAVHDA Natural Ability Test

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Duck Opener

Nebraska High Plains duck opener on October 4th found us in our usual haunts up in the Sandhills.  We didn’t get out into the field until around 9 AM both days; that is the nice thing about jump hunting as opposed to sitting over decoys.  Sitting over decoys requires three things that I don’t like to do: 1) haul excessive amounts of gear 2) get up early 3) hold still.  So even though Charles had brought up all of the decoys and blinds and such to do it, we just didn’t.

We work a network of small ponds, swamps, and beaver dammed creeks trying to keep the dogs on heel as best we can.  It is about a 50% success rate on a jump as far as getting shots off.  Sometimes a dog will spook a flock, other times we come across a pond that we didn’t know was there at full standing profile and scare them off, or take a shot at a single in one pond that sets off a giant flock in the next pond.

We’ve taken up enough of a pattern that the game warden was able to track us down on Sunday just because he wanted to chat and see what we’d gotten into.  Charles took 3 teal and a hen wood duck on Saturday and I took 3 teal.  Sunday was a 6 hour day in the field and I took nothing, Charles got 2 snipe and a mallard hen.  I got a couple of videos, the first of Fire retrieving Charles’s mallard hen, her first wild duck retrieve: .  The second is my first anything of the year, I think that I’ve shot at 15 snipe this year with no luck: 

The photo from Saturday is a bit goofy, I just threw the camera up on the tripod, hit the timer and took the shot.  I obviously did not review the pic for my odd facial expression while talking to the crazy dogs.  Oh well, there it is.

Opening day, Saturday, October 4th.

Opening day, Saturday, October 4th.

BB and Charles with Sunday's quarry.

BB and Charles with Sunday’s quarry.

Fire’s NAVHDA Natural Ability Test

Before I get into the test itself, I want to tell you about my new friend, Bob.  He is 75 years-old and ran his 52nd NAVHDA test on Sunday.  He is a retired truck driver from Pennsylvania who was en route to my beloved Sandhills and has been traveling out there for many years.  Before he takes his buddies hunting in the Sandhills, they are required to read the famous Nebraska author Mari Sandoz’s novel Old Jules.  I am certified as a middle and high school English teacher in Nebraska and have not read Old Jules.  Bob laid quite a bit of grief and shame on me, so I will be going on to Amazon to pick up a copy later today since it is not available on iBooks.

My new friend Bob from Pennsylvania

My new friend Bob from Pennsylvania

Bob travels in style

Bob travels in style

027

His cool license plate

My favorite picture of the day was of Blaine Erkenbrack looking on as his daughter, Alexa, tossed the bumper for “Khloe”, a 14 month-old German Shorthaired Pointer. Khloe and the gang earned a Prize I, Score 112 in Natural Ability.

Blaine, Alexa, and Khloe.

Blaine, Alexa, and Khloe.

Eight month-old Bluestem’s Prairie Fire “Fire” now has a NA I at the end of her name, with a maximum score of 112 points.  Thanks to Senior Judge Mike Garriott of Falls City, Nebraska, Gabby Awbray of San Diego, California, and Darin Tolzin from Atlantic, Iowa for coming out to judge.  It was a little chillier than what we’ve been used to lately, but there was no rain, and the breeze was pleasant, not a howling gale.

Fire found a number of quail in the field and pointed them all, but proceeded to rip almost every single one (catching the bird before it flushes, also known as a “trap”).  There were a few that were able to get up and fly.

BB working the thick tallgrass cover

Fire working the thick tallgrass cover

Fire slamming into point.  Two quail successfully flushed from this one.

Fire slamming into point. Two quail successfully flushed from this one.

Charles holds Fire's collar while a quail flushes.

Charles holds Fire’s collar while a quail flushes.

After 2 Natural Ability dogs ran the field, they did their track, so 2 field runs, 2 tracks, alternating.  There were 8 Natural Ability dogs running for the day.  The track was a mowed strip leading into a dense, food plot-sized growth of native tallgrass prairie.  Conrad and Charles have been working with Fire quite a bit on the tracking skill and it paid off.

Fire successfully working the track.

Fire successfully working the track.

Fire inherited her sire’s absolute love of water retrieving and had two great bumper retrieves.

Fire getting excited when seeing the bumpers

Fire getting excited when seeing the bumpers

Fire bringing one back in

Fire bringing one back in

L to R apprentice from NJ, Gabby Awbray, Mike Garriott, Darin Tolzin, and apprentice John Green at the reading of the scores.

L to R: apprentice from NJ (sorry, I didn’t note the name), Gabby Awbray, Mike Garriott, Darin Tolzin, and apprentice John Green at the reading of the scores.

We were very pleased with Fire’s performance and enjoyed the day.  Good luck to John and Cle, Fire’s brother, on his Natural Ability test in Tennessee this weekend.

Velma in North Dakota

Velma’s owner, Aaron, was up on the federal ground in North Dakota the weekend before the PLOTS land opens and got into some pheasants and sharptailed grouse.  Velma is right next to Aaron giving him a kiss, we will be keeping a pup out of her breeding to Ben this spring for our next stud dog.

Aaron, his lab, and Velma WPG in North Dakota on Saturday.

Aaron, his lab, and Velma WPG in North Dakota on Saturday.

Pupdate

Tyson up in Bangor, Maine sent over a nice report on the start of his hunting season, his pup, Moose, is from our 2014 “H” Litter between Sam and Mae:

It has been a crazy busy summer here in Maine with some vacation and lots of training with Moose.  We feel so blessed to have such an incredible dog.  He is fitting in great and does awesome with the kids.  I have attached some pics for you.  Moose spent most of the summer sleeping in the boat, as you can see.  

The most exciting thing to report is that bird season officially opened in Maine on October 1st.  And Moose got his first day in the field this Saturday.  He got the chance to hunt with her good friend Spice who is an 8 year old female GSP that is an amazing Maine gun dog.  She definitely showed him the ropes.  They have spent some time training together this summer.  Some good pics of Moose with some very rare Maine Pheasant.  He also pointed the first grouse of the day at our first stop.  Thanks again for an amazing dog!

Best,Tyson

Moose is looking handsome at 7 months old.

Moose is looking handsome at 7 months old.

Moose spending some time on the Atlantic.

Moose spending some time on the Atlantic.

Moose and the elusive Maine roosters

Moose and the elusive Maine roosters

Thanks, as always, to my owners for the updates!

Well, that is about all of the excitement I can handle for one day.  Charles and the dogs head to North Dakota on Saturday, so it will be interesting to see what they come across.  I’m sure we’ll all be jealous.  Stay warm, until then.

More Snipe, Training, and Pupdates

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The weekend before last, Charles and his friend Matt went out and got into some snipe with success, each of them got a few.  Fire had her first full wild bird retrieve.  She had picked one up earlier in the season, but BB rudely stole the retrieve from her.

Some snipe, Charles and Fire

Some snipe, Charles and Fire

Last weekend, Charles, Conrad, and Fire were been out working on drills for Fire’s Natural Ability test, specifically the water retrieve and the track.  Conrad was my cameraman during the training session and got some pretty good pictures!

Charles, Fire, and the chukar for the track.

Charles, Fire, and the chukar for the track.

Fire bringing in a long water retrieve of a canvas  dummy.

Fire bringing in a long water retrieve of a canvas dummy.

Fire with the nasty old dummy

Fire with the nasty old dummy

We are looking forward to the opening of Nebraska High Plains duck season this weekend, especially me, since I have a big fat goose egg on hunting season thus far.  Much of it has to do with my opting to stay home or carry a camera most of the season and only having three days in the field with a gun in my hand.  Charles has to decide whether he’s going to North Dakota or South Dakota for his weeklong hunting trip later this month.  I am going to sit it out since I already missed one of my grad school class sessions to go to Maine.

Pupdates

Although we were skunked on our sharptailed grouse outing last month, I’ve been hearing good reports farther north and west.  TracHer got some retrieves in from Susan and Tom’s good shooting up in North Dakota.  TracHer is from our “C” Litter of Sam and Mae.

TracHer on retrieve in North Dakota

TracHer on retrieve in North Dakota

Closeup of TracHer and the sharptail

Closeup of TracHer and the sharptail

TracHer's retrieve to hand

TracHer’s retrieve to hand

TracHer just recently lost her younger brother, Max, an 18 month old German Wirehaired Pointer, to blue-green algae exposure.  I had never really taken it seriously, but will from here on out.  Very sad for Susan and Tom, we were sorry to hear it.

My friend George saw Sandi with our pup Zoey in Michigan at the Midwest Griff Fest, which was held just a couple of weeks after the National Specialty.  Not sure how George had the energy to make it to both events, but kudos to him!  Zoey lives in Oklahoma with Sandi and Jimmy, and is from our 2013 “E” Litter from Sue and Sam.

Sandi with Zoey in the harness and an encroaching gang of griffs.

Sandi with Zoey in the harness and an encroaching gang of griffs.

Sandi and Zoey overtaken by the gang of griffs

Sandi and Zoey overtaken by the gang of griffs

Sandi and Zoey get to know the griff gang.

Sandi and Zoey get to know the griff gang.

Last but not least, Lindsay and Midge took Winners Bitch two of the four days of the Gallatin and Helena Cluster Show up in Montana a couple of weeks ago for two points.  I’m not sure how many points Midge is up to these days, but it sounds as if Lindsay is determined to put a conformation championship on her as hard as she is working at this.  Great job!

Lindsay and Midge

Lindsay and Midge

Thanks to everyone who submitted pictures over the last couple of weeks for me to include in the blog, I couldn’t do it without you!  Good luck to all of the hunters out there with the big season openers across the country this month!

Beginning of Hunting Season 2014

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I think that I overdid the adventures this summer and it rattled my hunting cage.  I carried a gun the days that we hunted up in the Sandhills the weekend before last, but the few cracks that I took at doves felt way off.  I will either opt to carry a camera this season, otherwise I will have to go back and re-read my favorite shotgunning book, Breaking Clays by Chris Batha, and get over to the skeet range before the big ducks start flying.

Nebraska Sandhills Sharptailed Grouse

We devoted Friday, September 5th to chasing grouse with our old buddy, Ryan.  After 4 hours in the field, we didn’t see a single bird.

Charity, Charles, and Ryan take a selfie in the grouse field.

Charity, Charles, and Ryan take a selfie in the grouse field.

What we did end up getting were two dogs with faces full of porcupine quills.

Charles pulls quills out of Sam as Ryan restrains BB.

Charles pulls quills out of Sam as Ryan restrains BB.

Another shot of the quill pulling

Another shot of the quill pulling

Conservation Officer Frank Miller of the Valentine office of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission stopped Charles and I on our way into the field Saturday morning and verified that grouse numbers are way down from normal, but just slightly better than last year.  Hopefully once the weather turns and they bunch up, we will see them on future trips this fall.

Charles talks to Conservation Officer Frank Miller

Charles talks to Conservation Officer Frank Miller

 Early Teal

After checking a few ponds with no ducks, we were able to put the sneak on a mixed flock and jumped them up.  There were too many mallards in the mix as they rose from the pond and the group of teal was circling around them really fast, so I didn’t even dare take a shot.  Charles was able to drop one teal out of the group.  The last day for early teal in the low plains region is this Sunday, high plains is already closed.

Our 10 year-old son, Conrad, came with us on the trip and learned a great deal about getting around out in the Sandhills.

How to open a western gate

How to open a western gate

Conrad celebrates dad's teal and 2 doves

Conrad celebrates dad’s teal and 2 doves

Dove

Dove numbers are strong statewide, with Charles harvesting limits at the confluence of the Platte and Missouri Rivers in the east, as well as during our trip to the Sandhills.  We’ve been making these bacon-wrapped dove poppers with them and they are quite delicious! http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/bacon-wrapped-dove

Bacon-wrapped dove poppers

Bacon-wrapped dove poppers

Charles and a Sandhills dove limit

Charles and a Sandhills dove limit

Other friends around the state are also getting their kids out on the doves!

My friends Ashley and Matt's son Gavin and his first dove harvest in the Sandhills.

My friend Ashley’s son Gavin and his first dove harvest in the Sandhills.

Carter and Cadence loved watching their dad Matt shoot doves near Lincoln.

Carter and Cadence loved watching their dad Matt shoot doves near Lincoln.

Snipe and Sora

Last weekend I followed Charles, BB and Fire around the swamp chasing after teal, snipe, and sora.  There was quite a bit of fast action and good success.

BB retrieves a sora

BB retrieves a sora

Fire, BB, and Charles

Fire, BB, and Charles

Snipe in flight

Snipe in flight

BB brings a snipe to hand on a mud flat.

BB brings a snipe to hand on a mud flat.

Charles and Fire inspecting a snipe.

Charles and Fire inspecting the snipe.

Charles and the dogs circling the pond.

Charles and the dogs circling the pond.

BB and Fire with Charles and 2 teal, 4 sora, and 4 snipe.

BB and Fire with Charles and 2 teal, 4 sora, and 4 snipe.

Overall a decent start to the 2014 hunting season so far.

Pupdate

George over in Wyoming had a great opener on Blue Grouse with Harry from our 2014 “H” Litter of Sam and Mae,  “Attached you’ll find two pictures of yesterday’s blue grouse with Harry. This was her first exposure to wild birds, and she pointed and retrieved them all. One was still somewhat lively for the retrieve and I’m glad she had the experience with a grouse instead of a rooster pheasant!  Happy hunting!”

Harry and Blue Grouse

Harry and Blue Grouse

As always, thank you to my puppy owners for sending such great updates and photos!

Until next time, good luck out in the hunting fields!

2014 AWPGA National Specialty in Maine

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Old Business

Before I get into the gathering in Maine, I failed to mention in my last post that I gave the National Association for Gun Rights permission to use an old photo in a Facebook meme a week or two back.  I took this pic at least 4 years ago when we were still guiding hunts at Pheasant Haven preserve in Elk City, Nebraska.  You can see Charles and old Sue, who has since retired, in the middle.  I do not recall who was in this group of hunters.  Funny what people dig up on my website.  It drummed up 71k likes and 40k shares.

AmericanHunters

 

The Accidental Tourist: How I fell in love with Maine even though I didn’t plan on it.

People from Maine are so friendly that they talk to one another on the plane.  I guess nobody told them the “no talking on the plane” rule.  Please, read a book, listen to music, sleep.  But you aren’t supposed to make a new friend with the person sitting next to you.  Unless you are from Maine.  So I was somewhat agitated getting off of the plane, and thought that a swim would solve that.  It is easier for me to list the beach areas in the US that I haven’t been to, rather than listing the ones that I have.  I haven’t been to the Atlantic side of South Florida, the Pacific Northwest, or Hawaii.  So I have pretty high beach expectations.  I ended up at Crescent Beach State Park just outside of Port Elizabeth, Maine, since it was ranked as the best beach in Maine online.  The first problem that I encountered with this swim was the rocks, lots of rocks.  Not just nice round stones, but like cut your feet up and make you cry rocks.  I thought that once I got to where it was deep enough for me to swim, it wouldn’t be a problem.  But as the water got about mid-thigh and I had to commit to it, I just couldn’t do it.  I’ve swam in stock ponds cleaner than that water.  So the attempted swim was a fail.

View from Crescent Beach State Park in Port Elizabeth, Maine

View from Crescent Beach State Park in Port Elizabeth, Maine

Maine selfie: "What the heck is up with all of these rocks?"

Maine selfie: “What the heck is up with all of these rocks?”

I learned to appreciate just looking at the water, and the boats, and the lighthouses.  I next visited Portland Head Light, the only lighthouse that I made it to the whole trip.  Once again, scenic and unique.

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

View from the Portland Head Lamp

View from the Portland Head Light

Rockland Harbor Tuesday morning

Rockland Harbor Tuesday morning

I was able to catch a break from the dog action on Wednesday and just happened to stumble across Camden Harbor.  Another scenic area full of good food.

Camden Harbor

Camden Harbor

Camden Harbor

Camden Harbor Close-up

Camden

Camden

That was the extent of my touring, but it was nice that we had a good location for when there was down time.  I know that some of my friends went to Acadia National Park, or went whale watching, but my schedule was fairly limited to dog activities.

Thank you Amy Caswell

A huge thank you to Amy Caswell for organizing all of the events throughout the week.  She always did it tirelessly and with a smile on her face.  Not only did she organize all of the events, but she also participated in the Korthals Cup and the National Specialty Show.  Wowsa!!

Amy Caswell and Bijou in the Korthals Cup

Amy Caswell and Bijou in the Korthals Cup

Amy and Bijou in the Best of Breed ring at the National Specialty Show

Amy and Bijou in the Best of Breed ring at the National Specialty Show

Korthals Cup

Charles keeps asking me the qualifications to enter the Korthals Cup, but I can’t seem to find them online.  It is a certain level of NAVHDA UT prize or AKC Hunt Test title.  I am also not clear on exactly which test they are modeling the Korthals Cup after, either the NAVHDA UT or Invitational tests.  I was able to make it to the water test Tuesday morning. (Note: on any of these slide shows, you can click the first thumbnail for full screen to arrow through).

AKC Hunt Test

Following the Korthals Cup, we moved to the Lincoln Hawes Farm for the AKC Hunt Test.  There were entries at the Master Hunter, Senior Hunter, and Junior Hunter levels.  I served as parking lot attendant and part-time bird planter.  The Hawes were very gracious hosts and even put on an unscheduled lunch at the last minute with cheeseburgers from their very own burger.  Lincoln hauled folks around in his gator, even though he wasn’t asked to do so.  I do not have results on who all received passes, but congratulations to those who did!

Welcome Breakfast and Annual Meeting

The welcome breakfast was held at the Country Inn in Rockport, Maine and consisted of eggs benedict, french toast, sausage links, fruit, pastries, coffee, and mimosas.  The annual meeting went smoothly; I ended up making official my volunteering to take over as editor of the Griffonnier magazine.  It is going to be a huge challenge and major learning experience.  Charles and I are also going to work with the new field events director to establish a griffon club to host AKC Field Trials, as the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is the only one of the AKC recognized pointing breeds which does not have a field trial club.

Educational Seminars: Grooming, Health and Genetics, Show Handling, and Show Judges Education

Following a mid-day break, we took back up in the afternoon at the Union, Maine Fairgrounds for our first three educational seminars: Grooming, Health and Genetics, and Show Handling.  I videotaped Claudette Blackburn of the Association Quebecois Du Griffon d’Arret A Poil Dur (the Quebec Griffon Club) grooming a full dog, as their style of grooming is a bit different than ours.  I hope to have that all mixed down in the next couple of weeks for YouTube.

 

The Health and Genetics seminar was led by Laurie Cooke DVM.  We discussed new issues that are showing up in the breed and what we are hearing about most commonly.  I am very strict in my health criteria for my breeding animals, so knock on wood, we’ve been problem-free up to this point and plan on keeping it that way.

Laurie Cooke, DVM, on left, leading the health and genetics seminar

Laurie Cooke, DVM, on left, leading the health and genetics seminar

Burrell Handling put on our show handling seminar, what great teachers they are!  There was never dead air and there were always demonstrations to show the ideal.  Once the lecture and demonstrations were completed, she gave those with dogs in the ring the following day the opportunity to practice.

 

We broke camp at the Fairgounds around 6 PM and headed back to the Trade Winds in Rockland, Maine for our show judges’ education presentation.  We talked about the French working standard and the AKC conformation standard in great depth.

View of Rockland Harbor from the 5th floor of the Trade Winds

View of Rockland Harbor from the 5th floor of the Trade Winds

Discussing the PowerPoint

Discussing the PowerPoint

AWPGA National Specialty Dog Show

I am not a good show handler, but have grown an appreciation and understanding of dog shows.  At least enough to know what is going on most of the time.  At this point, I only kept track of who won Best of Breed and Best of Opposite Sex.  Many others have their catalogs marked for the dogs that they were watching.  We will have to wait for the AKC results to be posted for the full listing.  These are just candid shots from the ring in no particular order or organization.  Feel free to use on your individual kennel website if you are pictured.

Congratulations to Elaine Hunsicker for GCH Fireside’s Spontaneous Combustion JH “Buster” winning Best of Breed and to Kristi Rogney for GCH Whiskeytown Brandywyn SH for winning Best of Opposite Sex.

Annual Banquet

My final event for the week was the annual banquet.  It is the usual banquet setup: silent auction, feasting, and live auction.

Hog Wild in Iowa 2015

You don’t have to be a show dog person to enjoy the AWPGA National Specialty week.  I hope that when we go “Hog Wild in Iowa” next year, more of the owner/hunters will consider joining us!  It will be held the week of September 5, 2015 in Des Moines, more details to follow.

Surprise Pupdate

Karl and Deb recognized me in Chicago O’Hare on my way home, so I got an updated photo for Eli, who is our Fire’s brother.  He has locked up solid on turkeys and loves to jump into the stock pond.  Karl and Deb were on their way home from a vacation in Croatia, so they had been doing the air travel thing for about 24 hours.

Karl and Deb in O'Hare

Karl and Deb in O’Hare

Eli in the stock tank

Eli in the stock tank

In closing (finally already, I know)

I wasn’t even planning on going to Maine until around the 1st of July.  Like, what could there be in Maine that I haven’t already seen or done?  The world never ceases to amaze me with all of its beautiful sights to see and people to love.  I am so glad that I went and had such a fabulous time.  In the words of Shakespeare as Robin Goodfellow “Puck” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

Fire with her lobsta:)

Fire with her lobsta:)

Field Trial Placement and on to Maine

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AKC Field Trial

Today we ran Bluestem’s Prairie Fire “Fire” in her first formal dog event.  She participated in the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Nebraska’s Fall Field Trial in the Amateur Walking Puppy and Amateur Walking Derby stakes at the Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds near Raymond, Nebraska.  These grounds are famous and I noticed a new sign hanging in the lodge as I was getting breakfast this morning.  It is notes made this spring by Delmar Smith.

Comments from Delmar Smith about Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds, April 2014

Comments from Delmar Smith about Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds, April 2014

We met Delmar in Kansas City at Pheasant Fest a few years back and he is definitely a sage of the sport.

Sunrise over Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds

Sunrise over Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds

Horse barn and clubhouse of Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds

Horse barn and clubhouse of Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds

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A standard setup at Branched Oak

It was entirely English Pointers and German Shorthaired Pointers, but we had fun and Fire had a great experience.  Of course she was shown up with range in the field because of her young age (6 1/2 months) and the close-working nature of the breed, but due to the fact that there were only 4 dogs entered in the Amateur Walking Derby, we did walk away with a ribbon.  Although it was a “gimme” (which none of BB’s field trial placements were), it was still cool to represent griffons and be the only 6 month old griff ever to have placed in an AKC Field Trial.

Walking to the line

Walking to the line

At the line

At the line

Starting in the field

Starting in the field

Escapee

Escapee

Running Fire

Running Fire

Charles and Fire with their 4th place ribbon in the Amateur Walking Derby

Charles and Fire with their 4th place ribbon in the Amateur Walking Derby

We also had visitors from Matt and Carter, who live around Lincoln and will be getting a Sam/BB pup next year.

Matt and Carter saying hi to Fire.

Matt and Carter saying hi to Fire.

Fire and Carter

Fire and Carter

I really hate to cut this short, as there’s more to say, but I am still not packed for the AWPGA National Specialty Dog Show, Hunt Tests and Annual Meeting this week in Maine, and I have a 6 AM flight to catch in the morning.  I’m taking all of my equipment with me, so maybe there will be a blog post part 2 if I get the time this week, but I will probably be busy seeing all of my long lost dog friends.  If I don’t get to it, I’ll catch up with y’all next weekend.

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