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Nebraska and North Dakota Hunt

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Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com if you are interested in reserving a pup from our planned litter for Fall 2023. We will not be breeding or hunt testing in the spring due to some family travel obligations.

While I was in South Carolina wrapping up raising our last litter of pups, Charles took Obi, Sally and Duke out to the Sandhills of Nebraska and the prairie pothole region of North Dakota for some mixed upland and waterfowl action. The trip was a great success, especially with the new technology allowing Charles to work his regular job remote for a few days, then hunting a few days.

I don’t have a ton of details except that the dogs covered lots of ground and had plenty of wild bird action.

The first morning in the Nebraska Sandhills with a limit of sharptails. Obi, Sally and Duke.
Duke went solo went some teal (also on Day One in the Sandhills)
The end of the day photo from the first day in the Sandhills: a grouse limit, a woodduck and four teal.

The second day he had to work for his grouse limit, which he didn’t wrap up until the middle of the afternoon. He added one teal to this photo before he headed back to my mom’s house.

Grouse limit for day two in the Nebraska Sandhills. Obi, Sally and Duke.

He spent the next three days working, then picked back up for another grouse limit and a ringneck duck.

Sally (farthest away), Obi (on left) and Duke (in the foreground) pointing an antelope.
Sally, Duke and Obi with the three sharptailed grouse and a ringneck duck on the third day of Nebraska Sandhills.

Charles then worked another handful of days before heading out again. I was really surprised with all of the negative reports that I had been hearing from locals and ranchers due to the drought that he had such great success each day.

His last day in the Sandhills was a super windy day (you can see by the dogs’ head furnishings blowing in the wind in the photo) and he decided to focus on waterfowl for the day. He took Duke out for the three snipe and Sally for the mallard drake. Mallard drakes are super difficult to jump hunt and Charles just happened to pop over a hill and the the duck was right there as he got up from the water. I have never shot a mallard drake.

Duke and Sally with three snipe and a mallard drake for the last day in the Sandhills.

Charles had another first when he shifted his hunting to the prairie pothole region of North Dakota. The very first spot that he and some of our neighbors down here in South Carolina hit had a low flying flock of Canadian geese. Charles was able to snag a goose out of the bunch. Although Sally is pictured here, none of the dogs really knew what to think of the goose flopping around since the largest birds they’ve ever messed with up to that point were mallards and pheasant.

Sally and the North Dakota Canadian Goose from day one.

Although he and the neighbors were there for four days, I didn’t really get a good run down of the bird numbers. As near as I can gather from our texts, the second day the neighbors got three roosters, Charles got two roosters and four ducks.

Griffons, pointers and setters on the prairie, with the neighbor Quentin on the right.

I don’t have any photos from the third day, but the report was that Charles got a pheasant double off of Obi’s point, two grouse and one duck.

The fourth day was another mixed bag, with the neighbors getting one rooster, Charles got three ducks, a snipe and the most exciting part was a Hungarian partridge! This is only the second hun that Charles has shot. I’ve only flushed one covey up in Montana in 2016 but never got in a shot.

The excitement of a North Dakota hun!
Duke, Obi and Sally in harvested corn in North Dakota

So that was a wrap! Here’s the traditional North Dakota trip game bag shot, with the dogs posed underneath:

Obi, Sally and Duke with the 2022 North Dakota game bag

Aside from missing the hunt, I missed seeing the usual people of the towns that we visit down there. They are such interesting characters, I’m glad that Charles went and laid eyes on them. The cafe is still going, the same ladies are at the registers at the grocery store and the gas station owner still recognizes the regulars. Charles headed home after a long journey but the neighbors continued on to South Dakota where they had better pheasant numbers. But to us, sometimes the comfort of tradition beats the number of birds in the bag.

I have more news about some hunt testing success of some of our progeny, some health test results for Duke and social media pages where you can follow some of our pups, but I need to get on with the day for now. Good luck to those out in the hunting fields, Charles will be at it again in a few more weeks. I am going to wait patiently for woodcock hunting down this way after the first of the year. Talk at you more in a week or so.

“S” Litter Bird Exposure and Homegoings

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I know that I have a couple of emails in the inbox asking about 2023 litters (I promise that I will respond by Monday), we are planning a litter for the Fall/Winter 2023 as our next. Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com for further details.

It’s tough for me to believe that it’s been two weeks since these bird exposure photos were taken and a week since the puppies went home. I’ve been avoiding making this post a little since it is a bit sad to see them go. But knowing that they are making their new owner’s lives happier makes it all worth it.

The setup that I did this time for bird exposure is having a chukar in a wire crate down by the barn, then the dead quail on a string in an exercise pen in the backyard. I took the pup out of the kennel and put them on a leash for the first time. It was a bit of a rodeo as usual, where they want to tug on the leash or bite it. They get the hang of it pretty quickly though. So we walked through the yard down to the chukar in a wire crate and let them look at it.

Then we walked back up to the backyard and I took them off of the leash and put them into the exercise pen for the dead bird exposure. This was a quail that Charles had trained the big dogs with and shot, which we kept in the barn fridge for this purpose. So I put the dead quail on a string and dragged it around a bit to get the pup’s attention. They all either chewed it a bit, picked it up and ran with it, or a little of both.

Although it isn’t a complete training for the field, it is a good start to making a Hunting Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

Sebastian, male pup:

Simon, male pup:

Samson, male pup:

Simi, female pup:

Spokanne, female pup:

Sue, female pup:

And here are the pups going home, in the order that they left:

Samson is Bill’s second Bluestem puppy (also an “H” Litter male) and flew home to Nebraska
Lee took Simon home to his son on the South Carolina coast
Rocky took Sue home all the way back to Texas
Tonya, Ian and the kids took Sebastian to the north side of Charlotte
Haley and Dalton took Simi to Charlotte
Luke took Spokanne up to Hickory, North Carolina

I am so thankful for these loving families to send the pups home with! I hope to see some of them again and maybe get a pup out of one of those girls.

While I was home with puppies, Charles was out chasing birds with Obi, Sally and Duke in Nebraska and North Dakota for a good part of a month. I will have to save that update for another day, but it feels good to finally have the posts about the “S” Litter wrapped up. I’m excited that the young dogs got out west for some good wild bird hunting, which is better than all of the yard or test drills in the world. So I’ll save that for next week.

Good luck to all of these new owners and please stay in touch!

“S” Litter Seven Weeks Old!

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We’ve got new owners ready to show up to take these guys and gals home next week, but we have our next litter planned for Fall 2023. If you’d like to get added to the list of reservations for that, feel free to email me at bluestemkennels@gmail.com. I’ll start contacting folks about interviews and deposits once these pups go home.

This coming week is consists of bird work (both retrieving a dead bird and seeing a live bird), walking on leash, crate exposure, coming into the kitchen to play, and riding in a car. I will try to catch some of it on camera, but working with birds and running a camera at the same time is tricky. I’ve done it in the past but we’ll see how it goes this year.

They’re starting to go up and down stairs and have had their noise conditioning. The neighbors even helped out unknowingly by sighting in their deer hunting shotguns just across the road for four hours one day last weekend. The pups will see the vet on Friday for their last checkups, microchips and shots.

Here is their last set of individual photos that I can promise before their homegoing pics with their new owners:

Male pup, Sebastian:

Male pup, Sebastian face
Male pup, Sebastian running
Male pup, Sebastian front

Male pup, Simon:

Male pup, Simon side profile
Male pup, Simon side and front
Male pup, Simon running

Male pup, Samson:

Male pup, Samson front
Male pup, Samson side profile
Male pup, Samson face

Female pup, Simi

Female pup, Simi face
Female pup, Simi front
Female pup, Simi running

Female pup, Spokanne:

Female pup, Spokanne side profile
Female pup, Spokanne face
Female pup, Spokanne running

Female pup, Sue:

Female pup, Sue side profile carrying an orange peel
Female pup, Sue front carrying an orange peel
Female pup, Sue face

It is always tough getting ready to let go of a litter of pups. I take comfort in the fact that these pups will turn into great dogs who will give their owners lots of joy throughout their lifetime.

Here is their last video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InhOkKHC52U&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

It is time for me to sign off to attend to evening mom duties, but I hope that you enjoyed following these pups through their early weeks. I hope to catch some shots with the birds and of course we’ll have the homegoing photos with their new owners posted once they all go home.

Then it’s back to chasing wild birds and hunt test titles for awhile! Good luck to everyone out there in the fields.

“S” Litter Six Weeks Old

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With two weeks left before they go home, I think that we’re finally settled in on which pup is going where. As long as everyone shows up like they say that they are going to, these puppies all have their families. Our next litter is planned for Fall 2023 so if you are interested in talking about that once these pups go home, email bluestemkennels@gmail.com. I won’t start interviewing until after these puppies go home though, so please be patient.

I’m going to get right down to the business of posting the individual photos and this week’s video. As you can see, they are super active. I get them out running twice a day at this point. I am working on early noise conditioning, banging pans together when I put out their food. They are starting to come when called (right now, I just call them with “Puppies!”). They eat only kibble (Diamond Puppy) and drink from the water dish. So they are almost ready to go!

These photos are all unedited and just posted in the order that I took them for each puppy. You get what they give me and for every photo you see, there are ten that didn’t get posted.

Male pup, Sebastian:

Sebastian side
Sebastian running
Sebastian’s face with a stick

Male pup, Simon:

Simon side
Simon running
Simon front

Male pup, Samson:

Samson running
Samson side
Samson face

Female pup, Simi:

Simi front
Simi side
Simi face

Female pup, Spokanne:

Spokanne side
Spokanne front
Spokanne face

Female pup, Sue:

Sue front
Sue face
Sue side

Here is this week’s video with Caleb and the pups in the yard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-C1zNCJSc_s&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

I’ll post one more update like this for seven weeks old, then the week of their eight week birthday will be homegoings (so no post then, too much paperwork to do). Once all of the puppies go home there will be one more post of them with their new families and then it will be on to posting about Charles’s hunting season and testing the dogs in NAVHDA.

I hope that all of the new families are out there getting excited to take these little ones home! Look for phone calls and emails coming up to confirm our pickup appointments and to answer any questions.

“S” Litter Five Weeks and Duke’s NA Test

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Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com to be placed on the backup contact list in the event of anyone backing out on this litter at the last minute. I will start doing interviews for our Fall 2023 litter once our 2022 litter goes home, so you can reach out about that too.

Duke’s NAVHDA Natural Ability Test

You cannot put the pressure of your breeding kennel on a junior handler and our 13 year-old son Caleb had fun handling Cedar and Spruce’s Apollo “Duke” to a NAVHDA Natural Ability Prize III, so that is really all we can ask for. They tested at the Foothills NAVHDA Chapter in Hickory, NC on Saturday. The pheasant track was spot on and he did great in the water, but it took him 15 of the 20 allotted minutes to get started in the field search. To his credit, he was the last dog in the field and it reeked of bird stench after nine other dogs ran ahead of him, so I could tell that it made Duke a bit confused and timid, wanting to point every place a bird had been planted. I’ve seen pro trainer/handlers come up with a “No Prize” on Natural Ability, so we are not disappointed. At nine months old Duke is still young enough to Natural Ability test again, but we won’t and just continue on to prepare for the Utility Preparatory Test. But the most important thing for him and for Sally is to get out west into the wild bird fields this fall.

Caleb and Duke ready to run
Duke in the field
Waiting for the water
Checking of the attributes

“S” Litter at Five Weeks Old

The pups are growing like weeds and are large enough to run the yard. We’ll do that a couple of times a day going forward. They have their first collars on and are picking up and carrying around toys. They love to chew on each other and their toys. Caleb is also my puppy assistant and I catch him doing the silliest things sometimes, like getting in their dog house.

Caleb has turned into a puppy

Here are their individual pics. Keep in mind that this is just a snapshot of this puppy. This doesn’t show their personality, size or conformation very well at all. They are just now starting to develop their different coats and I’m getting a better idea of who will fit well where.:

Male pup, Sebastian:

Male pup, Sebastian face
Male pup, Sebastian body

Male pup, Simon:

Male pup, Simon face
Male pup, Simon body

Male pup, Samson:

Male pup, Samson face
Male pup, Samson body

Female pup, Simi:

Female pup, Simi face
Female pup, Simi body

Female pup, Spokanne:

Female pup, Spokanne face
Female pup, Spokanne body

Female pup, Sue:

Female pup, Sue face
Female pup, Sue body

Here is their video for the week. We were so busy this weekend that I didn’t have a chance to get Caleb to help me with them in the yard. It is just too much for one person to handle and try to video when we’re in the yard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtJ2jke9twg&t=1s&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

I need to go ahead and sign off for now, the day is getting away from me and I need to start talking to folks about travel plans and puppy picks. I’ll be back next week on Tuesday, Monday has just become too crazy for me with kid activities and so the weekly updates will shift a day for the rest of their time with us. Good luck to everyone in the field with hunting and testing.

“S” Litter Four Weeks Old

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The pups are four weeks old and really moving and grooving! All are spoken for at this time, but if you’d like to be on the contact list in the event that someone backs out at the last minute, email bluestemkennels@gmail.com. That will also put you on our list for information about future breedings. Plus, I always post here. Our next litter is planned for Fall 2023.

I have to run my son to his fencing club practice, so let’s get down to the business of pictures and video!

Male pup, Sebastian:

Male pup, Sebastian face
Male pup, Sebastian body

Male pup, Simon:

Male pup, Simon face
Male pup, Simon body

Male pup, Samson:

Male pup, Samson face (it was hot out so he is panting)
Male pup, Samson body

Female pup, Simi face

Female pup, Simi face
Female pup, Simi body

Female pup, Spokanne:

Female pup, Spokanne face
Female pup, Spokanne body

Female pup, Sue:

Female pup, Sue face
Female pup, Sue body

They moved out on to the covered porch yesterday so that they get more acclimated to the outdoors to make them tough hunting companions. I had to get up in the middle of the night to put them in the dog house, but they were all in there when I woke up this morning. I’m hoping that they learn quickly that the dog house is warmer at night than the cement.

They also have transitioned from puppy mush with formula/canned food to just straight canned food. I suspect that once their teeth start to pop out, we’ll have them on kibble soon. Here is their video for the week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95zASVo8bmA&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

Alrighty, it is time to get suited up for my son’s fencing club practice and on with the week. We’ll start talking about puppy placements next week and making sure that our travel plans are lined up for pickup.

Caleb and Duke run in the Natural Ability Test at the Foothills Chapter of NAVHDA on Sunday, so I’m hoping that they have great success!

“S” Litter Three Weeks Old

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The puppies are three weeks old now and starting to crawl around and bark. They’ve had some limited puppy mush, but mostly nursing still. I am going to ramp up food introduction this week and start to get them outside in the grass more. Charles was home tending the kennel this weekend while I attended to some activities off of the property, so I haven’t had time to touch base with my new owners recently. I plan on doing that over the course of this week just to make sure that we’re working on travel plans and if you have any questions.

Male pup, Sebastian:

Male pup, Sebastian face
Male pup, Sebastian back

Male pup, Simon:

Male pup, Simon face
Male pup, Simon back

Male pup, Samson:

Male pup, Samson face
Male pup, Samson back

Female pup, Simi:

Female pup, Simi face
Male pup, Simi back

Female pup, Spokanne:

Female pup, Spokanne face
Female pup, Spokanne back

Female pup, Sue:

Female pup, Sue face
Female pup, Sue back

Here is the video for the week, you can see how active they are getting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc3Il3cEFGM&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

I’ll be back next week where we’ll be halfway through this journey! Here’s a shot from last week when Caleb and I had the puppies out on the lawn. He has an activity tonight that I need to take him to, so I had better keep moving.

Caleb and the “S” Litter

“S” Litter Two Weeks Old

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The puppies have just opened their eyes and so it is time for individual pictures and kennel nicknames. All puppies are spoken for at this time, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com to be on the backup contact list in the event that spots open up prior to homegoing. Once these pups go home, I will start interviewing for the spots remaining on the Fall 2023 list.

Now that their eyes are open, we will start on puppy mush of puppy food and formula as we work towards solid food and weaning. They will spend more time out of the whelping box being exposed to both indoor and outdoor environments.

Here are the individual pictures. They are not very photogenic at this age where their eyes have just opened and are not super mobile except to scoot themselves around the whelping box. Once they get on the mush and have more exercise, they will become more mobile.

Male pup, Sebastian:

Male pup, Sebastian face
Male pup, Sebastian back

Male pup, Simon:

Male pup, Simon face
Male pup, Simon back

Male pup, Samson:

Male pup, Samson face
Male pup, Samson back

Female pup, Simi:

Female pup, Simi face
Female pup, Simi back

Female pup, Spokanne:

Female pup, Spokanne face
Female pup, Spokanne back

Female pup, Sue:

Female pup, Sue face
Female pup, Sue back

Here is this week’s video where I put the puppies out on the back porch while I was getting ready to clean out the whelping box. They are still in walrus crawl mode but are starting to get around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYgDz8LUxG4&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

The evening is getting away from me and it is time for my son to do homework, but I hope that everyone had a nice Labor Day and maybe shot some stuff. Charles got out with the neighbors on some doves, so we didn’t spend the weekend crying about missing grouse opener in Nebraska. Looks like it was dry and hot out there, I’m not seeing much for body counts online so I’m assuming we didn’t miss much, but we still miss it.

“S” Litter One Week Old

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The six puppies of the “S” Litter of 2022 are a week old today! They literally triple in size from the time of birth until now. They had their tails docked, dew claws removed and first vet check on Friday. Everyone passed inspection with flying colors and they are all super fat and adorable.

The puppies were fussing in the laundry basket at the vet after their tails and claws were done and Ruth just couldn’t take it anymore.

Ruth taking care of the puppies at the vet

They will stick with only nursing from mom until their eyes are open. Right now my main focus is keeping Ruth in food and water, then making sure that she gets plenty of potty breaks.

I took the pups out into the sun on to a blanket on the lawn and it didn’t faze them much since it was so warm. But their favorite place is in their box with wood chips and mom nearby. I took this weeks video outside: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cyx_zI5a52s&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

I took this week’s photos after the video once they had gone back to sleep.

The puppies 8 week birthday will be Monday, October 17th, so I’m hoping to confirm with the new owners that they are available that week or the weekend following to pick up. I will be starting to call out tonight and am not sure if I will get through everyone or if it will take me a few nights. I emailed out my phone numbers if it is easier for you owners to call me than to try and reach you.

Charles has been working with Caleb and Duke on getting ready for the NAVHDA Natural Ability Test in a few weeks. Then Charles and Sally follow with another run at the NAVHDA Utility Preparatory Test in October.

He’s is starting to formulate his hunting plans for the fall, which sound like they will include a trip back to the middle of the country. I’d like to start taking some cracks at woodcock and ruffed grouse on this end of the country in the winter, we’ll see how it all comes together. Right now hunting season is just something to daydream about until we get through puppies and testing.

Take care until next week!

Welcome “S” Litter 2022!

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On Monday, August 22nd we welcomed the “S” Litter of 2022, three boys and three girls. At this time all puppies are spoken for, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com to get on the backup contact list in case of owners dropping out, or to enquire about future litters.

Ruth woke me up at 4 AM Monday morning, howling for a potty break, so I knew that we were getting close. By mid-morning she had hit the non-stop panting phase and was trying to make nests in the bushes surrounding our property, so when she wasn’t in the basement in the kennel with the whelping box, I’d have her out walking in the yard about 20 minutes of every hour. I finally took a lengthy lunch break and by the time I returned about 1:30 PM she had three pups with her, the third one had just emerged. It was about one an hour after that until 8 PM.

There was originally a fourth boy, making the total seven. He was extremely tiny at birth, but was strong enough to nurse with some assistance. I was pretty much working on him non-stop all day Tuesday, but by evening Ruth was pushing him away and I knew it was time to stop trying. He was gone when I woke up yesterday. I let the litter rest yesterday, focusing on walking Ruth and making sure that she looked healthy.

Today was the day of cleaning all of the wood shavings from the whelping box and kennel after whelping and making sure there wasn’t any bio-hazardous waste remaining, then replacing all of the wood shavings. While I was cleaning the kennel, the puppies and Ruth got to enjoy the sun out on the back patio.

Hunting Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Puppies
Ruth and the three day old puppies hanging out on the back patio
Hunting Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Puppies
The Super Six of the “S” Litter

I thought that they were going to squirm around when I put them in the fresh chips back in the box, but instead they went right to sleep. Here is the video that I shot of them at that point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GISfY1AiMKE&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

It is getting late in the day and there is still so much to do, I’m still trying to get caught up since I pretty much lose a full day during whelping. We go to the vet tomorrow morning for vet check, tail docking and dew claw removal (the veterinarians here do it a day or two after we did back in Nebraska, so I’m not really used to it yet). I will be back on Monday with the one week old update.

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