Guiding at Pheasant Haven January 9th

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The snow began to fall on Sunday morning, but it wasn’t enough to deter the hunters of Pheasant Haven Hunting Acres in Elk City, Nebraska (www.pheasanthavenlodge.com).  Charles and the dogs guided their third hunt on the preserve, with myself on hand as co-handler of the dogs, guide assistant and photographer.

We began the day running both Sam and Sue, which led to some very fast shooting and more retrieves than we could keep up with at times.  There were points where we had to stop to let the dogs catch up on picking up the shot pheasants on the ground.

Charles takes a retrieve from Sue while looking out for Sam working a bird

Sam on retrieve

Sue happily checks back in

We stopped around 11 for a lunch of pheasant breast and mushroom stew, then went back out with Sam for a second sweep of the property.

Walking the fields at Pheasant Haven

Sam brings in a rooster

Sam on point

Hunter walks in on Sam’s point

Sam gives Charles another perfect retrieve

The hunters, 24 pheasant, Sam and Charles

Your reporter in the field, posing with the birds

In 2011 litter news, Sam and Sue completed breeding at Christmas and she is showing obvious signs of pregnancy.  We anticipate whelping towards the end of February.  The puppy application is ready and has been sent out to the 30+ individuals expressing interest, with more calling and e-mailing every day.  I am excited to raise these pups and get them into some excellent hunting homes!


Pheasant Haven hunt, December 19, 2010

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The hunting cabin and pond of Pheasant Haven

Yesterday was the perfect day for a hunt: not too cold or windy, with moist air; perfect scenting conditions for the dogs.  As some of the hunters had brought their dogs, Charles worked Sue with the large group of gentlemen in the morning.

The orange army departs

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Sue with her high-style point

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Sue retrieves a colorful pheasant

The orange army on the move

I wish I had gotten a better photograph on the next shot because it was some incredible dog work.  One of the hunter’s white Spinone Italiano is on point along with Sue, followed by the preserve’s yellow lab coming in for the flush.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Amazing dog teamwork!

I now understand the value of the flushing dog in these situations.  As foot hunters, Charles and I typically do our own flushing by walking up into the dog’s point.  At the preserve, the hunters would rather not walk in to flush and it isn’t safe for the human guide to do the flushing, therefore the flushing dog is needed.  It looks like in the near future we’re going to be shopping for a female AKC Cocker Spaniel to take on that job!

After a successful morning well-spent on the hunt, we took a break for cheeseburgers at the bar in Elk City, then returned to Pheasant Haven for an afternoon hunt with Sam and a grandfather/father/son trio.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Sam with his low-style point

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Another solid point from Sam

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

The father-hunter walks in on Sam's point

I was thrilled to finally take my first hunter/dog/bird photo yesterday.  They are terribly difficult to set up and take.  The pheasant is difficult to see, as it is flying away near the top of the frame and camouflaged by the grass.

My first hunter/dog/bird photo

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Sam on retrieve to Charles

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Grandfather and grandson walk into Sam's point

Charles and Sam with the bird total

In hindsight, I should have organized the large group and their dogs to pose with the bird total, because Sam and Charles certainly can’t take all of the credit!  It is a learning process for both the dogs and the people to take on this guiding business, but it gives us great pride and joy to be able to share our passion for hunting with great dogs!!


Guiding Hunts at Pheasant Haven

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Bird Total from Day Two of guiding at Pheasant Haven

Charles, Sam and Sue were recruited at the end of November by Scott Bruhn of Pheasant Haven hunting preserve (http://www.pheasanthavenlodge.com/) in Elkhorn, Nebraska as guides.  As the dogs were strictly wild bird hunters prior to this experience, I was a little nervous that they would “trap” the cage-raised birds (this is when the dog catches the bird in its mouth following the point).  For this particular two day outing, chukkars were used.  The birds were of a good quality and  did not allow the dogs to get sloppy.  They also ran across a number of “scratch” (previously released) pheasant which made for some added fun and action.  The dogs are used to locking up on unforgiving wild grouse and pheasant, which made for some stylish points on the slower-moving planted birds.  Sam and Sue were run separately  to give the gunners plenty of time to walk up on the point and prepare for the shot.   This event was a lot of fun for the dogs, as it isn’t everyday where a dog get to point 100+ birds.  They also did a terrific job of retrieving for the two days they were on the job, November 30th and December 1st.  Scott runs a nice operation and is talented at releasing birds in way that simulates wild bird hunts.

There was a second guide on the hunt running a Vizla, who is active in the National Shoot to Retrieve Association (http://www.nstra.org/), which is essentially a competitive field trial organization.  Doing a side-by-side comparison of Sam and the NSTRA Vizla, Charles feels that this may be another dog sport organization that we would like to investigate and potentially participate in.

Charles and the dogs will be back guiding at Pheasant Haven tomorrow, with me joining them as blogger/photographer, so I’m looking forward to getting some good shots and stories to post next week.

Puppy Update: Winston’s First Hunt

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Sounds like Winston (Male 3 2010 litter) has been enjoying the big snows up in Minnesota.  I received this cute letter from him, along with a video and some stills from the video.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Winston on point, with Kelvin

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Winston and pheasant

Winston reporting in as promised – it might be a little slow in coming, but that seems to be part of my new family (Dad at least). I have been having a great time since getting to my new home in Minnesota back in June you saw some pictures with me and my new sister Stella (German Wirehair) everyone thinks we look a lot alike. Living on 20 acres and having lots of run time is wonderful. I did go through a little obedience class that Mom took me to -what a snap that was – just doing what they ask and there were treats at the end.
Other than that it has been some simple stuff for training, just being a real puppy for a while. Boy did that change last weekend as now I know what Stella has been telling me about. Just because I have out grown her at 7 months and she has about 5 years on me she really knows this hunting game well.
Dad took us both to southern Minnesota for some pheasant hunting with friends John and Jeff and we were joined there by Ken and Scot Dad explained I was along for the experience and he wasn’t expecting much since I did not have much specific training to date, but everyone was excited none the less.
Stella and I started out in the field by ourselves since we knew each other best. They dressed her up in some orange cloths to protect her chest as she is a girl so I just chased her around for a little while trying to check out her orange vest. Dad thought enough was enough as there were birds to hunt and he hooked a silly cord to my collar. After dragging that around and getting tugged on a couple of times I started thinking I should pay a little more attention. By this time we were joined by Poker (English Springer), now things started getting exciting as he and Stella were getting down to business.
I was eager to see what they were doing but knew well enough not to get in there way when they would stop and point – which usually meant bird, flush, shot and a chase. As Stella and Poker went about their business I decided to do a little hunting of my own and found that was the way things were to be done, we were all working on our own but still hunting together and helping out. I also got to lose that silly check cord. We all had our own way of telling everyone when we knew there was a bird to be shot and sometimes we would all 3 point the same bird – that was fun.
Seeing those birds fly and fall I figured out real quick a good way for praise was to get to the bird quick and find it, mind you I was not as quick as they were most of the time, but they let me have some fun too. Poker wasn’t as willing to let me help retrieve as sis was, but she has learned to put up with me and seems real willing to help teach me along the way.
Dad was especially pleased when I pointed a bird that the other dogs had gone by but they hung around to see what was up and beat me to the down bird (Dad actually caught some of that action on video).
Not sure what to expect, but Dad was mentioning a little E training in my future. Something about very happy with what I showed on my first trip but needed to work on a few details that he thought would come with more specific training on his part. I guess that is how Stella got to be so good in the field and I think I will be real lucky if I get to keep hunting with her.
Got home in time to beat the snow and it really snowed filling up our kennel run so Stella and I stayed inside except when Dad was out shoveling the snow – I really like playing in the snow.
I will check in later.

Puppy Update: Gauge in Wyoming

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Trying to get back into the groove with being a stay-at-home mom again and hope to get on a better schedule with posting on the blog.  I have so many things that I want to write about, but the time gets away from me!

Here’s what Sean has to say about Gauge a.k.a Male 2.1 from the 2010 litter ( I’ll post a picture to go with it as soon as I receive one):

“I have been training Gauge with Wolters training methods, and it has been absolutely wonderful and incredibly fun!  After getting the basic commands down, retrieving and pointing commands went very well.  This is the first dog I have personally trained for bird hunting, so I was a little nervous with how things would go, but Gauge made the process great!  I was shocked at how much of a “natural” he was in training!  The first true test came three weeks ago.  We have a local bird farm outside of town that many hunters use for dog training purposes.  After contacting the owner, we scheduled our first “hunt” with the idea of focusing on training purposes for Gauge.  Starting with Chukkars because of their smaller stature, Gauge did great in tracking down all three birds, holding three beautiful points, and flushing the bird on command.  Retrieves didn’t quite go as planned, but I think that was more a product of actually dealing with a live bird.  Gauge would actually release for the retrieve and then point the dead bird.  Pretty funny actually!  All in all, it was a GREAT day that I couldn’t have been more excited about.

Gauge’s first real hunt came the first Sunday of November in Glendo, WY.  Every Sunday in November they host a free youth hunt in the area, and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to work with Gauge exclusively while my 16 year-old brother-in-law did the shooting.  Gauge did wonderful.  He tracked down and pointed several pheasants on the day, and even retrieved well.  This past Sunday, we participated in the 2nd youth hunt, and Gauge was even better than the week before!  He pointed and flushed 7 birds (due to an “off” shooting day by my bro-in-law), and actually chased down and caught a pheasant after a flush and chase that lasted roughly 20-30 seconds.  He was an absolute stud this past Sunday, and I’m greatly looking forward to 2 more youth hunts this month, as well as 3 scheduled hunts of my own in the next few months.  Most hunters in this area use retrievers, so for them to see a pointer in action has been not only neat for them, but has made me very proud.  I was very skeptical when reading Wolters’ take on hunting a dog as soon as 6 months of age, but have no doubt in my mind that with consistent, constructive training, it is not as farfetched as it may sound!”

Thanks, Sean!!

Puppy Update: Whiskey and Cold Ducks

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Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Pete, Whiskey and some Nevada ducks

Looks like Pete and Whiskey (Alpha Male 2010 litter) had another great hunt!!  According to Pete, “We are wet and cold but Whiskey put the hurt on the ducks today several water retrieves in nasty conditions and even dove after a cripple (I need to shoot better).”


Nebraska Pheasant Opener

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Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Sue retrieved the lone pheasant of the morning

The morning of Saturday, October 30th was spent by Charles and the dogs on the Brinkman farm in Johnson County, Nebraska.  Mid-morning, Sam pointed this rooster, it flushed and Charles shot it.  The bird came down between the two dogs and began to run.  Fortunately, Sue was there to cut his run very short, about 5 yards.  She made a good retrieve  in thick cover.

All but two of the birds sighted that morning were hens, with nine pheasants seen in total.  I thought that sounded like a good number, but Charles considered it down from previous years.  They also got into a couple of coveys of quail, both pointed but none bagged.  Last winter was a rough one for quail.  Charles and the landowner’s son were both concerned about working the quail over and hope to let the quail population recover adequately before they focus on hunting them.

All in all the hunt was considered a success.  Every bird that was put up was worked by the dogs and flushed in range.  An accomplishment when hunting wild pheasant.

Thank you to our friend, Marvin Brinkman, for hosting the hunt and providing the picture!

North Dakota: Day 2


Well, folks I’m going to make this one short and sweet, just like my phone conversation with Charles tonight.  The kids were fighting, the sink was overflowing with dirty dishes and I was trying to cook supper.   I’ll give you the pictures for now and wait to take dictation of the stories when Charles returns.

I know that he got a limit of pheasant today and he met a cool German fellow (like actually from the country of Germany, not just Kraut-American like me) and his German Shorthair Pointer.  There is a whole story about meeting this chap, but we’ll have to wait for it until he gets home.  So, enjoy the pictures for now and we’ll get the scoop later.  (I need to complain to the photographer, we need some pics of the dogs)

Pheasant, duck and grouse

The game bag thus far

A German Shorthair Pointer with a real German:)

North Dakota: Day 1

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When I talked to Charles on the phone at 5 PM and he told me about his success in the field, I told him to take the picture before the sun went down.  Somewhere in North Dakota, hanging from a tree in the dark are two gadwall ducks and a sharptail grouse.

A little too late for a good shot...

He called while I was cooking supper and he knew not to call back and interrupt the premiere of “Sherlock” on Masterpiece Mystery, so I don’t have the details of the hunt.  The full text of his e-mail about the birds was as follows:

“Not bad for a short afternoon hunt.  1 sharptail and 2 gadwalls.  A double on the ducks.  Skeet pays off again.”

If you are not familiar with gadwalls, here’s the page on the Ducks Unlimited website describing them: http://www.ducks.org/news/1069/duckofthemonthgadwal.html

We’ll see what they come across tomorrow!

Pupdate, Litter 2010: Alpha Male “Whiskey”

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The pups will be six months old on the 30th and our good buddy, Pete, out in Nevada gave us an update on Spring 2010 litter’s alpha male without us even asking.  I will be getting e-mails out to my other owners over the weekend to try and get other pictures and updates, but this is enough to make a dog mama proud!  Thanks, Pete!

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Whiskey’s first water retrieve at 6 months

“A little update on Whiskey.  Chukar opener was on the 9th and was one of the most disappointing in years. I only harvested 9 birds in three days. Whiskey was outstanding. It rained all week and birds were scattered and if it weren’t for the dog I would have come out of that hunt with no Chukar. We retrieved every bird that I shot and a half dozen for one of my hunting partners that didn’t have a dog. All birds that Whiskey  recovered for my hunting partner where done on scent alone. We got into the Quail on Sunday and Whiskey was hunting with two older very accomplished dogs and my 6 month old pup performed like it was his 5th season.

Last weekend was Nevada waterfowl  opener and since the Chukar hunting was so bad I decided to give the Ducks a try. I have had Whiskey in the water several times retrieving dummies but he has never even seen a duck before Saturday. After only hunting for a few minutes Saturday morning I dumped a pair of huge mallards at first Whiskey was not crazy about retrieving something that almost outweighed him but after dragging the first pair of ducks back to me by the wing he was hooked on Duck hunting. Sorry for the lack of pictures, like a big dummy I left my camera at home for the chukar opener and only had my blackberry for duck. I promise better pics in the future. Whiskey is doing great on all of his verbal and e collar commands and is picking up hand signals very fast. We are still working on holding point, he is creeping on birds but for 6 months old I am amazed on how well he is doing. On the home front Whiskey is a terrific companion and one of the funniest personalities I have ever seen in a dog.

Whiskey is making me look like a genius.  Just get these dogs on birds,  teach them commands, and socialize them properly and 90% of the battle is won. There is so much potential with these dogs, I was kinda dreading this hunting season, breaking in a new dog but I can’t wait until Friday when I throw all of my stuff in my truck and get him hunting again (5 weeks in a row now). Pheasant season opens in November.”

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Whiskey’s first duck hunt — he looks like Sam Jr. to me!

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