Home

Valentine’s Day Greetings!!

Leave a comment

Official Valentine of Valentine, Nebraska 2015

Official Valentine of Valentine, Nebraska 2015

It would be near blasphemy if I did not wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day, since I am a native of Valentine, Nebraska!  Sorry that I’ve been absent on the blog, my schedule has been extremely hectic.  I was supervising a high school debate tournament on the last day of hunting season and it rained/snowed all day, so Charles didn’t go out into the slop.

Last night there was a raccoon on the prowl in the woods behind the house, so the dogs were in full frantic mode outside and I brought them in for the night.  It was a good chance to check BB out.  Not that I don’t spend time with her outdoors, but when we’re out there she is always on the move so I don’t get a good opportunity to analyze her behavior.  At this point in a dog pregnancy they don’t show much, so watching behavior is the best way to figure it out.  She is pudgy and whereas before she would play with Fire and Sam, she wants nothing to do with them now.  She is also very food and bone protective, which she isn’t normally.  I’m very confident that pups will be arriving in March.  Right now I have 16 reservations and am not taking any more.

As far as Velma goes, she has a stockier build to begin with so Aaron isn’t sure.  We will keep watching her and hope for the best.

My brother has been sending over pictures of retired mama Mae.  She is enjoying her retirement in Valentine with her Siberian Husky friend, Whisper.

Nap time for Whisper and Mae

Nap time for Whisper and Mae

Whisper and Mae hanging out at the hobo shack.

Whisper and Mae hanging out in the yard.

Pupdates

Susan in North Dakota has been out cross country skiing with 3 year old TracHer from our 2012 “C” Litter between Sam and Mae.  Zephyr is also a griff, but not from us.

TracHer, Zephyr, and Susan enjoying the snow.

TracHer, Zephyr, and Susan enjoying the snow.

Matt had TracHer’s sister Josie, from our 2013 “F” Litter of Sam and Mae’s out enjoying some snow time too up in South Dakota.

Josie snow profile

Josie snow profile

Josie's snow run

Josie’s snow run

Jimmy in Oklahoma takes 2 year old Zoey, from our 2012 “E” Litter of Sam and Sue’s, out into the oil fields with him.  Here she is begging the trucks for treats.

Zoey scoping out the trucks for snacks

Zoey scoping for snacks

Kaylee in Missouri put together a cute birthday card for Fire’s sister, Willow.  They are both now 1 year old, from our 2014 “G” Litter from Sam and BB.

Willow is 1!

Willow is 1!

Thanks to everyone for keeping me updated on their pups, it is always fun to look at the great photos and read the stories.  If you’ve left a message for me and I haven’t called you back, I will do so tomorrow.  Today is an official holiday for me, so I don’t want to disturb anyone.  I will check back in a few weeks with some belly pics of BB.  If you are looking to get a hold of us right now, the best way is by e-mail at bluestemkennels@cox.net.  The school district asked me to fill in full time this semester in high school English and debate, plus I’m doing my last semester of grad school and helping with the Griffonnier magazine.  It is super busy and I’m looking forward to the summer.  Talk at you in a couple of weeks.

Happy Valentine’s Day from your official representative of The Heart City, Valentine, Nebraska!

I hear that you’re into dogs…

Leave a comment

My last graduate school class of my program is a full day Saturday class, it just happens to fall on every Saturday this semester that I’m not coaching a high school debate tournament.  We were working our way through introductions in the room and word had gotten around to me that there was a fellow dog person present.  I went up to her and said, “I hear that you’re into dogs, so am I!”  One of our classmates, who I’ve had classes with in the past turned to me and said, “That’s one of the greatest introductions that I’ve ever heard!”  Of course, the fellow dog lady and I launched into all sorts of chatter about where we are in our breeding programs and gossiping about what is going on in our respective breeds.  She is a Boston Terrier girl, which is one of the two small dogs I’ve ever thought about (the other being a Jagdterrier).  But I’ll be a one-breed dog owner for the foreseeable future.

But that really has nothing to do with the task at hand, which is updating you on the end of hunting season and the beginning of puppy season.  This Saturday the 31st is the last day of hunting season in Nebraska, and of course I will be at a debate tournament.  But Charles and Matt are planning on hitting the fields.  They had great success last weekend just south of Auburn, Nebraska on some private land full of quail.  They said that they saw numerous coveys and probably 40-60 birds in total.  The harvest shows a successful hunt.

Charles and Matt's harvest of quail with Fire and BB.

Charles and Matt’s harvest of quail with Fire and BB.

Breeding Update

Although I had thought that I’d missed Sam and BB’s breeding while we were in Valentine for Christmas, last week told us otherwise.  If Sam wasn’t having his way, he was howling and barking at BB 24/7.  We had to bring in Sam at night in order to not disturb the neighbors.  So that puts us at pups being born toward the end of March if Mother Nature smiles upon us.

Aaron also brought Velma over this week to see what the interactions between she and Sam were like.  Ben has been kenneled with her since before Christmas and all of the signs seemed to be correct for her being bred.  Velma was looking chubs when she was here and she had absolutely no interest in letting Sam get with her.  So, we’re going to assume that the deed is done and keep an eye on her for possible March pups as well.

Velma and Sam hanging out.

Velma and Sam hanging out.

Here’s just a random photo of Caleb with BB and Sam.  He is my dog boy and loves spending time with them.

BB, Caleb, and Sam

BB, Caleb, and Sam

I have caught up on my e-mails, but am a bit behind on returning phone calls.  Right now, e-mail is the best way to get a hold of me with my erratic schedule.  I will return phone calls as I can, but I also know that I take down messages sometimes, then the kids get into my office playing around and carry away my papers.  So, if you haven’t heard from me, please e-mail bluestemkennels@cox.net for the best response.

Pupdate

Fire’s sister Bella got out for her first hunt recently.  Here’s the word from Gil:

Bella’s first bird hunt was a success!  Even more impressive considering the tough conditions. The wind was blowing 25 mph, gusting to 35 mph!  Nothing was flushing. Everything was running. She also found plenty of dead/un-retrieved birds.

 This sweetheart is a bit of a late bloomer, but seems the training and bloodline kicked into gear.(@ Pheasant Bonanza)

Bella with her chukar from Pheasant Bonanza

Bella with her chukar from Pheasant Bonanza

Thanks to Gil for the update and thanks to you all for continuing to check up on us even though I’ve gotten a bit sketchy on posting with my new duties.  The school district asked me to teach 10th grade English full time and coach the high school debate team this semester, so it is crazy!  It might just be for the semester, or it might turn into a permanent thing.  The district has to cut 5 million from the budget next year, so there is a possibility the position could be eliminated.

Charles and the kids are stepping up around the house and kennel to make sure that everything we need to do is done.  I might drift off for a bit on the blog between now and when the puppies are born, but make no mistake about it, the puppies will be well tended to.  My school is only 5 minutes from the house and I will be running back and forth during plan periods and lunch once the puppies are born.

I will certainly let you know about the hunt next weekend and a few weeks after that when and if the females are showing signs of pregnancy.  At this point, I am not taking any more reservations this year until I know what the puppy count is.  I won’t start thinking about next year until these (hopeful) puppies go home.

I can feel spring in the air and the snow geese are traveling north.  Enjoy the extra daylight and send good puppy vibes our way!

Duck Opener and Fire’s NAVHDA Natural Ability Test

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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!

Federacion Canofila Mexicana: Pointer Griffon de Pelo Duro

1 Comment

FCM Bluestem Freyja

I received an e-mail from Charbel in Mexico City that six month-old  Bluestem Freyja, sister to our pup Fire out of Sam and BB, is now officially the only registered Wirehaired Pointing Griffon in Mexico!  Viva Griffon!  I find the name that they use quite interesting, as it literally translates into “Pointer Griffon of Hard Hair”.  Here is the official pedigree from FCM, and thank you so much to Charbel for sending me a copy!

Federacion Canofila Mexicana Pedigree of Pointer Griffon de Pelo Duro, Bluestem Freyja

Federacion Canofila Mexicana Pedigree of Pointer Griffon de Pelo Duro, Bluestem Freyja

It is pretty cool that in 3 generations it goes from France (Cyr, the sire of BB), Canada (BB was born), US (where Freyja was born), and now to Mexico.  I know that she has a good life down there, and I can’t wait to get some pics of her chasing some of their crazy quail.

Fire Training Day Epic Fail

Our poor raggedy chukar have been sitting in the holding pen for too long.  It isn’t a flight pen and most of them are big males and have pecked one another over quite a bit.  But we decided that Fire absolutely had to get out.  So yesterday morning, off we went to the dog training wildlife management area south of town with three chukars.

It has been raining so much that the grass was wet, and the birds were wet.  But Charles planted them anyway.  At that point, we hadn’t had Fire out working birds or even for a multi-hour walk for about a month.  The first thing that she did was take off like a bat out of hell right down the scent of Charles’s boots, with no care in the world for the whistle.  We finally found her about 150 yards away, up and over the hill with the last bird that he had planted in her mouth.

On the second bird, we got a point out of her that Charles was able to walk in on, but it barely flew and was almost an Arky shot (looks like I need to add Arky Shot to Urban Dictionary.  It is when a person shoots a bird on the ground or in a tree, which is extremely unsportsmanlike when not totally illegal).  But he wanted to make sure that he fired the shotgun and the bird was dead when she got ahold of it.  I think that the shotgun blast scared me more than it did the dog, so it looks like we’ve got the pup’s shotgun conditioning finalized.

Charles walking in on Fire's point

Charles walking in on Fire’s point

Fire showing off her prey drive on the flush

Fire showing off her prey drive on the flush

Charles going for the near-Arky

Charles going for the near-Arky

She retrieved that bird, but I was still too stunned from the blast to get a photo of it.  We got a decent point on the last bird, but it didn’t fly but about 6 inches off of the ground, right into Fire’s mouth.  Aw hell.  Although it makes for a funny story, and everyone who trains dogs has these days, it was still a big thumbs down.

Everybody Run

Remember that awesome song from Sesame Street in the 1970s?  Well, here it is:

Yet I digress.  This morning, we finally got everyone out for a run.  And it was fun.

The three dogs and Charles.

Sam, Fire, BB, and Charles.

Fire in the flowers

Fire in the flowers

Go Sam go

Go Sam go

BB on the move

BB on the move

Three dogs in the grass

Three dogs in the grass: Sam, Fire, BB

Here comes BB

Here comes BB

Happy Sam

Happy Sam

The people

The people

Upcoming trialing and hunting

This weekend, we will be running Fire in the Amateur Walking Derby and the Walking Puppy Stakes at the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Nebraska’s Fall Trial at Branched Oak Lake Trial Grounds.  I’ll be sure to get something up about that at the end of next weekend before I get on the plane for Maine.  I’m hoping that the stakes prior to the Derby are large, because if it falls on Friday, I will have to handle.  It would be my first time.  I thought we’d be running again the following weekend, but once I went to fill out the premium for the Lincoln club, I realized that there are no walking stakes.  So we’ll have the first weekend of September off from dog activities and just plan on sitting for some doves on Monday the 1st.

AromatherapyP

Pointing Dog Journal: Nebraska Sandhills Prairie Chicken Mention

This month’s PDJ Pass Along E-mail Blast was about the Greater Prairie Chicken and my very own Nebraska Sandhills.  The following is the full text from the e-mail and I hope that I am re-printing it with permission.  Full credit goes to Pointing Dog Journal and the author listed below:

prairie grouse logo

Prairie Chickens
in the Nebraska Sandhills
by Greg Septon, STCP

Founded in 1961 to save the greater prairie-chicken (GPC) in Wisconsin, the Society of Tympanuchus Cupido Pinnatus, Ltd. (STCP) is working today to better understand the dynamics that maintain the nation’s largest viable population of GPC in the Nebraska Sandhills – the last best place to study the species in their natural grassland environment.

The goal in the Sandhills is to document productivity, habitat use, and movements of GPC and provide an understanding of how this is interwoven with human activities in the region. If GPC are to prosper as a species we need to better understand their needs and work to determine a scenario where compatible land uses will provide a secure future for them as well as humans so that both may coexist.

Our proactive approach at studying the dynamics of this large population now means that we can likely prevent the GPC from following in the wake of the lesser prairie-chicken – which is now listed as threatened, and the greater sage grouse, which may also be listed next year. If similar proactive research had been undertaken 20 years ago with these species, they might not be facing the uncertain futures they face today.

Gaining a thorough understanding of the life history of Nebraska’s large GPC population will also help provide a future for the isolated, remnant GPC populations in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. For it is from the large populations that these states will need to translocate birds from to restore genetic health and increase numbers to maintain their “museum” or “zoo” populations as they are often referred to. Without a stable source population where birds can be drawn from for periodic translocations, these small, isolated populations will eventually fade away one by one.

For a more comprehensive history of STCP and an account of our research efforts including work with the endangered Attwater’s prairie-chicken, please visit our website at: www.prairiegrouse.org.

Until next weekend

I need to go and get the kids ready for school tomorrow.  It is very much unlike me to do a Sunday night post, but I desperately need to save my writing time in the morning for my paid writing gig.  Oh, I also wanted to give a special shout out to the late night internet lurkers on my blog.  I am also one of those people who gets up almost every night for 15 minutes or so between midnight and 4 AM and gets online.  I know it is neurotic and a bad habit, but I always check my stats and see there are folks out there reading my blog at that time.  I also see that there are people reading my archived posts from several years back.  How embarrassing, it is a real cesspool in places.  But that is just part of keeping an online diary.  I’m glad that you enjoy it.

 

Back to School

Leave a comment

Today, for the first time in 13 years, I don’t have a child in daycare, preschool, or at home with me.  The youngest is off to kindergarten and as much as I’ve looked forward to this day for so bloody long, it still hurts a little.  But I’ll be back to substitute teaching English at the high school the day after tomorrow, so that will be exciting.  And there’s always the dogs.

It has rained every day since we’ve been back from vacation, so they haven’t gotten a good long run in for awhile.  It shows; they are a bit rammy on their walks out back.  Yesterday, Sam finally met the new intact male pitbull that moved recently in a few properties over.  I was very nervous, but the pit is probably several years younger and 3-4 inches shorter than Sam, so nobody was questioning who was dominate (thank God).

Fall is Coming

In case you hadn’t noticed, fall will be here soon.  The dog cult of Branched Oak Field Trial Grounds will be re-assembling in 10 days for the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Nebraska’s Fall Field Trial.  We’ll go ahead and run Fire in the Amateur Walking Puppy and Amateur Walking Derby stakes.  The following weekend, we’ll do the same thing at the same place with the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Lincoln.  Those trials fall on each end of my work week trip to Maine, August 25-29 for AWPGA National Specialty, so it will be a very doggy week.

Speaking of the people who hang around Branched Oak, I’d like to give a shout out to Kahne Packer, and his folks Dana and Chad.  Kahne is bud of my kids at dog events and was featured in the Best in Show photograph for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Nebraskaland Magazine Photo Contest for 2014.

Kahne Packer and his German Shorthaired Pointer anxiously wait to set food afield at a youth mentor pheasant hunt at Cub Creek Hunting in Beatrice.  Photo by Kaleb White

Kahne Packer and his German Shorthaired Pointer anxiously wait to set foot afield at a youth mentor pheasant hunt at Cub Creek Hunting in Beatrice. Photo by Kaleb White

Sharptailed Grouse and Statewide Early Teal

We will skip opening day of sharptailed grouse on September 1 and instead head out there on Friday the 5th to chase them, with statewide Nebraska early teal opening on Saturday the 6th.  If you go out for early teal on the 6th, make sure you take the time to properly identify what you are shooting.  This season is under evaluation by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and if we harvest too many non-teal ducks, we will lose the season.  TEAL ONLY.  Please download the NGPC Waterfowl Guide to your phone or tablet prior to going out into the field for further guidance: http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/hunting/guides/waterfowl/waterfowl.asp

 The battle of the over/unders: the SKB Model 505 vs. the Browning Citori Lightning

We have a way of winning big ticket items at Pheasants Forever banquets.  Charles and Conrad both have Nebraska Lifetime Hunting and Fishing licenses.  I won the 12 ga. Browning Citori Lightning O/U four or five years ago.  I used to shoot a 20 ga. SKB 505, but I don’t get a chance to shoot skeet that often, so I needed the extra reach of a 12 ga. to put more birds in the bag.  Plus, it took me several years of hunting to work up the upper body strength to carry a shotgun all day and not end up with a black shoulder from bad form.  Charles would have taken the Citori, but it is just too long for him.

An array of Browning Citoris, from pafoa.org

An array of Browning Citoris, from pafoa.org

I have fought with that damn shotgun since the day I won it.  It has driven me to tears.  Both the Browning and the SKB have the safety on the top of the grip of the stock, just behind the receiver.  With the SKB it is a simple thumb push forward to take the safety off.  On the Browning Citori Lightning the safety and the O/U switch are one in the same, where you push the same switch side to side to choose barrels, then forward to take off the safety.  If the O/U switch is not properly engaged, the safety will not turn off.  And it is just enough to send me into a complete hissy fit and makes me lose my focus on the shot.  So good riddance, Browning Citori Lightning O/U 12 ga., into the safe to be a loaner gun.  Or maybe one of the boys will have more patience for it than I.

Unfortunately, SKB shotguns are not currently in production.  About three years ago, the family who owned the SKB factory in Japan decided that they no longer wanted to carry on operating it once the family patriarch passed on.  So, SKB USA, which is headquartered right here in Omaha, Nebraska, is building a new plant in Turkey to continue to manufacture these functional tools.  Sure, it is cool to look at a Kreighoff, but what happens when I fall into the swamp (again)?  But luckily around Christmas time, we found a 505 12 ga. in mint condition here at Guns Unlimited (aka SKB USA headquarters), so I am super excited to get her out in the field and shoot some stuff.  Oops, I mean harvest the sacred game.

SKB Model 505 12 ga. field grade

SKB Model 505 12 ga. field grade.  Photo from skb.com

 Vacation selfies

Looking back on my vaca post, I realize that I edited myself out of the photos.  Here I am, “Hi!!”

Great Sand Dunes National Park kicked my arse.  Photo by Charles.

Great Sand Dunes National Park kicked my arse. Photo by Charles.

Charles and I at the Grand Canyon.  Photo by our 10 year-old son, Conrad.

Charles and I at the Grand Canyon. Photo by our 10 year-old son, Conrad.

Pupdates

We received Ben’s OFA certification back and it was Good.  He is a 3 1/2 year old male out of Sam and Sue that we’ll be breeding on to our co-owned female, Velma.  I can check that off of the list.

Ben's OFA certificate

Ben’s OFA certificate

Ernie up in North Dakota has been working with his 5 month-old pup, Duncan, and the Central Dakota NAVHDA chapter towards the Natural Ability test.  Duncan is from our 2014 “H” litter of Sam and Mae.  He said, “Duncan is doing great, he has more natural ability than any other dog I have ever seen at this age.  He is picking up on the obedience training very quickly.  The guys at NAVHDA are sure he could do his NA test now, but I will wait until spring.  Hope you have a great hunting season.”

He also sent along a video of their training:

As it says in the credits, thank you to Ernie for the great video, and to the Central Dakota NAVHDA chapter for the training opportunities!

Duncan on a fishing trip, waiting for hunting season.

Duncan on a fishing trip, waiting for hunting season.

Also working with the Central Dakota NAVHDA chapter is TracHer, with Susan and Tom.  TracHer is from our 2012 “C” litter of Sam and Mae.  They sent along a GoPro headmount video of working with her on steadiness.  I appreciate them sharing a video of a work in progress, as training steadiness is challenging.  If you are sensitive to motion, you might want to start the video at 1:15 or so.  I also film with a GoPro and know that getting anything of quality is lucky, so thank you again Susan and Tom for putting in the effort to share this.  

Matt up in South Dakota has been out with Josie, Duncan’s sister.  He called me up and said that she’s gaining her independence in her puppy adolescence, but they are getting her reined back in by having her drag a check cord.  She had a bit of random nervous barking early on, but they resolved it quickly with a no-bark collar.  Matt guides upland and waterfowl near Vermillion when he isn’t doing his day job, and I learned something interesting from him about hunting waterfowl along the Missouri River.  They do not use any type of collar on the dog up there, for fear of having dogs snag on the numerous logs and branches in the water.  We have yet to try and take on the Mighty Mo here, it is a big deep channel, but that is a smart tip.

Josie sitting

Josie sitting

Josie in the field

Josie in the field

Josie with a bumper in the yard

Josie with a bumper in the yard

TracHer’s brother, Chester, out in New York was caught on camera by his trainer, Steve Anker.  Charles hangs out on the versatiledogs.com forum and showed me this.  I loved it so much that I had to snag it.  Chester is working on his NAVHDA Utility Test with the Hudson Valley NAVHDA Chapter, and is pictured with his owner, Sal.

Sal and Chester up to serious training business.  Photo by Steve Anker.

Sal and Chester up to serious training business. Photo by Steve Anker.

Okay, not a pupdate, but still a silly griffon photo from my pack.  My brother Ron had Mae out on Main Street in Valentine, Nebraska while the bar folk were about.  I didn’t ask the details, but he titled this one “Mae Meets the Party Girls”.

Mae giving love to the party girls

Mae giving love to the party girls

Time for me to get on with the day.  Party on, Mae.

Introducing Ben, etc.

Leave a comment

Introducing Ben

We will be using Ben as the sire on the litter planned with Velma (De Jac’s Zip-Ah-Dee-Doo-Dah) for 2015.  Ben is from our 2011 “B” Litter between Sam and Sue.  We had him here as an overnight guest last week in order to get his hips X-rayed, which is really just a formality as there is no sign of anything wrong.  It is just one of those things that you are supposed to do before breeding a dog.

Ben has a wonderful temperament: he only barked once or twice out in the kennel even though it wasn’t home and he let me mess with him up on the grooming table without putting up a fight.  He is strictly a wild bird hunter of quail, sharptailed grouse, and pheasant here in Nebraska.  He lives on a farm outside of Lincoln with Nate and his family.  We plan on taking our next stud puppy out of the Velma and Ben litter, they really compliment each other well in their conformation.

Ben on point last fall.

Ben on point last fall on a hen pheasant.

Ben au natural, before any grooming

Ben au natural, before any grooming

Ben after being brushed, before trim

Ben after being brushed, before trim

Ben after a full trim and bath

Ben after a full trim and bath

Ben with Nate ready to head home

Ben with Nate ready to head home

I was really blown away by Ben’s head furnishings, neither of his parents have anything near that long.  I would put his eyebrows and beard at around 4 in. long.  His face really makes me think of the West Coast show griffs.  His body coat is more of the hunter lines liver coat, but it isn’t flat like some, it does have a curl to it like Sam’s.  Then the chest and the legs have lots of gray fringe on them.  He also isn’t too big, 64 lbs. and probably 23 in. at the shoulder, so really the perfect size and right in breed standard.  We hope to get out this fall and do some hunting with him too, so I’ll have more pictures of him then.

Retiree Update

Mae is doing really well with my brother Ron, and his Siberian Husky Whisper.  Whisper used to escape and run away all of the time, but that has changed now that he has an old lady.  Mae was fixed before I moved her, so there will be no griff/husky cross puppies (although it was much talked about in jest beforehand).  They sit around the yard all day, then play fight in the house at night.

Mae and Whisper doing what they do best.

Mae and Whisper doing what they do best.

Stan shared a cute picture of old Sue running with Savannah down the driveway, she seems to be very happy playing with the kids.  Trey is 12 this year and passed his hunter’s safety, so game birds in Mellette County, South Dakota be warned.

Sue and Savannah on a jog.

Sue and Savannah on a jog.

Fire Training Update

Last weekend, Charles took our 5-month old puppy, Fire, out to Skyline Sportsmen’s Club in Thurman, Iowa for training with the Heartland NAVHDA Chapter.  She did her first exercise with live shotgun fire and did just fine.  She also retrieved bumpers from the water.  The veterans of the chapter said that she is ready for her Natural Ability test, so we will go ahead and move that up to October of this year.  We were talking about doing it in the spring, but will go ahead and move it up and do the UPT test in Spring of 2015.  That way we can get her through the Utility Test prior to her coming into breeding age, probably Fall of 2015.

Pupdate

Cliff in Oklahoma sent over a great update on Bluestem Belle, from our “C” litter of 2012 between Sam and Mae.  That would make her a littermate to Chester in New York and TracHer in North Dakota who we get frequent updates from.  Here’s what Cliff had to say:

Belle has been just almost the perfect pet.  She is so personable and most always very obedient.  I will take partial credit on the obedient attribute.  We had her spayed prior to her coming into heat the second time, so about 16 months ago.  After going through one cycle of wearing doggie diapers and having to be careful what dogs we hunted around that first fall, I didn’t want to go through that again!  She is an inside-outside pet.  Inside when we are home, but outside if we are going to be gone more than a couple hours.  We got our yard fenced shortly after bringing her home, so she has about half an acre to be in. 
 
I continue to be amazed on how smart she is.  She can open doors (we have door handles instead of door knobs), know toy names, and last week she fetched my socks and shoes to put on so we could go on a walk!  When we go to our public walking area, I usually don’t have her on a leash unless we are about to walk past another dog or geese.  She always wants to get in my truck to go someplace.  There is a pub in Stillwater that allows pets on leash.   Attached is a picture of her in front of a menu board.
 
She does great hunting, super nose and follows commands: verbal, whistle & hand directions.  One of our most fun days out last season was the Jan 31st in north-central Kansas.  We woke up to new and continuing snow.  Belle loved hunting in that cold and snow.  Attached are a couple pictures of her that day.  She was caked in snow and had a vast number of icicles in her beard.

 I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

Belle at Finnegan's Pub

Belle at Finnegan’s Pub

Belle in the Kansas snow

Belle in the Kansas snow

Belle on point

Belle on point

Thanks so much to Cliff for that update, I am pleased with how all of  these pups have turned out and it really bolsters my spirit to hear from my owners.  Infinite gratitude.

General Blog Ramblings

It is hard to believe that I’m fast approaching 300,000 lifetime hits on a totally homemade blog about an obscure breed of hunting dogs written by a gal who considers herself half redneck and half intellectual.  I suppose I could sell ads on my YouTube videos and convert this over to a site where I could put ads on it, but it is a passionate hobby and am fearful of taking myself too seriously.  But when I am able to see folks from all over the world reading it, like daily hits from Brazil during the World Cup (probably some Dutch and German griffon enthusiasts), it makes me feel pretty self-conscious and aware that I’m representing my breed and my sport internationally.  I need to do a better job of being a professional about it and not so flippant.  I appreciate you, my readers, for making me feel appreciated and tolerating my sometimes lazy and goofy posts.

I have also finally committed to going to Maine at the end of August for AWPGA National Specialty and the Korthals Cup.  I am looking forward to seeing some good friends and meeting some of the East Coast US and Quebec griffonniers that I’ve only encountered online.  If you’d like to join us, registration is open until August 1st http://www.awpganationalspecialty.com/.

Enjoy the end of summer and stay cool.  Griffs love kiddie pools, so bust one out if you haven’t already.

One last thing: I finally updated the gallery on the About Us/Contact page to include the last two years of our adventures, so be sure to check that out.  The button is in the brown top navigation bar.

Older Entries