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: 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).”


Puppy Update: a Griffon named Griffen in RI

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Sorry for the blog neglect, I’ve been fighting off the seasonal illnesses.  I did receive a great update from Stephen in Rhode Island about the pup he called “Griffen”, known as Male 2.2 of my 2010 litter.  Here’s what he had to say:

“Griffen is doing great. He is a very happy and active 6 month old. I have been training him all summer for hunting season, he is very smart and catches on quickly. I take him in the woods as much as possible he loves it. Only been out hunting a couple of times so far this season, he did well for a young dog. Here are a few pictures of him. I will send you more during hunting season .”

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Griffen (Male 2.2 2010 litter) at 6 months

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Griffen in the forests of Rhode Island

For the breeding being a complete outcross, I am very happy with the uniformity of the three pups that I have seen recent photographs of.  There are photos forthcoming from Sean and Amber in Wyoming that I am also very excited to see.  I hope that the owners keep the updates coming!

Charles did get a nice buck out in the Sandhills and went out for deer again here in Eastern Nebraska this weekend, but didn’t see anything that met his liking.  He was more excited to flush up a woodcock on his hunt yesterday than anything else.   Our freezer is near capacity anyway, so I was not upset.  He was going to head out for birds today, but decided to stick around the house for a change.

Give thanks for our hunting heritage!


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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