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“H” Litter at 5 1/2 weeks

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The puppies are doing very well, they are now excited to get out of the kennel a few times a day instead of being scared to go out of it.  It is hard to believe that they will start going home two weeks from tomorrow.  After the week of rain we’ve had some nice sunny days, so it gives them the opportunity to experience all of the sights, sounds, and smells of spring.

We’ve been running the big dogs out in the country every weekend now, it really helps with control when we’re back at the house.  Although we have an acre that is attached to the neighbors’ 4 acres, they need to get out into a hunting field that often to blow off steam.  Plus it is good exercise for us and kids.

Here are the pictures of the pups:

Girl: Hope

Girl: Hope

Girl: Harriet

Girl: Harriet

Boy: Hez

Boy: Hez

Boy: Harold

Boy: Harold

Boy: Herbert

Boy: Herbert

Here is the weekly video update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAKwT7lR9ak&feature=youtu.be

Susan and Tom shot some video of practicing with a live duck retrieve with TracHer up in North Dakota.  TracHer really gets out there and swims just like her dad, Sam.  She is from our 2012 “C” litter of Mae and Sam.  Thanks to Susan and Tom for letting me share their video: https://vimeo.com/93433615

Happy 4th birthday to my “A” Litter of 2010 from Sue and Sam, the litter that started all of this craziness!  It is funny how all of this versatile hunting dog stuff has totally taken over our lives and I am so thankful for all of the wonderful people we have met through pup and clubs such as NAVHDA and AWPGA.  Time to get outside and let everyone out, so I’ll catch up with you next week.

“G” Litter All at Home and “H” Litter at 3.5 Weeks

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Our last puppy went home on Good Friday, Gallixe went across town in Omaha with Gil, while Ginny stays here with us.

Gil and his daughter taking Gallixe home

Gil and his daughter taking Gallixe home

Saturday we took Ginny, now know as “Fire”, out with her mom and dad to the local dog training wildlife management area.  Right now we are primarily working with her on housebreaking, coming when she is called and getting accustomed to cap gun fire when she is playing in the yard.

Caleb runs ahead of Fire

Caleb runs ahead of Fire

 

Sam and BB in the field

Sam and BB in the field

Conrad, Caleb, Charles and Cordelia with Fire in the lead

Conrad, Caleb, Charles and Cordelia with Fire in the lead

The “H” litter was big enough to move out into Mae’s new dog kennel on Saturday.  We converted her from a 6 ft by 8 ft chain link to a 8 ft by 12 ft welded wire to give the litter more space.  The pups are able to get themselves in and out of the dog house, so it is good for their little legs to get them some more space outside and the stimulation of all of the noise and smells.  They also got their first sample of puppy mush, but weren’t very interested since Mae is feeding them well.

"H" Litter at 3.5 weeks old

“H” Litter at 3.5 weeks old lounging around

And of course the weekly YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQqGAOHo2Uk&feature=youtu.be

I hope that you all had a blessed Easter and all of the “G” litter owners are enjoying their new pups!  I’ll be sure to get updated individual photos of the “H” litter out next week.  Talk at you then!

Mid-season hunting update

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I think I’ll start off on telling you all what is happening with this blog.  It is blowing up on me a bit.  Right now I’m getting between 60-100 individual viewers everyday, each reading between 5-10 items.  If you search anything online about Wirehaired Pointing Griffons and hunting, we are the top kennel name that pops up.  I’m getting phone calls and e-mails every day about puppies, which is great!  But if you have to leave a voice mail, get me on the phone and I sound stressed and frazzled, or send me an e-mail and it takes me a week to respond, please try to understand.  We are not a big farm with lots of kennel hands or anything.  We are just a busy family that loves hunting with our dogs, which takes us on the road this time of year quite a bit too.  I respond to everyone.

If I had to wager, I would bet that my females are getting ready to cycle in December.  They are both showing about the same amounts of changes and Sam’s interest is high in both of them.  Mae might be a little ahead of BB.  So, I’m thinking that they’ll have puppies in February that go home in April.  But it is Mother Nature after all, so we’ll just wait and see.

My birthday was on November 9th, so we went and chased some birds.  Charles got 2 pheasant and a quail.  I missed the shots that I had.  But it was fun to get out on a beautiful fall day anyway.

Birthday girl Charity, your loyal narrator

Birthday girl Charity, your loyal narrator

BB, Sam and Charles with my birthday presents

BB, Sam and Charles with my birthday presents

Last weekend, we took time away from bird hunting for Charles to go after his annual mule deer in the Nebraska Sandhills.  I was able to stay back in town and visit my family.  He took this bad boy opening morning.  It is a tie with his muley from 1999 for personal best deer antler rack.

Charles's mule deer buck and rifle out on the prairie

Charles’s mule deer buck and rifle out on the prairie

Up close with Charles and his deer

Up close with Charles and his deer

I’ve been all amped up about trying to shoot a goose.  There is a pond along the Platte River that I have access to and I went out to it for a couple of hours the day before yesterday.  Saw lots of geese on an adjacent pond that is property of the gravel mine, so I’m hoping that if I get in some morning in the dark and set up, I might be able to get them flying into the mining pond.  But we’ll see, it is a work in progress.

Charles will take the weekend off from pheasants due to it being the last weekend of rifle deer season.  We don’t want one of the dogs to get shot on accident.

I am also getting ready to go to Quebec the weekend between Christmas and New Years Eve (God willing!).  The puppies are three weeks old now and have their eyes open.  I’m not sure which one of these three is mine, but I plan on calling up there tonight and I’ll find out.  Renee and Gilbert have very busy jobs on top of having way more dogs than I do, so I completely understand.

Cristal and Fortis puppies at 3 weeks old.

Cristal and Fortis puppies at 3 weeks old.

I am so thankful for all of my owners who take such great pictures and write such nice e-mails to keep us up to date our our pups.  8 month old “Ed” is out of Sue and Sam’s 2013 “E” Litter.  Here is what owner, Bob, had to say about their trip to North Dakota:

We had a great hunt in North Dakota this year.  We had 5 hunters and got our limits 2 of the 3 days we hunted.  It rained all day on our second day so the hunting was pretty short.  Ed figured out the game and has picked up the art of pointing just like I hoped he would.  He also has shown his desire to retrieve with no hesitation.  Very successful first North Dakota hunt for Ed!  It is awesome what a good dog can do.  And at only 8 months old is unbelievable!

EdND

Bob and Ed had a great time in ND!

Ed's stack of ND pheasants

Ed’s stack of ND pheasants

And as always, year and a half old TracHer, from Sam and Mae’s “C” Litter is having a great time living in North Dakota!  Susan and Tom are so generous to share their photos with us.  On this day, Susan got the first bird of the day, but missed for the rest of the day (I know that feeling!!), but Tom got his limit.

Here comes TracHer with a pheasant!

Here comes TracHer with a pheasant!

TracHer retrieving another pheasant

TracHer retrieving another pheasant

TracHer is excited about the bird that she brought to Tom

TracHer is excited about the bird that she brought to Tom

Everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving.  We all have so much to be thankful for!  Hopefully we’ll get out to chase some pheasants around then.  Take care.

North Dakota Trip, AWPGA Nationals, Nebraska Pheasants and other news…

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When you go three weeks without blogging, stuff piles up, so I apologize if this seems a bit like a random barrage.  What most people come to my website for is to find out about new litters, so I suppose I will start there.  Mae is starting to have changes and Sam wants to be in the kennel with her, so by the looks of things we will have a breeding between them within the next month.  So, let’s project that they breed at the beginning of December; that would have puppies being whelped at the beginning of February and going home at the beginning of April.  This is all just my somewhat educated guesstimation and by no means guaranteed.  Mae is 6, so I suspect that she will have a litter around the same size as last year, which was 4.  BB (who lives with us) and Velma (who lives with a friend) are set to have their first litters this year.  They should come into season anytime between now and April.  I will not breed after late March because any pups after that would interfere with being able to take a summer vacation before school starts for the kids and hunting season starts for us.  Right now I have 12 reservations with deposit and other folks trying to decide.  I could have anywhere from 12-30 pups if all goes as I plan, but it isn’t up to me.  Feel free to call (402) 682-9802 or e-mail bluestemkennels@cox.net if you would like to discuss things further (I know I still have a couple of callbacks and e-mails, so bear with me another day or so to let me get those returned).

October 19-24 Charles, BB and Sam met up with Lou, Murph and Midge in North Dakota for a pheasant/duck hunt combo.  Also along was deer camp friend, Ozzie, and Lou’s father, Lew (AKA Lou Senior or Old Lou).  They saw some stuff.  They shot at some stuff.  They stayed in a cabin and cooked on a Coleman stove.  I’ll spare you the second-hand details and get down to the bird totals and photos.

Saturday, October 19, 2013: Charles and Young Lou got 3 sharp-tailed grouse.

Sam brings in the sharpie retrive with BB on backup.  Photo courtesy of Oscar Hollenbeck

Sam brings in the sharpie retrieve with BB on backup. Photo courtesy of Oscar Hollenbeck

Sam bringing the sharpie into Charles.  Photo courtesy of Oscar Hollenbeck

Sam bringing the sharpie into Charles. Photo courtesy of Oscar Hollenbeck

Young Lou, Murf, Sam, BB, Midge, Old Lou, Charles and the sharpie

Young Lou, Murf, Sam, BB, Midge, Old Lou, Charles and the sharpie.  Photo courtesy of Oscar Hollenbeck

The day's stringer of sharpies back at camp.  Photo by Charles

The day’s stringer of sharpies back at camp. Photo by Charles

Sunday, October 20, 2013 – skunked

Monday, October 21, 2013: Charles got 2 roosters

Charles and the first pheasant of the trip.  Photo courtesy of Oscar Hollenbeck

Charles and the first pheasant of the trip. Photo courtesy of Oscar Hollenbeck

Tuesday, October 22, 2013: Charles got a rooster pheasant and a mallard hen late in the day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013: Charles got one rooster

Thursday, October 24, 2013: Young Lou got two roosters (no photo available)

Random pic of Lou cooking since there is no pheasant pic.  It snowed Saturday night, so this must be Sunday morning.

Random pic of Lou cooking since there is no pheasant pic. It snowed Saturday night, so this must be Sunday morning.

The trip was more about the memories and the time spent together than the bird totals anyway.  I hope that the guys enjoyed themselves even without game bags overflowing.

The griffon masters

The griffon masters

As Charles was driving home from North Dakota, Cordelia and I were on the road to the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon National Specialty in Greeley, Colorado.  We missed the fun hunt, specialty show and annual meeting, but managed to see the supported entry show on Saturday and go to the banquet.  We also had an awesome sojourn into Boulder to shop and eat on Pearl St. and do some hiking in Boulder Canyon and at the Flatirons.

Cordelia and Charity in Colorado for AWPGA Nationals

Cordelia and Charity in Colorado for AWPGA Nationals

It was great to catch up with some griffoniers and talk dog nerd talk freely.   AWPGA National Specialty 2014 is on for Kennebunk and Union, Maine from August 25-31.  In addition to the events held this year in Colorado, they’ve got the Korthals Cup back on and there will be AKC and NAVHDA hunt testing opportunities available (in place of the fun hunt), and an interesting grooming and handling seminar.  I hope to make it out, but it is cutting it awfully close to the opening of dove and grouse Sept. 1.  I encourage any and all griffon enthusiasts to join the AWPGA and attend a specialty, so much fun!  Here are Susan Edginton’s photos of this year’s specialty dog show, if you want to check those out:

http://sedgintonphotos.photoreflect.com/store/ThumbPage.aspx?e=9111641&g=1ZZR001G02

Last weekend also had plenty of excitement!  Charles and Matt went out on Saturday in search of rooster pheasants and actually found some!  Nebraska Game and Parks planted 4000 pheasants this year on public land across Eastern Nebraska (finally).  If you’ve read my blog during pheasant season over the past few years, you know how much I like to whine about the decline of pheasants in our part of the state and how much NGPC needed to stock.  Well they have heard the desperate pleas of the hunters and “did us a solid” (as my kids would say).  The Pheasants Forever Rooster Road Trip party took 17 pheasant out of Northeastern Nebraska in one day off of public land.  We are very excited for this pheasant season in Eastern Nebraska, now that we know that we actually have a chance.  Both Matt and Charles took their limits and Charles got a quail too.  In total he said that they saw 20 pheasants and 50 quail.

Mid-day bag in Southeastern Nebraska

Mid-day bag in Southeastern Nebraska

End of day bag.  One of Matt's roosters somehow got away.

End of day bag. One of Matt’s roosters somehow got away.

By the time they pulled into the driveway, it was dark and the kids and I were in the middle of dinner, so no great photography went down.  Sorry.

On the same day we found out that our new male was born!!  He will be coming from Bourg-Royal Kennel in St. Lambert-de-Lauzon, Quebec, Canada, the same kennel as BB.  Different parents, both French imports.  We are very excited to bring him home around the first of the year!

Cristal and the 4 puppies: 1 male and 3 females

Cristal and the 4 puppies: 1 male and 3 females

Announcement in the last Griffonnier with the parents' credentials

Announcement in the last Griffonnier with the parents’ credentials

And the blog post wouldn’t be complete without some pupdates.  Here’s Midge (who went on the North Dakota trip), from Sam and Mae’s 2013 “F” litter with a big haul of pheasants from Montana.  Charles said she is a hard charging little dog with a great coat and lots of prey drive.

Midge and Montana Pheasants

Midge and Montana Pheasants

Midge’s older sister TracHer from Sam and Mae’s 2012 “C” litter has been having a great season up in North Dakota and is showing off all her skills.  According to Susan, “Gorgeous day today….we limited out 50 miles from home. TracHer retrieved 4 of the six birds, one in water with cattails.”

18 month old TracHer on retrieve of a North Dakota rooster

18 month old TracHer on retrieve of a North Dakota rooster

TracHer on left with Tom, Susan with Zepher (griff unrelated to my dogs) and their friends, the week prior to the close-up photo

TracHer on left with Tom, Susan with Zepher (griff unrelated to my dogs) and their friends, the week prior to the close-up photo

And one of my first dog babies, Whiskey from Sam and Sue’s “A” litter 2010, took his girl Andi out on her first duck hunt out in Nevada.  They did so awesome and I love how much Whiskey is Sam Jr!

Andi, Whiskey and some ducks

Andi, Whiskey and some ducks

Well, that pretty much wraps it up for right now.  Charles and I are heading out on Saturday in hopes of some pheasants and ducks.  We are still debating about where, but it will be pretty close to home.  I’ll keep you posted.  Until then, stay warm, winter is coming!

Duck Hunting the Atlas Blizzard, BB’s NAVHDA UT and more news…

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I think that I am finally caught up on my kennel e-mails and phone calls, but if you’ve tried to get in touch with me and somehow fell through the cracks, please reach out to me again at bluestemkennels@cox.net or (402) 682-9802.  Charles has been on the road during the week for his corporate job 3 weeks in a row now, then we’ve been traveling on the weekends for hunting, testing and training.  I’m currently taking care of the 3 dogs and 3 kids, working as a substitute teacher in middle school and high school English, writing for Lion Country Supply and finishing my master’s degree in secondary education.  So sometimes the wheels just come off the bus and not everything gets done as it should.  I did manage to get my introductory blog post on to the Lion Country Supply site: http://blog.lcsupply.com/2013/09/postcards-from-the-great-plains-first-post/  It is different than writing for here, where I just sort of talk to you like I would if you were sitting here at my kitchen table with me.

But what did get done as it should was our duck hunt in the Nebraska Sandhills on opening day.  It was extremely cold and windy, as we caught the southeastern corner of what is being called the Atlas Blizzard that devestated the cattle industry in southwestern South Dakota (I’ve been following on another blog: Just a Ranch Wife http://www.justaranchwife.com/).  It definitely pushed the ducks south and right to us that day.  We both got our limits by midday and it’s a good thing because I had cotton pants on that just got completely soaked by the flying snow and I was locking up with some pre-hypothermia symptoms.  Our favorite method is jump hunting, so we were taking the action to the ducks.  I managed to catch a duck double that I shot on GoPro video and I posted it on our YouTube channel:

And the final shot on the day.  Let me tell you a bit about these end of the day shots.  I have my camera on a tripod and use the 10 second timer to take these.  I don’t look into the mirror before we take them.  I line everyone else up, hit the timer, then run into the picture.  I will never look like one of those cool, sexy huntresses in one of these pictures.  Like this one, I look like I have a damn chef’s hat on.

Charity and Charles with BB on 2013 opener of duck season

Charity and Charles with BB on 2013 opener of duck season

The following day was completely blue sky and right when we get ready to hunt, I realize that my license must have fallen out of my pocket the day before.  No hunting license, duck stamp or HIP number anywhere.  So I just carried the camera instead (after a good cry, of course).

Charles and BB started Sunday with a wood dock drake

Charles and BB started Sunday with a wood dock drake

Charles and BB leave the wooded pond

Charles and BB leave the wooded pond

The head of a wood duck drake is one of the most beautiful gifts of nature

The head of a wood duck drake is one of the most beautiful gifts of nature

Charles and BB back in the open looking for snipe

Charles and BB back in the open looking for snipe

I call this one "Anticipation".  This is Sam having to let BB go as lead duck dog for the first time.

I call this one “Anticipation”. This is Sam having to let BB go as lead duck dog for the first time.

Charles and BB creep into a wet spot

Charles and BB creep into a wet spot

Snipe way up in the air

Snipe way up in the air

Charles and BB also got a snipe on Sunday

Charles and BB also got a snipe on Sunday

A week later, BB received her NAVHDA Utility Prize III at the Heartland Chapter Fall Test in Thurman, Iowa.  Although I had planned on attending and helping out with the test, my kids all caught colds and we just really needed to stay home and recouperate.  We had considered pulling out of the test the weekend prior just because of having too much going on, but we had already paid our fee, so off Charles went.  BB had a “no-pass” in Sioux Falls in August due to not doing the duck retrieve, so we have been focused on water work in both our training and hunting.  She did what needed to get done with the duck search, steady by blind, and duck retrieve.  She aced the track, as always.  She was the last dog to run in the field and she was false pointing piles of feathers and breaking on the flush, which she hasn’t done in awhile.  But we’ve been so focused on getting over the water hump that she hasn’t been on upland birds since hunting sharp-tailed grouse at the beginning of September.  But we’ll take it!  So BB is now officially Bourg-Royal’s CB Bluestem JH, NA I, UT III.

Our co-owned female, Velma (De Jac’s Zip A Dee Doo Dah NA I) who is the same age as BB, is now dual registered with the AKC and NAVHDA, which was the final step in preparing to hopefully breed her within the next few months, in addition to the females who live with us.  I paid her a visit a month or so ago in order to take pictures that the AKC needed for registration.

Velma at 2.5 years

Velma at 2.5 years

I had originally capped my reservations at 10 but there were more folks really wanting to get on the list, so it looks like I’m at 13 now after 3 verbal commitments yesterday and in the process of finalizing with deposit.  As we are trying for 3 litters, I have high hopes that we will have enough puppies!

Speaking of puppies, we have our fingers crossed that Sam’s stud successor will be born around Halloween!  He is coming from the same kennel that we acquired BB, Bourg-Royal Kennel in St. Lambert-de-Lauzon, Quebec, Canada.  Should he be born and it isn’t a litter of all girls, he will be parented by two French imports: sire GCH Fortis des Sonnailles du Haut Davy FD NA I and dam Crystal D’O des Roches de Vouise.

Fortis on point.  Photo by Amy Caswell

Fortis on point. Photo by Amy Caswell

Crystal on point and posed.  Photos by Claudette Blackburn

Crystal on point and posed. Photos by Claudette Blackburn

We are so very excited and hope that all goes well for human mom, Renee, mama Crystal and the babies!

Last but not least it is time for some pupdates.  We got word from Kyle in Illinois within the last couple of weeks that Gomer got his NAVHDA Natural Ability Prize I with a perfect score of 112 points.  I don’t have the name of the chapter, but will keep my eyes out for it in Versatile Hunting Dog magazine.  He is from 2012 “D” Litter from Sam and Sue.

TracHer from 2012 “C” Litter from Sam and Mae took a limit of sharp-tailed grouse with owner, Susan, a week ago.  TracHer and Susan live up in North Dakota.  Susan said, “It is so rare that I hunt alone with just one dog, and very nice to go my own pace.  TracHer did great.  Ranged a bit, but would come back in.  It is also rare that I get my limit!!   TracHer found and retrieved to hand all 3 birds. “

Susan and TracHer with a limit of sharp-tailed grouse.

Susan and TracHer with a limit of sharp-tailed grouse.

TracHer’s sister (but not littermate), Midge, is from Sam and Mae’s 2013 “F” Litter and is really looking nice!  I hear that she’s had some pheasants shot over her in Montana within the last couple of days.

Midge at 7 months old

Midge at 7 months old

Hearing lots of good reports from other owners as the season kicks off and I can’t wait to see the hunting pics!!  Kyle from across town here said that he got Gomer’s brother Duke out on ducks, “I had the chance to get Duke out duck hunting a couple times this weekend. He did awesome. I didn’t get any pictures, but we got into the teal and wood ducks. ”  Duke is also taking after his mama Sue, Kyle said, “I saw a while ago that you posted a picture of Sue with socks and toys in her mouth. That must be where Duke gets it from. We can’t keep socks in one place at our house, he finds every dirty pair and carries them around. Haha.”  That really made me smile!

Oh this blog post has taken me way too long to write.  Thank you owners for keeping me up-to-date with the pups!!  What’s next for us? Saturday, Charles, BB and Sam leave for the big North Dakota trip.  Charles will be focused mainly on guiding his old friend Ozzie from New York.  A week from Friday, I leave for AWPGA National Specialty.  If we can just make it through October, we’ll try to have a less insane November.  But hunting season is only so long.  And you only get so many hunting seasons in your life.  So stay tuned for more craziness.

Missouri Early Teal

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After work on Friday, Charles and I headed down to our friend Bill’s spot in Northwest Missouri to try our first shot at early teal.  Although the reports were not good and the weather hadn’t really cooled down enough to move the big flocks, we figured it was worth a shot even as a scouting run for snow goose later in the season.  All of the land surrounding Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge is privately held, so you either have to know someone who owns land, connect with a guide who leases land or belong to a duck club in order to hunt this area near Mound City, MO.  We pulled into town around 7:30 and met up with Bill, who gave us some background information about the area.  The most interesting thing for me was learning about the duck club culture, which is very similar to how a golf country club operates: a large (like $50k) startup membership fee, then a couple grand a year for dues.  Many famous coaches and athletes are a part of the clubs that show up mostly for the bigger duck season and snow goose.  Early teal is a slower season for the area, as there are just not that many folks coming in for a one-species hunt.

The cabin we rented was about 7 miles southwest of Mound City and only a couple of hundred yards from the 10 acre marsh and pond that we would be hunting.  As we pulled into the driveway on Friday night, an opossum crossed in front of our vehicle.  We knew it wouldn’t be long for the dogs to find it, but hoped that it would move on quickly so we wouldn’t have to deal with a dead critter.  So much for that, because it wasn’t 15 minutes later that Sam showed up with it dead in his mouth.  One less nest raider prowling in the night and good fur hunting practice for them.

BB on left and Sam with the opossum

BB on left and Sam with the opossum

Saturday morning, Bill, his son Cole, his friend Frank and Frank’s 14 year-old son Luke came out to the cabin and we all trudged out through the dense fog to the pond prior to shooting hours.  Although we were 20 minutes before shooting hours started, we might have had a better chance had we gotten there earlier, as a flock circled our head a couple of times as we walked in.  Bill went out into the decoys to turn on the mojos about 10 minutes prior to shooting time and a flock of 15 landed right behind him, then swam in front of him, getting spooked up when he returned to shore.  Luke and Frank sat to the left of me at the top of the pit blind and Charles sat to the right, with Sam and BB on a lead.  Bill and Cole sat behind us without guns.  A pair of the teal came back and landed on Luke’s side, so right when shooting hours opened, his dad had him flush the ducks off of the water and took his shots.  One of ducks clearly landed in front of us in the pond, the other appeared to fly off.

Fog in the bog

Fog in the bog

A flock of about 15 came in not long after and Bill called on us to shoot as they were about 4 feet from landing on the water.  This was my first time on a pit blind hunt over decoys, so I was glad that he told us when to shoot because I didn’t know whether to let them land, then flush them up or shoot them on the way down.  I squarely hit one of the ducks and fired a second shot into the flock.  Luke and Frank also took shots, but Charles really didn’t have any clear shots at that point, so he abstained from firing.  BB and Sam brought back the 2 ducks that we could see clearly in the water in front of us.  We continued to sit, but as the sun rose and the distant shooting at the clubs to the north held steady for awhile, but then began to fade around 9 AM.  We let the dogs loose to see if they could find anymore ducks and BB pointed one dead in the millet, then retrieved it.  So that brought Frank and Luke’s total to 3 and I had 1.  About 9:30 AM Luke and Frank decided to head back to Kansas City, while Charles and I were ready to try our hand at hunting the sora rails that we saw flitting around the swamp.

Luke, Frank, Charles and I with our teal

Luke, Frank, Charles and I with our teal

Charles and I weren’t quite sure how to approach the swamp and the sora rails at first.  We walked around the edge of the swamp on the levee hoping that BB would wade out into the swamp looking for them.  But she had never hunted sora before.  We did get lucky and Charles shot one of the edge of the swamp, but BB really wasn’t quite sure what she was looking for, so I waded out into the swamp to guide her.  At that point, we just decided to wade around the mid-calf deep water between the millet strips and see what would happen.  About 2 hours later, BB had become the sora master, both pointing and retrieving the tiny birds, about the size of a skinny robin.  BB also found an additional teal that had been taken in the flock salvo in the morning, so since I was the only one who had shot at the teal out of the two of us, it went on my tag.  Charles bagged 6 sora rails and I shot my first ever that afternoon.  I think the first bird of a particular kind is always super exciting, so I had my first teal from the early season and my first sora in the same morning.  We really had a blast on the sora hunt, as we had never waded through a swamp to hunt before.

Charles out walking the swamp for sora rails

Charles out walking the swamp for sora rails

Close-up of the sora rail harvest

Close-up of the sora rail harvest

Charles, BB and I with the harvest

Charles, BB and I with the harvest

Bill was really disappointed that we didn’t have the teal numbers to take limits both days.  I think that is sort of the standard in that part of the world when it comes to waterfowl.  He told the story of the record 1100 snow goose harvest by one hunting party in the conservation season (when there are no limits).  That seems a bit wanton to us.  We’ve been hunting long enough in various places to know that you don’t always know what you’re going to get, if anything.  That’s why it is called hunting and not just killing.  So we sat again Saturday night and saw one flock fly high over our heads, and again on Sunday morning, when we saw nothing.  There wasn’t even much shooting coming out of the duck clubs Sunday morning, as the night had been warm and the morning was sunny.  The ducks were sitting over on the refuge and had no reason to move.

We are excited to have made a connection down in Northwest Missouri and we look forward to returning for big ducks and snow geese!

Pupdate

TracHer had a great time at summer hunting dog camp in Wisconsin!  She is around a year and a half old and is from Sam and Mae’s “C” litter 2012,  TracHer is back home in North Dakota now and getting ready for hunting season!

TracHer working out in front of her trainer

TracHer working out in front of her trainer

TracHer holding steady after the flush

TracHer holding steady after the flush

Bringing back the big retrieve.

Bringing back the big retrieve.

Doing great on her water work too!

Doing great on her water work too!

Thank you Susan for sharing the terrific photos!!

We have opening of Nebraska High Plains ducks the weekend after next, then a couple of weeks later Charles will be guiding some old friends from New York on ducks and pheasants up in North Dakota.  BB’s breeders, Renee Fortier and Gilbert Tremblay, are coming all the way from Quebec to Lincoln for German Wirehaired Pointer nationals next week, so I will head down and visit them on Thursday.  Somewhere in between high plains duck and the North Dakota trip is BB’s second shot at the UT test.  At the end of October, the same day Charles returns from North Dakota, I leave for AWPGA nationals in Colorado.  So we’ve got lots of dog excitement coming up and I’ll sure to keep you posted.  Best of luck in the field to all of my fellow hunters out there!!

Sharptailed Grouse Hunting Opener and Other News

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Reservations and Breeding Plans

At this point, I have taken 10 reservations with deposits for my Spring 2014 litters and continue to get interest daily.  Even though I am planning three litters (from Mae, BB and Velma), I won’t even start breeding for another three months or so (which puts whelping 5+ months away and homegoing 7+ months away).  I just want everyone to know that I am a bit hesitant about taking additional reservations right now.  If everything goes as planned, I could have 12-20 puppies in 2014, but I just don’t know right now.  Feel free to call (402) 682-9802 or e-mail bluestemkennels@cox.net if you have any questions.

Sharptailed Grouse and Dove Opening Day: September 1, 2013

Charles had a great opening day of grouse in the Nebraska Sandhills on Sunday, September 1st.  We set out into the northern dunefield of our usual opening day spot.  Our “usual opening day spot” consists of two east-west running dunefields with about a mile wide valley in the middle.  I let Charles, Sam and BB head deep into the dunes, while I waited behind at the truck with Mae.  Once they were out of sight, I set off eastward into the rising sun.  I was probably 100-300 yards south of Charles and clearly heard one shot about 15 minutes into our walk.  I had a single bird get up to my left about 5 minutes later, but I missed the shot, which was the only one I had on a grouse all weekend.  Not long after I heard another single shot.  Charles and I met up at the eastern fenceline of the section about 45 minutes after we had started and talked about what we had seen.  He had seen a few large flocks of grouse and had 2 in the bag, so we headed up into the northeastern corner of the section to make sure that we had covered everything, then turned back around to go west towards the truck.  Once again, Charles was to the north of me in the higher dunes and I was working the southern edge.  Sure enough, not 5 minutes after we parted ways, I heard another single shot.  I went over to him and he had his limit of 3.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons Hunt Sharptailed Grouse

Sam, Charles and BB with their limit of sharptailed grouse on opening day 2013

We worked for another hour walking westward where he had seen the larger groups, but we didn’t see a single grouse.  We then set up our decoys at a windmill and sat for doves for an hour and a half or so, each taking one, but it was too hot to sit the whole day, so we headed back to town to spend time with the family.

Sandhills Dove Hunting 2013

Charles and Charity with the obligatory one dove each to start the season

The following day we set out into another spot that has been an annual producer for us.  I walked for 3 hours and Charles walked for 4 and neither one of us saw a single sharptail, which is very odd.  Some folks say it was last year’s drought not leaving enough cover for nesting, others say they were killed in the massive summer hailstorm that hit the area, but all I know is that they have been in this spot for 15 years and they weren’t there on Labor Day.  We called it a hunt midday on Monday and headed out to the lake with friends and family.

Charles has spent the last two weekends working with BB on the duck search and retrieve for her second shot at the NAVHDA Utility Test in October.  This coming weekend we will be heading down to Missouri to try our hand at the last weekend of their early teal duck season.  Sam is usually our main duck dog, so he will have to hang back back at the truck while BB finally gets her chance to be the waterfowl star.

Pupdates

Got a message and photos from Bob in Minnesota about his pup Ed, from Sue and Sam’s 2013 “E” litter.  Sounds like he is doing great and has some fun adventures in store for this season:

Ed is a big boy and tipping the scales just shy of 60 pounds on his 6 month bday.  He is loving our weekend camping trips to the lake and is a hard charger in his water work.  In fact he gets close to the lake and will rip the leash out of your hands to go in while carrying his bumper.  Last weekend he pointed 2 grouse sitting in the woods near the lake on one of our walks.  Ed is looking real nice on his points but still is breaking so I have some more work to do.  He is retrieving to hand and I am hoping that continues when hunting season begins here in MN.  I have taken a break the past week on training as we have been having triple digit temps up here and it is just too hot.  Ed will be heading out in mid September for official gun introduction and bird and gun association.  Out pheasant season starts on October 12 here in MN and then we are headed out to North Dakota on November 6 for our first North Dakota adventure of the fall.  Thinking trip number 2 will be in December but that will depend on the weather and how he does this fall on our other outings.

Ed6mos

Ed at 6 months chillin’ on the deck

Ed hanging out in the house

Ed hanging out in the house

Ed and his toy pheasant

Ed and his toy pheasant

16 month old Chester from Sam and Mae’s “C” Litter of 2012 lives out in New York and has been practicing hard for the upcoming season with his owner Sal and trainer Hoss.  He’s pictured here at a Hudson Valley NAVHDA Chapter training day.

Chester on point

Chester on point

Another shot of Chester on point

Another shot of Chester on point

Chester retrieving

Chester retrieving

And handsome three year old Whiskey out in Nevada from Sue and Sam’s “A” litter of 2010 has been caught by owner Deborah being very silly these days.

Whiskey thinks that crocs make great chew toys

Whiskey thinks that crocs make great chew toys

Whiskey peeking out from his blanket

Whiskey peeking out from his blanket

As always, thank you to the puppy owners for taking such fabulous photos and sharing them with us!!

I just talked to my eyes on the sky down in Missouri and he said that with this warm weather there aren’t many teal flying, but this coming weekend is the last one of the season, so it is the only shot we’re going to get on this particular season.  Since we’ll have our Missouri license anyway, I see us heading down there for some other waterfowl seasons this year too since it is only an hour and a half away.  So wish us luck and we’ll keep you posted!!

The last pup home and lots of pupdates!

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Over Memorial Day weekend, Reagan returned home to Colorado at 12 weeks old with Pam and Josh!  Josh is so excited to have a hunting dog of his own and will make a great trainer!

Josh, Reagan and Pam

Josh, Reagan and Pam

We had considered running Sam and BB down in Lincoln in AKC testing that weekend, but it was just too much to try to do that and a homegoing at the same time.  We’re signed up for UT in Sioux Falls in August with the Midwest Tri-State NAVHDA Chapter and I’m pretty sure we’ll just focus on training between now and then.  And of course, just having fun!  Took all the dogs to the pond this week for the first time since last year, but needed to get some grooming time in too!

Sue ready to be groomed while Mae swims with the kids.  Sam and BB off running.

Sue ready to be groomed while Mae swims with the kids. Sam and BB off running.

There were plenty of pupdates over the last few weeks!  We heard from 3 year old Gauge out in Wyoming, who is from our “A” litter (Sue/Sam) and is the brother to Whiskey in Nevada who we hear from.  He is doing great in the field and home according to Sean and Amber.  Here’s what Amber shared with me, “We absolutely love him and have fallen in love with the Griff breed for his loving side as well as his commitment to our family. He is an extraordinary dog in the field and works beyond our expectations. We could not be any happier with him, and wanted to share that with you.”  We are so glad to hear from you, thanks Amber, Sean and family!!

3 year old Gauge pointing a pheasant

3 year old Gauge pointing a pheasant

3 year old Gauge in the water

3 year old Gauge in the water

Let’s go backwards by order of age here.  Next up is Chester from our 2012 “C” (Sam/Mae) litter.  I pulled his trainer’s photos off of versatiledogs.com.  Chester is trained by Steve “Hoss” Anker in New York.  Here is what “Hoss” had to say, what a hoot:

 Don’t hold it against me…butt….recently through the A-TEAM kennels, in training, training for NAVHDEEEEEE stuff, we have uncovered an unknown SPECIES of caninus familiarus known as the GRIFF-A-GATOR.A Woolie, droopey eyed, shaggy, hound-like, pointing animal, water oriented, replete with enough hair to clog up a 12 inch drain pipe.Shown here in intense A-TEAM training………INTENSE….

Chester in the water

Chester in the water

Mannnnn….look at those choppers, looks like a hairy bear trap on legs.

FETCH…OUT……Good Boy!

Chester working on fetch

Chester working on fetch

Is that the GRIFF-A-GATOR or is that the LOCH NESS MONSTER?  Not sure…WHAT SAY YOU….You hairy woolie hairball pointing dog types..?

Chester swimming

Chester swimming

Chester got a Prize II with 106 points recently on his NAVHDA Natural Ability test with the Hudson Valley Chapter, but owner Sal and Hoss are bound and determined for Prize I, so they’ll be back at it again soon.  Good luck guys!!

Our “D” litter from 2012 (Sue/Sam) recently had their 1 year old birthday and I got a cute “then and now” card from Rick and family.  Rick said, “Thanks again for introducing her into our lives. She’s a wonderful member of our family, and a great asset in the field. I’m looking forward to this fall, and her first full grown season of eastern Nebraska upland hunting.”  Thank you so much, Rick, Dawn and family for being great owners!!

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Happy 1st Birthday "D" Litter and Dottie!!

Happy 1st Birthday “D” Litter and Dottie!!

Dottie’s sister Abby recently scored a Prize I Natural Ability with 112 points at the Missouri Uplands Chapter of NAVHDA Spring Test.  Keep up the good work over in Illinois, Rob and Abby!!

Jimmy down in Oklahoma did some great video work with 3.5 month old Zoey from this year’s “E” Litter (Sue/Sam) both on water and land, that I put together in a YouTube video:

He also sent over a nice shot of her fetching up a stick out of the water.  What great work, Jimmy, thank you!!  You are doing awesome training!!

Zoey brings in her stick

Zoey brings in her stick

And what hunting dog doesn’t love off-roading?!?

Zoey in the dune buggy

Zoey in the dune buggy

Zoey’s sister GiGi is also having a great life in Maryland.  Marilyn said, “GiGi is progressing. I think a little slowly because my husband babies her. She walked a mile with him on the leash today. As a teacher I know kids don’t learn until they are ready. So it must be for puppies! We love her!”

Ben and GiGi taking a nap together

Ben and GiGi taking a nap together

GiGi on a walk

GiGi on a walk

And Midge in Montana from this year’s “F” litter (Sam/Mae) at 12 weeks old is having fun exploring the headwaters of the Missouri River.  Thanks Louie and Lindsay!!

Midge in the Mighty Mo.

Midge in the Mighty Mo.

Midge watching the kids

Midge watching the kids

Midge’s sister, Fern, is also doing well.  Danny down in Texas said:

Fern is doing great.  She’s a machine.  Never stops or slows down.  Potty training is going pretty well, but she still has some days that it just doesn’t click.  We love her.  She is very very sweet and lovable.  She wants to be by me all the time, until we get outside.  I think my other dog tolerates her.  Fern attacks her and wants to play all the time.  Basically, my old dog will let Fern growl and bite her neck and hold on until she’s had enough, then she just tosses her to the ground and tries to walk off.  But, Fern will never give up!  I’m waiting for Fern to take cues on when to stop.

One can’t help but feel good after going through all of those beautiful pics of pups and hearing all of the stories.  I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am to all of my owners for sharing their lives with us.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed with it all and wonder why the heck I put myself through all of this craziness.  But this is why.  This must continue.  I can take a few months out of my life each year to get to play Santa Claus and spread some joy.  Thanks for the happiness in return.

I’ll be sure to get out training with Charles and Matt over the summer to get some updated photos and talk about that process.  Now that Mae and Sue have dried up their milk thoroughly, it is time for all of us to get in shape for hunting season (me included)!  Thanks for coming along on our journey and I’ll talk at you soon.


			

On Breeding, Hunting and Pupdates

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Update on 2013 Litters

We are excited to announce that we have one litter bred and a second breeding soon to come!  I noticed Sue’s proestrous (bleeding) on our short hunt in the Sandhills on the Sunday before Christmas.  Breeding took place between December 27th and New Year’s Eve, so we’re looking at a March 1stish whelping and May 1stish homegoing for Sam and Sue’s 2013 litter.  Mae’s proestrous was noted on Saturday and she is not yet ready to breed, but it will be any day now (if I had to guess it would be within the next 2-7 days).  So, that’s approximately a March 15thish whelping and a May 15thish homegoing.  It will be a very busy spring here with two litters on the ground at once, but we can’t wait!

We finally had a good dose of snow right before school let out for Christmas break, but when I went to photograph the dogs and kids in the fresh snow, my camera’s battery went dead.  I was able to get some good shots of everyone on Sunday, finally.

Four dog romp: Sue on top right, Sam bottom left, BB's head and Mae's hindquarters.  Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.

Four dog romp: Sue on top right, Sam bottom left, BB’s head and Mae’s hindquarters. Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.

Mae, Sue and Sam with Conrad and Caleb on the sled hill.  Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.

Mae, Sue and Sam with Conrad and Caleb on the sled hill. Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.

Mae on the lookout for squirrels or coons with Sam following closing behind, hunting up...ummm...something else:)  Wirehaired Pointing Griffons

Mae on the lookout for squirrels or coons with Sam following closing behind, hunting up…ummm…something else:) Wirehaired Pointing Griffons

Sam's girlfriends having a serious conversation.  Mae on left, Sue on right, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.

Sam’s girlfriends having a serious conversation. Mae on left, Sue on right, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.

Sue on the sniff.  Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

Sue on the sniff and already looking paunchy 2 weeks pregnant. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

Mae having a big run down the hill.  Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

Mae having a big run down the hill. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

BB also had a good run.  Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

BB also had a good run. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

Big daddy Sam looking quite serious.  Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

Big daddy Sam looking quite serious. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

A Pleasant Hunting Surprise

After some fruitless tries at hunting pheasant in Southeastern Nebraska and Northeastern Kansas, Charles and Matt hit a few quail spots last weekend with some success.  I’ll eventually get a full hunting blog post out on it, but I wanted to share these photos.

Sam on point, Matt walking in, BB honoring

Sam on point, Matt walking in, BB honoring

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon retrieving rabbit

Sam retrieving a cottontail rabbit. Photo by Charles.

Two rabbits and three quail for Charles, Sam and BB

Two rabbits and three quail for Charles, Sam and BB

A blast from our hunting past

A Sunday Lincoln Journal-Star article took us into the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s photo archives and back to our days before Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.  This photo was featured in the June 2003 issue of NebraskaLand magazine.  AKC Brittany Sir Sheaf Stout “Sheaf” (1996-2010) was our first child and family hunting dog.  Here he is pictured in the winter of 2002 during the Heartland Chapter #491 Pheasant Forever’s Youth Mentor hunt held at Hunter’s Creek (now Grandpa’s Acres) near Syracuse, Nebraska. Pictured with Sheaf are Dustin Charval (youth) and Charles Upchurch (mentor).  (The full Lincoln Journal-Star article: http://journalstar.com/sports/local/outdoors/birds-and-snow-a-great-winter-mix/article_f1384d3d-1691-5a84-b3ef-d49a867d1f6e.html)

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Before we had griffons…photo courtesy of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Pupdates

Rob and Abby have been having some great woodcock an ruffed grouse trips up in Wisconsin.  This photo was taken back in October at the age of 5 months.  Abby is now 7 months old (from our 2012 “D” litter from Sue and Sam) and lives with Rob and his family in eastern Illinois.  Here’s Rob’s report first-hand:

The folks I went grouse hunting with finally sent some pictures. Here is Abby with the birds she helped harvest.  She pointed one of the woodcock and flushed one of the grouse.  She retrieved both to my general location.  Her registered name is Bluestem’s Quail Hammering Abby.

Rob and Abby (from Bluestem Kennels "D" litter from Sam and Sue, 5 month old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon female) after a successful October day of hunting ruffed grouse in Wisconsin.

Rob and Abby (from Bluestem Kennels “D” litter from Sam and Sue, 5 mo old female Wirehaired Pointing Griffon female) after a successful October day of hunting ruffed grouse and woodcock in Wisconsin.

Abby (7 mo old female Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) on left, hanging out with Ruby the GSP and fellow griff, Ace.

Abby (7 mo old female Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) on left, hanging out with Ruby the GSP and fellow griff, Ace.

Abby’s brother, Gomer, lives in Central Illinois with Kyle and Jenna.  He will be heading to Tom Dokken’s Oak Ridge Kennels (http://www.dokkensoakridgekennels.com/) for training soon and appears to be enjoying a great life!

Gomer (7 mo old male Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) and Jenna are ready for a snack.

Gomer (7 mo old male Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) and Jenna are ready for a snack.

Gomer (7 mo old male Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) is ready for a bath.

Gomer (7 mo old male Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) is ready for a bath.

Gomer (7 mo old male Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) fetching up a shed deer antler.

Gomer (7 mo old male Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) fetching up a shed deer antler.

Gomer (7 mo old male Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) on point in the snow.

Gomer (7 mo old male Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) on point in the snow.

We received a Christmas card from Rick’s family who lives just a few miles east of us and 10 month old Dottie (from our 2012 “C” litter from Sam and Mae) was featured, sporting some holiday cheer.

Dottie (10 mo old female Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) had a Merry Griffmas!

Dottie (10 mo old female Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) had a Merry Griffmas!

Dottie’s sister in North Dakota, TracHer, has been having a great pheasant season with Susan and Tom!  Here she is lugging around a big North Dakota rooster, good girl!!!

TracHer (10 mo old female Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) retrieves a big boy from North Dakota!

TracHer (10 mo old female Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) retrieves a big boy from North Dakota!

Another shot of TracHer (10 mo old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) and the North Dakota rooster.

Another shot of TracHer (10 mo old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) and the North Dakota rooster.

There's nothing like the North Dakota prairie.  TracHer (10 month old female Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) in her element.

There’s nothing like the North Dakota prairie. TracHer (10 month old female Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) in her element.

A huge thanks (as always) to everyone who contributed photos to the blog.  We’ll be sure to keep you posted on the breeding of the second litter and any end-of-hunting season adventures.  Until then, stay warm and enjoy the extra moments of daylight we’ve been getting in the great outdoors!

A little too much adventure…

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It was our second Sunday in a row for an all-pack walk, so we thought we would mix things up a little and try a different spot than normal.  This area is along the Missouri River, south of Plattsmouth, Nebraska.  Even though the road we were walking on is a good 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile from the Missouri (when it is cooperating with channelization) the area was completely submerged in about a foot or more of water all last summer.  So, even though we are in a drought this year and the vegetation is shorter than normal in most other places, due to the remnant moisture in the soil, the cover was 4-8 feet tall.

All was going well until a mile or so into the hike, when the 3 year old child decided he needed a break.  The road had ended anyhow and Charles and the dogs would have to wade through zero-visibility tall weeds for a half-mile or so to get to the river.  Here is a video of short clips of our hike up until the point of us stopping for a break, including some random shots of sunflowers at the end: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s0jYVoPoeU

About a half hour or so later, Charles turned back up, sounding rather disgusted.  “Is BB with you?” he queried.  She wasn’t.  He hadn’t seen her since before he reached the river.  Given the fact that she ranges farther than the other three dogs and that it was pretty warm (probably 85, not heatwave hot), he thought that she had jumped in the river and gotten sucked downstream in the strong current.  My gut told me otherwise.  I’ve seen BB go for a long time without drinking and she is way more into running than swimming.  She’ll get out in the water if there is something to retrieve or if there are people or other dogs out, but I just couldn’t see her navigating the steep bank of the Missouri into the swiftly moving river.

Standing in the tall vegetation, we called and called and whistled for BB.  I kept the other three dogs and the kids at our spot in the shade, calling and whistling from where we were while Charles headed back down to the river calling for her.  20-30 minutes of calling and searching.  The vegetation was working against us and absorbing our noise.  We ran out of water and since we’d been in the field for over 2 hours and it was another mile hike back to the truck (which takes about 30 minutes with the kids), it was time to move.  We were hoping that maybe BB was back at the truck, but otherwise we’d replenish our water supplies and continue our search.  It was only 3 PM and we had another 6 hours until dark.

Caleb fell behind and wanted to take a break, playing in the dirt on the road next to a soybean field.  As the soybeans are only shin high and it was about a 20 acre field, I thought that this was probably my one chance to have my voice project and echo off of the nearby valley hills to the west.  I spent a good 5 to 10 minutes calling her name to the sky and whistling.  Looking back at Caleb playing in the dirt, I swore I saw a little reddish brown fur pop around the bend of the soybean field.  I ran over and thank God it was BB!  At first she was happy to see me, but then she got really “low dog” with her tail between her legs.  She knew she had been bad, meaning that most likely she got onto and chased a deer.

Every one of our dogs has had the experience as an older pup/younger dog of being overpowered by prey drive and the desire to run, chasing a deer, getting lost for a few hours, but then pulling their wits together and finding the pack.  It scares everyone, but is an important learning experience for the dog to keep checking back with the people.  This is an essential skill to keep Wirehaired Pointing Griffons as foot-hunting dogs and not just another out-of-control field trialing breed.

It felt good to be heading home together with all four Wirehaired Pointing Griffons we arrived with!

On the ride home, I found out that not only did BB have a misadventure, but when Charles came up on the Missouri, Sam piled in and swam about a third of the way out into the main channel, then realizing he needed to get back, tried to swim against the current to make his way back to shore, but was no match to the Mighty Mo.  Sam was sucked around a bend where Charles couldn’t see him.  The frightened owner ran the bank around the bend, calling for the dog.  The echo off of the other bank was confusing the dog, thinking that his boss was on the opposite bank.  Luckily Charles had Conrad’s blaze orange shirt in his hand, so he began waving Sam into the approaching wing dam.  Sam successfully made it to the calm upstream from the wing dam and climbed the rocks out of the churning channel.

That particular area is a bit too wild for all of us.  Maybe Charles with one dog can handle its peril, but the pack will stick to our usual spots.

In other news, I did receive a cute picture of Kyle and Jenna in Illinois, along with their puppy, Gomer, formerly known as “Darryl”.  They will be getting married soon and their pup will be their first baby (as was our first pup together):

Jenna and Kyle in Illinois with their 10 week old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Gomer, from our recent “D” litter

Susan and Tom in North Dakota sent over another great photo of TracHer on one of her first wild bird points, on sharptail grouse at 5  months old:

TracHer in North Dakota from our “C” litter on point, 5 month old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Sixteen more days until opening day of hunting season for us!  I plan on getting some videos made showing my grooming techniques this weekend to post for next week’s check-in, then it will be time to shift gears into the next phase of my writing year.  Thanks for coming along!

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