Pupdate: Homegoing!

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The last of the puppies went home on Saturday, August 4th.  There was a mad rush on Sunday, July 28th, three puppies went home in two hours!  Hence amidst that chaos, I forgot to take pictures of two out of three families.  Darryl went home to Illinois with Kyle and Jenna, who will be married in September.  Then David went home with Brian, Mindy and their two boys to south central Nebraska.  If you guys can send me pictures, I would greatly appreciate it!!

Dottie stays in the Omaha metro with Rick’s family

Doris will make her home in northwestern Iowa with Shane and family

Don went to northwestern Missouri with Dustin’s family

Daisy will live with Rob’s family in Illinois

Aaron’s family drove all the way from Ohio to collect Derry

The day before the puppies started going home, I worked with them individually on exposing them to a live quail: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URwusELauGw

Yesterday was spent devoting our attention to the adult dogs.  Charles has been working quite a bit with training BB and Sam for the AKC Senior Hunter test, but it had been a long while since all four dogs were out on a run.  So we loaded the kids and dogs up yesterday and marched them around.  Then we came back for a dog spa day, everyone was groomed and bathed.  Tonight Cordelia and I will take BB and Mae to conformation handling (dog show) practice.  It will be Mae’s first time practicing, so it should be interesting to see how it goes.

Of course, we are busy planning our hunting season, which begins in 25 days!

Good luck to all of the new owners with their puppies and do not hesitate to ask any questions if you have any!  I will be focused on writing about the basics of griffon care for the next couple of weeks and need to get Charles motivated to start posting on Versatile Hunter.

Here’s some cute pictures of TracHer in North Dakota, a puppy from our “C” litter earlier in the year.  Susan and Tom are doing such a great job with her!

TracHer with flowers, female Wirehaired Pointing Griffon at 4 months

TracHer on the training table, female Wirehaired Pointing Griffon at 5 months

Some Notes on Sue and Sioux Falls

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By popular demand, I need to update you all on how Sue is doing!  She is very heavy, but is still living outside for a little while longer.  She and BB were sharing a kennel while Mae was on a strict diet after her puppies left, in order to get her teats to retract, but I recently moved BB in with Mae by the request of Sue (plus Mae is doing fine on getting back into shape).  BB is still very puppy and likes to play, so Sue was getting tired of that business.  She is still taking walks twice a day, but is moving much slower than everyone else and eats and drinks double her normal rations.  We have houseguests over the Memorial Day weekend, but after they are gone I will be moving Sue into the house for monitoring.  I suspect that she will whelp the first or second week of June.

Pregnant Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

A very big Sue in the yard this morning

Last weekend was the South Dakota Pointing Dog Club’s AKC Hunt Test in Sioux Falls, SD.  The organizers are actually the Midwest Tri-State NAVHDA Chapter, who takes on that name to put on AKC Hunt Tests.  As there were a number of other griffons entered by fellow breeders that we had only visited with online and over the phone, we decided to go ahead and enter BB and Sam into the Senior Hunter Test even though we were unsure if the dogs were prepared.

We also entered the AKC Water Test, which is a requirement for the Senior Hunter title for the Spinone Italiano and German Wirehaired Pointer, but not the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (even though it should be).  As I had all three children there, I did not anticipate being able to see anything worth taking pictures of, but as it was a hike to the pond, the organizers had me assist in handling the two dogs while our fellow testers kept an eye on the kids back at camp.  I wish I’d had my video camera, because Sam and BB both did fantastic.  It is a basic water retrieve, where the handler stands 6 feet from the bank, holding the collar of the dog.  A thrower pitches a dead duck into the water and a blank shot is fired by a gunner.  Once the duck hits the water, you release the dog and they swim to retrieve.  It does not have to be retrieved to hand, but can be dropped within two  steps of the handler.

AKC Water Test Ribbons

Sam and BB’s AKC Water Test Ribbons

As avid hunters, one would think that Senior Hunter would be easy for us, but hunt testing and hunting are not the same thing.  Similar to Junior Hunter, you are running in a brace with an unfamiliar dog, but unlike Junior Hunter that is only testing search and point, Senior Hunter has to be 100% steady to wing and shot (no creeping allowed at all, not a single step) and also back the other dog’s point.  At the Junior Hunter level, the handler is firing a blank pistol at the flush, whereas at Senior Hunter there are gunners firing live ammunition and the dogs should retrieve.  At the Senior Hunter level, you are allowed to use the “whoa” command for steadiness (which won’t be allowed at the Master Hunter level, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there).

As soon as you “fail” a step in the process, the dog and handler are pulled from the test.  The first day, BB couldn’t help herself and busted a covey of quail.  Both days, Sam creeped a couple of steps on his points.  The second day, BB almost made it through the test, but of all things, she didn’t find a bird!  This is the same dog that found 6 birds in 8 minutes during her first Junior Hunter run.  Even though we didn’t take home any SH ribbons on the weekend, it was good for us to see what is required to pass the test and what we need to work on.

As Charles is the trainer for the big dogs (I’m puppy trainer and kennel tech [sanitation, exercise and nutrition]), he’ll be working on making the dogs absolutely staunch on “whoa”, regardless of the situation.  We work on “whoa” in the yard, but they are kennelmates and they aren’t working birds.  We should take advantage of some training days with the Heartland NAVHDA Chapter or the local AKC German Wirehaired Pointer Club of Nebraska so that we can attempt to replicate the testing environment with dogs from outside of our kennel.  As he can use “whoa” in Senior Hunter, we are going to take advantage of that and work them towards the automatic response without command that is expected at the Master Hunter level.

We’re still bouncing around some training ideas and absorbing the suggestions we got from other handlers and the judges.  Charles got up the next morning and flew out on business (non-dog, the one that pays the bills), so we haven’t had much of a chance to talk it through.  We’ll keep you posted as to what direction we go with our training and how it is working.  I think the absolute soonest we could get back into the SH field is at the August test in Sioux Falls, but we might decide to wait until Spring of 2013.

Our favorite part of the hunt testing environment is that it is fun and family friendly.  It gives us something to do with our dogs in the off-hunting season other than having puppies and keeping up with exercise.  I can see that this is a hobby that we will enjoy for a good portion of the rest of our lives.  We are hooked!

“C” Litter Homegoing: 8 weeks

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Our final week together brought the wrap-up of individual crate conditioning, leash work and wing exposure.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Pheasant Wing

Cesario gets after the wing

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Pheasant Wing

Cidro takes a turn on the wing

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Pheasant Wing

Carmelita takes a run with the wing

When I finished individual work with the wing, I put it in the kennel with the pups and let them play with it for awhile.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Pheasant Wing

The litter attacks the pheasant wing in the kennel

These drills with the wing and the live bird have nothing to do with their ability to point.  Pointing is natural and they will point anything that interests them at this juncture in their lives: bugs, each other, the kids, a leaf, etc.  These activities are about exposing them to the scent of birds and that games involving birds are fun.

The next step was to expose them to one of our live pigeons in a harness.  This is a bit more delicate exercise, as you want to keep the bird from flapping as much as possible in order to not frighten the pup.  We only do this very briefly, as you can see in the video.  As they get older, they will be better prepared for longer exercises involving live birds.


Saturday the 5th began the homegoing process for our puppies; it is always thrilling to see how excited our new owners are to see their pups.  The first to go home was “Candida”, who will now be known as “TracHer” by Susan and Tom in North Dakota:

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Puppies 8 weeks

Tom, Susan and “Candida”, now “TracHer”

Received an e-mail update on her arrival in North Dakota from Susan:

The drive home was, in a positive way, uneventful.  No accidents, due to lots of stops.  TracHer was very subdued for the first couple plus hours….hardly moved, didn’t want to be held…   Little by little, whining included, she started responding to us.  The first night in her kennel, we got up 3 times to take her our, last night here at home…out at 10:30pm, major crying at 1:30 so out again, then not a peep until 5:30.  By 10 am she has met the big dogs briefly, and now I’m off to the studio/work so more kennel time.  I think she will work out just fine. 

Midday brought the homegoing of “Carlos” to Missouri.  Joe had lots of hunting stories from the Dakotas, which made us very excited, as we know bird numbers in Missouri are struggling.  I will ask Joe for an update as to how things are going in a week or so and his choice of the dog’s new name.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons 8 weeks old

Joe and “Carlos” heading to Missouri

Mid-afternoon brought the arrival of Cliff and Marilyn from Oklahoma.  We apologized for the heat upon their arrival (it was in the high-80’s) and they laughed.  Good thing that “Carlita” has a short coat, which should be perfect for down further south.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons 8 weeks old

Cliff and Marilyn with “Carlita”, now known as “Belle”, Oklahoma-bound

With a rough start on the ride home, Cliff said that Belle is settling well at home:

Well we made it back to OK safe and sound about 7PM Sunday.  Belle didn’t settle down leaving Bellevue Sat., so Marilyn held her almost all the way to St. Joe.  Belle had a couple bouts of motion sickness Sat, but had no problems on the 5 hr drive today (split up into 3 segments).  She stayed in the crate Sat evening and woke me up 3 times.  Each time I took her out to potty and just stayed up after the last time at 6AM.  She played real hard with the twins and everyone tonight after arriving in Stillwater and is now sleeping soundly.  Funny how she readily goes into the crate to lie down (we leave the door open) on her own.  
Belle already knows her name and even likes to play fetch.  We’re having a great time!  It was a pleasure meeting you and your family.  We’ll keep in touch.

The next homegoings were on Monday for “Cesario”, who flew to New York, and “Cidro” who also flew to Wisconsin.  Sal in New York will be hunting “Cesario” on land upstate and said of the puppy’s arrival, “the puppy is doing great, slept well last nite with just an initial fuss. He seems to be adjusting well. I will send you some pictures ASAP. Thanks again for all your help!!!! Sal”.

Ben and Katie in Wisconsin are looking good with “Cidro”, now known as “Remy”, who will certainly be ready for the grouse and woodcock:

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons 8 weeks old

Ben and Katie in Wisconsin with “Cidro”, now “Remy”

Ben was also kind enough to provide an arrival update:

So after much discussion and debates we finally settle on our name that we both liked, ” Remy” wife thinks it’s a cute name , I like cause kind of short for Remington, Great bird gun! So Remy, has been exploring the home, and loves the outside but unsure of being indoors, does excellent with the crate and nighttime sleeping, no problems with that, a little whine but he is really comfortable with it. We go for yard walks, and he plays with our terrier mix dog Dexter during the day. he is only 1 1/2 yrs, but he was jealous the first day, now figured out Remy is staying, so he adapted he better cause Remy is bigger than him already! I have been feeding my dogs the last years Diamond food , chicken and rice, so I was glad you did too, I won’t have a problem with Remy not eating, he digs right in. So all is good as we all adjust a little, Thank you so much for all you do, it’s been a great experience.

Now I am down to one puppy, Carmelita, who flies home to Colorado on Friday.  It is a good thing that she already has her flight reservation and her AKC/NAVHDA transfer paperwork signed, because everyone (Charles included) is getting way too attached and wants to keep her.  But a deal is a deal and I’ll get up early on Friday to put her on the plane.

I’ll keep you updated on these pups, plus I need to catch up with my “A” and “B” litter owners, as the “A” litter just turned two years old and the “B” litter was one a few months ago.  Plus, we’ve got big dog adventures to share and have another litter on the way in June!  My how time flies and how these dogs keep a person busy.

Pupdate: 7 weeks!!

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Wirehaired Pointing Griffon puppy pointing

Carlos points at something in the grass while on our Southeastern Nebraska adventure

The final countdown begins to homegoing and we are super busy having adventures here!  We took the pups on two outings away from the home property last week, the first was on Tuesday, the 24th to Walnut Creek Recreation Area in Papillion (a neighboring suburb, a 20 minute drive from the house).  I had used the area in the past and it was a little crowded, but growth in the surrounding neighborhoods really made the situation unbearable for all of us.  So, the following day it was 90 degrees and the kids were dying for a swim, so we took a big drive out of town to some not very well known public land to get some privacy, which is this week’s YouTube video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KPJxIMlklE

I also took them each individually and placed them in the water just barely outside of being able to touch, just to give them the sensation of the water and to watch how they can swim:

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This week, we’ve still been running them on the property twice a day.  They are strong enough to run the full “big dog” path around the perimeter of our acre.  I’m also half-way through individual crate conditioning, wing exposure and time on the leash.  Basically what I do is go pick a puppy out of the kennel right before I pick the kids up from school.  The pup rides around with us on a few errands, then comes home and sits in the crate for an hour in the bedroom.  I then take the pup out to my puppy training pen, where we work with the wing for 10 minutes, I then bring the pup into the front yard and have it on a leash for 10 minutes.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Puppy Bird Wing

Candida investigates the wing

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Puppy Bird Wing

Carlos gives the wing a thrash

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Puppy Bird Wing

Carlita tugs on some feathers

Normally, we would have worked the cap gun around the kennel for noise exposure, but the whole neighborhood (ourselves included) has been home improvement central, so nailguns have been going off constantly during the weekdays for the last 3 weeks.

Yesterday, the 3 pups who are going home and the two who are flying on Monday went to the vet for their health checks, vaccinations and microchips.  I spent most of the afternoon working on the paperwork to transfer them to their new owners.  I got a little emotional, but tried to focus on the joy that their new owners will experience on homegoing day!

The remainder of the week will be spent finishing individual crate/wing/leash, then Friday we will give them each individual exposure to a harnessed pigeon in the puppy training pen.  I also need to clean the house and groom the dogs/puppies in preparation for our guests!

If you are coming to pick up your puppy, here are some things you will want to bring: a crate, 12-16 inch collar (I keep the ones they are wearing for the next litter), leash, bottled water, dog food (right now they are eating Diamond Performance like everyone else in our kennel), small dog dishes, paper towels and baby wipes.  Right now for toys they have small (golfball sized) kong balls and small ropes in the kennel, in the house they have stuffed squeaky squirrels and small squeaky rubber chickens (those all stay here, but some folks have been asking about toys, so I thought I’d share that).  I also recommend having rawhide straws on hand at home.

If you will be training yourself and need a place to start, we’ve always found Richard Wolter’s book Gun Dog to be a favorite resource.  Here’s a link to a review that I wrote about it a couple of years back: https://bluestemkennels.com/2010/07/22/book-review-gun-dog-by-richard-a-wolters/

I have high hopes for my puppies to go to homes filled with as much love and fun as ours is!!

La casa del perros (the house of the dogs) A view of my house from the street for those coming on Saturday

Snow, Cold and Goings On


Winter has finally arrived in Nebraska.  It has been unusually mild, with only one or two significant snows up until last weekend.  I had wondered if Mother Nature was going to be like the animated segment in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where she skips significant seasons (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZLP0siJI-8), but it our case going directly from fall to spring.  But alas, after our 70 degree day in January, she reminds us now that it is indeed winter.

Dogs and kids alike enjoyed the snow last Saturday!

Sam Wirehaired Pointing Griffon snow

Sam races through the snow

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons kids

Sue, Sam and BB sled with the kids

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon snow

Mae wanders about in the snow

Although you can’t tell in the picture from last week, Mae is certainly with puppies.  Her tummy has grown considerably since this last picture and like all pregnant mamas, her priority is food!  We will have her X-rayed the first week in March to get a puppy count and expect her puppies to arrive sometime around March 15th.

My Valentine’s Day present is a whelping box kit and we have a spot in the garage prepared for setting it up.  The actual whelping will most likely occur inside the house in the laundry room, which is an easier spot for me to access for monitoring but will keep mama and pups out of being messed with by the human kids.  We’ll have a disposable carpet remnant on the floor and a woodchip-filled sandbox to warmly welcome them into the world.  As the pups get bigger and squirmier, we’ll transition them into the heated garage with the whelping box.  Once they hit 3 1/2-4 weeks, they’ll be big and strong enough to move into an outdoor kennel with an insulated dog house.

Tonight is a designated “dog party” night, where the dogs come in to hang out and watch evening “telly” (TV) with the family.  Mostly, they chew on their cow hooves, which gives off a bit of a barnyard breath aroma, but they last longer than the 15 minute rawhides and keep them from perpetually wrestling with each other or breathing in people’s faces for attention.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons in the house

TV time the evening of Feb. 11th: Mae, Sue, BB and Sam


First breeding of year complete!

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To reserve a puppy from one of our spring 2012 litters, please call (402) 682-9802 or e-mail bluestemkennels@cox.net

We are pleased to announce that our first breeding of the year is complete between our 3 year old male, Sam, and our new 5 year old female, Mae.  Sue was anticipated to come into season first, but Mae surprised us.  Mae and Sam bred from January 9-11, therefore pups are expected March 13-15.  Hey game birds, “Beware of the Ides of March!”, new hunting puppies will be here!

Hunting photos of Sam can be found on our “About Us” page (I have yet to load this season’s, but they can be found on the individual blog posts containing the hunting tales on bluestemkennels.com [pre-10/01/2011] and versatilehunter.com [10/01/2011-present]).  His pedigree is a link at the bottom of the “About Us” page.

Mae came into our home on December 3, 2011 from That’s My Point Kennels in Wheatland, ND where she had successfully whelped and nursed 3 previous litters and was known as “Aspen” http://www.tmpkennels.com/ As you can see from the previous owner’s website, she was raised with young children.   At the age of one, she successfully scored a Prize II on her Natural Ability Test from the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA).

Mae's Natural Ability Test Results

Her AKC/NAVHDA pedigrees also spoke of her potential for us.  Her sire, Marquis Georgeous George hails from French import blood and the prestigious Herrenhausen kennel.  Barbara Young of Herrenhausen is an AKC and International Conformation Judge, therefore she knows and breeds good dogs.  The dam, Full of Grace, is out of the famed Fireside blood.  Fireside’s Spontaneous Combustion won 3rd place in the sporting group at Westminster last year and was the first Wirehaired Pointing Griffon ever to place at WKC.

Mae's AKC Pedigree

The hunt testing results and the strong conformation background in the pedigree drew me to “Aspen”.  She was the Butcher family’s companion in the home and field, therefore even though I was nervous about bringing a new member into our pack, I thought that these things put together boded well for “Aspen” being a good match for us and our breeding program.

I made the following YouTube video this morning of all my dogs running in the yard, just as a visual reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSb7jdZXPz8

Mae has thrived in our home and in the field.  Not even a week after bringing her home, we had her out on planted hen pheasants for training:

(Click on any of the photos to see a larger version)

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Mae working the field on December 9, 2011

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

One of Mae's points 12/09/2011

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Another point on 12/09/2011

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Charles walks into Mae's point

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Mae retrieves on 12/09/2011

After our first training day with planted birds in a controlled environment, we felt comfortable enough to use Mae to assist in guiding at Pheasant Haven right before Christmas.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Sam (front) and Mae (back) with the hunters on 12/22/2011

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Sam, myself and Mae guided a hunt on 12/23/2011 also

The afternoon following the December 23rd preserve hunt, we were on the road for the Sandhills where we busted up some cattails with the whole gang, Mae included, on Christmas Eve:

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Mae on the left, with the rest of the pack, Charles, and the Christmas Eve Sandhills pheasant

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons

Charles and all four dogs on the dunes

We spent a couple of hours on Christmas Day chasing grouse with Mae and the rest of the pack, but didn’t find any.  We’ll be back for them in September!

Our last outing was on January 2nd with some chukar and quail from a game farm that we had never used before and wanted to try out.  It is important for newer dogs to get individual training attention when they are usually braced (in pairs) or ran as a pack.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

One of Mae's points on 01/02/2012

Charles shoots one of the chukars over Mae on 01/02/2012

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Charles walking into one of Mae's points 01/02/2012

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Closeup of Mae's point that Charles was walking into

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Double chukar flush over Mae and Charles 01/02/2012

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Mae had more than one retrieve on 01/02/2012, but this was the only photo that turned out well

Even though we’ve only had Mae a limited time, we are confident in her ability to produce quality puppies for our kennel and contribute to our development of the breed.

I will close with a picture of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon breed’s founder Edward Korthals.  This was taken in 1891 when he was presented the German Kaiser’s award for breeding.  I use this photograph as guide for the dogs that I will continue working to create.  Mae fits into this perfectly.

Korthals and his prize specimens

To reserve a puppy from one of our spring 2012 litters, please call (402) 682-9802 or e-mail bluestemkennels@cox.net

A New Year’s Training Day


Sunday afternoon we ventured to Country Lane Game Breeders in Dwight, Nebraska  and picked up some quail and chukar partridge.  It was a longer drive than we usually take to buy training birds, but it took us down some Nebraska highways that we haven’t been down before.

Monday morning we set out with our two oldest children, 10 year-old Cordelia and 7 year-old Conrad, to plant some birds and get some one-on-one work with 10 month-old “BB” and 5 year old (but just finished her first month with us) “Mae”.

(Author’s Note: Please click on any of the photos to see a larger version)

Conrad and Cordelia were troopers on a cold, windy day

Charles takes down a quail in front of BB

BB retrieves the quail

Charles takes the retrieve from BB

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Charles walks into BB pointing a chukar

Charles takes aim

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

BB retrieves the chukar

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Mae on point

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Charles walks in for the flush and shoots the chukar

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Mae on retrieve

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Charles walking into Mae's point from the side

Closeup of the same point by Mae

A surprise double flush (see the second bird getting up behind Charles?)!

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Mae bringing in the retrieve

We started at the field around 10 AM and the kids lasted on the march (without a lunch even) until 1:30 PM.  Charles and Mae stayed out another hour after we returned to the truck and picked up some more birds out of the woods.  Monday night we dined on chukar/quail chili and Tuesday night was chukar/quail pot pie.  Important work for the dogs and delicious meals to boot!

Charles is talking about taking Sue and Sam back to our training field this weekend to clean up the escapees, but other than that we are looking forward to a slow weekend around the house after the holidays and before the last push of wild bird hunting in Nebraska for the season, ending January 31st.

Late Season Update

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Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

BB in the snow

Now nine months old, BB has been getting plenty of wild bird exposure this season with the pack, but last week it was time to finish her solo training.  When hunting in the pack setting, it is difficult for her to get a chance to retrieve with the older, more experienced dogs present.  We planted a couple of hen pheasants for her to practice on at the local dog training wildlife management area.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Charles walks into BB’s first point of the day

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

BB looking good on retrieve

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

A stylish point from BB

hen pheasant

On the flush

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

BB looking intense on retrieve

BB has done a fabulous job maturing into a hunting animal quickly.  The most important part of successfully raising a hunting Wirehaired Pointing Griffon puppy is giving them the exposure they need to tap into their natural instincts.  BB has had plenty of practice at home with basic obedience and yard work on fetching dokkens, but the majority of her hunt training has been simple exposure to situations with plenty of bird action.

Soon we will be introducing her to working as a guide dog in the hunting preserve setting, which will be an exciting addition to her experience in the field.

Sue and Sam

Our flagship working dogs have been very busy at the preserve guiding hunts.  Charles has been doing all of the guide work up with me assisting, but the volume of weekday hunts has reached a point to where I will now be taking care of the weekday guiding duties.

November 24, 2011

November 25, 2011

December 1, 2011

Morning, December 10, 2011

Afternoon, December 10, 2011

December 11, 2011


Mae (AKC/NAVHDA Little Lady Aspen) is a five year old female Wirehaired Pointing Griffon who now lives in our home and kennel.  She has definitely become a member of the pack and family!  I will provide more information on Mae’s background and training in a future post.  Welcome to Bluestem Kennels, Mae!

Mae on the move

Upcoming Events

Charles is invited to hunt some private land in Southeastern Nebraska this Saturday and currently the plan is for Sam and BB to work the fields that day.  The week before Christmas, Charity and the dogs are on call at the preserve to guide a few hunts and Christmas weekend will be a Sandhills wild bird all-pack hunt.  That takes us into the last month of wild bird hunting in Nebraska, with our season closing goals being to fill at least one (each hunter gets 3 annually) of our Eastern Nebraska Prairie Chicken tags and to bag some quail.  We’ll be guiding during preserve season until March 31st, so the game isn’t up for us just yet.

We anticipate Sue coming into her breeding season sometime in February, so a few weeks into her pregnancy she’ll be taken out of the hunting circuit and it will be time for BB to step in.  Plenty to look forward to in the coming months!

Happy Holidays and Happy Hunting from Bluestem Kennels!

Canadian Whiskey

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Good ol’ Whiskey, a male out of my 2010 litter who lives in Nevada, is up to the business of hunting again.  His hunter, Pete, took him up to Canada for some goose hunting and they experienced some great success!

“Bring on the geese!!”

“Here you go, dad!” says Whiskey retrieving a snow goose

Pete and Whiskey had a successful day


A Day for BB

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Saturday brought us BB’s first solo wild bird adventure in the field, on a snipe hunt with Charles.  It is good for the six month old pup to run with the older dogs to learn the ways of the game, but it is essential that she also be allowed to hunt independently.

As there has been a warm spell up in the northern area of the flyway, the migrating snipe were not yet noticed, just the resident population that we last hunted at our snipe swamp in Southeastern Nebraska.  Charles and BB put up several snipe, but he passed on many shots since the birds start out flying so low to the ground, it is often a risk to the dog.  He also didn’t want to shoot birds on the edge of range, as he wanted an easy “hunt dead” for BB, so that she would not get discouraged.

BB has mastered the art of the search, knows bird scent, gets birdy and points.  Right now we are still working on the retrieve with real birds, as she will mark the bird and pick it up, but not yet bring to hand reliably.  She will retrieve a dummy or dokken to hand without fail in the yard, heck, she’ll even retrieve our 2 1/2 year old’s stuffed animals when he throws them with the fetch command.  It is all just part of the process that we’d like for her to work through naturally within the next few months of hunting, knowing that with her griffon instincts she will put the pieces of the yard training and the field work together in due time.

BB's first wild bird after a long day in the snipe swamp

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