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Happy New Year 2023!

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Happy New Year from Bluestem Kennels, the South Carolina home of hunting AKC and NAVHDA Wirehaired Pointing Griffons!

We are still awaiting Ruth’s winter heat cycle, but it looks like it will be any day now. We are taking a break from breeding this cycle, but that will drive when she comes into season this summer for our Fall 2023 litter with Obi. We still have spots left on the 2023 reservation list and then we’ll also go for one last litter from Ruth in Spring 2024 before she retires from breeding. Most likely we’ll also do a first litter of Duke and Sally for Spring 2024. Contact us at bluestemkennels@gmail.com if you’re interested in a pup from us in the future.

Puppy Brag!

While I was busy with puppies in the fall, I missed an accomplishment announcement for the first Ruth and Obi pup to NAVHDA test Natural Ability. Congratulations to Clint and Bluestem Ramble on Rosalind “Rosie” on their NAVHDA Natural Ability Prize II, 101 points at seven months-old! They tested on September 10, 2022 with the Keystone Chapter in Central Pennsylvania. That is an amazing accomplishment for a first-time handler and young pup, we couldn’t be more proud!

Congratulations to Clint and Rosie on a NAVHDA Natural Ability Prize II at seven months-old!

Duke’s Health Scans

Then right after the pups went home at the end of October, I got Duke over to Steele Creek Animal Hospital in Charlotte for his hip and elbow x-rays and advanced bloodwork. We are so happy that everything came back looking good! It is only through close work with our veterinarians that we keep our dogs and puppies healthy for hard hunting.

If you look at the graph on this report, the square represents that average of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon breed. Duke’s chances of developing hip issues are significantly lower than the average. Obi’s are slightly lower, but both are perfect for stud dog purposes.

Also his elbows show no sign of problems, which is another good thing. We had extensive bloodwork completed on his thyroid, liver and kidneys and that all came back normal. The reason that we tested the liver and kidneys even though it is not required by any breed clubs is that there are starting to be problems in certain bloodlines in the Upper Midwest where the pups are getting liver and kidney problems at young ages. We have a friend with a pup (not from us) who is battling it now and it is not something that we want to bring into our breeding program.

East Coast Griffon Event Announcement

I almost forgot this! The AWPGA is hosting a regional specialty event in York and Wellsville, Pennsylvania from Thursday, March 16 through Sunday, March 20th. Thursday is a field training day, Friday is the regional specialty dog show in York, Saturday and Sunday are AKC Hunt Tests in Wellsville. I will be driving up on Thursday so I’ll miss the field day, but I will be hanging around at the show on Friday, then running Sally and Duke in AKC Senior Hunter on Saturday and Sunday. After spending ten years in the gallery and helping out at hunt tests, I’m finally going to handle myself. I don’t know that I’ll get any passes, but we’ll have fun running anyway. There is a Facebook group called “AWPGA Eastern Regional Events 2023” that has all of the details. https://www.facebook.com/groups/375079241463081

Our Training

Charles has been working with training Obi for NAVHDA Invitational, Duke and Sally for UPT or AKC SH, and Ruth just to keep her active. Here’s just a couple of random training photos from the last couple of months where he is working with our Griffons and the English Pointers of the neighbors’.

Ruth with the green collar on backing the Pointers in December.
Obi on the right backing one of the Pointers yesterday.

We hope that every one of our puppy owners and followers had a blessed holiday season. We were lucky to have our two adult children come back to us in South Carolina from Nebraska. Here is a photo of the five of us at the harbor in Charleston: Charles, Conrad is 18 and an Information Technology student at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Cordelia is 21 and a senior in Agribusiness at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Caleb is 13 and is in eighth grade here in SC and then me.

I’ll get back on the blog once Ruth comes in to heat here in the next few of weeks, then we’ll know a little bit more about our puppy making schedule this summer and fall. Stay warm until then, especially my poor people up in North Central Nebraska and South Central South Dakota who have snow drifts up to ten feet tall and are still getting roads and driveways cleared for travel. They have my prayers daily.

Merry Christmas from Bluestem Kennels!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Bluestem Kennels, home of hunting Wirehaired Pointing Griffons! It is crazy to think that we are going into year thirteen of breeding AKC and NAVHDA registered Griffons. Our next litter is planned for the Fall of 2023 between Obi and Ruth, feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com if you are interested in getting on our reservation list.

We spent Thanksgiving at my cousin’s in Tennessee, then Charles and the dogs made their way out to north central Nebraska and south central South Dakota for some more hunting. It wasn’t an incredibly productive trip as far as birds in the bag, I only got one photo with a Nebraska pheasant and some dogs.

Ruth and Duke bringing in the Nebraska Sandhills swamp pheasant

They did locate a covey of Hungarian Partridge in south central South Dakota, which was unexpected. But by and large the roosters were sparse and getting out farther than what he could reach with the twelve gauge. It was also quite cold to Charles’s thinned out southern blood. Not that it was anything that kept him home, but I doubt that he’ll be going out for the late season in the west again any time soon.

The benefit to me in all of this is that it put Ruth back into shape and pushed her heat cycle out a bit. I’m hoping that she comes into heat here towards the end of this month or the beginning of next month, which would put her summer heat cycle into July. We have our daughter Cordelia’s graduation in May, then after Caleb gets out of school he heads to camp for two weeks, then I’d like to get a family vacation in to the founding father’s area of Washington DC, Philadelphia and Boston right before breeding season hits. I am typically home with pups in the Spring and early Summer, so it will be nice to get out and about for a change instead.

The area that Charles just hunted is currently socked in with two feet of snow with eight to ten foot tall drifts in some places. Many ranchers are struggling to get to their livestock and lots of long haul truckers are stranded out there, so say some prayers for those folks. They don’t get a lot of air time in the media, but they are near and dear to my heart since that is my home.

Hunting season is getting ready to get going here in South Carolina with woodcock. I’m thinking I’ll pick up my licenses here after the new year and start chasing some around with Charles and Caleb. Charles is also starting to prepare Obi for NAVHDA Invitational 2023, so we’re all excited to see how that goes. Luckily Charles has found some neighbors here with bird dogs who like to help with dog training, in addition to the time spent with the NAVHDA chapters.

But this week it is time to welcome the two adult kids from Nebraska, I pick the first one up at the airport tomorrow! I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, surrounded by good food, abundance and the love of family.

Nebraska and North Dakota Hunt

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Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com if you are interested in reserving a pup from our planned litter for Fall 2023. We will not be breeding or hunt testing in the spring due to some family travel obligations.

While I was in South Carolina wrapping up raising our last litter of pups, Charles took Obi, Sally and Duke out to the Sandhills of Nebraska and the prairie pothole region of North Dakota for some mixed upland and waterfowl action. The trip was a great success, especially with the new technology allowing Charles to work his regular job remote for a few days, then hunting a few days.

I don’t have a ton of details except that the dogs covered lots of ground and had plenty of wild bird action.

The first morning in the Nebraska Sandhills with a limit of sharptails. Obi, Sally and Duke.
Duke went solo went some teal (also on Day One in the Sandhills)
The end of the day photo from the first day in the Sandhills: a grouse limit, a woodduck and four teal.

The second day he had to work for his grouse limit, which he didn’t wrap up until the middle of the afternoon. He added one teal to this photo before he headed back to my mom’s house.

Grouse limit for day two in the Nebraska Sandhills. Obi, Sally and Duke.

He spent the next three days working, then picked back up for another grouse limit and a ringneck duck.

Sally (farthest away), Obi (on left) and Duke (in the foreground) pointing an antelope.
Sally, Duke and Obi with the three sharptailed grouse and a ringneck duck on the third day of Nebraska Sandhills.

Charles then worked another handful of days before heading out again. I was really surprised with all of the negative reports that I had been hearing from locals and ranchers due to the drought that he had such great success each day.

His last day in the Sandhills was a super windy day (you can see by the dogs’ head furnishings blowing in the wind in the photo) and he decided to focus on waterfowl for the day. He took Duke out for the three snipe and Sally for the mallard drake. Mallard drakes are super difficult to jump hunt and Charles just happened to pop over a hill and the the duck was right there as he got up from the water. I have never shot a mallard drake.

Duke and Sally with three snipe and a mallard drake for the last day in the Sandhills.

Charles had another first when he shifted his hunting to the prairie pothole region of North Dakota. The very first spot that he and some of our neighbors down here in South Carolina hit had a low flying flock of Canadian geese. Charles was able to snag a goose out of the bunch. Although Sally is pictured here, none of the dogs really knew what to think of the goose flopping around since the largest birds they’ve ever messed with up to that point were mallards and pheasant.

Sally and the North Dakota Canadian Goose from day one.

Although he and the neighbors were there for four days, I didn’t really get a good run down of the bird numbers. As near as I can gather from our texts, the second day the neighbors got three roosters, Charles got two roosters and four ducks.

Griffons, pointers and setters on the prairie, with the neighbor Quentin on the right.

I don’t have any photos from the third day, but the report was that Charles got a pheasant double off of Obi’s point, two grouse and one duck.

The fourth day was another mixed bag, with the neighbors getting one rooster, Charles got three ducks, a snipe and the most exciting part was a Hungarian partridge! This is only the second hun that Charles has shot. I’ve only flushed one covey up in Montana in 2016 but never got in a shot.

The excitement of a North Dakota hun!
Duke, Obi and Sally in harvested corn in North Dakota

So that was a wrap! Here’s the traditional North Dakota trip game bag shot, with the dogs posed underneath:

Obi, Sally and Duke with the 2022 North Dakota game bag

Aside from missing the hunt, I missed seeing the usual people of the towns that we visit down there. They are such interesting characters, I’m glad that Charles went and laid eyes on them. The cafe is still going, the same ladies are at the registers at the grocery store and the gas station owner still recognizes the regulars. Charles headed home after a long journey but the neighbors continued on to South Dakota where they had better pheasant numbers. But to us, sometimes the comfort of tradition beats the number of birds in the bag.

I have more news about some hunt testing success of some of our progeny, some health test results for Duke and social media pages where you can follow some of our pups, but I need to get on with the day for now. Good luck to those out in the hunting fields, Charles will be at it again in a few more weeks. I am going to wait patiently for woodcock hunting down this way after the first of the year. Talk at you more in a week or so.

“S” Litter Bird Exposure and Homegoings

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I know that I have a couple of emails in the inbox asking about 2023 litters (I promise that I will respond by Monday), we are planning a litter for the Fall/Winter 2023 as our next. Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com for further details.

It’s tough for me to believe that it’s been two weeks since these bird exposure photos were taken and a week since the puppies went home. I’ve been avoiding making this post a little since it is a bit sad to see them go. But knowing that they are making their new owner’s lives happier makes it all worth it.

The setup that I did this time for bird exposure is having a chukar in a wire crate down by the barn, then the dead quail on a string in an exercise pen in the backyard. I took the pup out of the kennel and put them on a leash for the first time. It was a bit of a rodeo as usual, where they want to tug on the leash or bite it. They get the hang of it pretty quickly though. So we walked through the yard down to the chukar in a wire crate and let them look at it.

Then we walked back up to the backyard and I took them off of the leash and put them into the exercise pen for the dead bird exposure. This was a quail that Charles had trained the big dogs with and shot, which we kept in the barn fridge for this purpose. So I put the dead quail on a string and dragged it around a bit to get the pup’s attention. They all either chewed it a bit, picked it up and ran with it, or a little of both.

Although it isn’t a complete training for the field, it is a good start to making a Hunting Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

Sebastian, male pup:

Simon, male pup:

Samson, male pup:

Simi, female pup:

Spokanne, female pup:

Sue, female pup:

And here are the pups going home, in the order that they left:

Samson is Bill’s second Bluestem puppy (also an “H” Litter male) and flew home to Nebraska
Lee took Simon home to his son on the South Carolina coast
Rocky took Sue home all the way back to Texas
Tonya, Ian and the kids took Sebastian to the north side of Charlotte
Haley and Dalton took Simi to Charlotte
Luke took Spokanne up to Hickory, North Carolina

I am so thankful for these loving families to send the pups home with! I hope to see some of them again and maybe get a pup out of one of those girls.

While I was home with puppies, Charles was out chasing birds with Obi, Sally and Duke in Nebraska and North Dakota for a good part of a month. I will have to save that update for another day, but it feels good to finally have the posts about the “S” Litter wrapped up. I’m excited that the young dogs got out west for some good wild bird hunting, which is better than all of the yard or test drills in the world. So I’ll save that for next week.

Good luck to all of these new owners and please stay in touch!

“S” Litter Seven Weeks Old!

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We’ve got new owners ready to show up to take these guys and gals home next week, but we have our next litter planned for Fall 2023. If you’d like to get added to the list of reservations for that, feel free to email me at bluestemkennels@gmail.com. I’ll start contacting folks about interviews and deposits once these pups go home.

This coming week is consists of bird work (both retrieving a dead bird and seeing a live bird), walking on leash, crate exposure, coming into the kitchen to play, and riding in a car. I will try to catch some of it on camera, but working with birds and running a camera at the same time is tricky. I’ve done it in the past but we’ll see how it goes this year.

They’re starting to go up and down stairs and have had their noise conditioning. The neighbors even helped out unknowingly by sighting in their deer hunting shotguns just across the road for four hours one day last weekend. The pups will see the vet on Friday for their last checkups, microchips and shots.

Here is their last set of individual photos that I can promise before their homegoing pics with their new owners:

Male pup, Sebastian:

Male pup, Sebastian face
Male pup, Sebastian running
Male pup, Sebastian front

Male pup, Simon:

Male pup, Simon side profile
Male pup, Simon side and front
Male pup, Simon running

Male pup, Samson:

Male pup, Samson front
Male pup, Samson side profile
Male pup, Samson face

Female pup, Simi

Female pup, Simi face
Female pup, Simi front
Female pup, Simi running

Female pup, Spokanne:

Female pup, Spokanne side profile
Female pup, Spokanne face
Female pup, Spokanne running

Female pup, Sue:

Female pup, Sue side profile carrying an orange peel
Female pup, Sue front carrying an orange peel
Female pup, Sue face

It is always tough getting ready to let go of a litter of pups. I take comfort in the fact that these pups will turn into great dogs who will give their owners lots of joy throughout their lifetime.

Here is their last video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InhOkKHC52U&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

It is time for me to sign off to attend to evening mom duties, but I hope that you enjoyed following these pups through their early weeks. I hope to catch some shots with the birds and of course we’ll have the homegoing photos with their new owners posted once they all go home.

Then it’s back to chasing wild birds and hunt test titles for awhile! Good luck to everyone out there in the fields.

“S” Litter Six Weeks Old

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With two weeks left before they go home, I think that we’re finally settled in on which pup is going where. As long as everyone shows up like they say that they are going to, these puppies all have their families. Our next litter is planned for Fall 2023 so if you are interested in talking about that once these pups go home, email bluestemkennels@gmail.com. I won’t start interviewing until after these puppies go home though, so please be patient.

I’m going to get right down to the business of posting the individual photos and this week’s video. As you can see, they are super active. I get them out running twice a day at this point. I am working on early noise conditioning, banging pans together when I put out their food. They are starting to come when called (right now, I just call them with “Puppies!”). They eat only kibble (Diamond Puppy) and drink from the water dish. So they are almost ready to go!

These photos are all unedited and just posted in the order that I took them for each puppy. You get what they give me and for every photo you see, there are ten that didn’t get posted.

Male pup, Sebastian:

Sebastian side
Sebastian running
Sebastian’s face with a stick

Male pup, Simon:

Simon side
Simon running
Simon front

Male pup, Samson:

Samson running
Samson side
Samson face

Female pup, Simi:

Simi front
Simi side
Simi face

Female pup, Spokanne:

Spokanne side
Spokanne front
Spokanne face

Female pup, Sue:

Sue front
Sue face
Sue side

Here is this week’s video with Caleb and the pups in the yard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-C1zNCJSc_s&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

I’ll post one more update like this for seven weeks old, then the week of their eight week birthday will be homegoings (so no post then, too much paperwork to do). Once all of the puppies go home there will be one more post of them with their new families and then it will be on to posting about Charles’s hunting season and testing the dogs in NAVHDA.

I hope that all of the new families are out there getting excited to take these little ones home! Look for phone calls and emails coming up to confirm our pickup appointments and to answer any questions.

“S” Litter Five Weeks and Duke’s NA Test

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Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com to be placed on the backup contact list in the event of anyone backing out on this litter at the last minute. I will start doing interviews for our Fall 2023 litter once our 2022 litter goes home, so you can reach out about that too.

Duke’s NAVHDA Natural Ability Test

You cannot put the pressure of your breeding kennel on a junior handler and our 13 year-old son Caleb had fun handling Cedar and Spruce’s Apollo “Duke” to a NAVHDA Natural Ability Prize III, so that is really all we can ask for. They tested at the Foothills NAVHDA Chapter in Hickory, NC on Saturday. The pheasant track was spot on and he did great in the water, but it took him 15 of the 20 allotted minutes to get started in the field search. To his credit, he was the last dog in the field and it reeked of bird stench after nine other dogs ran ahead of him, so I could tell that it made Duke a bit confused and timid, wanting to point every place a bird had been planted. I’ve seen pro trainer/handlers come up with a “No Prize” on Natural Ability, so we are not disappointed. At nine months old Duke is still young enough to Natural Ability test again, but we won’t and just continue on to prepare for the Utility Preparatory Test. But the most important thing for him and for Sally is to get out west into the wild bird fields this fall.

Caleb and Duke ready to run
Duke in the field
Waiting for the water
Checking of the attributes

“S” Litter at Five Weeks Old

The pups are growing like weeds and are large enough to run the yard. We’ll do that a couple of times a day going forward. They have their first collars on and are picking up and carrying around toys. They love to chew on each other and their toys. Caleb is also my puppy assistant and I catch him doing the silliest things sometimes, like getting in their dog house.

Caleb has turned into a puppy

Here are their individual pics. Keep in mind that this is just a snapshot of this puppy. This doesn’t show their personality, size or conformation very well at all. They are just now starting to develop their different coats and I’m getting a better idea of who will fit well where.:

Male pup, Sebastian:

Male pup, Sebastian face
Male pup, Sebastian body

Male pup, Simon:

Male pup, Simon face
Male pup, Simon body

Male pup, Samson:

Male pup, Samson face
Male pup, Samson body

Female pup, Simi:

Female pup, Simi face
Female pup, Simi body

Female pup, Spokanne:

Female pup, Spokanne face
Female pup, Spokanne body

Female pup, Sue:

Female pup, Sue face
Female pup, Sue body

Here is their video for the week. We were so busy this weekend that I didn’t have a chance to get Caleb to help me with them in the yard. It is just too much for one person to handle and try to video when we’re in the yard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtJ2jke9twg&t=1s&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

I need to go ahead and sign off for now, the day is getting away from me and I need to start talking to folks about travel plans and puppy picks. I’ll be back next week on Tuesday, Monday has just become too crazy for me with kid activities and so the weekly updates will shift a day for the rest of their time with us. Good luck to everyone in the field with hunting and testing.

“S” Litter Four Weeks Old

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The pups are four weeks old and really moving and grooving! All are spoken for at this time, but if you’d like to be on the contact list in the event that someone backs out at the last minute, email bluestemkennels@gmail.com. That will also put you on our list for information about future breedings. Plus, I always post here. Our next litter is planned for Fall 2023.

I have to run my son to his fencing club practice, so let’s get down to the business of pictures and video!

Male pup, Sebastian:

Male pup, Sebastian face
Male pup, Sebastian body

Male pup, Simon:

Male pup, Simon face
Male pup, Simon body

Male pup, Samson:

Male pup, Samson face (it was hot out so he is panting)
Male pup, Samson body

Female pup, Simi face

Female pup, Simi face
Female pup, Simi body

Female pup, Spokanne:

Female pup, Spokanne face
Female pup, Spokanne body

Female pup, Sue:

Female pup, Sue face
Female pup, Sue body

They moved out on to the covered porch yesterday so that they get more acclimated to the outdoors to make them tough hunting companions. I had to get up in the middle of the night to put them in the dog house, but they were all in there when I woke up this morning. I’m hoping that they learn quickly that the dog house is warmer at night than the cement.

They also have transitioned from puppy mush with formula/canned food to just straight canned food. I suspect that once their teeth start to pop out, we’ll have them on kibble soon. Here is their video for the week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95zASVo8bmA&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

Alrighty, it is time to get suited up for my son’s fencing club practice and on with the week. We’ll start talking about puppy placements next week and making sure that our travel plans are lined up for pickup.

Caleb and Duke run in the Natural Ability Test at the Foothills Chapter of NAVHDA on Sunday, so I’m hoping that they have great success!

“S” Litter Three Weeks Old

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The puppies are three weeks old now and starting to crawl around and bark. They’ve had some limited puppy mush, but mostly nursing still. I am going to ramp up food introduction this week and start to get them outside in the grass more. Charles was home tending the kennel this weekend while I attended to some activities off of the property, so I haven’t had time to touch base with my new owners recently. I plan on doing that over the course of this week just to make sure that we’re working on travel plans and if you have any questions.

Male pup, Sebastian:

Male pup, Sebastian face
Male pup, Sebastian back

Male pup, Simon:

Male pup, Simon face
Male pup, Simon back

Male pup, Samson:

Male pup, Samson face
Male pup, Samson back

Female pup, Simi:

Female pup, Simi face
Male pup, Simi back

Female pup, Spokanne:

Female pup, Spokanne face
Female pup, Spokanne back

Female pup, Sue:

Female pup, Sue face
Female pup, Sue back

Here is the video for the week, you can see how active they are getting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc3Il3cEFGM&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

I’ll be back next week where we’ll be halfway through this journey! Here’s a shot from last week when Caleb and I had the puppies out on the lawn. He has an activity tonight that I need to take him to, so I had better keep moving.

Caleb and the “S” Litter

“S” Litter Two Weeks Old

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The puppies have just opened their eyes and so it is time for individual pictures and kennel nicknames. All puppies are spoken for at this time, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com to be on the backup contact list in the event that spots open up prior to homegoing. Once these pups go home, I will start interviewing for the spots remaining on the Fall 2023 list.

Now that their eyes are open, we will start on puppy mush of puppy food and formula as we work towards solid food and weaning. They will spend more time out of the whelping box being exposed to both indoor and outdoor environments.

Here are the individual pictures. They are not very photogenic at this age where their eyes have just opened and are not super mobile except to scoot themselves around the whelping box. Once they get on the mush and have more exercise, they will become more mobile.

Male pup, Sebastian:

Male pup, Sebastian face
Male pup, Sebastian back

Male pup, Simon:

Male pup, Simon face
Male pup, Simon back

Male pup, Samson:

Male pup, Samson face
Male pup, Samson back

Female pup, Simi:

Female pup, Simi face
Female pup, Simi back

Female pup, Spokanne:

Female pup, Spokanne face
Female pup, Spokanne back

Female pup, Sue:

Female pup, Sue face
Female pup, Sue back

Here is this week’s video where I put the puppies out on the back porch while I was getting ready to clean out the whelping box. They are still in walrus crawl mode but are starting to get around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYgDz8LUxG4&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

The evening is getting away from me and it is time for my son to do homework, but I hope that everyone had a nice Labor Day and maybe shot some stuff. Charles got out with the neighbors on some doves, so we didn’t spend the weekend crying about missing grouse opener in Nebraska. Looks like it was dry and hot out there, I’m not seeing much for body counts online so I’m assuming we didn’t miss much, but we still miss it.

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