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Before I die I will shoot a snipe and other tales from the prairie…

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My poor neglected readers, I can tell that you miss me.  Yet hunting season is upon us and who needs any other muse?  I typically write forwards chronological, but today I’m feeling reverse chronological.  That way my title makes sense.

Snipe, Sora and Early Teal

Charles and Charity ready for some fun

Charity and Charles ready for some fun

Yesterday we hit the local swamp in search of snipe, sora rails, and early teal.  It is a pretty popular swamp, as there were a couple of sets of duck hunters in there before we were.  Since we were late to the party, we went to the other end of the parcel.  We spent an hour or two there and each of us missed a sora rail.  At that point we figured that the duck hunters had moved on, but first Charles wanted to go to town for a hot dog.

So when you roll into small town Nebraska with a crazy dog box in the back of your truck with dog heads hanging out of it, a travel carrier on top with stickers from all over the country, and both of you are dressed in camo: you are crazy old man bait.  The old man had some great tales: how he had just intentionally ran over a whole flock of turkeys (because of the myth that they kill pheasants and grouse.  He even showed us the carcasses in the back of his truck), his pheasant hunting escapades in South Dakota, how much he wants to retire to Oklahoma (really? why?), he showed us pictures of his purple ’67 Dodge Charger, then proceeded to do a massive burnout with his pickup (when you squeal your tires on purpose) on his way out of the gas station.  I love Nebraska.

We went back to the main parking lot of the secret swamp and had the place to ourselves.  But the duck hunters had left their mark.  Shame on them.

Party foul

Party foul

Once we got up into the swamp, Charles got a sora after I missed a few.  Then with his keen eyes, he spotted a couple of teal on some open water about 20 yards ahead of us.  I love how teal just let us jump them, we never get away with it with mallards.  Charles grabbed Fire by the collar and I grabbed BB (here is where good heeling training would come in handy, but we’re pretty rusty), and we crept up to the pond.  When the two teal jumped, Charles hit the one in the lead with his first shot, I hit the one behind with my second.  Both were really solid hits, his to the head and mine to the body, so we didn’t have any flapping in the water (which I hate).  Fire was right out on the water retrieve, which BB proceeded to steal (bad dog).  Fire went back out for the second duck too.  Chief had no clue really, we just had him out there for exposure.

From there we made our way out to the snipe field.  It is sort of a wet field that cattle graze so that the grass is all short.  It is really muddy in places and where is isn’t muddy it is pocked with deep cow hoofprints.  This place kicks my butt, I have yet to shoot a single thing there and I’ve been hunting it for years.  It has even claimed a pair of my rubber boots: I sank in and couldn’t get out, so I had to walk by to the truck in my socks.  During dry years, we stumble across the embedded boots every now and then.

We worked the eastern end of the field to no avail, we figure the flights aren’t in yet.  We work the central part of it, and again nothing.  Right as we start to slack off and let the dogs work ahead…BB locks on point and Chief and Fire proceed to bust a flock of about 10.  Out of range, no chance of a shot.  Yet the way that snipe work there are always stragglers.  Charles knocks a couple down.  I proceed to whine about how many snipe he’s shot and how I’ve yet to hit one, so he lets me walk ahead.  I proceed to blast away at another 5 with no success, while he bags a couple more.  As we’re walking back, BB again locks on a solid point.  I go in for the flush and yet again miss the snipe.  But wow, to have a dog who knows how to point snipe, that is pretty awesome.

Charles with four snipe, a sora, and a teal

Charles with four snipe, a sora, and a teal

Charity and Fire with a Teal

Charity and Fire with a Teal

AWPGA National Specialty 2015

I just had to drive a couple of hours over to Des Moines, Iowa for the National Specialty this year.  It kicked off on Thursday morning with a fun hunt at Doc’s Hunt Club in Adel, Iowa.  I accidentally left my camera at the hotel that day.  But we had a good turnout and folks took turns taking their dogs out with birds.  I sent all of my dogs to the Sandhills with Charles, so I didn’t have any.  We did a lot of visiting and had a burger and hot dog lunch in the clubhouse.  There was a tracking seminar held in the afternoon, but I have worked AKC Tracking tests with our local kennel club before, so I skipped and sat in the hot tub, then took a nap:)  In the evening, we had our annual meeting and welcome reception.

Friday was the big show.  It was great to see so many owner handled dogs.  Remember Gino Troy from the NAVHDA test in May?  Well his bitch took Best of Breed.  Yay, Gino and Brie (and his breeder Kristi Rogney of Whiskeytown Sporting Dogs).

Best of Breed Ring

Best of Breed Ring

L to R: Kristi, handler, Brie and Gino

L to R: Kristi, handler, Brie and Gino

We were free for the rest of the afternoon and evening, so I found a new home at the Court Avenue Brewing Company in the Historic East Village of Downtown Des Moines.  The people there were so friendly and the atmosphere so nice (like a mini Old Market Omaha Upstream Brewery), that I thought that I’d give them a free plug.  If you need some beer and grub in Des Moines, this is the spot.  It was packed on Saturday for the Iowa vs. Illinois St. football game, but I had the place to myself on Friday after the specialty show.

Court Ave Brewery Des Moines

Court Ave Brewery Des Moines

AWPGA steins

AWPGA steins

We had a great time at the banquet Saturday night following the supported entry show, where I won a set of four of cool beer steins in the newly launched pre-banquet games (pictured here with 24 oz. each of Nebraska Brewing Company India Pale Ale).  I had the winning bid on the silent auction of two books to add to my collection of dog books in French that I can’t read.

French Griffon Books

French Griffon Books

So, that puts learning French on my to-do list over the next few years.

The food was excellent and so was the company.  There are some things in life that I just love above all others.  Food is one of them.  From left going clockwise: roll, seven layer dessert bar, pork chop, potatoes, creamed corn, green beans with bacon, spring green salad, and a fried boneless chicken breast in the middle.

I took some of everything.

I took some of everything.

Jay Hoth of Switchgrass Sporting Dogs was solo, with Lisa back in Oklahoma looking after the kids.  He had some company at the banquet: Sheryl Dierenfield, Shona Welle, and Kina Palmer on his right all from Colorado, then myself and Julie Baker, both from Nebraska on his left.

Jay Hoth's big date

Jay Hoth’s big date

I wish that I had won this sign in the games, but I didn’t.  Some of my other problems:

Addiction

Addiction

I was able to put my amateur auctioneering skills to use at the live auction.  When I was a child growing up in Valentine, Nebraska, there just wasn’t a whole lot to do sometimes.  So my dad would take me to the sale barn to watch cattle being auctioned off.  Between that and all of my time spent as “auction model” in my younger days for Pheasants Forever, I was able to pull it off.

Charity auctioning off a cool welcome sign

Charity auctioning off a cool welcome sign

I was under the impression that supported entry on Sunday was later than it was, so keeping with tradition, I overslept the morning after the banquet and missed it (last year in Maine, I overslept and missed my flight).

It was a small turnout, only 37 dogs entered in the specialty show, but we managed to have a heck of a good time regardless.  Great job, Ruth Vogel and the 2015 specialty committee.  Next year, we will be turning it up in Helena, Montana Sept. 19-26.  Hunting seasons will also be open, so we’ll be there!

Sandhills Sharptailed Grouse Opener

Charles and the dogs had a great opening weekend in the Nebraska Sandhills chasing sharptailed grouse.  They limited out within two hours of their start time each day.  Only 8 shells shot and 6 birds in the bag!  I kept saying to myself in Des Moines, “I can’t believe I’m missing opening weekend to watch a dog show”.  But I’m pretty committed to my dog club friends and glad that I didn’t miss them being in the neighborhood.

Opening day limit. From back to front: Fire, BB, and Chief

Opening day limit. From back to front: Fire, BB, and Chief

Day 2 limit, back to front: Sam, Fire, and Chief

Day 2 limit, back to front: Sam, Fire, and Chief

Parting thoughts

I have probably missed around 100 snipe in my hunting career, so I’m going to be in pursuit.  Probably starting tomorrow.  I’m taking at least a semester away from teaching and am just going to hunt and dog train full-time.  I had thought about going solo and doing Wyoming sage grouse in a week, but I really need to get into shape (and save our money) for duck opener in the Sandhills the first week of October, and North Dakota mixed bag mid-October.  Here’s sort of my goals/timetable:

  1. I’m going to handle Chief for the first time in NAVHDA Natural Ability in the Spring.
  2. Charles will NAVHDA UPT Fire in either the spring or fall of next year.
  3. We’re going to train BB back up, giving her a year off from whelping, so that I can handle her in NAVHDA UT in the fall of 2016.  Depending on where Fire is at, she may also UT at the same test with Charles.
  4. In the next 2-3 years, I want to do Nevada chukar.  I am not in shape enough for that terrain.  Also, I have Montana staring me in the face next year, I’d like to chase some mountain grouse (blue, spruce, ruffed, ptarmigan) and the sage grouse while we’re there.  Time to get to work.

I was super excited to see Brian Koch make contact with the Himalayan Snowcock in the Ruby Mountains of Nevada within the last couple of weeks.  He doesn’t have this pic up on his Ultimate Upland website yet, but here’s the photo from his Facebook page:

Brian's Himalayan Snowcock encounter. Photo by Brian Koch ultimateupland.com

Brian’s Himalayan Snowcock encounter. Photo by Brian Koch ultimateupland.com

That is one for the bucket list!  Keep chasing birds

North Dakota Hunting and Hunt Test Pupdates

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AWPGA Health and Genetics Database

Fellow Wirehaired Pointing Griffon breeders and owners: please participate in the AWPGA Health and Genetics Database.  You do not have to be an AWPGA member to participate.  We are looking to collect as much pedigree and health information as possible, so that we can go forward with a clearer picture of where the breed is currently and make appropriate breeding decisions. http://www.awpgadb.com/

2014 Hunting Issue of the Griffonnier

I am now co-editor of the Griffonnier with Amy Caswell-O’Clair from New Hampshire.  The first issue that I’ll be working on is appropriately the Hunting Issue 2014.  If you are an AWPGA member and have hunting training tips, hunting tales and photographs, or game bird recipes, please e-mail them to griffonniereditor@cox.net by November 30th.  If you aren’t an AWPGA member, please consider joining us: http://awpga.com/beamember.html.  We will be having our annual gathering in Fall 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa and would love to have you all join us.

Pups Hunting in North Dakota

I’m getting good reports out of North Dakota from both my puppy owners and Charles.  Here’s Susan’s North Dakota hunting party, with our pup TracHer from our 2012 “C” Litter from Sam and Mae.  Susan and TracHer are on the far left of the photo.

Susan and TracHer with friends and family.

Susan and TracHer with friends and family.

Susan said that the numbers were great and that they all would have had their limits if their shots had connected.  I know that feeling!

Ernie is having fun in North Dakota with 7 month old Duncan, from our 2014 “H” Litter from Sam and Mae.

Duncan and Ernie with a pheasant limit

Duncan and Ernie with a pheasant limit

Ernie has also picked up a GoPro camera and got some video of points and retrieves from Duncan.  GoPro seems to have improved the distance perception in the newer models, it seems more true to real sight.  I couldn’t be more pleased with this footage, what great work for a 7 month old pup.  

Hunt Test News

Congratulations to Sal and Chester (TracHer’s littermate) on two AKC Senior Hunter passes at the Long Island (New York) Viszla Club the weekend before last!

Sal and Chester with SH ribbons

Sal and Chester with SH ribbons

Also, congratulations to John and his pup, Cle, who is our Fire’s brother, on his NAVHDA Natural Ability Prize III at 8 months with the MidSouth NAVHDA Chapter in Pelham, Tennessee over the weekend.

More North Dakota

The dogs and Charles rolled into North Dakota mid-day Sunday, giving them some time to hunt in the afternoon and evening.  He took his first ever Hungarian Partridge then.  (Sorry for the low quality phone photos)

Charles's first Hungarian Partridge

Charles’s first Hungarian Partridge

I received another truck and bird photo mid-afternoon today, a drake redhead and two nice roosters.  The story on the duck is that he was working a slough surrounded by a cornfield when a group of ducks got up from the pond.  Charles tucked down, with this one flying in range.  The duck landed in standing corn and little Fire retrieved it.  He took the two roosters an hour or so later within 5 minutes of each other, but saw nothing else the rest of the day.  Still a nice bag.

Drake Canvasback and two roosters

Drake redhead and two roosters

Good luck to everyone else in the field out there!

Duck Opener and Fire’s NAVHDA Natural Ability Test

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Duck Opener

Nebraska High Plains duck opener on October 4th found us in our usual haunts up in the Sandhills.  We didn’t get out into the field until around 9 AM both days; that is the nice thing about jump hunting as opposed to sitting over decoys.  Sitting over decoys requires three things that I don’t like to do: 1) haul excessive amounts of gear 2) get up early 3) hold still.  So even though Charles had brought up all of the decoys and blinds and such to do it, we just didn’t.

We work a network of small ponds, swamps, and beaver dammed creeks trying to keep the dogs on heel as best we can.  It is about a 50% success rate on a jump as far as getting shots off.  Sometimes a dog will spook a flock, other times we come across a pond that we didn’t know was there at full standing profile and scare them off, or take a shot at a single in one pond that sets off a giant flock in the next pond.

We’ve taken up enough of a pattern that the game warden was able to track us down on Sunday just because he wanted to chat and see what we’d gotten into.  Charles took 3 teal and a hen wood duck on Saturday and I took 3 teal.  Sunday was a 6 hour day in the field and I took nothing, Charles got 2 snipe and a mallard hen.  I got a couple of videos, the first of Fire retrieving Charles’s mallard hen, her first wild duck retrieve: .  The second is my first anything of the year, I think that I’ve shot at 15 snipe this year with no luck: 

The photo from Saturday is a bit goofy, I just threw the camera up on the tripod, hit the timer and took the shot.  I obviously did not review the pic for my odd facial expression while talking to the crazy dogs.  Oh well, there it is.

Opening day, Saturday, October 4th.

Opening day, Saturday, October 4th.

BB and Charles with Sunday's quarry.

BB and Charles with Sunday’s quarry.

Fire’s NAVHDA Natural Ability Test

Before I get into the test itself, I want to tell you about my new friend, Bob.  He is 75 years-old and ran his 52nd NAVHDA test on Sunday.  He is a retired truck driver from Pennsylvania who was en route to my beloved Sandhills and has been traveling out there for many years.  Before he takes his buddies hunting in the Sandhills, they are required to read the famous Nebraska author Mari Sandoz’s novel Old Jules.  I am certified as a middle and high school English teacher in Nebraska and have not read Old Jules.  Bob laid quite a bit of grief and shame on me, so I will be going on to Amazon to pick up a copy later today since it is not available on iBooks.

My new friend Bob from Pennsylvania

My new friend Bob from Pennsylvania

Bob travels in style

Bob travels in style

027

His cool license plate

My favorite picture of the day was of Blaine Erkenbrack looking on as his daughter, Alexa, tossed the bumper for “Khloe”, a 14 month-old German Shorthaired Pointer. Khloe and the gang earned a Prize I, Score 112 in Natural Ability.

Blaine, Alexa, and Khloe.

Blaine, Alexa, and Khloe.

Eight month-old Bluestem’s Prairie Fire “Fire” now has a NA I at the end of her name, with a maximum score of 112 points.  Thanks to Senior Judge Mike Garriott of Falls City, Nebraska, Gabby Awbray of San Diego, California, and Darin Tolzin from Atlantic, Iowa for coming out to judge.  It was a little chillier than what we’ve been used to lately, but there was no rain, and the breeze was pleasant, not a howling gale.

Fire found a number of quail in the field and pointed them all, but proceeded to rip almost every single one (catching the bird before it flushes, also known as a “trap”).  There were a few that were able to get up and fly.

BB working the thick tallgrass cover

Fire working the thick tallgrass cover

Fire slamming into point.  Two quail successfully flushed from this one.

Fire slamming into point. Two quail successfully flushed from this one.

Charles holds Fire's collar while a quail flushes.

Charles holds Fire’s collar while a quail flushes.

After 2 Natural Ability dogs ran the field, they did their track, so 2 field runs, 2 tracks, alternating.  There were 8 Natural Ability dogs running for the day.  The track was a mowed strip leading into a dense, food plot-sized growth of native tallgrass prairie.  Conrad and Charles have been working with Fire quite a bit on the tracking skill and it paid off.

Fire successfully working the track.

Fire successfully working the track.

Fire inherited her sire’s absolute love of water retrieving and had two great bumper retrieves.

Fire getting excited when seeing the bumpers

Fire getting excited when seeing the bumpers

Fire bringing one back in

Fire bringing one back in

L to R apprentice from NJ, Gabby Awbray, Mike Garriott, Darin Tolzin, and apprentice John Green at the reading of the scores.

L to R: apprentice from NJ (sorry, I didn’t note the name), Gabby Awbray, Mike Garriott, Darin Tolzin, and apprentice John Green at the reading of the scores.

We were very pleased with Fire’s performance and enjoyed the day.  Good luck to John and Cle, Fire’s brother, on his Natural Ability test in Tennessee this weekend.

Velma in North Dakota

Velma’s owner, Aaron, was up on the federal ground in North Dakota the weekend before the PLOTS land opens and got into some pheasants and sharptailed grouse.  Velma is right next to Aaron giving him a kiss, we will be keeping a pup out of her breeding to Ben this spring for our next stud dog.

Aaron, his lab, and Velma WPG in North Dakota on Saturday.

Aaron, his lab, and Velma WPG in North Dakota on Saturday.

Pupdate

Tyson up in Bangor, Maine sent over a nice report on the start of his hunting season, his pup, Moose, is from our 2014 “H” Litter between Sam and Mae:

It has been a crazy busy summer here in Maine with some vacation and lots of training with Moose.  We feel so blessed to have such an incredible dog.  He is fitting in great and does awesome with the kids.  I have attached some pics for you.  Moose spent most of the summer sleeping in the boat, as you can see.  

The most exciting thing to report is that bird season officially opened in Maine on October 1st.  And Moose got his first day in the field this Saturday.  He got the chance to hunt with her good friend Spice who is an 8 year old female GSP that is an amazing Maine gun dog.  She definitely showed him the ropes.  They have spent some time training together this summer.  Some good pics of Moose with some very rare Maine Pheasant.  He also pointed the first grouse of the day at our first stop.  Thanks again for an amazing dog!

Best,Tyson

Moose is looking handsome at 7 months old.

Moose is looking handsome at 7 months old.

Moose spending some time on the Atlantic.

Moose spending some time on the Atlantic.

Moose and the elusive Maine roosters

Moose and the elusive Maine roosters

Thanks, as always, to my owners for the updates!

Well, that is about all of the excitement I can handle for one day.  Charles and the dogs head to North Dakota on Saturday, so it will be interesting to see what they come across.  I’m sure we’ll all be jealous.  Stay warm, until then.

More Snipe, Training, and Pupdates

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The weekend before last, Charles and his friend Matt went out and got into some snipe with success, each of them got a few.  Fire had her first full wild bird retrieve.  She had picked one up earlier in the season, but BB rudely stole the retrieve from her.

Some snipe, Charles and Fire

Some snipe, Charles and Fire

Last weekend, Charles, Conrad, and Fire were been out working on drills for Fire’s Natural Ability test, specifically the water retrieve and the track.  Conrad was my cameraman during the training session and got some pretty good pictures!

Charles, Fire, and the chukar for the track.

Charles, Fire, and the chukar for the track.

Fire bringing in a long water retrieve of a canvas  dummy.

Fire bringing in a long water retrieve of a canvas dummy.

Fire with the nasty old dummy

Fire with the nasty old dummy

We are looking forward to the opening of Nebraska High Plains duck season this weekend, especially me, since I have a big fat goose egg on hunting season thus far.  Much of it has to do with my opting to stay home or carry a camera most of the season and only having three days in the field with a gun in my hand.  Charles has to decide whether he’s going to North Dakota or South Dakota for his weeklong hunting trip later this month.  I am going to sit it out since I already missed one of my grad school class sessions to go to Maine.

Pupdates

Although we were skunked on our sharptailed grouse outing last month, I’ve been hearing good reports farther north and west.  TracHer got some retrieves in from Susan and Tom’s good shooting up in North Dakota.  TracHer is from our “C” Litter of Sam and Mae.

TracHer on retrieve in North Dakota

TracHer on retrieve in North Dakota

Closeup of TracHer and the sharptail

Closeup of TracHer and the sharptail

TracHer's retrieve to hand

TracHer’s retrieve to hand

TracHer just recently lost her younger brother, Max, an 18 month old German Wirehaired Pointer, to blue-green algae exposure.  I had never really taken it seriously, but will from here on out.  Very sad for Susan and Tom, we were sorry to hear it.

My friend George saw Sandi with our pup Zoey in Michigan at the Midwest Griff Fest, which was held just a couple of weeks after the National Specialty.  Not sure how George had the energy to make it to both events, but kudos to him!  Zoey lives in Oklahoma with Sandi and Jimmy, and is from our 2013 “E” Litter from Sue and Sam.

Sandi with Zoey in the harness and an encroaching gang of griffs.

Sandi with Zoey in the harness and an encroaching gang of griffs.

Sandi and Zoey overtaken by the gang of griffs

Sandi and Zoey overtaken by the gang of griffs

Sandi and Zoey get to know the griff gang.

Sandi and Zoey get to know the griff gang.

Last but not least, Lindsay and Midge took Winners Bitch two of the four days of the Gallatin and Helena Cluster Show up in Montana a couple of weeks ago for two points.  I’m not sure how many points Midge is up to these days, but it sounds as if Lindsay is determined to put a conformation championship on her as hard as she is working at this.  Great job!

Lindsay and Midge

Lindsay and Midge

Thanks to everyone who submitted pictures over the last couple of weeks for me to include in the blog, I couldn’t do it without you!  Good luck to all of the hunters out there with the big season openers across the country this month!

Welcome “G” Litter 2014!

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I can’t believe that this is the “G” litter for Bluestem Kennels, coming into our 4th year of breeding.  And “H” and “I” should be coming in a month!

The 13 puppies of Sam and BB’s “G” Litter were born on Sunday, February 9th and it literally took the whole day.  We were up walking around at 5 AM and went to bed at 10 PM.  There are 8 girls and 5 boys.  BB has decided that her favorite time to get attention, be fed and go walking outside is between midnight and 2 AM, so I haven’t had the best nights of sleep, so I apologize to the new owners for not getting e-mails or phone calls out yet.

BB with 8 puppies in the whelping box

BB with 8 puppies in the whelping box

I thought for sure that with 13 that I would be bottle feeding, but BB has been doing awesome with nursing them well.  It really helps that we have them right in front of the wood burning stove, so that they are not having to expend energy keeping warm.  With normal-sized litters we’ve been able to keep them in the basement utility room or in the garage with space heaters and heat lamps, but this cold weather and with there being so many of them, they need to be where it is extra warm.  It is also nice that my youngest boy, Caleb, will be 5 next month and has finally learned to not mess with the puppies at this age.  The weather is supposed to warm up and they will get bigger and able to regulate their body temperature, so I won’t have to have puppies in my living room forever.

First night by the fire

First night by the fire

I didn’t have anything set up by the fire after they were born, so I just put them on a blanket and slept next to them that night.  I did have to fish a few out of odd places in the middle of the night, but they survived it and stayed warm.  They are now set up with the small kiddie pool with a blanket in the bottom, with the x-pen around it to deter kids and other dogs.

They went to the vet Monday morning for their tail docking, dew claw removal and vet check.  Dr. Kliewer at Heartland Animal Hospital checked them all over and said that they are perfect!  I was sure that with so many of them that there would be a “dud”, but there’s not a single one.  These are the individual puppy photos that I store on here for my records and so we can track their development.  Try not to get too attached to any of them!  They are all spoken for and I will do my best to get them all grown up, but one never knows.  I also name them for tracking purposes and don’t expect the new owners to keep these names.  They never get called anything other than “puppy” by me:)  They are completely in random order and may be taken from different distances which might account for size differences.  The coat differences I note only help me to tell them apart as they grow.  Photos taken at 1 day old, right before we went to the vet for claws and tails.

Girl: Ginny

Girl: Ginny

Ginny has a white blaze on her forehead and small liver spots on right side, above the tail, then most of the tail is liver.

Girl: Garnet

Girl: Garnet

Garnet has a white dot on her forehead, a white dot on her neck, a tiny liver spot on the left bottom part of her back and a larger liver block on her right belly.

Girl: Gayle

Girl: Gayle

Gayle has a solid liver head and her entire left side is liver.  She also has liver spots on her right neck, underarm, belly and above the tail.

Girl: Gertrude

Girl: Gertrude

Gertrude has a small white dot on her forehead and is spotted liver heavily all over her body.  Liver on most of her right side.

Girl: Gemma

Girl: Gemma

Gemma has a white dot on her forehead and two large liver spots set on a diagonal on her back, the left one higher than the right.  Small liver spot on left belly and above tail.

Girl: Gabriella

Girl: Gabriella

Gabriella has a think white blaze on her forehead, has a large liver spot on her back that is shoulder to shoulder, a tiny liver spot on her lower left back, then a liver spot above her tail that extends down into the tail.

Girl: Gallixe

Girl: Gallixe

Gallixe has a white blaze on her face and an entirely white back with a small spot above the tail.  Her neck is 1/2 white and 1/2 liver.

Girl: Gisele

Girl: Gisele

Gisele has a white blaze on her face and and entirely white neck and body except for a small spot above the tail.

Boy: Gene

Boy: Gene

Gene has a white dot on his forehead, large liver spots set diagonally with the right higher than the left.  A tiny liver spot on his right belly and a large liver spot above his tail.

Boy: Gus

Boy: Gus

Gus has a white blaze on his face with two large diagonal liver spots that do not touch at the back.  The right spot is higher than the left.  The rest of the body is white.

Boy: George

Boy: George

George has a liver head and white upper back.  His lower back has a large liver spot in the center, with a smaller one on the left.  Also has a small liver spot above the tail.

Boy: Gascon

Boy: Gascon

Gascon has a white blaze on his face, a white upper back, a small liver spot in the center of his lower back and a liver spot right above his tail.

Boy: Gilbert

Boy: Gilbert

Gilbert has a tiny white spot on his forehead, his body is entirely white except for a small liver spot above the tail.

Okay, that is everybody!  Here is a shot of them today at 3 days old.

"G" litter 3 days old

“G” litter 3 days old

I will be sure to get phone calls and e-mails out to the new owners before the end of the weekend.  As this was a large litter, I am willing to take a few more deposits for possible 2014 puppies.  Right now I have 10 other reservations and 2 more litters on the way, so there is a possibility of having more than 10 puppies yet this year.  There are no guarantees, so I just ask that anyone who wants to make a reservation at this point be flexible and open to getting a pup in Spring 2015.  Feel free to call (402) 682-9802 or e-mail bluestemkennels@cox.net to inquire.

Pupdate

I was just thinking about Gomer from Sue and Sam’s 2012 “D” litter after I saw his NAVHDA Natural Ability Prize I with a Perfect Score of 112 points at the Spoon River Chapter Fall Test in the latest edition of Versatile Hunting Dog magazine.  Lo and behold, I just got some new photos of him and his family, with the announcement that he will be a big brother to a human sibling soon.  Congrats to Kyle and Jenna!

Kyle, Gomer and Jenna

Kyle, Gomer and Jenna

Gomer and Jenna in the pool last  summer

Gomer and Jenna in the pool last summer

 

Gomer says, "Who needs a dog box, I get to ride in the front?!"

Gomer says, “Who needs a dog box, I get to ride in the front?!”

Thanks to Kyle for the update and his great work with Gomer towards the Natural Ability Prize.

Well, it is time for me to go to my son’s Valentine’s Day party at school.  I will be sure to keep you posted with the new puppies and the upcoming litters.    Oh and Happy Valentine’s Day!!

 

BB’s Big Adventure (and other news)

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As the blog has been focused on my most recent litter of puppies, I haven’t had time to fill you all in on BB’s big adventure.  For those of you who don’t know, BB is our year old female griffon that we imported from Quebec City, Canada.  Her first breeding isn’t planned until 2014, as we have high hopes for her in competition prior to breeding.

Her first AKC event was at the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Lincoln’s AKC Hunt Test on March 10th (yes, the same day the puppies were whelped).  Charles and BB left early, but I made sure that Mae was done whelping, cleaned out the whelping box, cleaned up Mae and then the kids and I headed down to Lincoln to watch BB’s first run at the AKC Junior Hunter title.  It was a hot (mid-70’s) and windy day, there were several dogs that came out of the Junior Hunter field with zero bird finds.  Experienced handlers looked on skeptically as Charles and BB entered the field.  The Junior Hunter run is split into two parts, 8 minutes in the “back field”, where there are no birds planted, but they are expected to search, then another 8 minutes in the bird field, where the dog is expected to find and point birds, then the handler flushes the birds and fires a blank pistol on the flush.  It is also done in a “brace” with two dogs and two handlers, so you are having to “outfind” the other dog/handler in the bird field.  I was tickled to death after BB’s 8 minutes in the bird field, she had found and pointed 6 birds!

The AKC Junior Hunter title consists of 4 legs of the same event, so BB finished her second leg with GSPCL the following day, then completed her final two legs on March 31st with the Missouri Valley Brittany Club and on April 1st with the Nebraska Vizsla Club.  All four runs were done at the famous (in the field trial/hunt test world) Branched Oak Lake Field Trial Grounds in Raymond, Nebraska.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Junior Hunter

Charles and BB with the two GSPCL AKC JH Ribbons

On Saturday, April 14th, Charles and BB went out to play a very un-griffon game known as the AKC Walking Field Trial.  They were entered in the Amateur Walking Derby and the Open Derby stakes with the Heart of America German Shorthaired Pointer Club in Hillsdale, KS.  I will let Charles speak to this in his future blog post on Versatile Hunter (versatilehunter.com), but it is more of a running game than a bird finding game.  Yet it was a good time for them both, they had fun and got more experience with AKC competition.

In April, BB and I participated in two AKC Conformation Dog Shows.  I used to be very skeptical of dog shows as some sort of beauty contest for dogs, but as a breeder, the AKC puts pressure on you to get your dogs into the show ring, as the dog show’s purpose is to evaluate the quality of AKC breeding stock.  We attended the Grand Island Kennel Club dog show on Saturday, April 21st, then the Seward County Kennel Club show on Sunday, April 29th.  We took home first place, best of breed and winners ribbons from both shows, but we were the only griffon participating.  The judges did say that she is a quality animal.  It was pretty intimidating getting into the sporting group ring with professional handlers, but we are getting more comfortable in the ring and are looking forward to what looks to be our first “major” show (multiple griffons in attendance) in Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota in June.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon dog show

BB and I practice stacking at the GIKC dog show. Photo by Cordelia Upchurch

Last weekend we ran BB in the Heartland Chapter of NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association) Natural Ability test, which consists of a 20-minute field search similar to the AKC JH, a seperate bird track, where they are tracking a running pheasant, then a water retrieves of dummies.  BB scored a Prize I on the test, with a perfect score of 112!

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon NAVHDA NA

BB points a quail during the field search of the NAVHDA NA test

BB is now officially known as AKC/NAVHDA Bourg-Royal’s CB Bluestem JH NA   1.  We hope to keep adding to the titles over the next year or so!

In Other News

Our co-owned year old female, Velma (AKC/NAVHDA De Jac’s Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah) also had a perfect score of 112 on the NAVHDA Natural Ability test, with first time handler (and co-owner) Aaron Klusmire.  Congrats Aaron and Velma!!

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon NAVHDA NA

Aaron and Velma return from the bird field

Sue is looking quite pregnant and I’ve started putting the heavy feed to her in preparation for her final weeks of pregnancy.  I suspect we have about 3-4 weeks to go before I’m back on litter duty!

Getting lots of updates on the most recent litter that went home.  I was glad to hear that Belle (Carlita) in Oklahoma is over getting motion sickness and has ridden in the vehicle sickness-free since her trip home.  TracHer (Candida) in North Dakota and Frankie in Colorado are going everywhere, including the water.  Speaking of Frankie (Carmelita), I haven’t posted her homegoing photos yet:

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 8 weeks

Frankie (Carmelia) and her hunter, Mike, in Colorado

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 8 weeks

Frankie meets some new friends

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 8 weeks

Frankie having fun

Then there’s some pictures of TracHer in North Dakota up to her antics:

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 8 weeks

“Can I have some?”

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 8 weeks

“Where’s the ducks?”

I also received some updated pictures of a year old female from last year’s “B” litter between Sue and Sam.  This is “Shady Lady”, who lives in Nevada (you may also catch a glimpse of her partner in crime “Smoky” who’s out of Whiskeytown Kennels in California):

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 1 year old

Shady Lady appears very proud of herself in the yard

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 1 year old

Up close and personal with Shady Lady

Thank you to all of my owners for the photo contributions!  We’re going to keep busy here with dogs and more puppies, and of course we’ll keep you posted as it all unfolds!