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Hunting Season Opener 2020

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Like everything in 2020, our opening weekend was a little different than normal.  Many of our “go-to” spots are still flooded out, but luckily the bounty of the Sandhills still provided.

Opening day we split into two parties, with Fire and I taking one dune ridge and Charles, our buddy Ryan, Ruth and Obi went on the ridge to the south of me.  It’s funny the difference that one valley makes.  Fire and I hiked for five miles and saw absolutely nothing, while Charles and Ryan saw about 14 sharpies and Charles limited out by noon.  Which was good because the high temperature got up to 105 that day, a record for a September day in Nebraska.  Obi was having a great first outing as he got all of the retrieves that day.

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Charles and Obi headed back to the truck

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Obi and Ruth with Charles and a limit of sharptailed grouse opening day

Day two we decided to all three hunt the same ridge with all three dogs.  Charles and Ryan stayed up high and I worked the mid-level hills closer to the valley.  We had planned on crossing the valley once we got to the fence, but they had seen a group of birds get up that I did not, so I met up with them at the top of the ridge and we headed back the way we came.  I saw a group of about ten of them get up and go around a dune, so I hoped that we’d be into birds soon.

It wasn’t too much longer until Fire went on a super-stylish point down in a little bowl.  It was one of those where their body is posed in one direction and their head is cocked to the right as if to say “The birds are right here!”.  With scenting conditions so difficult in the Sandhills, I’ve only had this happen one other time in twenty years of hunting.  So I ran down in front of Fire and sure enough, a group of five got up right in my face.  Due to the direction of the wind, with them taking off right into it, they shot straight up into the air and I shot right underneath of them.  One peeled off and flew back towards Ryan and he took it down.

Ryan is a traveling geology technician, so he hadn’t been out with us hunting in five our six years while he’s been on the road.  It was great to have him on the bird board again.  We continued our push and I sort of meandered toward the lower hills like I normally do.  Up at the top of the ridge the guys got up another small group and Ryan took another bird out of it.  Fire was hanging around with me, so we hiked up to where the guys were to try to help them find the bird since they seemed to be struggling to locate it.  It took us a good five minutes, but Fire put her nose to the ground and went about 40 yards to the south and came back with the runner.

I’ve been battling plantar fasciitis in my right foot for about nine months, since we chased roosters in January outside of South Sioux City.  Where I used to be able to do 8 miles of dune stomping in a day, I’m down to about 5.  The guys used to be up in the 10-11 mile per day range and now they’re at a little over 8.  We’re all between the ages of 45 and 50 now.  Ryan made the dreaded statement that, “Someday we’re not going to be able to do this anymore!”.  I’m hoping that isn’t for another 25 years or so, but I guess we just don’t know.  The oldest grouse hunters that I’ve seen have been in their mid to late 70s, but that was 10+ years ago.  We’re the old hunters of our part of the world now.

With that being said, I bailed out of the last three mile push of the day all three days.  So when the guys went out on day two and Ryan brought back his third bird for the limit, it was a great feeling just to be there.  I don’t have a good idea of how many sharptailed grouse and prairie chickens I’ve taken out of those hills, but I’ve done it.  And it hope to do it again, but it just wasn’t this trip.

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Ryan and Fire with a limit of sharpies

Day three was at least a bit cooler.  At least the outside temperatures.  Let me just say that if you buy the Kindred Creamery Ghost Pepper Colby Jack Cheese, which is the hottest pepper cheese that I’ve ever eaten in my life, wait to eat it until you get home.  Don’t eat it during the hunt or you will regret it.

We went to the spot that we call “Lone Tree”, but the pasture with the lone tree and the grouse flock that we normally hunt had cows in it.  If there’s one thing that we’ve learned over the years is that the grouse don’t hang out with the cows.  So we tried a new dunefield.  And sure enough right when we got into it, a group of about ten got up at about 150 yards and sailed away.  We walked for another hour looking for them, but never saw them again.  The guys hit one more spot and Charles took a single with Ruth on retrieve.  It was the end of the trip and everyone was done posing for photos.

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Charles with some worn out dogs and a single.

Someone made a post on one of the Facebook bird hunting forums that three guys and three dogs had been in the Sandhills for three days and hadn’t seen a thing, so I feel lucky that we didn’t get skunked.  I hope that we get out chukar hunting in Nevada someday because I’d like to see how it compares to the difficulty of hunting sharpies in the Sandhills.  If it wasn’t for my bum foot, which is only impacting me at long distances, I’m really in the best shape cardivascularly that I’ve been in 10 years now that I work as a lifeguard part-time and swim a mile once or twice a week, then walk once or twice a week too.  The orthopedist said that it will take time to resolve, so I just need to be patient and keep training.

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“I’m getting skunked in the Sandhills”

Introduction to Iowa

There is a big swath of public swamp right on the other side of the Missouri River from where we live, so Charles decided to pick up an Iowa license and took Ruth over there a couple of days ago after work.  They managed to stir up a blue-winged teal and a dove.

Hunting Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Teal

Ruth in the back of the truck with an Iowa teal in her mouth

Hunt Test Pupdates

Congratulations to Brent Haefner and Bluestem Madeline the Huntress, NA III can now add a UT III to the end of her name.  They passed the very difficult NAVHDA Utility Test at the Minnesota Chapter Test recently with 174 points.  Brent said that the hardest part of the training was for the duck search, where the dog has to stay out in the pond for ten minutes swimming and searching for a duck.  Maddy is from our 2017 “M” Litter between Chief and Fire.

Brent and Maddy Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Bluestem Madeline the Huntress, NA III UT III and Brent

At the IllIowa Chapter test, Derek Gilsdorf and Bluestem Captain Augustus Mccraer “Gus” got it done in the NAVHDA Natural Ability Test, earning a Prize I 110 points.  Here’s Gus with his recent haul of teal down in Kansas.  He was from our surprise 2019 “P” litter between Zoro and Ruth.

Bluestem Gus Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Gus got the ducks

I love to hear news of our past puppies, but it is tough to stay in touch with 150 people (that’s why I have a blog).  Feel free to share your pup with us at bluestemkennels@gmail.com and I’ll be sure to share it with everyone here.

The Griffon that started it all…

Good old Sue is still out on the prairies of South Dakota doing her retirement thing at almost 17 years old.  She is the great-grandmother of our current female Ruth and the first Wirehaired Pointing Griffon that we ever owned.  It makes me happy to see her spending time with the family; her current mama Debbie is from Texas originally and moved to South Dakota to be a nurse on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation.

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Stan and old Sue

Up next

The hunt tests all have waiting lists these days, so it doesn’t look like we’ll be running Ruth here in a couple of weeks in AKC Senior Hunter like we had planned.  Charles will be back in the Sandhills for duck season in a few weeks and is headed up to North Dakota with our pal Aaron too.  I’m going to stay home with the kids and wait for Nebraska pheasant season to open on Halloween.

Obi went to the vet today to get his PennHIP x-rays.  He weighs 54 lbs and Dr. Arndt of Harvey Oaks Animal Hospital said that his hips look “terrific”.  That is such great news, so it seems like the stars are finally aligning for us to have a quality outside stud after seven years of trying.

We’ll check back in after Charles returns from North Dakota and see if he gets any interesting photographs.  And hopefully some birds and great outdoor experiences too.  Best wishes to everyone out there chasing their bird dogs around the wilds.

 

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

Hunting season ends, breeding season begins…

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It has been absolutely arctic around here.  We stayed close to family and did not venture out for grouse, pheasant, or Canadian geese while we were in Valentine.  It was very cold outside and several of us were sick with colds.  It has stayed cold down here in Bellevue, so nobody has been out anywhere except for the yard.  But the good news is that while we were hunkered down in Valentine, we think that Sam and BB got the job done.  So, fingers crossed, BB is about 3 weeks along.  Velma has just become fertile and is with Ben down in Springfield, Nebraska.  They will stay together for two more weeks and see what happens.  So if Mother Nature smiles upon us, puppies in March.

Yet if you call or e-mail me, I’m going to refer you to another breeder.  I currently have 16 reservations with deposit on file and just have no idea how successful these litters will be.  We’ll just keep our fingers crossed and wait and see.

The dogs have been coming in the house quite a big with the cold temps, but I didn’t get the camera out until we were outside today.

Caleb let himself into the kennel with BB and Sam while Charles and Conrad were shooting archery.

Caleb let himself into the kennel with BB and Sam while Charles and Conrad were shooting archery.

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Conrad getting his archery practice in!

BB and Fire on a tear in the woods

BB and Fire on a tear in the woods

Fire on a lope, you can still see the shaved patch on her abdomen.

Fire on a lope, you can still see the shaved patch on her abdomen.

Fire and Caleb

Fire and Caleb

BB, Sam, and Fire

BB, Sam, and Fire

Sam

Sam Profile

Fire Running

Fire Running

BB heading in

BB heading in

Sam

Sam Eyes

Sam looks on while BB and Fire battle in the yard

Sam looks on while BB and Fire battle in the yard

Pupdates: Christmas Cards 2014

It’s funny that both of the cards that I received from puppy owners were from the “C” litter of 2012 of Sam and Mae.  Not that I can say anything about Christmas cards, I just don’t send them anymore.  I figure I send everyone a card everytime I write up a blog post, right?  Some cute photos of Chester from Long Island, New York came in Sal’s Christmas card:

Happy Chester

Happy Chester

Running Chester

Running Chester

Peaceful Chester

Peaceful Chester

A cute card from the owners of his sister, TracHer, far right, up in North Dakota.  Susan in read with Zephyr, also a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (but not from us).  Tom with Max the baby German Wirehaired Pointer and TracHer.

Susan Card_NEW

We hope that everyone had a great holiday season and is ready to tackle the New Year ahead.  Charles is talking about one more hunt before the Jan 31 close of season, but I’m out of time.  I will keep everyone posted with breeding season, please join NAVHDA and the AWPGA, and stay warm!

So much to be thankful for…

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I really should not be blogging, but I know how much y’all have been missing me.  Well, not so much me these days as these fab updates from our owners.  But that comes later.  First of all, I wanted to say that I had no idea how much work it takes to run an AKC breed parent club.  Boards, committees, and lots of blood, sweat, and tears from dedicated volunteers.  I am really stressing about my first issue at the helm of the Griffonnier, but it looks like it is coming together well.  “How do I get this Griffonnier,” you say?  You have to join the AWPGA: http://awpga.com/

Another awesome must-have magazine is Versatile Hunting Dog from NAVHDA.  I’m excited/embarrassed to be in the November 2014 issue.  Guess how you get Versatile Hunting Dog: you have to join NAVHDA.http://www.navhda.org/.  I went ahead and scanned a copy of the article so that the non-members can check it out.

VHD Article

VHD Article2

Thanks again to New Englander Jason Wade for coming all the way out to Nebraska/Iowa to put it on, and to Tracey Nelson for being a great hostess.  Also thanks to the people who let me ask about their recent Handler’s Clinic experiences: Susan Davy, Dan Dorfschmidt, and Matt Heard.

I was also recently published in Tufts University Seabird Ecological Assessment Network’s publication Field Guide to Beached Birds of the Southeastern United States.  The field guide will be used to help citizen scientists to identify bird carcasses.  They needed a photo of a female canvasback carcass and found it here on the blog.  Here is the link to the guide, my photo is on the bottom left hand corner of page 72: https://app.box.com/s/k01qk2eic0ojc0h0tjv7.  I’m always happy to donate my work in the name of science and conservation.

Birthday Hunt

Hunt

I bagged my first official shot-it-all-by-myself Nebraska rooster on my 40th birthday.  That’s about the best present I could get.  I’ve been attributed to some Nebraska roosters in the past, but it was always up for debate since others had also put pellets in it.  But not this time.

I love chocolate cake, but I love birthday roosters more.

I love chocolate cake, but I love birthday roosters more.

So that was the high point of the hunt.  The low point of the hunt was at the end where we had to cross this shallow creek into a fallow field that was all plowed up and uneven.  I tripped on a giant dried up dirt clod and didn’t even catch myself.  It was a full-on face plant into the dirt.  I may not be known for my gracefulness, but I have become an expert in totally wiping out safely while holding a firearm.

Oh yeah, and Charles got a rooster too.  But you expected that.

That is my poor photography skills with the glare, not evidence of any supernatural forces.

That is my poor photography skill with the glare, not evidence of any supernatural forces.

Pupdates

Bob and Ed, who hail from Minnesota (and from our “E” Litter 2013 between Sam and Sue), had a great hunt up in North Dakota this year:

What a fantastic trip to North Dakota for Ed again this year!  5 guys hunting and we brought home our limits even with the tough wind we had.  Ed’s performance was fantastic and I could not ask for anything else from him.  He is a solid pointer and retrieves to hand with no hesitation.  He proved his worth when he found a bird we knocked down which ran into a cattail slough.  I am once again very happy for having found you while researching the breed. I can’t wait for our trip in 2015! Bob

Ed, Bob, and the birds in ND.

Ed, Bob, and the birds in ND.

Trucks, dogs, and birds is where it's at!

Trucks, dogs, and birds is where it’s at!

Jealous!  In more news from North Dakota, Susan and TracHer (2012 “C” Litter between Sam and Mae)  took out some roosters in the western part of the state:

A good friend got permission from an old high school classmate who farms in western ND, but north of I-94 (where the famed pheasant hunting area is) yesterday.  I experienced an all time first in my hunting life.  I shot a double, and was the first in our party of 3 to get birds.  I end up in that category of, I GOT ONE! only to be told by the guy hunting to either side of me, that no, they got it.  I’m a little slower to shoot so do better when I can get away from the others enough to get a bird on my own time, and it happened in spades yesterday!!   TracHer did great again…in the pics she is bring my bird back to me, with our friend Don Winden in the pic as well.  There were, indeed, a huge number of pheasants out amongst the oil drilling rigs and wells…The birds seem to have adjusted alright for now.

TracHer on retrieve with Don looking on.

TracHer on retrieve with Don looking on.

Closeup of TracHer and the pheasant.

Closeup of TracHer and the pheasant.

TracHer and the cows

TracHer and the cows

I love how she manages to shoot with a gun and a camera!  I need to work on that.  Staying in the North Dakota theme, Ernie put together this cool video with footage from his GoPro and some tunes, “Country Boy” by Aaron Lewis and “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynard.

Here’s a photo of Ernie and Duncan (from our “H” Litter 2014 of Sam and Mae)

Duncan, Ernie and a North Dakota pheasant limit.

Duncan, Ernie and a North Dakota pheasant limit.

A bit closer to home, it looks like Rob and Maggie of Omaha (from our 2013 “E” Litter between Sam and Sue) had a great trip to South Dakota:

Maggie did fantastic for the start of her second season. She works perfectly in my opinion. She stays close, her drive is fantastic, she is very methodical and thorough yet not too slow and her nose is awesome. She points solid and does a great job at retrieving, especially the sneaky ones that are hard to find. When I turn her loose I almost never even have to direct her. Just when I think that she might be nearing a range that I would consider being too far out she puts her head up to check where I am at and readjusts to stay in the working distance that I prefer. Sometimes it’s like she can read my mind. I’m sure I am biased but I just can’t say enough about how well I think she hunts. I love this dog! Take care. Rob

Rob, Maggie, and roosters.

Rob, Maggie, and roosters.

Taking it way down south, I got an update from Charbel in Mexico with Freyja from our 2014 litter of Sam and BB.

I’ve been off the grid lately with lots of work but finally manage to find some time for R&R. Sorry I couldn’t send you pictures sooner but here are a couple. This is Freyja´s first hunting trip in the beginning of November, we went Dove hunting, it wasn’t a good weekend because of the climate but we manage to get a few doves and the dogs had a lot of fun.

I have her leashed to me or to a long check leash since she still need to learn that there is no point in chasing flying birds, she will run all the way trying to follow a bird that fly’s by specially falcons when they are kiting the area and she tends to draw out thorns like a magnet, specially one I hate don’t know how its called but its a round seed fool of thorns that acts like Velcro. Took me more than an hour to remove all the thons from her, the bright side is that the thorn never actually gets it the skin but it does tangle in the hair.  But I would let Freyja run free after every hunting morning.

The second morning while we were lunching in the field she dash into a corn field, after a few minutes suddenly a entire covey of quail flush out and 2 seconds after that Freyja came out of the field with that smiley doggy face she makes. We were all shocked since no one was expecting that. It was amazing!!!

This weekend we are going to be flying to Mexicali Pheasant hunting I´ll send you pictures after we come back.

 Best Wishes, Charbel

Freyja ready to go.

Freyja ready to go.

Charbel and Freyja taking a break from dove hunting for a selfie.

Charbel and Freyja taking a break from dove hunting for a selfie.

Four labs and a griff cooling off.

Four labs and a griff cooling off.

Freyja coming back in.

Freyja coming back in.

Wow, thank you owners!  You force me to come back and blog even when I don’t think that I want to.  Then when I’m done, I see how much fun you have with your pups and it makes everything worth it.

The week of Thanksgiving is upon us, isn’t it?  So that means that we go hunting, right?  I hope so.  I’ve been stuck at home the last couple of weekend with deer season.  Charles didn’t see one big enough to shoot out in the Sandhills last weekend and went out yesterday for a doe along the Platte River and didn’t see anything.

We really should be thankful to God every day.  As my grandfather says, “You’ve got a roof over your head and food on the table”.  We take important things for granted, like clean water.  1 billion people on Earth don’t have access to clean water, and we’re lucky enough to be able to fuss over hunting dogs.

I am thankful for you, my readers, for hearing what I have to say and enjoying what my kind puppy owners are nice enough to share with me.

Full on pheasant season

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I will be 40 on Sunday.  Not sure how to feel about that.  Hopefully I get at least 40 more years and I get to hunt for most of them.  We plan on going out to dinner Saturday night and probably chase some birds either Saturday or Sunday.  The other day we’ll spend with the kids and my mom.  I’ve told everyone no gifts since I’m spoiled enough as it is.

Brian over at Ultimate Upland wrote a post this week about slowing down as a hunter as we age http://www.ultimateuplandnews.com/upland-with-friends/.  Charles and I have been discussing the same thing this year.  I can remember being in our 20s and how we would hunt all day, then party for most of the night back home in Valentine for several consecutive days.  Over the years, the beers have become fewer and evening hours have grown shorter progressively.  I’ve actually given up drinking altogether as of two months ago (I’m making it official here on the blog since I’m going to stick with it this time).  I hope that is enough oversharing for everyone this week.

AWPGA

Mr T meme

Mr. T says so http://awpga.com/index.php.  Since you get to read my blog free from advertising, with the exception of the junk WordPress puts at the bottom, I am going to start plugging AWPGA membership.  Especially those of you who own griffs and do NAVHDA testing.  Now that I’m working on the Griffonnier and Charles and I are starting to help with the field committee, I see that probably less than 10% of those prizing are AWPGA members.  We are going to change that.  Plus, we are looking to get more AWPGA sponsored field events across the country.  I am very excited to be helping out the elders who have been doing this for a long time and using my blog as a way to help get the word out.

AWPGA Database: I have not yet added my litters to the database, but will have done so by the next time I post to the blog.  That will allow any of my puppy owners to add health and title information.  Griff owners can add information at http://awpgadb.com.  This is not only for AWPGA members, but any griff owners.

Pheasant Season Update

I was out of commission last weekend with a cold, but Charles and his friend, Matt, made it out into the field with Fire and BB.  Charles got a rooster and the world’s smallest quail and Matt got two roosters.

Charles with Fire, Matt with BB

Charles with Fire, Matt with BB

Pupdates

Sounds like last weekend was beautiful up in North Dakota and there were plenty of birds to be had.  Ernie, Duncan and a large party of fellow hunters and dogs found a mess of roosters!  Duncan is from our 2014 “H” Litter between Sam and Mae and is 7 1/2 months old.

Duncan and a big pile of ND roosters

Duncan and a big pile of ND roosters

Of course, TracHer, Susan, and Tom are out chasing roosters again.  They were joined by Jim Borg, participant in the 2014 NAVHDA Invitational and owner of VC Agate Hill’s Akeeta (who had to sit out of the hunt due to injury).

Susan said, “The weather has been unbelievably gorgeous for this time of year and we are so glad we can take advantage of it. TracHer really is coming into her own…she’s showing great drive, points, retrieves—I couldn’t ask for more from her, and it took until this season for her to come into her own.  We hunted with Jim Borg today with his 12 year old Griff Max.”

TracHer on point.  She is from our 2012 "C" litter between Sam and Mae.

TracHer on point. She is from our 2012 “C” litter between Sam and Mae.

Jim with TracHer and Max on point

Jim with TracHer and Max on point

Close up of TracHer and Max on point.

Close up of TracHer and Max on point.

TracHer, Tom holding Max the GWP pup, Susan, Max the griff, Jim, and Zepher.

TracHer, Tom holding Max the GWP pup, Susan, Max the griff, Jim, and Zepher.

An aside for those of you who are not familiar with the NAVHDA hunt testing system.  The Invitational is held every year for those dogs who earn a Prize I in the Utility Test.  From the NAVHDA website:

Field work consists of a search, pointing, steadiness, backing and retrieving with the dogs being run in braces.  Water work consists of a blind retrieve, double-marked retrieve and honoring a retrieve.  Cooperation, obedience, desire and nose are judged throughout the entire test.  Dogs successfully completing the Invitational Test with a passing score will receive the title of “Versatile Champion,” further recognized by placing VC before their names.

Susan does such a great job keeping me in photos!  I hope to make it up to a Central Dakota Chapter NAVHDA Test one of these years so that I get to meet all of these great griff hunters who are members up there.

Danny down in Texas has Fern from our 2013 “F” litter from Sam and Mae.  He said:

We work on upland, waterfowl, fur and tracking. This morning I shot a doe and she tracked it about 100 yards. I was so proud of her, even though it appeared to be super easy for her. We start duck season next weekend, so with a deer in the freezer we can concentrate on what she/I love the most.

We moved this summer to a house on ~6 acres. It’s fully fenced and she is a hunting machine. She spends so much time hunting at full throttle that I was remiss in her training for a couple of months.  We have stepped up our effort and she is getting back to her old obedient self.

Fern's blood track

Fern’s blood track

That is so cool, we have never used our griffs for blood tracking big game, but it is one of their historical purposes and it is great to see one of our owners out there doing it!

Rob lives just across town here in Omaha and has Maggie, who is from our 2012 “E” litter between Sam and Sue.  He said:

Maggie is doing fantastic. She hunted last year at 9 months and our hunting friends were shocked she was that young, because of how well she did. Since then we have been training all the time, in the hope that she will be better at hunting than I am at training!! And it’s going well. This is us working on retrieving, and hopefully I will get some great photos, or maybe video, after we spend next week in Winner, SD chasing those roosters.

Maggie and a rooster

Maggie and a rooster

Wow, owners, thanks for all of the great updates!  The day is getting away from me and I need to fix supper.  I have some big projects due for grad school coming up, so I don’t know if I’ll be back in one week or two.  But God willing, I’ll be back.  Talk at you then.

Introducing Ben, etc.

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Introducing Ben

We will be using Ben as the sire on the litter planned with Velma (De Jac’s Zip-Ah-Dee-Doo-Dah) for 2015.  Ben is from our 2011 “B” Litter between Sam and Sue.  We had him here as an overnight guest last week in order to get his hips X-rayed, which is really just a formality as there is no sign of anything wrong.  It is just one of those things that you are supposed to do before breeding a dog.

Ben has a wonderful temperament: he only barked once or twice out in the kennel even though it wasn’t home and he let me mess with him up on the grooming table without putting up a fight.  He is strictly a wild bird hunter of quail, sharptailed grouse, and pheasant here in Nebraska.  He lives on a farm outside of Lincoln with Nate and his family.  We plan on taking our next stud puppy out of the Velma and Ben litter, they really compliment each other well in their conformation.

Ben on point last fall.

Ben on point last fall on a hen pheasant.

Ben au natural, before any grooming

Ben au natural, before any grooming

Ben after being brushed, before trim

Ben after being brushed, before trim

Ben after a full trim and bath

Ben after a full trim and bath

Ben with Nate ready to head home

Ben with Nate ready to head home

I was really blown away by Ben’s head furnishings, neither of his parents have anything near that long.  I would put his eyebrows and beard at around 4 in. long.  His face really makes me think of the West Coast show griffs.  His body coat is more of the hunter lines liver coat, but it isn’t flat like some, it does have a curl to it like Sam’s.  Then the chest and the legs have lots of gray fringe on them.  He also isn’t too big, 64 lbs. and probably 23 in. at the shoulder, so really the perfect size and right in breed standard.  We hope to get out this fall and do some hunting with him too, so I’ll have more pictures of him then.

Retiree Update

Mae is doing really well with my brother Ron, and his Siberian Husky Whisper.  Whisper used to escape and run away all of the time, but that has changed now that he has an old lady.  Mae was fixed before I moved her, so there will be no griff/husky cross puppies (although it was much talked about in jest beforehand).  They sit around the yard all day, then play fight in the house at night.

Mae and Whisper doing what they do best.

Mae and Whisper doing what they do best.

Stan shared a cute picture of old Sue running with Savannah down the driveway, she seems to be very happy playing with the kids.  Trey is 12 this year and passed his hunter’s safety, so game birds in Mellette County, South Dakota be warned.

Sue and Savannah on a jog.

Sue and Savannah on a jog.

Fire Training Update

Last weekend, Charles took our 5-month old puppy, Fire, out to Skyline Sportsmen’s Club in Thurman, Iowa for training with the Heartland NAVHDA Chapter.  She did her first exercise with live shotgun fire and did just fine.  She also retrieved bumpers from the water.  The veterans of the chapter said that she is ready for her Natural Ability test, so we will go ahead and move that up to October of this year.  We were talking about doing it in the spring, but will go ahead and move it up and do the UPT test in Spring of 2015.  That way we can get her through the Utility Test prior to her coming into breeding age, probably Fall of 2015.

Pupdate

Cliff in Oklahoma sent over a great update on Bluestem Belle, from our “C” litter of 2012 between Sam and Mae.  That would make her a littermate to Chester in New York and TracHer in North Dakota who we get frequent updates from.  Here’s what Cliff had to say:

Belle has been just almost the perfect pet.  She is so personable and most always very obedient.  I will take partial credit on the obedient attribute.  We had her spayed prior to her coming into heat the second time, so about 16 months ago.  After going through one cycle of wearing doggie diapers and having to be careful what dogs we hunted around that first fall, I didn’t want to go through that again!  She is an inside-outside pet.  Inside when we are home, but outside if we are going to be gone more than a couple hours.  We got our yard fenced shortly after bringing her home, so she has about half an acre to be in. 
 
I continue to be amazed on how smart she is.  She can open doors (we have door handles instead of door knobs), know toy names, and last week she fetched my socks and shoes to put on so we could go on a walk!  When we go to our public walking area, I usually don’t have her on a leash unless we are about to walk past another dog or geese.  She always wants to get in my truck to go someplace.  There is a pub in Stillwater that allows pets on leash.   Attached is a picture of her in front of a menu board.
 
She does great hunting, super nose and follows commands: verbal, whistle & hand directions.  One of our most fun days out last season was the Jan 31st in north-central Kansas.  We woke up to new and continuing snow.  Belle loved hunting in that cold and snow.  Attached are a couple pictures of her that day.  She was caked in snow and had a vast number of icicles in her beard.

 I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

Belle at Finnegan's Pub

Belle at Finnegan’s Pub

Belle in the Kansas snow

Belle in the Kansas snow

Belle on point

Belle on point

Thanks so much to Cliff for that update, I am pleased with how all of  these pups have turned out and it really bolsters my spirit to hear from my owners.  Infinite gratitude.

General Blog Ramblings

It is hard to believe that I’m fast approaching 300,000 lifetime hits on a totally homemade blog about an obscure breed of hunting dogs written by a gal who considers herself half redneck and half intellectual.  I suppose I could sell ads on my YouTube videos and convert this over to a site where I could put ads on it, but it is a passionate hobby and am fearful of taking myself too seriously.  But when I am able to see folks from all over the world reading it, like daily hits from Brazil during the World Cup (probably some Dutch and German griffon enthusiasts), it makes me feel pretty self-conscious and aware that I’m representing my breed and my sport internationally.  I need to do a better job of being a professional about it and not so flippant.  I appreciate you, my readers, for making me feel appreciated and tolerating my sometimes lazy and goofy posts.

I have also finally committed to going to Maine at the end of August for AWPGA National Specialty and the Korthals Cup.  I am looking forward to seeing some good friends and meeting some of the East Coast US and Quebec griffonniers that I’ve only encountered online.  If you’d like to join us, registration is open until August 1st http://www.awpganationalspecialty.com/.

Enjoy the end of summer and stay cool.  Griffs love kiddie pools, so bust one out if you haven’t already.

One last thing: I finally updated the gallery on the About Us/Contact page to include the last two years of our adventures, so be sure to check that out.  The button is in the brown top navigation bar.

Training and Testing

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Puppy Homegoing

I received a picture of Hez in his new home in Bangor, Maine with Tyson and family.  He also has a big golden retriever friend named Ferg and they are all getting along splendidly!

Hez (now Moose) and family in Maine

Hez (now Moose) and family in Maine

Shipping a puppy by air cargo

Someone asked me recently about how I ship puppies by air cargo.  Well, I get an interstate health certificate from the veterinarian (needs to be dated within 10 days of travel).  Then I buy the intermediate level crate, which is 22 inches tall, 28 inches long, and 22 inches wide.  I take all of the plastic hardware off of the outside of the crate and replace with metal nuts and bolts, then fill the crate about 1/3 full of shredded newspaper.  Each side of the crate has “Live Animal” signs taped on to it, with a leash, a small bag of dog food, and the shipping/care instructions taped to the top.  I attach food and water dishes to the inside of the crate, then simply place the pup in the crate with his collar on.  I always have the pup take the first available flight out of Omaha Eppley so they are more mellow.  I am about a 15 minute drive from the airport, so I feed and water the pup, give it a walk to go potty, and away we go.  I use Delta Pet First/Air Cargo.   I check the dog in at the air cargo office (which is over with the FedEx and UPS buildings), they pull the pup out of the crate and inspect the crate for any contraband, put the pup back in and ny-tie the door closed.  All of the holding areas in both the airports and the planes are climate controlled so that the pup never experiences extreme temperatures.  I wish I could put a little camera in the crate and see what the pup sees when he is being shipped, it must be exciting.  But I think that the cargo folks are really nice to the pups because they’ve never come out of their crates traumatized.  I’ve shipped 15-20 puppies this way and have never had a problem at all.  Some breeders do not ship air cargo from reading a story or two on the internet, but it is like anything you read from questionable sources.

Grooming of the young griffon

I also had a question about what type of grooming to do on a young griffon puppy.  Aside from giving it a bath once a month with puppy shampoo and cleaning its ears with Malascetic Otic solution, very little.  I don’t recommend aggressive brushing like I do with adults, as I accidentally overbrushed a young puppy once while its puppy coat was coming out and the adult coat still hadn’t come in.  I had an almost bald griffon in October.  Charles was not happy.  So don’t do that:)

Fire’s training

Fire is coming along nicely at 15 weeks old; Charles has been planting birds for her once a week to point and flush.  He has switched from using the kiddie cap gun to the .22 starter pistol with blanks and she couldn’t care less about the noise.  He’s talking about incorporating the remote bird launchers as to avoid any accidental “traps” (when the live bird gets caught by the dog).  Then once he feels comfortable there, probably mid-July, will try the first live-fire exercise with a shotgun.  I will try to get out to catch some video of this process.

First NAVHDA Test Pupdate of the Season

Congratulations to owner/handler Lou Volpe and Bluestem’s Big Sky Rendezvous “Midge” on a NAVHDA Natural Ability Prize I with a perfect score of 112 at the Montana Sharptail Chapter test over the weekend!  Midge is from our 2013 “F” Litter from Sam and Mae.  Great job everyone!!!

“A” Litter Pupdate

Back at the end of April, my very first litter from Sam and Sue turned 4 years old.  Here are some recent owner photos from the litter that changed my life for good!

Maggie is a good kid pillow

Maggie is a good kid pillow

Maggie keeps her coat trimmed for the Alabama heat

Maggie keeps her coat trimmed for the Alabama heat

 

Maggie giving a look

Maggie showing off her beautiful eyes

Whiskey is a handsome dude

Whiskey is a handsome dude

Whiskey (front) and friends beating the Nevada heat

Whiskey (front) and friends beating the Nevada heat

Whiskey bringing Dad (Pete) his croc

Whiskey bringing Dad (Pete) his croc

I also saw a cool video on Whiskey’s mom’s Facebook page of him hunting chukars with his girl, Andi.  

More training

Susan and Tom have been working with TracHer on preparing for her NAVHDA Utility Test and sent me some pictures of her retrieving a giant Muscovy duck.  The first picture is of her retrieving it after a 60 yard dryland track from a drag and the second is a water retrieve.  TracHer is from our 2012 “C” Litter of Sam and Mae.

TracHer and the duck in the field

TracHer and the duck in the field

TracHer's water retrieve

TracHer’s water retrieve

I have one last bit of media to share with you and that is a YouTube that I made from a couple of video clips that new owners of this year’s litters sent to me.  You can see the pups style and personality already starting to shine through!

Many thanks to all of my generous owners who take the time to update me with photos and videos so that I have something to share with you!  It is greatly appreciated and keep it coming!  Hope that everyone is enjoying the beginning of summer and I’ll check back in soon.

H Litter Homegoing

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I am officially puppy-free for the rest of the summer (aside from Fire, of course)!  Everyone went home on their 8-week birthday on Tuesday, except one who went home on Sunday.

Herbert went across town with Bill and family.

Herbert went across town with Bill and family.

Harriet's went to South Dakota with Matt and family.

Harriet’s went to South Dakota with Matt and family.

Hope went to Wyoming with George and his wife.

Hope went to Wyoming with George and his wife. (Photo courtesy of George)

Harold went to North Dakota with Ernie and family.

Harold went to North Dakota with Ernie and family.

Hez is not pictured because he took a plane all the way to Maine!  He arrived safely without even messing in his crate.  Maybe one of these days Tyson will have a chance to send us a photo.

Mae did well with her spay and is ready for retirement.  We took Sam, BB, and Fire out on Memorial Day for Fire’s first swim.

Fire swimming with the kids.

Fire swimming with the kids.

Sam found himself a big stick.

Sam found himself a big stick.

BB and Fire having a run on the shore.

BB and Fire having a run on the shore.

I hope that everyone enjoyed their extra day off!  Spring NAVHDA tests are upon us, so I’ll be looking forward to any pupdates on that front and any others!  Fire is due for her last round of shots this week, so then we’ll be ready to start going to training days.  I also need to think about getting her trained up to go into the show ring at least once.  Maybe we can learn to enjoy it because BB, Mae and I really did not.  But if at first you don’t succeed, try again, right?

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!!

 

Puppies on the way and pupdates!

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Sue’s retirement

Sue out on the prairie

Sue out on the South Dakota prairie

12 year old Trey gave me an update on how 10 year old Sue is doing up in South Dakota.  He says that he is finally licensed and has a shotgun and is ready to shoot some birds over her.  We miss Sue and my youngest boy Caleb (age 4 1/2) asks about her at least once a week.  We want to keep our dog numbers at 4 here at the house, so that we can hunt them regularly and give them personal attention, so retirement and re-homing is a necessary sadness.  But we are so happy to give folks an opportunity to experience the griffon who might not be able to afford or have no desire to raise a puppy.  I can’t wait to see pics of Trey and Sue with some birds in the fall!!

Sue's sweet face

Sue’s sweet face

Pupdates

I really appreciate all of my puppy owners who contribute photographs and stories of their dogs as they grow up.  It is truly the reason why we do this.

Pete, Whiskey, Andi and chukars in NV

Pete, Whiskey, Andi and chukars in NV

Great job to sharpshooter Andi and our oldest boy Whiskey, who will be four years old soon!  He is from our first, or “A” litter in 2010 with Sue and Sam.  Andi and Whiskey really tore it up in the chukar field and we couldn’t be more proud!!  Thanks to Pete, Deborah and Andi for giving him such a great life out in Nevada!!

Sal and 2 year old Chester

Sal and 2 year old Chester

We received a lovely Christmas card with photos of Chester from Sal and family out in New York!  When Chester isn’t out with Steve “Hoss” Anker training or out with the Hudson Valley NAVHDA Chapter, he’s having a good time at home on Long Island.  He is from our 2012 “C” litter from Sam and Mae.  Sal has done a great job working with this dog and he has a bright future ahead!

Chester taking a rest

Chester taking a rest

Chester’s “C” litter sister TracHer is having a good season up in North Dakota.  She has a new brother, a 10-month old German Wirehaired Pointer named Max.  Thanks to Susan and Tom for the lovely Christmas card with photos.  Tom had surgery is on crutches from a knee injury incurred while hunting, so we send prayers for a speedy recovery.

TracHer and Susan in the ND snow

TracHer and Susan in the ND snow

Chester and TracHer’s little sister Zoey, from our “F” litter in 2013 also from Mae and Sam, is having a blast down in Oklahoma with Jimmy and Sandi.  Here’s what Jimmy had to say:

This girl is the best thing that every happened to Sandi and me. Here some updated photos. She is now 10 mos old and weighs 55 lbs. We just bought some land in the badlands of SW Oklahoma and she loves it. Here is some photos of her expeditions so far. She loves hunting antlers and when go into the shop she will go to the gun safe and sit there until I either get a gun out or tell her we aren’t going hunting. 

Jimmy and Zoey

Jimmy and Zoey

Zoey on point

Zoey on point

Zoey water retrieving a stick

Zoey water retrieving a stick

Zoey retrieving an antler

Zoey retrieving an antler

Zoey patiently waiting for the ducks

Zoey patiently waiting for the ducks

Zoey and her mallard haul!

Zoey and her mallard haul!

Thank you so much again to all of my owners for contributing to this and keeping me up to date on how their dogs are doing.  It is really important for us to see their success, it keeps us going during the times that we find the pressures of breeding overwhelming.  Watching the gun dog lifestyle continue in our pups is one of our greatest joys.

I will be sure to keep everyone posted on the upcoming litters.  BB is already heavy and I need to get some pictures of her, along with updated shots of the rest of the dogs.  I’d also like to do video of Tor.  Now that I’ve recovered from travel, the holidays and a major plumbing project, I will do a better job of keeping the blog updated.  Charles and Matt are out right now trying to spook up some pheasants, all of the chaos lately has really cut into their time in the field.  Until then, stay warm and don’t blow away in these winds!

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