Waiting and Anticipating

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Plenty to look forward to here at Bluestem Kennels this spring!  Mae has grown quite large and is now living in the house full time.

Pregnant Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Female

How Mae spends a good part of her time these days

As large as she is, I expect a big litter, but we will know more when we take her in for x-rays the week of March 5th.  I’m projecting her whelping date sometime around March 15th, so we are all getting excited for puppies!

Her pregnancy wasn’t an excuse for her to not participate in the family/pack hike yesterday.

Pregnant Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Female Running

Big Mama Mae on the move

Beautiful Day in Nebraska

Sunday was a gorgeous day to get everyone out

Now that bird hunting season is over, we’ll be out hiking more.  Things at the preserve that we’ve guided at in the past have dried up this year, as there is a late season pen-raised pheasant shortage in the area.

We are still waiting for Sue to come into season, it really should be any time now, as we’re right at 6 months from her last cycle and she cycles twice a year.  Yet Mother Nature has control and I don’t, so I’ll just try to be patient.  It is better for me to have a gap in between the two litters anyway, so that they aren’t of the age when I’m trying to work with them on different skills (between 5 1/2 and 8 weeks) at the same time.

We are also anxious for our dog painting to come home to us in the fall.  Minnesota artist Carl Melichar of Countryside Art Gallery painted an oil on linen of Sam holding a rooster pheasant.  The painting was unveiled last weekend in Kansas City at Pheasant Fest, the National Pheasants Forever Convention and Carl will have it on tour with him over the spring, summer and early fall.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Painting

The big announcement

Carl Melichar Countryside Art Gallery

Charles and Carl chat at his booth at Pheasant Fest, the painting is on the easel to the left

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon with rooster painting

The painting of Sam holding a rooster

I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted on our progress with puppy season, thanks for your support and send some good vibes our way for a problem-free whelping.

Pheasant Fest 2012: Gone to the Dogs!!


Charles and I attended Pheasant Fest 2012 in downtown Kansas City, Missouri last weekend and were not prepared to go back to dog school.  We figured the dog highlight of the weekend was going to be the Bird Dog Parade that kicked the event off on Friday, but boy were we in for a surprise.

The best thing about the Bird Dog Parade is that for the most part, these are not show dogs.  They may pee or poo on the plastic runway.  They may give their owners a hard time.  It is just fun to see gundoggers do their best at showing off their prized possessions.  And I’m not making fun, my daughter Cordelia and I walked our male Sam in last year’s parade in Omaha: http://omaha.com/article/20110127/NEWS01/110129697#a-parade-of-bird-dogs-for-omaha (We are slides 3-5 on the slideshow link and show up :26-:30 on the embedded video).

Here’s a slideshow of my photos from Bird Dog Parade 2012 in Kansas City:

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After the Bird Dog Parade, we spent 98% of the weekend glued to the Bird Dog Bonanza Stage, primarily with the famous Smith family, consisting of 85-year old Delmar, son Rick and nephew Ronnie, as well as Tom Dokken (inventor of Dokken retrieving dummies that we use for training), Jim Moorehouse and Bob West.

Rick Smith, Bob West, Jim Moorehouse, Delmar Smith, Ronnie Smith and Tom Dokken at Pheasant Fest 2012

Rick Smith, Bob West, Jim Moorehouse, Delmar Smith, Ronnie Smith and Tom Dokken at Pheasant Fest 2012

Chad Love of Field and Stream agrees with us that Delmar Smith is the World’s Coolest Man: http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/mans-best-friend/2012/02/delmar-smith-2012-worlds-coolest-man  We were blown away by his “75 years of Dog Training” talk, which ranged from the mortality rate of litters in the past, the inconsistency in performance of dogs in the past, how to flight train pen-raised birds, what he looks for in breeding stock, to how he trained coyotes to behave like bird dogs.  He was as funny and lovable as any gundog grandpa could ever be and we hope to see him again.

Delmar Smith speaking at Pheasant Fest 2012

Delmar Smith speaking at Pheasant Fest 2012

Equally impressive were Delmar’s son, Rick and nephew, Ronnie.  Charles and I had been talking about participating in the HuntSmith dog training seminar program for quite some time, but the experience of listening to Rick and Ronnie first hand share their extensive experiences with training and fixing dogs left us in awe and ready for more.

To have dog trainers say that they can fix gun shy says it all to us.  There are numerous dog trainers who say that gun shy cannot be fixed, but if these guys can do it, they are truly the real thing.

Rick Smith and "Breeze" Pheasant Fest 2012

Rick Smith and "Breeze" Pheasant Fest 2012

Ronnie Smith Pheasant Fest 2012

Ronnie Smith Pheasant Fest 2012

I’ll be writing a more in-depth analysis of the knowledge from the Bird Dog Bonanza Stage in the near future, but wanted to let everyone know that we had a doggone good time at Pheasant Fest 2012!