Friday, June 10, 2011

Sunday Hike / Wasatch Spring Runoff

I made it up into the mountains this past weekend and had a nice hike with the dogs.
The runoff is pretty impressive. I've don't remember seeing this much water coming off the mountain at this time of year. And looking at the mountain tops it looks like we have plenty more snow melt to come. We hiked about 2 miles in from the trailhead and we got into quite a bit of snow when I got deep into the pines and forested areas. I didn't see much wildlife but there were tracks everywhere. No grouse or turkeys though.

The dogs had a ton of fun. Hazel practically ran her feet off. She hasn't been out for a while (my fault) and she took full advantage. She was everywhere. Chief was in awe. It was funny to watch him just gawk as Hazel would rip past and dive into cover. He tried to follow but quickly realized that he wasn't going to keep up.

It was a warm day in the 80s and it was a little rough on the pup as we climbed up the hill. He stayed with it and I made sure he stayed hydrated and cool. Luckily there was a few stream crossings so the dogs were able to cool of regularly.

Overall it was a good time and Chief got his first taste of the mountains and loved it. He got his first look at snow and he really came to life. He was running and sliding and biting and growling at it. He was a hoot. He also crossed his first streams without a hitch. These were fast moving, freezing cold mountain streams that were up to his withers and he crossed without a problem. He is a brave, tough little guy. He was really using his nose and taking in all the new scents. He's going to be a good one I believe.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

CZ Ringneck 28 ga. side x side

This is my first side x side and my first 28 gauge. I love the gun and the gauge. But, you have to realize it is what it is. Its a lower end box lock made to look like a sidelock. It's made in Turkey by Huglu and imported to the USA by CZ. Overall it is well built but the wood and metal is nothing special and the finish on the metal (painted not blued) is pretty thin. The case hardening on the receiver is "color case hardened" not the real thing. You get what you pay for.

On the positive side, like I said before, it is well built and functional. I've owned this shotgun for 3 seasons and have used it a lot. I really enjoyed shooting it and its a dream to carry in the field. Weighing only about 6 pounds, with 28" barrels, it swings well and I seem to shoot well with it. I really like the sxs sight plane. This is my main grouse gun and I also have used it on quail and chukars and on preserve hunts. I also like to use it when I'm dog training. I use this gun more that any of my other guns. I guess that says it all. I really like it.

Before I purchased this gun I looked at all the inexpensive sxs shotguns I could find and I preferred the cz way over all the others that you can purchase for under $1000. The cz just felt much better and looked way nicer in my opinion.

This is a very nice gun to introduce yourself to the side x side format. It comes in 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauge. I would totally recommend this gun or the CZ bobwhite. The CZ bobwhite is basically the same gun but with double triggers and a straight english style grip on the stock. I've also heard good things about the CZ grouse but they are much harder to find and no longer in production. I looked hard at the ringneck and bobwhite before this purchase and concluded that I like the prince of whales grip more than the straight english style stock. It just felt better to me. I love the looks of the straight stock but fit and feel are important and this ringneck grip felt great where the other felt awkward. The double triggers on the bobwhite were tempting though. To each their own. I'm happy with my purchase.

Someday I would like to get a little nicer side x side shotgun. Maybe an AyA or Ugartechea. I also really liked the Franchi Highlander I believe they only made it in 20 gauge and I don't think they are importing them any more. Who knows what the future will bring. For now the ringneck is great. It can get beat up a little bit in the field and I don't feel too bad. I imagine I will have this gun for a long time.

The one negative I've read on this gun is that the trigger mechanism will sometimes breakdown. Some people seem to have this as a reoccurring problem and others have owned these guns for years without a hitch. I highly recommend using snap caps after each use with this gun to reduce the tension on the trigger springs. I use them each time I shoot this gun and have not experienced that problem. (knock on wood)
You can pick them up new and used between $700 - $1000. I paid $790 for mine and it was new in the box. Buy one, it's a ton of fun.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The New Guy

I am very excited and pleased to announce that we have a new addition to the family. I bought a Llewellin Setter pup a couple of weeks ago. He arrived via airplane on May 29th. I named him Chief and he has been a ton of fun. I contacted Laurel Mountain Llewellins in Pennsylvania about a year ago and told Michelle Lazur what I was looking for and she suggested a particular breeding. I jumped, and I've been waiting for that litter ever since. It came at just the right time and the litter was just beautiful. I pined over my choice but now that he is here I'm very happy with him. Chief's a very handsome little llewellin from awesome bloodlines. He should be a great hunting companion and a great pet. It's going to be a fun summer and I'm looking forward to the coming hunting season and bringing this pup along.
You may ask why would a versatile/continental hunting dog guy like myself get a Llewellin Setter? It is simple, I've always wanted one. Not necessarily a Llewellin but I've always wanted a setter of some type. The last few years since I got Hazel I knew my next dog would be some type of setter. I've been studying and looking at all kinds of dogs and breeders for years. I looked hard at some Ryman types setters (or what is nowadays considered a Ryman type) and didn't love what I saw. Good dogs but not for me. I looked at some english setters but the ones I saw and met were great dogs but I felt like they were too jerky and lacked personality. I looked at some Irish and Red setters and liked about a third of what I saw. I really liked a Gordon setter breeder in Minnesota but I don't know how that black coat would do out here in the west. Very cool dogs though, I would own one. Eventually I finally went with the Llewellin because what I saw was a lot of consistency throughout the breed and like the pudelpointer they are still pretty much exclusively hunting dogs. I couldn't find much negative at all about them and I just think they are so beautiful. Every Llewellin is unqique. These dogs look like those dogs from those hundred year old bird dog paintings that I love. I looked long and hard at many breeders and finally approached Laurel Mountain Llewellin Setters in Pennsylvania. These people eat, sleep, drink, live Llewellin setters. They hunt all of their dogs a lot and make that the priority. They only sell to hunters. I could not find anyone with the passion and love for the dogs as them. They want to produce happy, healthy, professional grade bird dogs. What is so cool about this breeder is you can logon to their website and see every pup they have produced in the last few year and they were all beautiful. Every person and reference that I talked to about these dogs gave such high praise that I felt like I had no other choice. Waiting an entire year to get your pup was a new experience for me but the breeding was right the time was right and it was so much fun watching this litter grow up and finally getting to pick out my dog. I watched my pup grow up via web streaming video and was sent tons of photos and info on each pup. So I was able to make a pretty educated guess on what I was getting even from across the country. It was a wonderful experience.
Chief is already very birdy and has a beautiful point. He has a good personality and is very fun and honery (as his breeder likes to say). We love him. Adjusting to a pup has had its challenges but no major damage or trauma has been suffered. Hazel doesn't quite know what to think about him but they have gotten along well from the start. She's getting better every day. She seems to like having a companion and has really helped the pup transition into our family. I'm sure time and some maturity on Chiefs part will help.
I will keep posting on Chief's progress throughout the summer he will be a big part of my hunting adventures and blog for years to come.