Monday, November 11, 2013

Utah Pheasant Hunt Continued....

Shawn and his dogs with a nice rooster he bagged this past weekend.

60 degrees is too warm for pheasant hunting. Dogs aren't lasting very long in the field and neither am I. I prefer my Autumn to be crisp and cool not sunny and balmy. It's beautiful but not the type of weather I like to hunt in. Despite the warmth we are still having a lot of fun. My friends and I have bagged some and missed some. (I've done most of the missing) We've had opportunities and you cant ask for much else especially here in Utah. At least that's what I'm going to tell myself after blowing the two gorgeous opportunities on wild birds I had this past week.

Only real bummer of this hunt has been my dogs feet. On the opener we did a lot of hunting among the fragmites and their feet got thrashed. I did all I could to get them ready for a hunt this past Friday. Soaked their feet used Tuff Foot and medicated the sore spots. I even booted them. It worked out and by Friday with the help of some new home made boots they hunted hard for me but by the end of the day both dogs were getting visibly sore. We went out for a couple hours on the next day  and I ended up leaving Hazel my Pudelpointer home. She would hardly get off her bed that morning. You know something is wrong when Hazel can't get herself fired up to go hunting. Chief made it and hunted hard but he was glad to go home and rest in the sun that afternoon. I should of booted them on the opener. Honestly with all the Grouse hunting we've been doing I thought they would be fine and that their feet would be plenty conditioned. I was wrong. Next year boots on the opener for sure. Sorry dogs.

Hopefully with the same regimen we can have them ready for another round next weekend.  The wild birds are getting smarter more wiley of us so whenever you bag one you feel pretty good about it. The released birds the state put out aren't very crafty and get themselves caught pretty easily but they keep things exciting so I do appreciate the effort the state has put forth this year.

And another thing. If anyone is looking for a good way to cook a pheasant. Look up a good old fashioned Southern-Style Fried Chicken Recipe. It works great on these birds to. I took some cooking advice from my new friends Stuart and Tim who are both from the south.  I soaked my birds in buttermilk, rolled them in flour with salt and pepper then pan fried them. It may have been the best pheasant I've ever eaten. Delicious.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Another Hot Pheasant Opener in Utah

Hazel, Chief and the mother-daughter duo of Sage & Oakley cooling off during the hunt. 60+ degrees on Nov. 2
The first Saturday in November has pretty much become the Christmas morning of my adult life.
Pheasant hunting in Utah can't stack up to other states but it's what we got and we make the most of it.

This year the state released a grundle of birds (11,000 spread out over the hunt throughout the state is what I heard) so the hunters were out in force. More hunters this year than I've seen in a long time. I would like to say the more the merrier but it was a little disappointing to see so many hunters in spots we usually have all to ourselves.

My nephew Parker packing out his limit.
I elected to stay home the morning of the opener. I don't like hunting around that many people. My dogs run big and it causes me anxiety to have people I don't know shooting every direction. My brother doesn't have that problem and went out first thing a cleaned up with 2 limits by 8:00 am for himself and my nephew.

End of day Rooster
I didn't get out until after noon and it took me a few hours to get my two birds for the day. 
We had a good time and saw some decent dog work. It was around 60 degrees so the dogs were hot and not working as well as I would of liked but they did their job and we took home some birds. One was definitely a planted bird but the last bird of the day was a beautiful wild rooster. Chief was working the bird and my brother saw it running about 30 yards ahead of us in the grass. I was able to rush around it and it eventually flew and went down. Made the day for me.

We went out again Monday and Shawn was able to get one. I had my chance but completely whiffed an easy shot off a sweet find and point by Shawn's dog Sage. Still enjoyed myself despite my poor shooting.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Utah Youth Pheasant Hunt 2013

Limit of Roosters in the Bag. Nice Work Parker (aka Rooster Slayer)

Hunter's first rooster retrieved by Chief my Llewellin.
We hope it's the first of many
My brother Shawn's son Parker participated in the Utah Youth Pheasant Hunt last Saturday. I showed up with my dogs and my brothers young pup after the initial fireworks of the opening half-hour were over. My nephew had already bagged his birds for the day but there was a kid who hadn't had a chance on a rooster yet. We were happy to take him out and we were able to help him bag his first bird. It was a good time and a lot of fun for the dogs. The dog's had a nice workout and the smile on this kids face was worth all the effort.

My brother kept a pup out of his litter from last summer. (look back a few posts) We got her pointing some pigeons in traps and working around a lot of real gun fire and real hunting action. She also had her first water retrieve. She's looking awesome for 5 mos. old. She handled it all without a hitch. Shawn's been working with her on all of it and Saturday was a big day for her.  Tons of fun.

Nice water retrieve by 5 month old Oakley. Chief's a willing spectator but not a participant in this event. :)
One That Got Away. No shooter around when Hazel pointed this rooster.

My friend Stuart's Pudelpointer pup Dagney and my brother's German Shorthair pup Oakley during an evening  training session a couple weeks ago. Both will be doing the NAVHDA Natural Ability test next spring.
Good looking pups. Both have a ton of potential. I look forward to hunting over these two young dogs.

Take The Kids Hunting

Jack Proudly Showing Off A Ruff We Were Able To Bag

October is my favorite time of year. The autumn colors are in their full glory and the air is crisp and cool. My family is busy with birthdays and anniversaries. And we are smack dab in the middle of hunting season. 

The dogs and I have been out a few times and we've been enjoying our time in the woods. We've had some success and we've been skunked so far this year. Overall it's been fun.

The weather has not been as cooperative as I would like. It seems like when I get a day off either it's raining or it dumped the night before. We've had some snow where I like to hunt and that chases the blues up to higher elevations. I'm hoping for an indian summer so the birds will drop down again. The ruffs stay in the same areas you usually find them so I've been concentrating my hunting in the coverts where I usually find them. That's fine by me, ruffed grouse are my favorite of the 2 species.

I took my son Jack hunting with me last Friday. I just had the afternoon to go and as I was prepping to go he asked if he could go along.  The place I was going wasn't too rough and the coverts I wanted to hit aren't too far from the road so I was glad to bring him along.

Jack just turned 6 and is good boy. He's more interested in Legos® and computer games than hunting  but hopefully I can keep his interests in hunting peaked enough that when he's old enough he will want to go with his old man. I would enjoy nothing more than if my children were my hunting partners as I get older. Grouse hunting is a perfect way to introduce kids to hunting.

There are some things to consider when taking the little ones hunting:

First, I have to slow down, which for me probably isn't such a bad thing. I go pretty hard, especially when I'm not finding birds. I know I can benefit from working covers more thoroughly but my A.D.D. kicks in and I got to keep moving. With the kids I just take my time so they don't struggle to keep up with me.

Second, time is a factor. Young children get bored. If there isn't consistent action they are going to get tired and tired faster than if there is some birds getting shot at. Keep it short and sweet.

Third, pick easy coverts for them to navigate through. You can't expect a 6-8 year old to be able to bust through the same cover you usually do for very long. A cover that is as tall as my waist can be an impassible jungle to someone who is around 4 feet tall. Hunt along trails if you can. It's not great for hunting but it's better to keep it fun and interesting that forcing your kid on some death march through thick cover. That could sour a kid on hunting. The idea here is not hunting success but parenting success. If you want your kids to spend time hunting with you later, keep it fun for them when they are young.

Everyone Enjoys A Picnic. Especially Hazel.
Fourth, snacks and plenty of them. Keep the candy, jerky, juice, trail mix, granola bars flowing. My kids think of our trips afield as treat time. I let them have pretty much as much as they want when we are in the field. I want them to think that hunting with dad is a party. Make it special for them.

Fifth, make sure that they are dressed right. Spend some time and money and make sure that they have decent gear when they go with you. You don't need to spend a ton on expensive boots and such at this age because usually they aren't going to be out in the field too long but make sure that they have what they need for the conditions you will be hunting in. If it's cold make sure they are properly dressed for it. Put some blaze orange on them for safety's sake. I have a small pack I have the kids wear. In it are their snacks and an extra fleece jacket, a rain poncho and gloves and a stocking hat.  This time of year I always have them wear long underwear. If they get too hot we can always take off clothes but we can't put on what we don't have if the weather is cold.

As the kids get older and start going on more difficult hunts get them gear that works well and keeps them comfortable. Second hand stores always have plenty of good outdoor clothing and you can get some good gear for not much money. My daughter thinks life is a fashion show so If I can find clothes that she thinks look cool she's all in. My boy could care less what he looks like as long as he's comfortable.

If it's real cold. Leave the little ones home. No reason to have them become miserable and sour on the experience. I remember one deer hunt with my father that we were trapped in a rain storm that turned into a blizzard. Things got scary and we had a little fright before we were able to get a fire going, which wasn't easy. Dad had to pull some bullets apart for the powder because everything was soaked including us. Eventually we got a fire started and everything ended up OK but it could of easily went south on us. I've always had a deep respect for the cold since then. Learning that you could die from exposure at that young age was a great lesson but I hate to put my kids through that just to learn that lesson. Use common sense and be safe.

Finally, gun safety. I usually hunt with my doubles this time of year. When I'm with my kids I usually keep the action open until I see the dogs getting birdy or I find a dog on point. When I'm by myself that's not always the way I do it. Unless I'm hiking something really rough terrain I usually have the action closed with the safety on but pretty much ready to go. Whenever I stop to have a snack or adjust my pack or do something with the dogs I always open the action and unload before putting my gun down. If you use a semi-auto or a pump gun, open the action and unload the shell in the chamber. Dumb things can happen with a loaded gun when dogs and kids are around. Always think, safety first. Again just use common sense and explain what your doing a why to your kids.

I also always have my kids walk a few paces behind me and before any shooting happens I make sure I know exactly where they are and let them know what is about or what is likely to happen. After a few times out they get the drill but always check where they are before the gun go's to your shoulder.

Use the time to talk with your kids and teach them about nature. I just talk about everything that interests me and hope something sticks with the kids. Jack and I had a great conversation over lunch about squirrels and their behavior. We sat there and watched as these squirrels barked at us as they were filling their hordes for the winter. I was able to show him tracks made by different animals and the differences. I don't know how much sinks in but as long as he will listen I'm going to keep talking.

Spend time with them young and build a strong relationship and hopefully you wont have to rebuild a relationship when they are in their teens or older. Believe me on this one.

So what if you didn't hunt as hard or as long as you wanted to. All the birds in the world don't hold a candle to your kid turning to you on the drive home and saying, "Nice work today Dad. That was a good job shooting that bird. I'm proud of you." It's golden.... pure treasure. I felt ten feet tall.

Ruffed Grouse. Nice Find and Retrieve by my Pudelpointer Hazel.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Finally, I Get To Go Hunting.

Chief's First Blue (dusky) Grouse of the 2013 Season.

What a Summer. We bought a new house, sold our old house, had family issues up the wazoo (teenagers, who needs them) and work had me slammed all Summer. I was tired, honery and stressed. I felt like grandpas old full-choke LC Smith after his ignorant grandson grabbed a box of steel shot and took it duck hunting.  I was bulging and about to break. I was starting to feel sick, fat and depressed. I couldn't take it another week.

Just before I was about to break... when I was so tired of it all that no-one could stand to be around me, Grouse hunting season opened. A fat desk jockey, a fat Pudelpointer and a skinny, hyperactive Llewellin loaded into the truck and went hunting. Halelujah! Free at last.

That was a little melodramatic. But seriously, thank God I can go hunting. One Saturday in the mountains and the weight of the world is lifted. I had such a good time on my first hunt that it's all I can think about. I can't wait for next weekend.

I love watching my Llew Chief's high head winding birds from incredible distances, moving smoothly as cat while following wisps of scent along a ridge line. Dropping over the ledge at just the right spot pinning a grouse that has no where to go. It has to fly.  Missing with the first barrel in the heavy cover and taking a second shot when the bird clears the canopy then watching it fold. The veteran Pudelpointer Hazel working a cover and backing Chiefs point then hunting dead until that bird is found. Watching her intensity change in a millisecond whenever she gets a whiff of fresh bird scent.

I love hunting. I love my dogs, I love my guns, I love grouse and I love these mountains.

"Chief Like Grouse"
Another Blue In The Bag. A Nice Find And Retrieve. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Shawn's GSP pups are 6 weeks old

It's been fun watching my brothers litter of pups grow. They are now 6 weeks old and fun as hell.

Again, if anyone is interested in a grade-A shorthair with awesome bloodlines there is still a couple of these handsome males left. See last post for more information.

Video of litter

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fine German Shorthaired Pointer Pups Available

My brothers shorthair Sage delivered a beautiful litter of 10 pups (5 male, 5 female) last Mother's day.

The bloodlines and hunting ability of both parents is about as good as it gets. Sage has been a ton of fun to hunt over and is my brothers pride and joy. He looked long and hard to find the perfect male and found a great sire for this litter.

For more information click the links below.

Top Gun Copper JH. NA l. OFA Excellent (Solid LIver). x Midas Creeks Black Sage NA lll. OFA Good (Black patched and ticked)

Top Gun Copper
(from ad)
Midas Creeks Black Sage
"This litter will produce dominant hunting and family companions. Copper has strong DC Hill Haven Hustler lines with many other Dual, Master, Utility, and other champions in his 7+ generation pedigree.Sage comes from dogs such as VC Sharp Shooter Brightest Star and VC River Valleys Mighty Jeager with many other Versatile Champions. Versatile-Champion is a very sought after title. It requires the dog to demonstrate to its highest ability all of the natural abilities that these wonderful dogs were developed for while using incredible obedience and intelligence. Dual Champion is a dog that "Dual" titles from the field and show (Confirmation) ring. These titles ensure the dog is both physically correct and mentally balanced. Judging of these competitions are not easy or light. "

I've spent a lot of time with Sage and watched her develop from a pup. She has a ton of drive and natural ability. She has a dominant personality but is still very friendly and good with other dogs. Sage isn't afraid of anything. She is very cautious around birds and has an excellent nose. She has a medium range but can stretch it out in open cover.

Another thing I love about Sage is her love of water. One of her best tricks is diving off the deck into my brother's above ground pool. She loves to swim and is an excellent retriever. She's tough as nails, has a lot of stamina and has excellent feet. She can hunt all day without a problem. Sage is big for a female (60 lbs.) but she is well built and has good composition. We've shot a lot of birds over this dog. She's a big friendly goof with a ton of personality. I can highly recommend a pup from this litter. Sages is posted all over this blog if you look around.

The pups were born on Mother's day (how great is that?) and they are very unique, beautiful pups.
Check out some of the coloration and markings on these beauties. There's a lot of variety as far as markings in this litter. There's solid livers and nearly solid blacks, they look like some will have heavy roaning, others have very heavy liver or black markings . Theres one female that has a solid blanket of black other than her legs and stripe of white that connects her back legs. These dogs will be beautiful unique shorthairs with a ton of hunting ability.

The Boys

The Girls (check out the black one on the bottom) If I had room in my kennel I might call dibs on that one!

Ball of  GSP pups

If your interested in a top grade bird dog you can find all the information on the links above. I believe half the litter is spoken for and he's getting inquiries daily so act fast!

Midas Creeks Black Sage pointing a wild pheasant last season

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2012-2013 Utah Upland Season Is Over

Last Bird Of The 2012-2013 Season Off A Nice Point From My Pudelpointer Hazel

We closed the season last week with a beautiful day hunting chukar in Utah's high desert. We worked very hard and climbed up some nasty stuff and then hiked into more nasty stuff. It was all very worth it.

For whatever reason we always seem to end the season on a high note. After we got to the right elevation we were into birds fairly consistent for the rest of the afternoon. My Pudelpointer Hazel was awesome. She had some great points and worked the mountain beautifully. It was one of her best outings of the year.

Chief, my Llewellin had a very nice long retrieve across a canyon. He carried that bird for a long time to get back to us. I was very happy with it. He doesn't get to retrieve much while hunting with Hazel and my brothers shorthair. It was nice to see him get on this bird that fast and carry it as far as he did. I estimate it was about 500 yards before he hooked back up with us.

Chief was born to hunt chukars. He has all the drive, desire and stamina I could ever want. For this being only his second year he is hunting very well. He always had the ability but this year he is getting smart and is starting to work the birds meaning he's getting above them and holding his points and backing the other dogs and is working well as a prime member of the team. And on top of it all he's tough as nails. He's a very solid dog. He's only going to get better and that's what has me so excited about him.

Chief Pointing a Pair of Pheasants with Hazel Backing (reluctantly)
My nephews first pheasant.
Although this years Chukar season wasn't very productive the rest of the year was really fun. This was the best year for grouse in several years, We had a good pheasant hunt and the only reason this years Chukar season was so tough was the weather. It's been very cold and we've had a lot of snow. It made some areas inaccessible so we were pretty limited on when and where we could actually hunt. But we got out enough and we had our moments in the field.  The dogs did great and I did ok. We found some great new areas to hunt and we learned some more things that will help us out. So overall it was a successful year. Theres only 7 1/2 months until next grouse season. Maybe we can fit in a couple canned hunts in the next few weeks.

Male Blue (dusky) Grouse Tail Feathers