Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Finally On The Road again!!

It never gets old! Too darn cold in SD- even though they are et up in birds still. I figure I'd have no problem hunting I single digit temps if I was already there, but to drive 2 days to do it? Naw. NM is out of blues. The pros and the dedicated hunters alike say the birds are WAY down. I do love that country...... So I decided on a return to KS. Good birds, low pressure and lots of public land. Will hunt out of Hays and points south- as per DNR.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Woodcock in the Backyard





I am fortunate to be able to hunt right outside my back door. Peaches (top) and Ace (bottom) are both pointed on Woodcock. I have a creek and swampy bottom that runs along the back of my property. The Woodcock hit this creek every year in their migration from up north to the nesting spots on the gulf coast. They are such an overlooked species down here- the season is only a month long- and most bird hunters don't even know what they are. It's like shooting a butterfly- they juke and jive and twitter...... It sure is fun and my dogs love it!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cake dog

I did NOT do that. You didn't see me, and you can't prove it!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

First Lock Down point for Lily



The bottom picture shows 8 mos. old Lily locked down on her first covey with Robert going in for the flush. The top picture shows me holding a bird harvested in the rise with Lily and Ace, her daddy. You know, in this case, the apple didn't fall far from the tree. Lily went on to be one of the go-to dogs on the string by the end of the trip for Robert. I may need to grab a dog out of the next litter. I was going to wait one more year, but he's throwing great pups and I do like working with good ones......

Hey, this is a lot of fun! Keep hunting...



I came across this picture of me, self-taken, after a day hunting blues in the TX panhandle. You can't see it but there is a limit of the little cotton-tops on the ground by my knee. We were driving out after a frustrating day, thinking about moving on up to SD, when I saw a bird flush to my left. I stopped, grabbed my gun, Ace, and a pocket of shells and stepped off the graded sand road of the ranch. Right then the world exploded when about 30 blues got up all around me! I mean, we were in the middle of them- and a bunch more ran off into the brush. Ace locked up to the flush and I watched as they scattered out along a stretch of flat, brushy, sandy, grazed-over pasture. The sun was at my back, the breeze was in my face, it was 30 deg. and there was a big grin on my face as we set out to some of the best shooting I've ever seen. Ace locked up time after time pointing two and/or three of the little buzz bombs before they erupted out of the pointed cactus, shin-oak, or grass pile. What a great time! We took our time, easing along and hitting all the cover, ditches and vegetation. What seemed like 5 minutes later (actually an hour or so), I grabbed for more shells and came up empty- with a dog on point, the sun on the horizon and the temperature dropping like a stone. I had one shell left in the A.H.Fox 20 ga. double and was one bird shy of the limit here in TX. (Limits never held much fascination for me- I rarely get close enough to worry about them on quail- but today it would be nice to round it out.) Ace was intensely pointed at the base of a cactus as I eased on up alongside him. I glanced at his face and it was set in that stoney look bird dogs get when they are dead center of the scent cone- almost mesmerized by the smell. I kicked at the shrub and 5 gray blurs came out of that cactus heading in all points of the compass! As a lefty, I locked down on the one heading from my left to right, checked his location down the barrels and pulled the trigger.......


It was a day to remember.

Friday, December 12, 2008

End of the Day and Trip




Long day and heading back to the truck. Tired dogs, hunters and birds in the bag.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Perfect final day

Here's a shot of some typically great habitat for quail here in KS. Ace, Bo and Peaches had a good final day before watering and settling in for an easy drive back to GA. Great trip. Hopefully, NM is next- if I get a good report on the birds.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

College Bound

A monument sitting by itself on the prairie. Interesting stuff!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Osage Orange Tree

Watch out when you back up! Local guy told me they have fence posts 100 years old made out of this wood.

Hunted duck today. Wind was 25-40 mph with intermittent snow. "Great day for ducks" they say. Got a pintail and a teal- had a great time. Birdhunters got nothing on duckhunters- those boys are crazy, no doubt!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Old Church on the Prairie

I really like seeing the old buildings out here. I wonder who got married and buried here? The amazing things you see while driving around.

2 by 0900

The old man, the dog Bo I mean, still has it. With the snow, the birds are holding tight. I won't mention the third where I was fumbling with my safety- lol!!!

Heading Out

Haven't hunted near here for 15 years. I noticed while heading out that downtowns pretty much all look the same out here. It's comforting and something you can count on.

Until the Super Walmart shows up, I guess. I'll have to change along with America, since I found out shopping is patriotic and what better place to shop than the Great Wall of Mart.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Finally!

Across Old Man River. Officially on a hunting trip. Do you set benchmarks like that?

Darn!

It didn't take long for me to leave my dog waterer along side the road. This was #3! One in AR, one in WI, and now one in GA- 150 miles behind me. Of course that's not counting the one that dropped off the truck on I-285 in ATL at about 85 mph when the tailgate dropped down in 1993. (Now, there is a story there!)

The good news is I pass several Cabela's and Bass Pro's on the way- as if I needed an excuse to stop.

On the Road again!

Ace and Bo and Peaches and I are on our way to KS. Robert's been out there for 2 weeks and finding lots of pheasant but little quail. 2 to 4 coveys per day.

I just filled up with diesel at QT for $2.55- gotta love that.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Next Hunt on the Horizon!

My good friend Robert (who is absolutely in love with one of Ace's pups, Lily) will be hunting KS for about 3 weeks starting mid-Nov. I'm thinking my blue F-250 may crank up and head out that way around 1 Dec for a week or 10 days. I checked with Ace, Bo and Peaches and got strong approval for the plan- the old ball and chain may be a different matter altogether, however. (She just found out that all my shotguns DO NOT cost $200. When I get my hands on that "friend", I will wring his neck!) Anyway, looks like I'll have to be sensitive and caring and act like I care what Oprah is talking about. At least for a week or two.

Kansas will be fun. You never know what's coming up- pheasant or quail. After a few days there, I may ease on up to my friend's farm in SD for a little more pheasant. They are getting hammered by a blizzard today....I sure hope it won't mess up his cutting the beans and corn. They had such a late start cutting that he said they may not get it all in this winter! I wonder if he needs a retired knot head to help him drive those machines? Humm?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Heading Home

This is one worn out Brittany! Picture book points, nice retrieves, super finding dead and eating 10 Rimadyl- this boy did it all. The Rimadyl incident got him Hydrogen Peroxide squirted down his throat- to make him vomit- and a trip to the vet. Looks like he'll be fine. While at the vet, a Lab with a snoot full of porcupine quills and a Lab with a shoulder cut came in. Ah, memories of past hunts....

Only 1489 more miles to go.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Last Day- Wow, it was a beauty!



Folks, it's been a great trip. From 70 to 17 degrees and calm to 60 mph winds. We saw some wonderful dog work and some other kind, too. But overall, the dogs were awesome and I wouldn't part with any of them. The birds are plentiful and that always makes for a great trip. Most of all, the memories are stored forever somewhere- to be resurrected with a smell or a cool breeze or the sounds of a flushing bird. Too many times, I will remember a bird flushing, the shot and the retrieve and not remember the state or the year. That's a good situation to be in, I guess. I hope you will end up having too many good memories, too.

Lord only knows when the next trip will be- maybe a month or two down the road. Maybe to SD again for pheasant or NM for blue quail.....we'll see about that. In the meantime, there are trials to win (field trials), dogs to train and wives to placate. Later.

This is Nathan, Daniel O'Brien's young Lab. In one week of being on birds, he's a bird dog now. What a lovable hunting companion! I told Dennis to just leave him in my truck and I'd take care of him- probably just take him home. I know BJ would like to keep this one!!

video

Sunday, October 26, 2008

End of the Day

Cold, hungry, tired. What a great day! Thank you, Lord.

Sorry

Ever apologise to your dog? I am sorry Ace for my poor shooting. There- I said it. Sheesh!

Windchill -2

videoNice day. Putting out now. We'll see.

Yikes- the storm is passing!

28 deg. and wind at 30 kts! Another peaceful hunting day on the plains. I went out this morning to let the dogs out and the first gust took my breath away. They are calling for peak gust to be 50 kts!! But then it will slow down a little by 3pm and the temp will drop. It looks like a day for all those fancy clothes my wife keeps wondering about.....wool Elmer Fudd hat, wool windproof Barbour sweater and Barbour coat, Filson double tin chaps, etc. Actually, it may be fun for a little while. We found an entirely new area just at dark yesterday and we are anxious to get over there. I'm thinking the birds will be holding tight in this weather- this is way past a windy day. We'll see.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Storm's a brewing...

Temp has dropped 7 deg in one hour and wind is steady at 25. kts. Tomorrow will be colder than a well digger's rear pocket. The good news is the wind will pick up! These folks are tough. Limit by 2.

Bo the Old Campaigner

11 years old and he still has it! He shows me every day that a little gray on the muzzle doesn't mean you can't do the job. It's obvious that what he lacks in speed and endurance is more than compensated by wisdom and experience. You go, Bo!

Hunting the open prairie

School is still out on the better pheasant dog. I hate to say it and I'm biased as all get out, but my Lab friends are shooting just as many birds as me and getting their limits just as early, too. I suppose it's just what you like. I have a hard time thinking that a field of CRP with the pheasant holding won't be an advantage for the pointing dog- evidently it's not. Well, I am still partial to my setters and brit, but you gotta love a Lab, too! Investigation continues!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dennis and Nathan

This is Nathan's first trip- and he's a good one. Just a young pup, he's doing it all.

Randy and Ace with the Limit

We ran into some guys complaining about the birds jumping early and how hard it was to limit...guess they needed a good dog. We kidded each other and wished them good luck. It's all about having a good time, and for me it's
all about the dogs. If I didn't have them, I wouldn't be here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Birds in Wheatfield

Just driving out after hunting all day, the biggest problem is taking a bird in the windshield. Dennis took one in the left front and broke one of his lights already. They don't photgraph well with the equipment I have, but, really, there's a bunch of them.

The birds a very plentiful this year. Here are a few just sitting around along the road.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What a view!

Hunting here is incredibly beautiful. On a day like today, you can see all the way into next week....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Perfect 3 for 3

Peaches does the job!

Ideal Weather.

videoHmm! Nobody out today but me....what's up with these country club, fairweather, made out of sugar wimps. (They are warm and dry- that's what!)

Trappers Cafe

Great motel and cafe. I check into the house today and will be hunting old favorites-in the rain. It looks pretty nasty and , while I'm equipped for it, it makes for a tough day. Temp is 40's today so it should be ok. I'd rather have snow, however.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Prairie Humor

Yikes! Looks like we have a case of drunken broom flying at the Davis Ranch near 3 V's Crossing, ND.

3's the limit

And it didn't take very long either. Lots of birds on the ground. Good dog work.

North Dakota

ND has been called "A drinking state with a hunting problem" and it's funny but there is probably no truth to it. The picture shows typical country. Can you spot the pheasant in the tree? I can't wait to put a dog on the ground!

Great Hunting Lodge

I was passing through N. Central SD looking for a place to spend the night and called this place because I like the name! Angie runs the lodge and is the owner, too, on land that's been in her family for over 100 years. Great rooms and main lodge with family style meals (I had dinner- pork loin, salad and potato and dessert). Amazing what you can find out on the prairie. They do guiding. pp@prairiepillow.com. 877-279-8285. This would be a great place to hit for a corporate good time or just a bunch of hunting buddies.

On the way to ND today. Will hunt public land on the way.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

First Bird of the Trip

Ace locked this boy in place and I managed to drop it with some 20 ga. 3" 3's- wonders never cease! It was a good retrieve to hand and we are on the way to the next spot in SD. Lots of people here!! Might hang around if the birds stay like this. Looks like rain moving in though. 59 deg and north wind 15-20.

Wheat Mountain

This was the small one. This is what they do when they run out of storage! Same thing with corn- but around here, the corn is almost all standing yet.

Wow!

I'm the one in the orange hat- lol!! Cabela's in Mitchell, SD. You should see the parking lot!

Familiar Site

If you travel to hunt, is this a familiar site or what? Flying J in Des Moines, IA- you gotta love their buffet. One stop shopping for sure.

Am trying to make it north of Aberdeen to some public land by the noon start time. I'm looking for a store for a few supplies and a SD hunting guide, too. Figure I'll hunt my way across SD and ND to reach Regent by Tuesday am and meet my buddies.

The dogs are really ready. Old Bo's done this a lot. Peaches is laid back as ever, and Ace is 100% as always. This should be a good day if we can find some decent lad this aft.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

That's good diesel!

Gotta like QT!! Lowest price I've seen in many months. It'll only get cheaper as I move North. There's a Citgo across the street, but that's Caesar Chavez Venezualan oil and I won't buy that garbage if I can make it to any other place- sorry I'm so political.

On the way

0400. Barking dogs. Hot coffee. Sleepy wife. Truck packed. Dogs loaded. Guns. Clothes. Money. Wallet. Licenses bought online. Wx checked. Collar charged and ready. GPS programmed. Final pre-takeoff check: guns, dogs, money, wallet. Complete! Nashville by 0900!!!! Hooah!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tritronics Alert!!!

I'm learning the hard way, again. If you have one of the new Tritronics Collars- KEEP THE THINGS IN THE CHARGERS ALL THE TIME WHEN NOT IN USE!!!!! If you do not, and I did not, the range will start to decrease until it is unusable. Then you'll be calling about the range issue and they will either, 1) tell you to send it back right before you leave on a hunting trip, or 2) tell you to read the instructions and keep the collars charged in the cradle at all times and then give you a procedure to fix the problem. Don't take my word for it- call 800-456-4343 and ask tech support about the range and battery issue. I talked to a lady that sounds like a Yankee (wish I'd gotten her name) and she was all over the issue and knew what she was talking about.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Checklist

I leave in 4 days for pheasant hunting. It turns out that of the 3 guys that will be in ND hunting together, we all three will be in different vehicles! No problem- gas is cheap......go figger! Since I'm only taking my three dogs, I'll leave the trailer at home and take the dog box and 1 crate. I will look a a little like the Klampett's, but it's a lot easier to maneuver on those farm roads and I think I'll be saving a little of that diesel. You know, I was filling up at the RaceTrac the other day and paying $3.66/gallon for diesel and thinking it was cheap! The mind tricks we can play! It was better than the $4.89/gallon I was paying a month ago, I suppose. It's falling fast here in GA- come on down!

I'm going through that checklist we downloaded. It's a great thing! So nice to be able to have a starting point- I'm so lazy I had to have someone else provide it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Guest Dogs

Invariably, one of my friends or clients will ask me to take his dog along on a hunting trip. I admit there have been times when I was low on trained dogs and said yes, but now I'm not so sure it's a good idea. A bird dogs life is difficult at best and can be downright dangerous. I'm getting more and more to the way of thinking that it's not a good idea. Just recently, I was asked by 2 different friends to take their dogs with me to ND. I'm thinking about it. I would hate it to have their dogs hurt, lost or worse. I'm thinking "no".

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hanging in there and waiting for the next trip!



This is the October backyard at the house. Looks nice, but "really nice" is the ND wheat field loaded with pheasant, or an untapped grouse trail in WI! It was 82 deg here yesterday! A cold front is on the way though and we may finally get some cool weather here in the South. All the dogs are ready for the 19th- we blast off for SD, ND and some pheasant hunting! The Jones trailer is practically packed already.

I bought some coffee bean burlap bags and fill them with cedar chips as bedding. It really works well and I can recommend it. Here's the link to the site: http://www.burlap.biz/. I use plastic tie wraps to seal the open end. This is not an original idea either, I got it from Jack Williams in an email. It's a great solution to a difficult problem of long term bedding .

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hunting Checklist


I found another site that has a great checklist for guys that travel to hunt. Click here to go to that site and download the checklist your self. It's a great idea and I don't know why I haven't used one before- I'm always sitting at my desk at the last minute making lists. I sometimes end up remembering the talcum powder and forgetting 20-GA. shells! Anyway, this is a good idea and a great checklist.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Next adventure- 19 Oct.


Well, my kennel is filling up with dogs- one today, one tomorrow and 4 more on Sunday. I'll be busy for the next few weeks. I leave out on the 19th October for SD and ND and some great pheasant hunting. This should be another wonderful year! Old Bo, Peaches and Ace will be running again! Until then......

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ace (Stinky) and his Trophies

Last weekend we tried to defend our victory in the 2007 Ironman, but I failed miserably for my part. We finished 3rd. Here are his trophies- both Welker Originals from the last 2 years.

Next hunt will start 19 Oct for the pheasant extravaganza to SD and ND- stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Driving in to Hunt

video

Last day- heading to the honey hole. 8 flushes so far. The cover is very thick and these boys are wiley and FAST! Having a blast hunting the best gamebird on the planet.

Last Day of First Hunt


It has to come, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Lets see, skunks, vets, wolves, points, retrieves, flushes, great dog work, great weather...wow, lots of memories! Today, I'm going to be the first guy on a particular set of trails. No prisoners today- I told the dogs, "No birds- You get sold!".. More later.
Oh.....this dog is the daughter of Ace. The owner brought her along at 8 mos. old and she's hunting like an ......well.....Ace. I told him to just leave her with me, she ain't much, I'll take her off your hands, etc., etc. He wasn't buying. She'll be a good one! Her name is Lily.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Smith Rapids Covered Bridge

Amazing what you find in the backwoods! This covered bridge was re-built in 1992, over the Smith Rapids.

A little vet action

Here's Ace recovering from the anesthesia after the procedure to pull a seed from his eye. It was stuck in the soft tissue around the bottom of the eye and he had to be sedated to get it out. All is well now and he should be back on the job tomorrow.

Perfect day again. Sunny and 50 deg.

Monday, September 15, 2008

To the left is one of the culinary establishments of the Great North Woods- notice the great food and bait advertisement. To the right is Robert S. and his 6 month old Brit, daughter of Ace. She's already hunting great and putting things together. The hunting today should have been great but I had only 3 flushes and one in the bag. I had 2 flush at the same time and knocked the first one down, then swung to the second and dropped it too! The bad news is that I hunted dead for 10 minutes and could not find that first bird- I hate that. It was a picture perfect day for grouse, today. I really don't think the numbers are up at all this year, at least in this area. There aren't any hunters in the area doing well- so it isn't just me. We walked between 8-10 miles today. The good news is I'm having a great time in the woods.