Friday, October 30, 2009

A Garmin Story

We were about 2 hours into a cast for grouse in Wisconsin.  Bandit was working great for an eighteen month old pup- working either side of the trail and checking in, but not too far out. I guess I became complacent, because, the next thing I knew, his beeper was GONE!  I remembered watching him about 50 yards off the trail and backtracking, but I didn't think a thing of it- he'd done it all day.  I gave a blast on the whistle and expected him to come flying up like he always did- no dog.  I reached for the Garmin a watched the little sucker heading for the hills about 200 yards out.  The problem was, he was heading deeper into the woods and not turning in response to my plaintive toots on the whistle!  I yelled and blew the whislte as he kept moving deeper and deeper- 300, 400, 500 yds.....finally, at 1 mile he turned and looped around- and around- and around.  I knew the little guy was lost, couldn't hear me, and had no idea which way to go. Hoping he'd figure it out, I fired my gun in his direction, but although he stopped (and I fired again), he turned in the wrong direction and headed out away from me.  Finally, at over 1.5 miles in the thick, hilly woods of Wisconsin, I got a beep and message that the signal was lost.  I ran to my truck (about 400 yds away), grabbed my extendable antenna, got on the road and drove to what I estimated was the closest point of approach to a local road.  I stuck the thing out the window as I drove and picked him up at 2.5 miles from the truck.  Luckily, he was heading for another local road in the woods and I determined to head him off.  As I got there, I watched him turn in circles again about 700 yds out.  I jumped out and fired 2 quick shots and noticed him stopped ("On Point").  I fired 2 more shots and he started my way.  I noticed an old logging trail that headed in his direction and started up it with the Garmin in one hand and my whistle in the other.  When he departed from the track, I'd give a long blast and he would home in on it again.  Finally, he saw me!  That was one happy little camper as he jumped in to me and wagged around me.  I guess I was a little happy, too, to see the little bugger again.  I can only surmise at what caused him to head out and figure he bumped a bird and went after it, perhaps bumping it again, or chasing a deer.  Whatever the cause, I was darn glad I had and was using the Garmin.  I may have found him that day, but I may not have.  And it would have been a miserable night for both of us.   (On a separate note, I jumped 2 grouse on that old logging road heading in to find him.  It's marked on the GPS for future exploration.  There's a silver lining to every dark cloud.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Typical Wisconsin Hunter Trail

Easy walking. Difficult shooting.

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Back in Wisconsin

It's good to be back in Grouse country! The frost is pretty thick this morning, so there's no need to rush to the woods. I'm having a nice leisurely breakfast at the Crystal Cafe and will be in the woods by 0830. I don't see many dog boxes around here today- a month ago it was a sea of Orange hats and dog boxes. The leaves are down and those that aren't are brilliant. The sun's out- it will be a good day!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Great Place To Hunt In North Dakota

Public land and a lot of it.  (Correction: This is private land open to sportsmen- that is, PLOTS.  There is a lot of it, too!)

the Big Valley

The hunting is incredible and the dogs are better.  Old Bo is tired, Ace is always ready and Bandit is coming along nicely.  Bo had a good day yesterday, just him and me working the birds like the old days. 

After a long day, on the drive out, we almost ran over these birds!  Proud suckers!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chef Dan

This is Dan and his two Labs and his first limit of pheasant!  Dan's been working hard for the last few days, along with the dogs, learning the nuances of pheasant hunting.  Today, it all came together!  Dan is a great guy to have along- he's young with good eyes to read maps and such, he can drive at night and is full of spirit.  Did I mention he's also a real life, bonifide, no-kidding CHEF!  Oh yeah, I never knew food could taste so good!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Relaxing after a long cast

He wanted into the truck. Take alook at those paws! No way!!

Hate it!

Not the hunting, but knocking 2 birds down over old Bo and not being able to find either one! Very nice points, too. Well, I do hate that!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mr Bad Boy

18 months old. He did a great job on these two. Less than 5 minutes on the ground. Bandit, son of Ace.

Wheat Awaiting Market

This is the most productive ground in the world. We feed the world, too!

Can You Spot the Fleeing Pheasant?

Big old rooster!!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ace and three.

It doesn't take long with the right dog!


38 deg and light rain! Ace is whining and pacing and bumping me with his nose-"Hey, dude, let's hit it!" he's telling me. It must be nice to fulfill your genetic destiny like these bird dogs every time they hit the ground.

Riding the Dinosaur

It was dark when I finally caught the critter and taking this picture was problematic, for sure. When you pass through Lemmon, SD, be sure to stop at the local museum!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Visual pollution

Folks, this is ugly. An Iowa windfarm.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009


Good gosh, this a long drive. So far, I've gone 805 miles with 970 to go. It's time to pull off and watch the Falcons whup the Bears.

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I must be getting old!

Late departure- yikes. Look out birds, the boys are back in town!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

We knew this was coming!!

I just got an email that said it bluntly.  The USDA is considering reducing the land in CRP by about 1/3!  Comments can be sent via email or snailmail.  Below is a my letter as an example.  I'm sure now that I have released this information to the public, my loyal readers will swamp the USDA, overwhelming the email servers and stop this bad piece of legislation.  For more informaion, email this organization:  .
Dear Sir:
I am requesting that you DO NOT reduce the acreage for CRP. In addition to the items below, CRP is a vital resource for the economic health of many rural regions around the country. Hunters spend many millions of dollars to hunt the game and bird species that rely directly on the CRP program. The loss of those dollars would directly impact the jobs in those areas and the areas surrounding those communities. The unintended consequences of a decision to reduce the acreage of CRP would be negative, serious and far-reaching.

CRP produces an estimated 13.5 million pheasants annually.

CRP in the Prairie Pothole Region produces 2 million ducks per year.

CRP boosts populations of bobwhite quail, prairie grouse and non-game grassland birds.

CRP reduces the amount of sediment released into the environment by 200 million tons.

CRP reduces sheet, rill and wind erosion.

CRP sequesters carbon, helping stop more than 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the environment.

Randy Schultz

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ready to Go

The Jones trailer is ready to go this trip.  I only am taking 3 dogs, but the weather may be downright cold when we get there.  We are starting in Regent,ND and then perhaps SD or WI or both. I figure I'll take the trailer and that will be the insulated overnight condo for the boys after a long, hard day.  I'll put them in the dog box on the back of the truck for the day trips.

It's tough buying shells, though.  At least I'm down to 2 guages- 20 and 16. SD requires steel on public land as does ND, on one of the areas we hunt.  Lead is still good in most places, though.  I'm gradually switching over to all steel, now, but I have a few antiques guns I hunt with that can't take the steel and I still use lead shot in those. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What's Coming Up

This is my dog Peaches and the reward of a good afternoon hunt near Regent, ND.  Peaches was a good, solid, deliberate bird dog and is missed in the kennels.  We'll be hitting this very same spot in a few weeks.  The weather is great up there, finally- cool and cold at night....perfect. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Grouse Woods have a hold on me.

This is a trail a little north and east of Phillips. It's typical cover for the grouse woods.  This was shot on opening day this year (2009) and you can see the dog is hot. I've often said if I were limited to only one type of bird hunting, it would be for the King of Gamebirds- the Ruffed Grouse. Hopefully, I'll be back up there the end of October to hit the trails again.  Now that's some fun hunting with the leaves down and the temp cool all day- perhaps a litlle snow, too.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Garmin and Tritronics and Possible Frequency Interference

I had an interesting occurrence my last hunt using the Tritronics collar with beeper and the Garmin GPS tracker on the same dog. (That's a lot of "bling" on the dog!) I noticed the Tritronics beeper collar turning itself on and off as we hunted! Being the inquisitive type, I assumed it was a run down battery on the beeper and changed that in the field, but the problem recurred. Then, since it was a hot day in WI and the birds weren't cooperating and I had plenty of time to walk along on ponder the situation, I started thinking about interference between the Tritronics collar and the Garmin.

As best I know, the Garmin receives the signal from the GPS and then the collar sends the info from the transmitter on the bottom of the collar to the handheld. Depending on the settings you choose, it could be every 5 seconds (the setting I chose). So we know the Garmin is transmitting at least every 5 seconds. The Tritronics, on the other had, controls the remote beeper through the collar. When you send the signal to turn the beeper on or off, the handheld unit sends a signal to the collar and it sends a signal to the beeper. (Very short range signal from the collar to the beeper.)

What I noticed was my beeper was turning itself on and off every 5 seconds, when I was running a dog with both units on and functioning. I checked the location of the collars on the dog and noticed the Garmin unit was riding up the dogs neck and was within 90 degrees of the Tritronics beeper, which was close to the top of the dogs neck. Which unit was moving on my dog is irrelevant, it's the relative location and distance between the units that is important. I adjusted the Garmin to stay underneath the neck and the problem went away.

My conclusion, based on my totally scientific experiment near Clam Lake in the Wisconsin woods (Laughing!), was there there may be some frequency interference between the two units from different manufacturers.

How to address this problem is beyond me. I will send this to each company and let them chew on it- and it may not be fixable or even a real problem (see "scientific experiment" in previous line). If it happens to you, you'll see how I fixed the problem.