Friday, December 31, 2010

Dog Den 2

Dog Den 2
My Dogden2. Easy to put together and the dogs appreciate it. It took me about 30 minutes to put this one together, and that was including all the fumbling around time looking for tools and cutting the 2X4's.  I have two more to go, but ran out of treated wood- and Home Depot closed early for New Year's Eve-('sup with that?).  Anyway, I'm betting they will be open tomorrow and I'll finish the other two.  It warmed up today (a warm 60 and sunshine), but the rain will be here tomorrow and the cold weather with it.  So far, I am impressed with the materials and workmanship and the dogs jumped right in.  I bought a heated one for my old dog which will serve as a puppy pen,  I'm sure.  Also, I'll always have one "old dog" around that will appreciate the warmth on those cold nights.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Join me at Pheasant Fest 2011- Omaha, NE Jan 28-30

After my next hunt in New Mexico, I will be attending and speaking at a seminar at Pheasant Fest 2011 in Omaha, NE.  Two friends and I (sponsored by Rancho Caracol, a wild bird hunting resort in Mexico) will be giving talks about hunting quail in the southeast, Texas and New Mexico.  Come on by, enter the dog runway competition and join the festivities.  Also, come and hear about how to plan for, set up and execute a successful hunt to New Mexico- as well as information about Texas hunting and hunting quail in the Southeast. click HERE to go the  website.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ace and Roosters- I was just thinking about hunting and came across this pic.

Ace and Roosters

New Mexico Blues on the horizon

ACE has a covey nailed!

Every January/February I get the itch to head out to the high desert and chase some blue quail.  The place is  a conundrum.  It's dry, high, cold and prickly, but it's also a great place to hunt- with wide open land, most of it public.  Scaled, or Blue, quail can be runners, but I've found that if they haven't been hunted, they run no more than bobwhites.   Heck, when they get in to some kind of cover, they hold just fine- even extremely tight.  One day, Ace and I got a covey up and dropped a bird on the rise.  As the birds (25+) sailed away, I saw them scatter into some grass about knee high dotted with cactus.  We eased on over there and had some of the best shooting I've ever experienced!  They held very tight and when they got up, it was always two or three at a time.  One of those days to remember....I ran out of shells just about the time I limited for the day....

My kitchen pass allows me to head that way on or about 8 Jan to stay a bit.  I'm looking forward to seeing my friend Tim Bartlett and do a little walking through the sand and cactus chasing some dogs on point.  

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter Strikes the Southland- Dog Den 2 to the rescue! Update 11/26/13

A Cold Day in Georgia

UPDATE-  (11/26/2013)
I just ordered my 4th Dog Den 2!  Those that follow this BLOG know I had 11 puppies and kept two of the perfect Brittany bird dogs. They are 12 weeks old this coming Sunday and just now it is 36 degrees with rain and wind at 20-30 mph. Tomorrow night the low will be 15 degrees and the wind will still be blowing!  For the South, that is cold!  Even in North Dakota, it's not short-sleeve weather! I tried heat lamps for the little guys and bunking up with the big boys, etc., but, finally, I ordered them their own Don Den- just like mom and dad! They will have the heater installed, as well.  Snug and warm and not burning energy just to stay warm.  It not only keeps them energized the next day, but contributes to their quality and length of life. Good food, clean water and dry, warm sleeping will keep your prize hunting/trialing dogs at the top of their game for a long, long time. 

I know my friends in the north will laugh at our little bit of cold weather (and I was raised in Alaska), but I have to say, I don't care who you are- it's cold out there!  Of course, when I call up to South Dakota, or North Dakota, I get a real awakening about how cold this country can get.  God bless you guys! They are calling for a wind chill of 4 degrees tonight, so I made sure the bird dogs had plenty of good hay in the boxes and good shelter from the wind.  I also decided it was time to upgrade to a first class dog box- so I ordered some K-9 Condo dog houses (Dog Den 2 variety).  I have a friend that put them out for his dogs and they LOVE them- summer and winter.  I'm looking forward to their arrival.  

See the link below to read about them.  

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ruby Does the Job

Ruby and her 5 quail
Two covey finds and numerous singles on the follow up. She was too excited to retrieve the first one, but settled down to locate and bring back the rest. My little Pixie is coming along!

One of the most gratifying things a bird dog man can do is see the results of countless hours of work, patience, worry and training pay off.  Today, I saw that in my 9 mos. old Brittany puppy, Ruby.  I wish I'd had the presence of mind to get a picture of her on point, telling me "This is a covey, Boss, not a single.....dang, there is a lot of scent here!"

Ever Wonder Why You Love It So Much!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kansas Day 1- Birds 7, Me 0 (This is Hunting, not Shooting)

Cap- 6 mos old in Kansas

The dogs were eager and the land was perfect for quail and pheasant.  I had some pre-mission Intel on the area from some pretty good bird hunters and was confident we would be able to get into some birds.  I started with my main man- Ace.  We made a 2+30 cast and covered the chosen area pretty well.  He pointed  several roosters and I let them go.  I was particularly interested in quail, this trip. Food was plentiful: ragweed, deer vetch, sunflowers, and the area was managed for the little buzz bombs.  The problem, I think, was the area was hit pretty hard opening week and steadily after that.  I saw lots of evidence of footprints, shells, dog tracks (all pretty good indicators to an old Indian tracker like me). These birds were survivors- the dumb ones were dead. (Of course, the alternative to my assessment was too awful to contemplate- that my dog wasn't worth half a bag of Ol' Roy.  That may be the case, but I suggest you keep that news to yourself.)  We were almost back to the truck, when Ace's pager alerted in my vest.  (I gotta say, that is exactly what it seems like with the new garmin!)  He'd been out of sight for maybe 30 sec and I knew he was working some cattails near a pond.  I was sore and tired as I ambled on over that way.  I was halfway thinking he was in the pond drinking.  But as I made my way over there, the "on point" signal repeated.  That dog was locked up in some of the thickest brush I'd seen in this area.  In fact, I couldn't get to him.  A deep, 10 yard across cattail slough kept me from entering the brush pile.  So I got as close to him as I could (figuring he was on a rooster and I'd catch him when he flushed up from the pile) and just started talking to him.  I knew the bird was nervous already- he was trapped on a spit of dry land.  Sure enough, the brush moved and 20 quail blew out of there headed to a stand of spruce trees.  I threw some lead, but these boys stayed low and kept the brush between me and them (hence, they were still alive from opening day!).   Ace came out, looked at me and said, "How many do we have down, Boss?"   It was a bad day at Black Rock explaining how the "sun got in my eyes, sand obscured the birds, the Coriolis Effect threw off my aim".  He was not amused....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Latest Field Trial

Having a few of my NSTRA friends over for a field trial in the back pasture is an awesome thing.  I thank God that we can still enjoy this wonderful sport right in my back yard.  Take a look...Field Trial. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Here's A Picture of a Rooster's Worst Nightmare

Caught Rooster!
That's Dad (Ace) and son (Bandit) on a Rooster Pheasant.  It was that bad boy's end of the road.

Short Kansas Hunt on the Horizon

So, I'm sitting around the estate, you know, all the workers are off cleaning the stables or stocking the fishing ponds, or counting the wild coveys out in the back 10,000, and I suddenly realize I haven't been on the road in more than a month (well, almost)!  I buzz up a few friends and got the readings on Kansas.  They all pretty much say the same thing- some good days, some bad days, but any day in the field with a dog is better than any day at the office.  So, I ran the possibility of a kitchen pass by the Old Ball and Chain and managed to get a signed pass for one week commencing on the 14th of Dec.! (Didn't cost me much more than a Lexus LS 460 delivered by Christmas!)  My pups are ready for some wild birds and my broke dogs are ready for something more than field trials.   By the way, my two pups, Cap (Brit/M) and Ruby (Brit/F) and really progressing nicely with solid points and OK retrieves. I wish I could get more pictures of them, but I'm training alone and carrying a camera is tough.  I really need to video Cap when he hits scent- wow! Yesterday, he acted like a broke dog twice his age as he worked with me to find a bird that moved after I planted it.  It was a picture for the books! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

James Rutland: Instinct Shooting

James Rutland

I call these "Shooting Balls"
 Let me say this about that......This course is exactly what it is purported to be.  I learned to shoot a BB gun with no sights and without even sighting down the barrel.  I started on large plate targets, then smaller orange circles on the plate targets (until I bored a hole at the 1230 position on one of them), then started shooting at the balls on the ground. As James gave me a color, I would hit the ball- from big ones down to the size of golf balls!  Then he started throwing metal disks in the air- from 3 inches on down to a quarter (see last picture) and a Tums (which I shattered on the first shot) and, finally, another BB.  It took about 20 tries, but, after nicking it 3 times, I finally nailed it solidly and it disappeared! (I am NOT exaggerating.  This was a shot that could not be done and I did it 30 minutes after driving up to the cabin.)

Then we moved on to the shotgun.  I pulled out my trusty SKB 20 ga. Model 100 that I field trial and hunt with.  James immediately noticed the gun was too small for me, so we put a rubber, removable kick plate from one of my other guns on it.  The fit was better.  We worked on stance, smooth movement, head and foot location and focus and concentration.  Then he started throwing the clay targets.
The Training Cabin on the Lake

I started breaking them.  I missed maybe one out of 25.  James was saying to not just break them, but powder them, "And here's how you do it", he would say. I took his advice and I've never powdered so many clay targets in my life. I mean, they were GONE! He threw them from behind me, high and low, 45 degrees to either side of  straight ahead, curving and straight.  After 4 boxes of shells, James says I only missed twice, but I'm pretty sure I must have  missed about 4 times.  I did all this in  the space of an hour and forty five minutes!

I shot this quarter.  IN THE AIR! Check the dents.

This is the bottom line.  This works.  It is for real. I used my own gun and I wished I could have stayed all day.  I've never shot 4 boxes of shells so productively in my life.  This method is perfect for the field trialer and quail/pheasant/upland hunter! Click Here for James Rutland Instinct Shooting School Website