Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Boy Ace and a Video From North Dakota

We worked this old rooster through the CRP for about a hundred yards or so. Ace would catch him up against the edge and I would rush over expecting him to flush, but he would sneak off into the thick stuff again.  Over and over, the experienced dog and the cagey rooster matched wits.  The wind was directly into the our face.  It was about forty degrees and a little humid. The deck was stacked against the bird today. I just held the camera and watched the scene play out.  Over the past 20+ years and 5+ dogs and 200+ roosters, each and every one is special.

Photo by Nancy Whitehead

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Merry Christmas, my bird dog friends!

I really like the saying, or prayer, I saw painted on a stone. It read, "Lord, let me be the man my bird dog thinks I am."   Yep. I'd settle for that. 

Take time out from the madness and grab that dog, load up and go for a walk or short hunt. Be sure and pause to really watch him and see the effort he puts in to pleasing you. I thank God he gave us these marvelous animals. Perhaps, it was to demonstrate how he would like us to look at Him?  

Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What's it going to be? Field Trials or Bird Hunting?

I just finished two days of 10 braces of National Shoot to Retrieve Field Trial Association runs. I'm worn out and about $600 lighter in the wallet.  I did have a good time and my two Brittanys, Cap and Ruby, did very well, although not well enough to place.  I'm pleased with both of them, and I don't see any flaws that can't be fixed with some patient reminding in the training field at home. Here's the rub.  I'm constantly reminded, and I've been doing this over 20 years, the transition from the field to NSTRA is not instantaneous. In fact, some dogs cannot make that transition.  I can spot that problem early on and not expect that particular dog to perform at that level, but, by and large, I expect all my dogs to gain their championship in NSTRA. The dog shown below, Bo, had no problem at all and was great at both.  
Bo and Me Winning the 2001 Quail Unlimited National Championships- last bird, last brace, last day. 
 I find myself asking, "Why am I here, waiting to run a 30 minute brace, when I could be in Idaho, or Montana, or North Dakota?"  Then, I ask myself, "Why are any of these trialers here?"  Obviously, the vast majority of them have jobs during the week that pay the bills, put kids through school and food on the table.  I'm sure their spousal unit is much appreciative when payday rolls around and my brace-mate has managed to get to work on time throughout the week and not drive off in to the  sunset in search of South Dakota pheasant or New Mexico Scaled Quail! So field trialing, AKC or NSTRA or UFTA or whatever, is a great way to play with your dog and still keep a foot in the modern world.  

Bo and Me sitting next to Coon Creek in AZ 
My wife made the comment to me the other day, "You are so happy in the pictures I see of you taken when you are hunting!".  I never thought of it.  I guess I am. How could one NOT be happy when the big decision of the day is where to open the dog box and which dog starts the day.  The number two big decision is, Where do we eat lunch? 

Cap and Me in Idaho

Looking back on 23 years of bird hunting and trialing and bird dogs and stuff, I'm beginning to realize my amazing wife, the Ball and Chain, is absolutely right.  I am happiest in the field with a bird dog(s) in front of me, the wind in my face, and a not-too-critical hunting partner somewhere off to the left or right.  At 63, with a lot of miles and experience under my belt, I guess it's only time I came to realize this.  After all, I'm twice retired from some pretty good jobs, and I don't need to worry too much about where the next meal is coming from (as long as the BandC stops complaining about having to work 80 hours a week- what a whiner!).  So, as the man said in "The Cowboys", I have the time, the wherewithal and the inclination.  I suppose I should do what I love doing as long as my health holds out.  
Cap and Huns in Idaho 2012
Did I mention my seems to be holding out, as well. I guess all those miles I did as a young man, running marathons , the centuries on the bike and miles in the pool are helping out now. I mentioned to the BandC that I might as well take up some bad habits as I get older. Since most of them take so long to kill you, I could enjoy them for quite a while.  She said...well, which bad habits?  I said thoughtfully..."Well, maybe, drinking, smoking and chasing loose women!"  She thought for a while, and pondered some, and then nodded.   "Well", she considered, "one of those will kill you a whole lot faster than the other two, so choose wisely, old man.  Don't you ever forget we own 100 acres, a shovel and lots of guns.  I love you, honey!" 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hunting Coat for Christmas ****Update***** It Arrived!

Harkila Hunting Coat

I ordered this coat on a Friday.  It arrived today, Wednesday, the next week, via DHL.  Actually, it arrived Tuesday, but the driver would not deliver due to my attack yard dogs (!?) and came back today for another attempt.  We get that sometimes when city drivers come to the country.  I don't blame them, in a way, if they don't know the rules about country dogs.  Anyway, when I opened the package, the sweet aroma of leather hit me right up front.  

This hunting coat is everything they said it was.  Plenty large in the chest to measure yourself and order your chest size without adding inches.  It will have enough room for a wool sweater underneath, no problem.  (Like the website says, however, if your belly is bigger than your chest, order your belly size.).  The pockets are large enough to hold shells and are down far enough for easy access.  I intend to hunt with a vest over the top for the orange coloring of the vest and for all the stuff I carry in the vest, so I'm not too worried about shell pockets, but if you wanted to slide a light orange vest over the top, you could carry plenty in the ample pockets.  There are two handwarmer pockets, as well. 

Of course, there are pocket snaps from the handwarmer pockets to hold up the leather trimmed flaps over the shell pockets while in use.  

The overall quality of the leather is exceptional.  It is smooth, supple and strong.  The snaps are large and very secure.  There is a drawstring around the waist to keep the coat snug in strong winds. This coat is not light and not a "technical" product, although it may have been considered that a 100 years ago.  This a throwback to the days of leather and wool and side by sides and bird dogs with bells on their necks.  

This is the Harkila Hunting Coat from Scandinavia.  I'm going to Nebraska in a week or so, to chase a few pheasant.  Most likely, I will encounter some lovely Nebraska winter weather and have a chance to give this coat a workout.  Stay tuned and I'll let you know how it performs behind my Ace dog with snow flying, rooters cackling smack and 20 ga. Prairie Storm lead headed downrange..... Dang, my hair is standing on end right now just thinking about it!   

Friday, November 29, 2013

Hunting Coat for Christmas

I just ordered a Harkila Angus Hunting Coat.  For years, I've wondered why we don't use leather for hunting jackets and coats. I have several coats made of several miracle fabrics, waterproof, windproof, breathable, with pockets and doodads and thises and thats. Why not a strong, leather hunting coat.  It would be windproof, briarproof, warm and practically bullet proof, as well.  The only drawback that I can see would be the weight.  

Harkila Angus Leather Shooting Jacket
Harlika Angus All Leather Hunting Coat

So, after quite a few online searches, I finally found a European manufacturer of something that was a hunting coat that might actually be useful in the field. Made in Scandinavia (I could not get the specific country), it appears well- made and rugged.  Made of buffalo leather, I assume buffalo and not bison, they say it sheds thorns and water as well and is made to last a lifetime. We'll see about that. For the cost, it should last quite a while, I would hope. I can see where it will be useful in the winter months and bad weather casts, pheasants locked down in the drifts, that sort of thing.  I'm pretty sure this is not going to be suitable for the Chukar hunter, but who knows?  Will let you know when it arrives and I get back from my next expedition on 12 December chasing ditch rooters in the Dakotas. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Do you have a few pounds of Moose, Caribou, Salmon, Goat, Sheep, Bear or Whatever?

I'm trying to get with AK guys (or, really, anyone who would like to participate) to ask to donate meat for a game feed in Pierce, NE.  A church started out with a wild game feed with pheasant and deer, etc.,  and made a few hundred bucks a few years ago.  Last year, for some reason, in the rain and snow, literally thousands of Nebraskans showed up. They stood outside a small church hall for hours to eat deer meat and donate money for the church school.  Their kids don't go there.  They don't attend church there. I guess they like deer meat. Anyway, Scott Magnussen, asked me if anyone could donate moose or caribou or whatever stuff they have- it would be really neat!  Last year, one guy had a few pounds of moose from Wyoming and everyone thought that was awesome.  Scott said they (he) would pay all costs, shipping, all that! If you think this is possible, I will get you in touch with him directly.  He lives in Pierce, NE.

Email me using the Contact Me section on the right side of this BLOG and I'll get you in touch with Scott! I'm impressed with how God is moving in this.  I really think this is a worthy contribution for game meat.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hunting Nebraska with Scott and Jeff....

 One of the benefits of delivering puppies to bird hunters is the occasional invitation to stop and "have your bird dogs stretch their legs a bit". Scott (El J's proud papa) showed us to the hunter's suite and told us the smoked prime rib would be on the table at 7.....don't be late. (Not to worry, Scott!). We ate like kings for the next three days thanks to Scott and his wife, Jennifer!  The next day we loaded up and hit some private pheasant land to limit on wily, Nebraska birds. They didn't give us any slack.  They doubled back in the thick grass, but Scott's experienced Brit's were on to that trick and pinned them dead to rights. 

Bobby shot 'em down easy and Scott's gun, nicknamed "Black Sabbath", was a pheasant nightmare. The dogs were spot on. They worked hard in some warm weather and when the weather changed for the cooler, they really came alive!  

All of them displayed exceptional manners, backing when appropriate, with no altercations between the dominant males. Although, there was one small glitch in that picture. Ruby, fresh off a litter of 11 pups, pointed a rooster and, on the retrieve, was getting some determined resistance from the old cock. One of Scott's big males ran to assist on the retrieve and Ruby took exception..she jumped right in his stuff, making it extremely clear whose bird this was!  Champ stomped off, gentleman that he was, muttering "b#tch"!  He was right. 

I managed to put lead on some birds as well on this trip. This is a secondary pleasure to seeing my dogs hunt, point and retrieve. And on this trip, it even took a back seat to meeting the owners of my puppies. I couldn't be happier with each of them. 

Scott dropped a very nice Hungarian Partridge and wanted to get it mounted. The thing was huge.  It's  going to make a great mount. We had some discussion as to the proper way to store a bird for mounting. I think that would be a subject for a future BLOG. We straightened it out, smoothed the feathers and bagged it with the air pushed out. 

Jeff Mimick, owner of Dixie, took us to some family land with his GSP, George. We pushed birds for a hundred yards through 5 foot tall grass until we finally got them up against a ditch and they started coming up. It was point, move, point, move, all the way. I was out of position, but Bobby and Jeff dropped two on the rise. While my Cap dog made a blind retrieve on one, gathering all the attention, Ruby went about her business and brought the second bird to Bobby and said, "Hey, you looking for this?"  Meanwhile, Cap located the first bird and started back across the brush, down the creek bed and in to the deep water. Up the other side, the bank went vertical, and he lost the bird, it rolled into the water and started to flow downstream. George to the rescue!  While my little prima donnas were thinking up reasons for not getting wet(ter), George jumped off the bank, hit the water, swam to the bird, grabbed it, swam back, three-strided it up the vertical bank and handed it to Jeff. (I thought I caught the hint of a smirk there, as well, but I may have been mistaken.)  

This was a great two days hunting with good people and good dogs. Scott Magnusson has Big Red Brittanies, and his Jigs dog was daddy to my Ace dog. That's why he and I were both eager to ensure he get a pup, El J, out of this litter- Ace's last. His Brits are big, long legged, bird hunting machines. They hunted from sunup to sundown with consistent style and grace.  Jeff Mimick and his dog, George, were a pleasure to hunt with, as well. They worked well together and George knows what he is doing in the field.

 This is pheasant country and all these folks and dogs know a bunch about harvesting these colorful birds. I'm truly honored to have spent a day or two with them. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Puppy Express.

I struck out on a delivery mission last Wednesday, with four 9 week puppies in the back seat and 3 grown bird dogs in the kennels in the back. The thinking was to do some deliveries and a little bird hunting at the end. 2367 miles later, I ended up meeting Hannah and Hayden and bring them the last little puppy to be delivered, El J (Meaning, LJ, short for Little Jigs, short for, Jigs, Ace's Daddy- pretty clever, I thought.) 

The first new friend, however, was Charlie Majors, outside of Houston. You know, as you may have guessed, I do like to drive. And when the new Beast is humming along and quiet and comfortable, it makes a long drive just all that more pleasant. But, at the end of 12 hours, hitting an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic in beautiful Houston could make a Baptist preacher cuss! Somehow, we made it through and Charlie and his beautiful daughter met us on the other side of town to pick up Otis. Charlie is a Texas bird hunter and Otis will be working some Bobwhites next season, for sure. 

Hannah, Hayden and El J. In Nebraska. 

Dixie and Cindy in Nebraska

Charlie Majors, daughter, and Otis near Houston, TX. 

The next day at noon, I met Jeff Meyers in Stanton, Texas. The drive from Houston to Stanton took me through the Texas Hill Country and then in to desert scrub and Blue Quail country. Oil wells, high speed limits, straight roads, polite drivers, dust, mesquite, land-grant ranches, hawks, eagles, bright sun and letting the Beast run. 

Jeff is a bird hunter in West Texas and little Odessa will be chasing Blues next year. Jeff will be calling with glowing reports of his new little prodigy in the scrub and mesquite desert lands.  Those little cotton tops have met their match. 

Jeff Meyers, 1 year old, and Odessa near Odessa, TX

I made it to Madison, NE by late late afternoon and Dixie met Cindy and Jeff Mimick. I'm not sure who was more happy at this initial meeting!  Dixie will be a pheasant dog and will have a 6 year old German Shorhair at home to teach her all the tricks. 

Just a little bit up the road, the Puppy Odyssey ended, at the home of Scott, Jennifer, Hannah, and Hayden Magnusson. Scott owned my dog Ace's father, Jig's Ramlin Willie. We met several years ago at a National NSTRA Trial and he mentioned he'd like a pup by Ace. Here was my chance to reciprocate. When he mentioned a few days of bird hunting, I casually told the BandC there was no way on this Earth I wasn't going to deliver a pup to Scott!  It turns out, he loves to cook, loves to hunt, has great dogs, a wonderful wife and family and is a passable shot. 

Next:  Tales from the Nebraska Pheasant Chase........

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

OK, guys! This is how we do it!

Dixie, on the way to Nebraska

This little girl is one of four I will be delivering over the next week in Texas and Nebraska.  This poses an interesting dilemma for me in that I've never traveled with puppies this young. I do not want to use normal "rest stops" with these guys.  The pet areas are germ growing stations and theses young dogs don't need exposure to that. My plan is to just pull off the road in a rural area and find a relatively clean, grassy area and let them out on a lead do what they do. It will lengthen the journey some, but the safety to the pup with override any inconvenience.  

Another problem is feeding and watering.  Rather than having constant food available to them, I will feed them in the morning and water them soon after with a potty break.  Another feeding in late afternoon with the same routine should keep them well fed and watered.  The farthest traveled ones will only be cooped up 2 days, so it won't be too onerous on the them.  In addition, they will be in the cab of the truck with me- all four in a crate for entertainment.  

After the last delivery, we've been asked to hunt for a few days in Nebraska.  That sounded pretty good to me so I ran it by the kennel and got three paws up from the rest of the guys.  They'll need to cool their heels for a few days, but we'll be in roosters and quail in no time.  I'm sure looking forward to that! Stay tuned! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Build Out. Or, How do I get all this stuff back in there?

The new Beast o' Birdin' is in the garage, or should I say, barn. It's a fancy, diesel burning, electronic marvel that updates itself and likes to find wifi (!).  It will give you the weather and local diesel prices and get you to the nearest honey hole in fine fashion.  So far, I think I like it a lot.  It's so quiet, the dogs don't even hear me sneaking up to the barn to check on them- awesome.

The time came to start the re-packing of 12 years of accumulated hunting supplies in to the new truck.  First, a topper was procured that had side opening windows.

Then the truck vault was installed.   Note:  The tailgate on this model ford does not lie flush with the bed necessitating the shim you see under the truck vault.  That enables the drawers to clear the tailgate. 

Lighting was installed overhead.  These are LED strip lights that run off the battery so I can feed dogs, or whatever, out in the bush and have plenty of light for all the dog chores of bird hunting.  

Next, I loaded up chains, MRE's, wool blankets, sleeping bags, spare diesel, heaters for the dogs and other miscellaneous.

Dog kennels are loaded and secured and this baby is ready for the ROAD! Actually, there's about a hundred smaller items to be packed in all the nooks and crannies, but you get the idea. 

Here is the finished product. A little naked with none of my favorite decals, but I think I can get a few of them installed before I leave next week.  

I hope I can get the 375,000 miles I got on my last truck.  If so, this one will take me through the last of my bird hunting years.....maybe.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Saving The Two Best for Last

These two males are the last available from this breeding of Ace and Ruby.  This is the ad I posted in the Bird Dog and Fly Fishing Classifieds:

"I have two males, orange/white still available from my Ace and Ruby breeding. They are 7 weeks old yesterday, sassy, healthy, and ready to be a field companion. All shots, etc. AKC/UKC registered litter. Ace is NSTRA CH and grandson of Nolan's Last Bullet. Ruby is the daughter of Bullet, 3 years old, well on her way to NSTRA Ch. $500 770-five eight four-5085. Call or PM."

Since that post, I got a remark on the site that tells me about another dog, in Ruby's lineage, that is outstanding: 

"Randy also in Rubys line that you didnt mention is 2xNFC Diamond Hill Dan. One of three britts in history to win 2. Many judges told me that he was the best britt they ever judged."

Sometimes, it is better to lucky than good.  As a Navy pilot, I heard that saying around the ready room.  In this particular case, I was so focused on the Nolan's Last Bullet breeding, I missed the Diamond Hill Dan input. 

At any rate, this is an awesome bloodline. Two have already gone home.  Two more this weekend and 3 the next week.  I really like these butterballs.  Of these two available remaining, there is a difference in personality.  One is a lover and stays at home more.  The other, slightly smaller one, is likely to be scoping out the pasture, or carrying a ball around, or attacking another pup for fun. I know which one I would want to hunt MT and ID and NM and AZ.  

Mr. Lover

Mr. Go Get Em

Thursday, October 24, 2013

You want to what? Do an article about Ace and me? Why?

I got an email about a month ago from a guy who wanted to do an article about Ace and me and how we "interact".  Really?  Yep, he said, I want to publish it in an online magazine.  No cost to you.  OK, I said.  Let's do it.  I sent him some answers to a few questions, the name of my BLOG, and a few pictures.....and I promptly for got about it.

Yesterday, I got another email giving me the link to the article:(

Here is a small sample of the article:

Ace the hunting dog lives up to his pilot-inspired name

The Brittany spaniel is a National Shoot To Retrieve Association champion and loves to hunt grouse, partridge, and quail

Ace the hunting dog with his owner, Randy
Ace the hunting dog with his owner, Randy; all photos courtesy of Randall C. Schultz
Ace, an 8-year-old Brittany spaniel, was born to be a hunting dog. “Ace went hunting with me in Montana when he was less than a year old,” said Randall C. Schultz of Zebulon, Georgia.  “He was amazing! We hunted sharptail grouse and Hungarian partridge there. Then, we moved on to Texas and hunted blue quail. All along he performed like a much older and more mature dog.”
Schultz is an avid bird hunter who blogs about his dogs and hunting excursions at A Bird Hunter’s Thoughts. He’s owned Brittanys before, so it was natural for him to seek out another pup when he lost his beloved Rocket at 12.
Ace the hunting dog with his owner
Ace the hunting dog with his owner

“Rocket passed away after hunting for me all over the U.S.,” Schultz said. “I wanted another liver-colored Brittany and called a friend in Tennessee, who raises them.  He had an excellent litter and told me to come [see the pups].”
After choosing his pup to take home, Schultz, a retired airline pilot and Navy pilot, knew he needed a special name. “An ‘ace’ is a top pilot, so naturally I wanted my dog to be a top dog—so I called him Ace,” Schultz said.
Ace, who is a National Shoot To Retrieve Association champion, has an impressive resume of hunting game birds all over the country, including in Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, the Dakotas, Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arizona, and New Mexico. “He likes to ride shotgun while I drive, and when I go in to eat at a truck stop, you can see him sitting in the front seat, taking care of the truck,” Schultz said.

Friday, October 18, 2013

My New Ride, Goodbye Old Buddy (2001 7.3 Diesel F-250)

I hope I can get at least as many miles out of this new truck! When I traded the old one in, it was showing just over 375,000 miles on the odometer, most of them driving to or from bird hunting. 


This one is an F-250 as well.  It has the new diesel engine and off road package.  It is the Lariat equipment package.  I've never had a back up camera before.  I figured they just made the backs of trucks a little stronger and the impact was an indicator you'd gone far enough. It's pretty cool to look back there, day or night and see what's coming! 

I didn't really need the NAV feature since I have 10+years of hunting spots around the country stored on my Garmin that sticks on the windshield, but it's pretty nice, too.  I can get a weather map on the screen and do all sorts of stuff by voice command.  Some of the stuff works, some doesn't.  I tried "Show me local movies."- no problem!  I tried "Show me the nearest Chinese Restaurant."- no problem. I was feeling pretty empowered at that point, so I tried "Call the War Department and tell her I want a new shotgun!" There are just some things this truck will not do.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Three Male Puppies For Sale! Awesome Nolan's Last Bullet breeding.

When Ruby had 11 puppies, I thought, "Oh, no! We will never find good, hunting homes for these dogs!"  Not a problem, actually. 

These are three remaining males. Of course, the females went first- all six, including one for me. Then the males started being promised. These pups are 5.5 weeks old, whelped 8 September 2013. The sire is a grandson of Nolan's Last Bullet and the Dam is the daughter of Bullet.  They are bold, healthy, dew clawed, wormed and the first set of shots will be tomorrow (just shy of 6 weeks). 

Ace,the sire, is 8.5 years old and a NSTRA Champion and incredible hunting dog. Ruby, the Dam, is sort of a prodigy (to my mind) and was pointing and retrieving Huns and Sharps at 6 months. When we were taking these pictures, I was thinking, "You know, I could always keep another one!"  


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Review: Go Claws Snow, Mud, Sand Chains. A Better Idea!

They are a special type of polymer. Tough as nails and legal everywhere. 

That's a bunch of gripping action!  

It's a common problem when hunting out west, or even here in GA on the red clay back roads we have. Out west, many times, the roads will be frozen heading in to the back country, and will thaw during the day, making getting out somewhat problematic. In the south, even a slight rain turns the red clay roads into a form of slick snot. I don't care how many wheel drive you have, you ain't going anywhere.  Tires are a factor, but I like to have some form of chain to put on my wheels, in the event I need to get somewhere, like bed and a hot meal. I've used actual chains when getting stuck on some North  Dakota roads, and it was a pain, and muddy.  But, eventually, they worked and I got myself unstuck and on the way. Twice in my hunting career, I've relied on the largess of a local farmer to pull me out with a tractor. (Both times those tractors were so big, they could have pulled the dark out of the night, I think.). 

I knew there had to be a better way. Go Claws. ( Google searching produced this interesting little article. I followed up with a call to the company and the owner, designer picked up. Nice guy!  I ordered a set, then another set. I figure, if I put one of these on each wheel, I'll be able to go anywhere, anytime. 

They are incredibly easy to put on. Literally, after you do it once, it will take less than 5 minutes per tire, more like a minute. You can drive with them on bare road for many miles and not damage the tires or the road. And they grip like a tick on your best bird dog!  

Recommendation:  go to the website and watch the videos. My recommendation is a buy. I have a set for each tire and it gives me great piece of mind while on a trip and seeing storm roll up the valley. "Bring it!" I think. "At least I'll make it back to the motel."

(Full Disclosure:  I was not compensated in any manner by anyone selling, manufacturing, or marketing the subject of this post.)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Shameless Bragging- Puppy Pictures!

OK, I had to do it!  These are the only two orange females in the litter.  I've picked one for myself.  

Hoss, the big mama! 

Hoss and Pretty


Friday, October 4, 2013

Last Cast

The last cast of the trip occurred in Montana. A big snowstorm was due to hit the next day. I was right on the bull's-eye. I was told about a nice piece of public land. As I drove up, the temperature was 43° and it was drizzling. Pretty much perfect birdhunting weather.

I took a Ace and Bandit.  I turned them loose and started to cross the fence. Halfway over the fence I looked up and noticed both dogs on point!  I kicked up a covey of Hungarian partridge. All but one of them escaped. Ace made a nice retrieved hand and then took off up the edge of the wheat field. Not long after, he had another point out in the wheat field at 265 yards from me. He was locked up on a sharpie. Another bird in the bag.

After another covey of sharptails and several pheasant, we were finished.  Both dogs did exceptionally well. I dried them off and loaded them up and went in search of lunch.

Every little town out here has a main street cafĂ©. I hit this one for breakfast. The usual group of farmers had their table, as they talked about the usual stuff. I heard opening-day mentioned it several times. I knew I was among fellow Bird Hunters. 

So, I loaded up and started the long drive home. Snow and rain chased me out of Montana and the Dakotas. It was time to go home, rest the dogs, and plan another trip.