Monday, September 30, 2013

Bull Moose Video

Seen near Yellowstone. Sept. 28, 2013. 0700.

Click here to see video!

I'm sorry the moose is so small, but it's not everyday one sees a bull moose along the road. All I had with me was my iPhone. Obviously, he was attempting to get to know the comely, young cow moose a little better.  If only I'd had the BandC's fancy new camera!  That would have been the perfect situation.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Moving the Operation

I am always amazed at the beauty of this area. I feel like I'm the only one on the road through Yellowstone this morning. 

I did some checking and, apparently, a mere 7 hours away, Valley Quail are running amok in Idaho. Desperate farmers need a volunteer to thin the herd. I put it to the boys, and the results were unanimous-Idaho, it is!  

Along the Bozeman Trail, the terrain is challenging enough, but throw 60 mph gusts on the nose in the formula and it's a lot of fun. This route is the fastest way to get to where I'm going I Idaho. "You need to go through Yellowstone?"  Yeah.  It's tough duty, but someone has to do it!  

Here's something one doesn't see everyday! A bull moose following a cow and throwing caution to the wind. He's right on the road!  (Women! Right?)

Once again. My own private piece of America this fine Sunday morning!  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mountain Grouse

After driving, visiting, eating and more driving up the longest, roughest 7 miles of gravel road, we finally arrived at the trail head and parked. We had exactly 90 minutes until sunset. Bob and I agreed to meet back at the trucks in 1 hour- no later. I did not relish the drive out after dark or a potential breakdown high up on the mountain, either. 

I took Ace, as my most experienced dog, and started walking up the trail. We started at 5400' elevation and it looked like perfect Ruffed country. Up and up, through the woods, Ace worked 50-100 yards to either side. Finally, I looked at the time and I was late. We reached 6900' when we turned around. Moose sign on the trail, deer and Elk tracks. Locals say mountain lion are through these mountains,  as well.  At any rate, the sun was almost on the tops of the Crazies, so we needed to hiaco on down the trail.....right then Ace's pager went off! 

Point! And he was 100 yds UP the mountain!  Argh!  I gave him a little time to make sure he was serious and then I started the climb up to him. I had to stop, right before I got to him, to catch my breath. My next step triggered a flush of a blue grouse. A quick shot and he tumbled. When Ace went for the retrieve another grouse launched out and Ace delivered him to my hand, too. 

We turned and hustled down the trail, getting to the truck with barely enough daylight. We met some elk bow hunters and chatted for a short time while we cleaned the birds. Then, it was get in the truck and let's get off this mountain!

A great end to a long day. Even the terrible road down felt a little smoother! 

I liked the hunting and will enjoy the eating, too. Blue Grouse are famous for how well they taste. 

I noticed the mountains are steeper, the climbs longer and the descents shorter. I won't wax philosophic. I'll just say, getting old isn't for wimps (or whiners, so I'll stop). 

A staunch supporter!

We moved west a few hours and, along the way, stopped to see a bird hunting supporter and fanatic in his own right.  Robert Siler and Terry Sharpe (two hunting partners) befriended Ben O.Williams years ago and always stop by to see him when in the area- I'm just a hanger-on. I found him to be gracious, full of stories about other well known folks (Charlie Waterman, et. al.), and a real jokester. A pleasant few hours, well spent.


Friday, September 27, 2013

The weather changed! We are thankful!

We had a rough few days with the high temperatures. But, then, the clouds came in and it started to rain and the temperature dropped. Now the temperature is about 40°, the wind is about 25 mph. Just about perfect.

Both the dogs and I are rusty. It took a little convincing on my part, but finally, I realized my own legs took a little while to get used to this again. The dogs, of course, had no problem. Ace, is about as old as me. He tended to get a little slower during the day. Cap and Bandit, no problem whatsoever.  

Ace is still my go-to guy. Cap and Bandit are coming along great. But Ace has eight seasons of bird hunting behind him. And, it shows when it comes to finding birds.


We are hunting Sharptailed Grouse and Hungarian Partridge.  Or, as we refer to them, Sharps and Huns. Today we are moving further into the interior of Montana. We will be focusing more on Ruffed Grouse and Blue Grouse. 

Here are a few of them cooking on the grill. Took a lot of video, so far, and as soon as I figure how to get it on the blog, I'll post it!  I'm learning there is no substitute for pictures. Will do better. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Day One. Season 23.

We arrived with three hours of daylight remaining. Bandit was up first and had a couple hard points, but nothing to show. Ace and Cap were next. We moved to another alfalfa patch and got one covey 50 yds from the truck!  When the smoke cleared an hour or do later, I had 5 covey rises and was 3 for 3 on Huns. It took a little bit for the boys to get their legs under them. But they were spot on when they did. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ruby was one unhappy bird-dog.

I loaded up the three males this morning. If a bird dog could give a glance that kills, Ruby gave it to me!  I loved on her pretty good, but she knew that she wasn't going. She went to her puppies, curled up and gave me "the look"!  She's an awesome mom and will get special treatment when I get back.  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Two weeks, today. Ruby's outstanding pups!

I really do love these little pups! All of them are healthy and vibrant. Truly, I'm having a hard time choosing my follow-on dog. I'm leaning toward another female, but there's a male in this litter I really like. I'd keep them all and have 5 dogs on the ground at all times, but that's a little much, even for me!  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Blogging, It's a good thing....

As hard as it is for me to believe, this BLOG is approaching 100,000 hits! Now, I'm sure 99,999 are from my wife and relatives, but there must be at least one person out there that checks back every once in a while. When I started this, while driving back from a hunting trip to New Mexico with Glen Bahde, I had no idea what I would write about, much less if anyone would find it interesting.  Glen was driving the truck and I had a few hours with my laptop and wifi hotspot through my phone.  He suggested I look up how to start a BLOG.  "A what?" was the answer.  "A BLOG! You know, write down what you are doing while hunting, dog training, trialing and all that stuff."  By the time we made to the Louisiana border, through Texas, on the way home, I had a BLOG!

I had, and still have, little idea what I will write about. But, usually, I find out lots of other folks have the same interest, problem, thought or concern that I have. Then we get in to some pretty good discussions about what ever topic might be interesting that time. The highest "hit" articles have always been about dog food, DogDen dog boxes, the Wing Works hunting vest and my puppies.  It started out people would link to my BLOG from other BLOGS, but, lately, they are finding me from Google searches (that's a good thing, as well). 

I would love to have you subscribe, via email, to my BLOG.  When you open it up, on the right hand side, you will see a dialog box that says, "Follow by Email". Go ahead and fill in your email address.  It will go through an authentication procedure to keep you safe and then you will receive updates whenever something is posted new on the BLOG.  Now, I'm looking for 200,000 hits!  Thanks, my friends!!

It looks like this:

Follow by Email

Monday, September 9, 2013

They are here, finally!

I was forced to attend an opening day Dove Shoot this Saturday and, BJ, my long-suffering wife, stayed with Ruby. By the time I got home, Ruby was in labor, her temperature had dropped 2 degrees and all was ready for the long-awaited arrival of the puppies.  The vet x-ray showed 11 puppies.  I was hoping for somewhat fewer, but we get what we get. 

Night fell and still she was panting and clearly uncomfortable. I stayed in the barn with her, sleeping as best I could.  Around 0330, I woke to a different sound- a puppy squalling for some milk! In the whelping box was a clean and hungry, little, orange female puppy. One after another, they came out.  No problems, about every 20 minutes.  Then, they stopped for an hour, and then kept on coming.  The last one arrived at noon.  Ruby was exhausted.  Once she got them cleaned up and fed, we fed her.  She ate double the normal rations (high calorie, nutrient rich Royal Canin puppy food) and drank a bunch. Then she ran back to the pups and started doing mom stuff.  What a great mother to the pups. 

Ultimately, we had 11 pups, 6 female, 5 male, 4 orange and 7 liver- a good cross section. I will keep one of the females to add to my excellent line of hunting and trialing Brittanies.  The rest are either promised or for sale.  

I can't wait to see the herd following momma around in the pasture, or chasing birds and pointing butterflies! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

It won't be long now!

She has numerous placements in NSTRA already. She is only three years old.

What a great litter this will be! My NSTRA champion dog Ace is the sire. Ruby is an excellent hunting dog in her own right. I am looking forward to keeping a pup for myself. I still remember the day she retrieved a Sharptail grouse out of a coulee for me in Montana. She was only seven months old. Another time on that same hunt, I dropped three Huns on a covey rise. She found and retrieved two of them, and then disappeared. I whistled and called for about two minutes. She came up out of another coulee about 200 yards away with the bird in her mouth. Evidently, the bird had run after I knocked it down. She tracked it all the way down there, picked it up, and brought it to hand.

These will be some fine pups!