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

Here is a read for the Bird Hunter in your Family

Click HERE to go to Doug's WEBSITE

Are you looking for a gift for the hunter in the family?  Perhaps this is it.  Check it out.

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.