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Posts Tagged ‘dog blog’

How’s your hunting season going? Has it met your pre-season expectations? Exceeded your wildest dreams?

With nut-cutting time around the corner in most states, what is still on your hunting to-do list, gnawing at your psyche, nibbling at the toes of your subconscious? Is it one more 20-inch rooster? Elusive Arizona scaled quail? Or a final, lung-bursting climb to a favorite chukar spot?

Hoping to chase valley quail here, one more time this season. What's still uncrossed on your to-do list?

What about your dog? Had enough bird contact? Of the right kind? I need to work on Manny’s backing Buddy. He’s been sneaking up on his uncle and that needs some attention before it becomes a habit. Buddy could use some encouragement when Manny sticks the bird first – he’s a notorious point-stealer.

As we get down to the dregs of this season, don’t we focus most often, laser-like, on the places we’ve neglected? There’s a sparkling ribbon of stream breaching a rock face I’d like to walk at least once … dancing redband trout under a canopy of venerable alders, massive basalt blocks looming, it’s right out of a Lord of the Rings movie. Manny needs exposure to the diminutive valley quail that dazzle us in the draws tributary to a legendary steelhead stream. And there is a café I’d like to visit way south and east where my arrival changes the population from nine to ten and I’m treated like family, and expected to make the coffee if I take the last mug full.

Do you have places like that on your Blackberry calendar? Where are the red dots on your mental map?

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THANK YOU! THIS QUICK QUIZ IS NOW CLOSED. Visit this post for the next video clip and quiz … and another prize.

Quick Quiz #1

Does Manny’s search produce a bird? Where’s Uncle Buddy? Watch the short video and you might win a prize if you can answer the UPLAND NATION Quick Quiz … at the end of the clip.  This week’s prize: Blaze Buddy Bandanna. Don’t miss a single frame of great bird hunting and gun dog videos and the chance to win … click on the “Join our FREE mailing list” box, in the upper right corner.

This home movie shot at Ravenwood Lodge, Topeka, KS.

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What does a guy do after two weeks on the road hunting in front of television cameras? Um, well, it was opening weekend of chukar and valley quail season, so take a wild guess.

Manny carries the torch: every dog I've owned has posed with this ridge in the background.

Despite viruses (two out of three of us), sweltering weather, traffic jams and honey-do’s, we convened in the usual place for the usual activities. The upshot? Challenging. Fewer birds, scattered from valley floors to rocky peaks and everywhere in between. Young birds (multiple hatches, we hoped) seemed to dematerialize  after vigorous chases. Dry beds where creeks usually provide life-giving fluid to animals great and small. 

The view from chukar camp

Birds flew – virtually always away from me, but Dave and Mike got shots. As the sun climbed, so did we … into the lava rock that seemed to hold vestigial heat from it’s original source. We heard chukars, flew many at a distance, ultimately earning a few long and desperate shots.

The next day, more of the same, Buddy and Manny racing in a doggie pas de deux, sometimes in unison, other times mirror images on opposite sides of the draw. As Mike and I wheezed up a slope Buddy locked solid, uphill from a flat boulder a football field’s length away. We hightailed it, still slower than the rattled nerves of a trio of partridges. They skirted the ridge. We followed, sidehilling over shale and sloppy soil. We flew that bunch twice more, me taking a couple Hail Mary shots to no effect.  

Mystery bug - anyone know what this new one (for us) is called?

When both dogs sought the scant shade of boulders every time we slowed, I knew it was time to head for camp and the creek, and call it a day.  A small rattlesnake reminded me how warm and early it was in the season, standing (slithering?) his ground as I directed dogs away and left him to his quest for a den.

The small pool in the stream was a welcome sight to all parties, dogs slurping and splashing in relief and joy – their human, too.

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Cold, drizzly weather kyboshed our first day in Mott, North Dakota, a return engagement to Tailfeather Inn. We were, in effect, doing exactly what you would in the same place at the same time: freelancing. But after eight days on the road, we savored a late morning and mellow day of laundry, football and downtime.

We did have a slight advantage in that our host Mark Wiegand had opened the lodge early so we could find sharptails in a ringneck-centric town. He and friends Kurt and John had scouted and researched some starting points for our quest and they deserve an “A” for their work. By next morning, we were primed for the hunt and the weather was friendly.

Joining our mob was Joe Exum, my friend and owner of Happy Jack dog products company. Joe wanted a true western hunt for wild birds and he was not disappointed. Just ask his knees.

This season we’re airing an episode titled “Laid back longtails,” shot at Tailfeather Inn last year. It’s an apt description for the relaxed approach to hunting near Mott. Make some calls, stop some trucks, drive some two-track, and poof, you’re in sharptail territory. North Dakota has a lot of walk-in private land (called PLOTS in this state) that makes it easy for visiting hunters to find some space, and we took good advantage. (more…)

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Okay, we can finally spill the beans on the upcoming season of Wingshooting USA. I hope you have lots of DVR space, and plenty to eat and drink while you watch – there is a lot in store!

Starting October 1 and every Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, you can watch the show on VERSUS. In January, you can also watch on the Pursuit Channel Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. If you’re stuck in the seventies and watching via digital “rabbit ears” on your local TV station, check for AMGTV Sundays 1 p.m. or TUFF TV Saturdays 10 a.m. or 4:30 p.m.

Bring plenty of ammo and dog food – we’ve got an incredible lineup of destinations: Idaho pheasants, Montana huns, North and South Dakota sharpies and pheasants … California pheasants and quail, Oregon valley quail and pheasants and more!

In addition to the hunting, Wingshooting USA is loaded with fun, educational and motivational feature segments:

– “Buddy & Me” sponsored by TruckVault is our continuing adventure as my wirehair and I learn how to teach and learn from each other. Watch sample here:

– TriTronics “Young Hunters Afield”  encourages families to get outside together, rewarding those who send photos of kids with their dogs with a chance at a TriTronics e-collar. Watch here:

– Native Performance Dog Food’s “Conservation Showcase” raises funds for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. Learn how you can help, here:

– ZoomDog’s BuddyCam provides a fascinating look (literally) at a dog’s perspective in the field and at home. Watch here:

– And carrying on our tradition, the National Shooting Sports Foundation offers parents  and children a chance to win a hunting trip on the show with me in their “Take YOUR kid hunting” sweepstakes.” 

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