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Posts Tagged ‘German wirehair’

What does yukky weather do to your hunting plans? I’m looking at a Courier & Ives winter scene: eight fluffy inches of snow against a deep green forest … all that’s missing is a one-horse open sleigh.

Did I mention the two wirehairs snuffling around in the white stuff, looking for God-knows-what and bringing half the snow load back into the house?

The original plan was a weekend in the chukar hills of eastern Oregon … steep canyons along a secret stream – the only place I’ve limited on valley quail, chukars and pheasants in the same day. But six hours driving each way, most on icy roads, then slogging through at least as much snow was daunting enough to incent me to indoor chores and office work instead. [Did you get my survey re: dog club needs?]

So where do you draw your line in the sand, er, snow? What conditions are you willing to tolerate and which aren’t? Would you hunt in the rain, mud and slush? What’s your, and your dog’s upper temperature-tolerance range?

I hate wind! Is there a type of weather that is completely, totally off the table for you? And how about practical concerns? We shot sporting clays last weekend in cold and fog and one gun (or one shell) experienced what muzzleloaders call a hang fire. My guess was, sticky firing pin due to cold affecting whatever lubricant was in the works. You?

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The latest installment of “Buddy & Me.”

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[Before you read on, help out your favorite cause by voting NOW at these sites:

www.wingshootingusa.org … Take one of your kids hunting on the show next season. Click on the “Win a Shot on the Show” icon.

www.blackswingandclay.com… Cash for your conservation group, Cabela’s gear for you! Click on the “Hot Dog” icon.

www.nativedogfood.com … a TON of food for a hunting dog rescue club. Click on the “”Win a Ton” icon in the upper left corner.]

NEAR HILGER, MONTANA: Even rotating dogs every hour, we were concerned. Temperatures hovered near 90 degrees by 2 p.m., and we were burning through the water (pardon the pun). Most, of course, was going into and onto the dogs.

We were making one of next season’s episodes for Wingshooting USA, and my first sage grouse hunt began auspiciously, sighting a small flock as it fled our trucks. Whatever you’ve heard about them, know that they love to run, fly, run, fly, then repeat. The best news? Most flights were a few hundred yards and we could mark them for another stalk.

Here’s a sampling of – truly – “Big Sky” country … from our sky cam, and my audio field report, too:

Al Gadoury’s English Setters had seen it all before, maintaining their distance and approaching scent cones with delicate steps. Up a draw carpeted by snowberry, one dog locked up and we approached as cautiously as she had. One (more…)

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OVERLOOKING LAWYER’S CREEK, IDAHO: It was warming already, “it” being 6:40 a.m. in the wheat stubble west of the Clearwater River near Kamiah, Idaho. Flying B Ranch head guide Rich Coe pre-wet his pointer and shorthair, so I did the same with Buddy and we were off on a quest for chukar partridge.

A fence corner and rock pile produced the first point, but the long-tailed dog broke off and trotted toward us. Buddy locked up in the same vicinity and a bird flew wild. Minutes later, a solid point by the shorthair and the first bird was brought to bag as we gazed downward, panting, a thousand feet into the canyon that holds the Flying B.

TV SHOW LAUNCH UPDATE: Wingshooting USA debuts Sept. 30! Go here for more details.

That first productive point prompted Rich’s question, which I’d hoped would never come on this three-dog hunt: “does your dog back?” The answer of course, is not really, but with some verbal encouragement from his owner and a lot of self-discipline, Buddy began honing his honoring skills. He had plenty of opportunities to practice in the target-rich environment that was the breaks between canyon and cropland. (more…)

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Besides time with friends, training together has other benefits for you and your dog

Besides time with friends, training together has other benefits for you and your dog

How often do you train with others? The saying goes “many hands make quick work,” but it’s not just about productivity. Often, the payoffs are more subtle, but just as valuable.

Everyone has a story or two: about hunting spots they’re willing to share, pedigrees and reading between their lines … even if it’s just a tip on a piece of gear you can’t live without (okay, several pieces).

But there’s more. Watching other dogs work, you think of your own. Pitching in, your on-the-ground observations take on added relevance. Do you see your own dog in others?

In medical school, so they say, the best way to learn is to teach. And while we may not be “teaching” when we trade chores like planting birds, the lessons are there for the taking.

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You'd be pooped too, if you'd been in front of a TV camera for two days

You'd be pooped too, if you'd been in front of a TV camera for two days

Watch any good TV show, and you’ll soon come to the conclusion that pieces are recorded at different times in different places, for different reasons. From Desperate Housewives to well, Wingshooting USA, opportunity, circumstance, timing, and a dozen other reasons come into play when scheduling a shoot.

Which leads to the last couple days, in which Buddy and I were in front of a camera for most of the daylight hours.  We recorded 13 different “Buddy & Me” segments that will be part of the new show. I’m no dog trainer – more of a “trainee,” but that’s the simple way to describe these short features. They are really about what I learn from dogs, and about hunting, and getting (more…)

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Windy? Sure, but it beats working.

Windy? Sure, but it beats working.

I don’t know about you, but here in Oregon we’ve had one of the windiest springs on record. I’ve been chasing hats across parking lots way too often.

Drilling for Buddy’s NAVHDA Utility test (and a segment on the new TV series Wingshooting USA), we braved gale-force winds yesterday at a local preserve. Mother Nature had her own ideas about our practice session, though. What do you make of this?

Buddy would lock up staunchly, I’d walk in, and about the time I would get in front of him he’d move. Sometimes, a creep, point, creep. More often, he’d move a lot, circling wide, heading far upwind of where I thought the bird was. I’d kick around, searching, but there was never a bird where it should have been.

According to the local TV weather guesser, the wind was screaming 30, 40 m.p.h. so I think I’ve got an idea: wind-diffused scent from dozens to hundreds of yards off sometimes hit his nose, other times a gust moved it out of his reach. When it went blank, he was off in search of it again.

What I’m most curious about is the circling. It was always to the right, swinging wide 50-60 yards in a counter-clockwise circle ending up about where he started. He’d hunt on from there, sometimes whiffing scent again, sometimes not. Any ideas?

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