Posts Tagged ‘German wirehair’

Admit it, you too woke up in a cold sweat one recent night. “MY GOD! There’s so much left to do and there’s only (blank) weeks until opening day!”

Here, it’s polishing Flick’s steadiness: when he hits scent, when the bird flies, falls, or just stands there as the pup rounds a corner and gets a glimpse before he hits scent. My gentle version of force-fetch training is going well, and only a wild bird situation on a high chukar hill will prove (or disprove) my theory.

Your dog(s), your plans, may be different. But we are fast approaching the “triage” time of year, when shortcuts and compromises become part of our thought process. Are you there yet? I am trying not to settle yet for noncompliance in the above areas yet, but am mentally prepared for an all-hell-breaking-loose scenario on that first morning. It’s the best reason to open a season hunting solo.

In our little training group, every dog is at a different point in their career and that makes things interesting. We all get a new perspective, can see where our dog stands in the evolution toward “finished.” Watching a pup grow mentally and physically is therapeutic. Many of us, I’ll bet, breathe a sigh of relief at being even just a little farther along with our own dog.

We can help by sharing success stories and horror stories so someone else moves forward faster – or doesn’t do the silly things we all did! We get encouragement and feedback, and a few beers over good conversation.

So, what are you working on? And more importantly, HOW?

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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:

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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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