Monday, October 25, 2010

Almost There

Man it feels like all I do lately is work. That's because that's what I'm doing. I'm getting jealous of all the stories from Mid-Westerners and East Coasters telling tales and adventures about chasing Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock. But I bet they were jealous of us chasing Dusky Grouse in the beginning of September. So I guess we are even!

I should mention that I've been able to get out to the training fields at least once a week to get Abby up to speed and to keep Mia sharp. I can tell you one thing that I'm excited about for this upcoming season: rotating fresh dogs through the day. To finally have two finished springers to hunt with is going to be worth the wait.

I'm also gearing up for a crazy moth of hunting, traveling and work. We take our annual deer/elk trip in two weeks. The pressure is on for this trip to fill the freezer for some much needed venison and elk meat. The following week, we get to chase some pheasants on the plains of Eastern Colorado. Then two weeks after that, Nichole and I are driving back to visit her family in Central Pennsylvania. Don't worry it will be worth the drive to chase Ruffed Grouse.

Speaking of gear. I recently purchased a pair of LL Beans Technical Upland Boots. I really think I'm going to like these ugly boots. Yes, they are ugly but man are the light. So far they feel great but I'll give a report on how they're treating my feet once I get out there.

 til next time....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Great Day for Training

Sometimes the weather can make a great day better and today was one of those days.  With less than a month to go before the pheasant opener, it's time for the last push to finish the girls' conditioning and sharpen up their bird finding skills.

Hunting and training buddy, Adis, and his wife, Aida, headed up to the training grounds to enjoy the beautiful day. Aida carried the camera and she took some amazing shots of the dogs.

For Mia, it's just about maintaining her progress from the grouse season, but Abby is a whole different story.  Since she just arrived back from two months of training this was only my second day running her.  Like any new toy,  all you want to do is to play with it all day and every day! But you definately don't want to break it. And I definately don't want to ruin any of her training.  She had two good runs today, I had about half of that. I missed a few opportunities to advance her training but I'm happy with the day's progress.

In this video you'll see Abby steady to flush and the gun. She stuck a medium/far retrieve.

Mia steady on a rooster.

 This was a great sequence of Adis's dog Oreo smoking out a rooster.
One of the best springer action photos ever!

Zoe the speed demon!
Abby smoking out a hen pheasant!

Here's another great find and flush sequence by Oreo!
It truly was a great day of training made by good friends and great dogs.

til next time...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Abby's Home

Today I picked Abby up from the trainers after 8 weeks of steady training. And steady she is!

I took her out for a run and she was slightly confused when I walked her to the line. She kept looking at Tim who was gunning for me. Once I sent her off she quickly responded to my commands and settled into a nice pattern. After a few flags she hit the scent of the first planted pheasant. Once she sorted out the scent she blew threw the brush and up came a hen pheasant. Tim let the bird get out and downed it with one shot. Since Abby was steady on the flush and gun and I sent her on the retrieve. 

She duplicated this performance on the second plant. After seeing her performance today I was excited to finally run her as a finished spaniel.  As we move forward there are few things that I'll need to work on and they are all handler related!

We'll be training for the next three to get her more exposure to birds before we let her go on the wild ones. It sure is gong to be nice to finally rotate the girls throughout the day.

til next time....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


It seems like the last two weeks of my life have just been one big blur. One minute I was enjoying my last Dusky Grouse hunt and the next minute I was standing in the flagship Filson store in Seattle. 

It's funny how life flies by when you are having fun. While my work load at the restaurant seems to be at an all time high, it's my upland life that keeps me going.  While the hunts are what we all talk about, for me, the last two weeks have been about the education of this sport.

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a field trial gunning seminar for spaniels with my good friend, training, and hunting buddy, Adis, from Upland Hunting the Springer Spaniel Way. While we both are a ways from actually gunning in a trial, the seminar is a prerequisite mandated by the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association, which is the parent club of the breed. The seminar was hosted by a local field trial club. At times we felt like we were complete outsiders, but we were there to educate ourselves on the art of gunning for a field trial. I won't bore you with the details of the inner-workings of the seminar, but I will tell you that we shot well and looked good doing it (and I'm not talking about our looks).

Next up was a trip to Seattle for a friend's wedding. Wow, what a city. The food, the sights and the culture, that city has it all. In between the drinks and meals, Nichole and I took a trip the Filson flagship store. It was very cool to spend some time checking out the high priced gear. It was a lot less fun without my credit card! Sometimes you wonder how your wife can get to the credit cards before you can get into trouble! I think it goes both ways.

Between all this, we were able to pick up Abby from Tim at High Prairie Farms. Tim was traveling for a trial so he offered us the chance to bring her home for a week. Boy did that make Nichole happy. Abby wasted no time getting back into the swing of things. She's a funny little dog with a ton of quirks. She made us laugh as much and maybe more than she did before she left for training.

When I dropped her back off today I was able to witness her progress. If I haven't said it before I'll say it now. Nothing can compare to watching your very own springer steady to flush, gun and wing for the first time! I guess if you have kids you'll be a few up on me, but I don't have kids. She was rock steady and was spot on during the her run. I hung back at the trucks while Tim ran Abby. I knew that she would be steady but it was still amazing to see her in action.  She'll be up at Tim's for one more week of training with a daily dose of pheasants to sure up a few loose ends. From there, Tim will turn her over to me and I will then have a few weeks to train with her before our pheasant season.

til next time....