Chasing Phez.

A Ditch CHicken from last year's successful trip.

So today is opening day for Pheasants in Ohio. I didn’t plan very well and couldn’t take today off to go chase them on opening day. So it will have to wait until tomorrow. This year I have a new, to me, Setter named Nick, and we will see how he does on Pheasants. My plan is to go hunt the thickets for woodcock and hopefully not play out the missing dog scenario that we had a few weeks ago, and with any luck it will be the places that the majority of the folks out hunting the grasslands will avoid, and will find some roosters hiding out from the madness. That’s pretty much how it went last year.

Uncle Ted is in trouble again.


The Nuge headed out to chase ditch chickens for the camera.


According to the Rapid City Journal the always bombastic Ted Nugent might be in hot water again, this time in South Dakota. Apparently it is unclear if his license was suspended in California earlier this year for supposedly…

…hunting deer in a baited area and failing to get an authorized signature on a deer tag. Other misdemeanor charges were dropped in a plea bargain with prosecutors there.

I don’t understand how it could be so hard to figure out that his license was suspended or revoked. It either was or wasn’t. It shouldn’t require an “investigation.” Probably just a phone call? But “investigation” sounds so much more interesting and news worthy.

Now I understand that we have laws and rules that need to followed, and they exist for a reason. But one of my complaints about our system is that it makes it SO complex to participate in these activities that it discourages people from participating. Hammering people for technicalities like these just seems ridiculous and when it makes headlines like this, it gives people the wrong impression, that the game wardens are out there waiting for you to slip up so they can bust. Ph wait a lot of times they are.

Not only that, but I’m not sure why you even need a lisence to hunt on a preserve that is private property with pen raised birds at your own expense? If you want to shoot someone’s pet birds out in the fields they own you shouldn’t have to pay the state for a license to do that.

I understand that license fees generate revenue for habitat, access and all that stuff. I get that, and its totally necessary, and I support it fully. If you are going make use of those elements and hunt on public land and shoot wild birds or released birds, raised by the state, then yeah you should be required to have a license. But if I own a bunch of land and raise a bunch of birds and want to charge people to come hunt them, what does that have to do with the state? I just don’t get it.

Now mind you, I’m not standing up for old Uncle Ted. If you’ve broken the law you need to own up to it, as he did and face the consequences. And if your license is suspended or revoked you need to pay attention to where you can and can’t hunt, its part of the deal.

But I do think that this sends a message to the general public that if someone as informed about the issues and dedicated to the sport as he is, can flub up like this, then maybe they could too. SO maybe he doing a diservice to the community by being an idiot? Yah think?

Then again, maybe most people will just think he is a yahoo and move on with life? You make the call! Why am I even devoting time to this stupidity anyway… who knows?

How not to find Woodcock


A little satellite recon would have saved my sinuses.


Yesterday I went in search of Woodcock at what is said to be a good place to find them Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area. Now mind you, I had number of things working against me. Todays’ media would seieze this opportunity to use a favorite buzzword, “perfect storm” but I hate that phrase and think its overused, so I’ll just say that I had a few things working against me.

1. I took my 5 year old son. Caveat Emptor right? He actually kept up pretty well and except for one fall where he skinned his knee on a log, he didn’t whine once. That by itself, is a WIN! His official capacity was billed as “photographer” and he fulfilled his duties without exception.

2 . I got there later than I wanted to, so it was dry and windy. Not good scenting conditions for the dog.

3 . This is only my second “hunt” with my new “to me” dog Nick. For first hunt with Nick, see Dove post a few weeks back.

4. The place is north of a GIANT chicken poop farm, and the winds were not working in my favor.

After an hour or so of pounding around in the woods we decided to head to the truck for lunch, but apparently Nick didn’t want to so he stayed out. Where he was I will never know, hopefully not on point, because I gave him a couple good jolts with the E-collar to remind him to catch up, but he didn’t oblige.

After a phone call to a friend and some fretting at the car, I decided we needed to go back where we last saw him. On the way I remembered his enthusiasm for all things that go bang, and let off a couple of shots with my firearm.

As you might expect my 12 Gauge Dog whistle worked like a charm and he was at my feet in a minute.

I then leashed him up and we healed back to the car.

I probably did everything wrong, and we have a lot of work to do Nick and I. But the only way to learn is to get out there and do it right?

One bright spot is, I finally put my Android phone with My Tracks GPS mapping software to work. You can see EXACTLY where I hunted on the public Google map over here. I’m generally against detailed information disclosure of this sort but if ain’t a honey hole, then telling you where it is won’t really matter right? So there you have it.

The collage above shows the placement of the chicken poop factory due south. PEEEE-yew, burning nostrils, I’m sure it smelled heavenly to the dog though 🙂

I will post some photos of our hunt, from the eyes of a child later tonight.

Diablo Paddlesports and Earl in the Hospital!

Diablo Paddlesports and a couple of good looking Shorthairs.

This morning I was made aware of a new boat that has given me paddle lust. The Diablo Paddlesports hybrid Sit-on-top stand-up-paddle boat. After successfully launching my home-built Wee Lassie I thought my next boat would have oar locks and be of the drifty dory type hull. But this whole stand-up-paddle situation looks mighty tempting especially for its usefulness in the salt, which my pretty little Wee Lassie will thankfully  never see.

From the looks of the photo above one of the founders of Diablo Paddlesports runs shorthairs, which are cool, but not as cool as Setters, sorry guys.

And I heard this morning that Earl Scruggs has been hospitalized. We hope its nothing serious, get well soon EARL!

UPDATE 2:45 p.m. – We have learned from the Scruggs family that Earl’s hospitalization is not a cause for great concern, and that he is feeling much better.

Who Dey Nick, gets on the Doves.

The view of Glenn's Pond.

Well, this is my first season with the legendary Who Dey Nick. We adopted him at the end of February of last year, which is of course about as far away from a bird season as you can get. We missed the end of Grouse season by a few weeks then, and it seemed like September was an eternity away.

Sure, I had him on quail in my little patch of overgrown grass that I call a training ground, but it’s not like full on hunting.

Today I got him out in the field and he ran hard. We walked the fence rows, tree-lines and grassy patches that weren’t planted this year.

Its my wife’s Great Uncle Glenn’s old farm. He is no longer with us but I’m sure he would have loved Nick. His wife Helen met me out there and did some yard work while we hunted. The morning started off slow while we walked the likely places looking for birds. After an hour or so of pounding the brush we got a few shots off and landed a bird smack in the middle of the beans. This is exactly why we have dogs. He found it in no time flat, one bird in the bag.

We headed back to the truck to get some water and a chair. After walking the entire perimeter of the farm we were both looking for a rest. So we each slurped some water down, truck leaned, and headed back out, this time to the pond.

I set the chair up by some tall weeds up around the high bank of the pond and waited. Sure enough we had some Dove action. I missed a few and dropped one on the side of the pond, but it didn’t seem like it was totally down for the count. So we walked over there, Nick decided to take the path that involved him getting shoulder deep in the muck around the pond. The bird jumped up and it took another shot to finish it off. It dropped twenty yards into the field and again Nick came through.

Two birds in the bag.

On the way back to my chair with an empty chamber three flew right over the pond not twenty feet over my head, oh well.

We waited it out for another hour longer, missed a few more birds and decided to head in. We each had a good covering of cockleburs on us, Nick’s of course adorning his ears in thick dreadlock like clumps.

I wasn’t quite sure how the dog would do. You always hear about hunting dogs that are up for adoption having some Shakespearean character flaw, like being gun shy. But not Nick. He is an amazing bird dog and I can’t wait to get into the Grouse woods up north!

Two Doves isn’t exactly what most would call a successful day out, but hey, its makes for a good appetizer right?

Bird Dogs as Baseball players

Who Dey Nick on the run

This weekend on the Minneapolis Star Tribune site Bob St. Pierre wrote a little post about what bird dog breeds would best fill out a baseball team roster. This is good stuff.  I think the English Setter would make a great manager, since they are really smart, stubborn, and always look smug. Examples: Sparky Anderson, Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox, Lou Pinella.

Around the Horn
Pitcher: Labrador retriever They are all GO for the first seven innings and always want to be at the center of the action. Examples: Curt Schilling, Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, and Jack Morris.
Catcher: Chesapeake Bay Retriever – Tough as nails and able to fight through bruises and bad weather. Examples: Lance Parrish, Carlton Fisk, and Gary Carter.
1st Baseman: Cocker Spaniel – This guy is all hit and no range. Lacks speed on the paths, but capable of going yard. Examples: Eddie Murray, Miguel Cabrera, Steve Garvey, and Lance Berman.
2nd Baseman: Brittany– This rangy midfielder covers a lot of ground in quick bursts and vacuums up grounders and grouse like a Hoover. However, they often have prima donna tendencies. Examples: Roberto Alomar, Jeff Kent, and Joe Morgan.
3rd Baseman: Weimaraner – Capable of putting the team on his back and carrying it for an extended period of clutch hitting, this grizzled veteran is often ornery. Not a player you want to get crossways with in the locker room. Examples: Mike Schmidt, George Brett, and A-Rod.
Shortstop: German shorthaired pointer – Typically the best athlete on the team, a shortstop blends speed with quickness and a strong arm, but leadership as the field general sets most apart from the rest of the dog pack. Examples: Alan Trammell, Derek Jeter, Robin Yount, and Cal Ripken Jr.
Left Fielder: Springer spaniel – A serviceable fielder, but the real value is at the plate where the fastballs are sniffed out and driven for doubles. Examples: Stan Musial, Carl Yastrzemski, and Ryan Braun.
Center Fielder: German wirehaired pointer – Lots of run and range, but not the strongest of arms. Often has blazing speed on the bases and a legitimate hitter for power with average. Examples: Ken Griffey Jr., Torii Hunter, and Curtis Granderson.
Right Fielder: Golden retriever – Despite consistently picked last, this player is often a fan favorite. Typically possessing a strong arm, he is usually a powerful homerun hitter, but does have a propensity to strikeout as well. Examples: Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Kirk Gibson, and Al Kalin

Des Moines hosts Pheasant Fest – with bird dog parade.

Cady, an English cocker spaniel owned by Curt Poquette, at the bird dog parade.

From comes news of the Pheasants Forever Pheasant Fest. Sounds like a good event. There is some interesting details about habitat loss to crop production in there as well. Something to think about.

“The relationship a bird hunter has with that dog, it doesn’t exist in deer hunting or fishing,” he said. “It’s the partnership between man and a canine that is almost completely unique to bird hunting.”

About 400 vendors catering to upland hunters, sport dog owners and wildlife habitat conservationists formed the core of the trade show. It also includes seminars and family events with everything from art to shotguns and tractors to puppies.

NY Times article about Field Trialing

My (New to me) English Setter Nick - Not on Point

Interesting article on field trialing in the NY Times.

GRAND JUNCTION, Tenn. — The competitors arrived at the historic Ames Plantation in pickup trucks with built-in dog kennels, pulling gooseneck trailers hauling saddle horses. After a year of crisscrossing the country, the holy grail of their sport was at last in reach for the owners of 39 of the best bird-hunting dogs in North America.