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  Omaha.com 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.