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.

Classics: The Road to Tinkhamtown

One of the things I’m trying to do here at the Fiddle and Creel is feature good art, especially stuff that may be overlooked by the modern short attention span world we live in. Stuff that makes you pause and take notice of the little things, and reflect on the world we live in. We need a little more of that today. WIth all the noise and clutter in our lives today, meetings, email, cell phones, TXT messages, its all just clutter that gets in the way of doing the good work that we need to do. Below is a good example what the folks over at Field and Stream call The Greatest Outdoor Story Ever Written.

First published in an edited version by Field & Stream in October 1969. This is the original version, written in 1964 (returned in 1993 by Laurie Morrow from Corey Ford’s handwritten manuscript). Reprinted with permission of Dartmouth College.

The road was long, but he knew where he was going. He would follow the old road through the swamp and up over the ridge and down to a deep ravine, and cross the sagging timbers of the bridge, and on the other side would be the place called Tinkhamtown.  He was going back to Tinkhamtown.

He walked slowly, for his legs were dragging, and he had not been walking for a long time.  He had not walked for almost a year, and his flanks had shriveled and wasted away from lying in bed so long; he could fit his fingers around his thigh.  Doc Towle had said he would never walk again, but that was Doc for you, always on the pessimistic side.  Why, here he was walking quite easily, once he had started.  The strength was coming back into his legs, and he did not have to stop for breath so often.  He tried jogging a few steps, just to show he could, but he slowed again because he had a long way to go.

It was hard to make out the old road, choked with young alders and drifted over with matted leaves, and he shut his eyes so he could see it better.  He could always see it whenever he shut his eyes.  Yes, here was the beaver dam on the right, just as he remembered it, and the flooded stretch where he had to wade, picking his way from hummock to hummock while the dog splashed unconcernedly in front of him.  The water had been over his boottops in one place, and sure enough as he waded it now, his left boot filled with water again, the same warm, squidgy feeling.  Everything was the way it had been that afternoon.  Nothing had changed.  Here was the blowdown across the road that he had clambered over and here on a knoll was the clump of thornapples where Cider had put up a grouse – he remembered the sudden road as the grouse thundered out, and the easy shot that he missed – they had not taken time to go after it.  Cider had wanted to look for it, but he had whistled him back.  They were looking for Tinkhamtown. (Read More)

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.

Pheasants from Public Land in Ohio

We headed to one of our state public hunting grounds yesterday and flushed a few birds. Three Quails, Two Pheasants, and a Woodcock. However woodcocks were out of season, quail are off limits due to lack of numbers, but we did take down two pheasants. Pictures are below.

Boo Is On Point for our first Pheasant of the day

First Bird, flushed from thick cover on the edge of a pond.

Close up of the first bird in hand.

Left to right: Boo, Pheasant, & Me