Firelight Bird Dogs

Firelight Bird Dogs

Monday, December 24, 2012

And not a creature was stirring......

Last night we pulled the Open Range down the drive to the cabin on the lake in Maine, where we left 3 months ago. Today Mike got the woodstove going and turned on the water. Tomorrow friends will come over to share Christmas dinner and good tidings. We wish all of our friends and family a Merry Christmas and hope that you are sharing it with loved ones.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Another first, this time for Mike

After breeding Tweed down in PA we headed to Vermont where we hope the weather holds long enough for us to get in some ruffed grouse hunting. With all campgrounds closed here in the north, we are parked in the drive of gracious friends and we are taking care of their dogs while they are away to warm islands for vacation. Mike wrote this post following a successful hunt.

Took Jack and Dee out today and hunted a cover that a fellow UJer told me about.

Had 11 flushes, 7 points and 2 shots in a 3 hour hunt.

Dee, my almost 2 year old, pointed and retrieved the bird I shot.

LD suggested that I bell my dogs, the first time I had hunted them with bells and it made a big difference. If I had not belled them, I would have never known they were on point. The cover I hunted was thick with hemlock and that seemed to be where the birds were. One time I heard Dee's bell go silent and I knew he was just a short distance from me, but was in a thicket of hemlock. I busted in there and actually saw the grouse on the ground, but when it flushed, it was too thick for a shot. Jack had a number of nice points including a nice point on a bird that had ran out and he pointed it at about 20 yards. Wide open shot, but a little out of my prairie range.

All in all, it was a very cool hunt and look forward to a few more before the weather gets to bad, or the season closes.

And, oh yeah, it is nice to not have to haul water around for the dogs.



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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mother Nature and Tweed

Mother Nature does things on her own time and schedule and apparently so does Tweed. She has come into heat about a month earlier than I had expected so we have put Kansas in our rear view mirror and as I write this we are enroute to PA to breed her. I am repeating the breeding I did last winter because those pups have been precocious and very successful in the grouse woods this fall. I want one for myself!

Here are a couple of pics of the now-10 month olds. C'mon Tweed, let's do it just one more time.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Friends and ghosts

In recent weeks we have had the pleasure of hunting here in Kansas with friends from Texas, Maine and Vermont. We bird hunters sure are willing to travel to sate our addictions, aren't we?!

A true gentleman, Jess, and his beautiful Drahthaar, I love that breed.

His viszla nailed this covey, check out her color camo!

Taylor came out from Maine and it was a lot of fun helping to get him into his first-ever wild quail and pheasant.

As a young man should, Taylor headed off on his own adventure after learning the ropes and texted us pics like this of his dog on quail.

Warren came from Vermont with his 8 month old puppy (from Tweed) and his seasoned veteran grouse dog. And what the heck, he smoked a double on the elusive prairie chicken the first time we even came across a group of them.

The icing on the cake of Warrens visit for Mike was the contents of his fresh-from-Vermont cooler. Aficionados will understand.

Many fun times for sure, but it has been very sad to find that the dismal reports regarding the effects of the drought on Kansas birds were accurate. This is reported to be the most serious drought here since the 1950's with record strings of 100+ degree days. The drought has been hitting southwest Kansas for 2 years now and this year northwest Kansas was hit hard. Pheasants in the nw were devastated this summer and the lack of birds is the topic of discussion for hunters and residents alike since they rely on hunting tourism as an important part of their economy. Mike has hunted this area for years and has been frustrated and saddened by the phez numbers. In fields where we would find a couple of birds Mike would tell me that normally he would have seen 20-30: in these beautiful grasses I could practically feel the presence of the ghosts of pheasants past. We join the locals in hoping that the drought ends soon.

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