Archive for the ‘Pheasants Forever’ Category

Dog of the Day: “Elmer”

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Elmer

Hunters Ace Elmer, call name “Elmer,” is Lee Hemze’s English pointer. “He’s a big runner and a lot of fun,” Hemze says. Elmer pointed this rooster in west central Minnesota during the 2014 hunting season.

Have your own bird dog photo you’d like to share? Email it to Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor, at ahauck@pheasantsforever.org.

Flushing Bars: Simple Devices Save Pheasants in Hayfields

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

FlushingBar

If pheasants are fortunate enough to enter the breeding season in good physical condition, they are not out completely out of harm’s way. As hay lands begin to green up in the spring, they provide a very attractive area for hens seeking a quality nest site. However, these same areas also provide farmers and ranchers with livestock forage. As a result, many hens are incidentally lost due to normal spring haying operations.

But, there is a solution for incidental hen mortality, and the answer is the use of a flushing bar. A flushing bar is a device that typically is mounted on the front of a tractor that precedes the implement being used for haying. A flushing bar creates a disturbance in advance of the implement to allow extra time for the nesting bird to flush to avoid injury or death.

Flushing bars are easy to install, are effective at forcing wildlife out of the path of the mower, and don’t get in the way of production. Research on flushing bars indicates a reduction in mortality of 60 percent in fields of alfalfa or other grass cover that is harvested for livestock forage.

Although the nest is normally destroyed, pheasants are resilient nesters and the majority will re-nest in nearby undisturbed cover. By using a flushing bar, not only will more hens survive the breeding and nesting seasons but many will also go on to successfully hatch a clutch leading to a potential increase in annual bird populations which will possibly lead to subsequent population growth in later years.

Pheasants Forever is piloting the use of flushing bars in South Dakota this year, and landowners are being offered cost-share incentives for the materials to build a custom device. South Dakotans interested in learning more about flushing bars are urged to contact their local Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist, or Mike Blaalid (605) 770-6859 or Mike Stephenson (605) 651-2716.

Find out more about these devices at the Flushing Bar Project.

Field Notes are compiled by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Wildlife Habitat Grant to Help Michigan Pheasants

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Photo credit: Tom Koerner / USFWS

Photo credit: Tom Koerner / USFWS

Pheasants Forever is the recipient of a 2014 Wildlife Habitat Grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The $44,000 grant will help upland habitat restoration efforts at the Lake Hudson State Recreation Area in Lenawee County.

“These funds will be used to contract tree and brush removal on four overgrown fields on the Lake Hudson State Recreation Area,” says Bill Vander Zouwen, Pheasants Forever’s regional representative in Michigan, “Once the trees and brush are cleared, the fields will be planted to native prairie grasses and forbs. The goal for this recreation area is to provide 600 acres of pheasant nesting cover on public lands in a landscape that contains a good amount of Conservation Reserve Program fields on private lands. A population of pheasants exists in this area, and hunters will have access to all of the project fields.” Pheasants Forever’s Michigan State Council is also contributing $5,000 to this project.

The 2,800-acre Lake Hudson State Recreation Area project is also within the Lake Hudson Landowner Cooperative, which has a goal of providing habitat in one of three focus areas of the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative. Local Pheasants Forever chapters have also taken interest in this property and have provided volunteer brush management efforts as well.

Michigan’s Wildlife Habitat Grant Program, which began in October 2013, is funded with a portion of the revenue generated by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses each year. The WHGP is administered by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources through a cooperative effort between the DNR’s Wildlife Division and Grants Management Section. The main objective of the WHGP is to enhance and improve the quality and quantity of game species habitat.

Field Notes are compiled by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Dog of the Day: “Callie”

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Callie

Callie2

Scott Buhler loves the great times hunting pheasants with his black Lab, “Callie.” The pair hunt near Lincoln, California.

Have your own bird dog photo you’d like to share? Email it to Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor, at ahauck@pheasantsforever.org.

Wolters’ Gun Dog: A Great Place to Start for New Bird Dog Puppy Owners

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

GunDogOver the course of the last few weeks, I’ve received dozens of messages from bird hunters excited to welcome a puppy into their lives for the first time this spring. Most of these messages have revolved around one central question:

“Do I have any tips for starting off on the right foot in a pup’s training process?”

Yes, yes I do. Although it was first published in 1961, it’s my opinion Richard Wolters’ book Gun Dog remains the gold standard for beginning bird dog owners.

  • Fundamentals of Obedience. While the book covers more advanced elements of your hunting dog’s education (introduction to guns, birds, and water), it’s Wolters’ focus on the basics of obedience that keep me pointing folks toward Gun Dog as a wonderful foundation upon which to create the bird dog of your dreams.
  • Visual Learners. Gun Dog is also filled with photos and easy-to-understand captions of the training process. Like a good cookbook that includes a snapshot from every step of a recipe, Wolters does a wonderful service to the reader including photos to bring home his text for more visual learners.
  • Bowties & Bird Dogs. Speaking of photos, I always get a kick out of the photos of Wolters training his English setter in his bowtie. The point being, Wolters’ training exercises are short and easy for the bird dog owner after a long work day.
  • Breed Agnostic. It doesn’t make any difference if you own a Lab, springer, or German wirehair, Gun Dog is a versatile training guide for retrievers, flushers or pointers.

As you progress in the training process, you’ll encounter folks who disagree with some of the finer points of Wolters’ instructions. For instance, some pointing dog trainers nowadays don’t want to teach their dog the sit command out of concern a point will slide into a sit. Additionally, Wolters’ text came prior to the advent of e-collars as training tools. There is no doubt some things have changed in the 53 years since Wolters wrote Gun Dog. The basics haven’t changed and that’s where Gun Dog shines.

I’ve used Wolters’ principles to help me establish the fundamentals in two German shorthaired pointing bird dogs that have also doubled as obedient members of our family. I plan to use Wolters’ guidance again on my pup to arrive this summer. If you’re looking for the first building block in training a bird dog yourself, then Wolters’ Gun Dog is a fantastic place to start.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

Dog of the Day: “Ike”

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is one of Steve Grebner’s favorite pictures of his German shorthaired pointer, “Ike,” taken while on a pheasant hunting trip to South Dakota.

Have your own bird dog photo you’d like to share? Email it to Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor, at ahauck@pheasantsforever.org.

Dog of the Day: “Cosmo”

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Cosmo

Pheasants Forever member Steven Bode, from Omaha, Nebraska, and his English springer spaniel, “Cosmo,” pursue pheasants around Omaha and also travel to hunt near Kennebec, South Dakota.

Have your own bird dog photo you’d like to share? Email it to Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor, at ahauck@pheasantsforever.org.

Dogs of the Day: “Mac” and “Costa”

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Mac

Adam Augustine’s bird dogs, “Mac,” a Deutsch-Drahthaar and “Costa,” a German shorthair/Lab mix, showed off their pointing skills on this hunt near Higbee, Missouri.

Have your own bird dog photo you’d like to share? Email it to Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor, at ahauck@pheasantsforever.org.

Dog of the Day: “Buster”

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Buster

“Buster,” Dave Lardy’s Labrador retriever, was the type of companion every dog owner dreams of. The sharp-looking, hard-hunting Lab passed away this April. “He never growled, mistreated or blew off a single person he ever met. He was an extremely friendly dog, always happy to meet new people. Besides shedding his white hair on a black pair of slacks, there was nothing a person could hold against Buster,” says Dave’s son, Ben Lardy. Buster helped introduce both Dave and Ben to hunting. “He could sniff out a table scrap small enough to be invisible to the human eye, but would also track a downed bird like it was his life’s mission,” says Ben, who is now a Pheasants Forever farm bill biologist.

Have your own bird dog photo you’d like to share? Email it to Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor, at ahauck@pheasantsforever.org.

Minnesota 2014 Pheasant Hunting Season Set, Walk-in Access Expanding

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Walk In Access

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has set season dates for the state’s 2014 pheasant hunting season. The season will open on Saturday, October 11, 2014 and close on Sunday, January 4, 2015.

Additionally, Minnesota’s Walk-in Access (WIA) program will expand from 28 counties to 35 counties in 2014. The Walk-in Access program – much of it geared toward pheasant hunters – provides hunting opportunities on private land that is already enrolled in existing conservation programs or lands with high-quality wildlife cover. More than 20,000 acres are expected to be enrolled in the program by autumn.

Field Notes are compiled by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.