Archive for the ‘Pheasants Forever’ Category

Dog of the Day: “Reed”

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Reed

Drew Murphy has been working on retrieving drills with his new golden retriever pup, “Reed.”

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: “Stella”

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Stella

Garrett Mikrut and his 3-year-old German shorthaired pointer, “Stella,” found these ruffed grouse last season. “She pointed one bird 100 yards in the woods. When I approached, the grouse flushed and Stella retrieved the bird.  On the way back to the trail, Stella pointed the second grouse and she retrieved that one as well,” Mikrut says.

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: “Max”

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Max

“Max” was Donald Armstrong’s 7-year-old German shorthaired pointer. Unfortunately, Max passed away following a car accident earlier this year. “He was a great pheasant dog and good duck dog in the blind,” Armstrong says.

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: “Penny”

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Penny - Copy

Bruce Hood and his Chesapeake Bay retriever, “Penny,” made a trip to Alberta, Canada to hunt pheasants last fall.

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.

Hunting Nebraska’s Panhandle with the High Plains Chapter of Pheasants Forever

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

High Plains Chapter President Brad Lines

Brad Lines proudly displays a ringneck earned working the uplands of the “High Plains.” Photo by Mark Herwig / Pheasants Forever

High Plains Chapter President Brad Lines and I could be ‘brothers.’ That’s what hunting does; it turns strangers into friends when they hit the hunting trail together for several days. The challenges and adventures of the field bring people together.

I had never met Lines before traveling to Sidney, Nebraska last November to learn about the chapter’s conservation efforts and do some pheasant hunting in this drought-stricken area. But hunters speak a common language; they share common instincts and passions. The love of the wild outdoors, the chase and our gun dogs often makes for a quick and strong connection. Lines and I still exchange emails about our outdoor pursuits, conservation and lives.

There are elements of danger in hunting, challenges that bring people together. Venturing far afoot in remote country in cold weather in pursuit of the shooting sports can mean trouble if you’re not careful – and even if you are. Of course, most hunters are aware that hunting can be dangerous, in fact, that’s one reason why many of us seek it out. There is a great sense of accomplishment having measured up to the mental and physical challenges of hunting.

Of Sidney’s 6,000 residents, roughly 2,000 work at Cabela’s. Its youthful workforce is reflected in the chapter’s leadership and members. This is no small fact considering one of the biggest challenges facing the future of conservation and hunting is the aging of its participants.  Colton Thomas, who volunteers for the chapter’s youth mentor hunt, and Dan Schumacher, banquet chair, are both in their 20s. Thanks guys for stepping up.

The chapter uses Cabela’s support, and that of many other partners, to combat the area’s main challenge to pheasants – exposure to the high plain’s legendary cold, dry, long, windy winters, said 15-year Habitat Chair Galen Wittrock at a get-acquainted dinner. His position with the chapter is a natural fit: he’s assistant manager of the area Natural Resources District (NRD), which often puts him in contact with landowners who may be interested in partnering with the chapter on habitat projects.

“We all live the outdoor life. Cabela’s encourages real world enthusiasts, including doing conservation work in the community,” said chapter Treasurer Will Helm. “And when it comes to taking a day or two to do the chapter’s banquet, it’s no big deal.” (The chapter’s 2013 and 2014 banquets drew over 600 folks. Two years running the chapter has had its largest netting habitat banquets, the largest in the Nebraska Panhandle – Awesome!)

Landowner and chapter member Carter Kokjer is a good example of a Cabela’s man keeping the legend of the hunt alive. He has done a lot of habitat work on his 1,400-acre wheat farm where, in fact, he was our ‘outfitter’ for a day. Kokjer has 250 acres in CRP at $35/acre. He could get $35/acre cash rent for that 250, but then where would the pheasants come from for him and his buddies to chase? As Wind in his Hair said in Dances With Wolves, “good trade.” These are important acres for all wildlife given 97 percent of the state’s land is private.

To help, Colby Kerber, PF’s regional wildlife biologist for western Nebraska, suggested Kokjer enroll in the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Crop Stubble Management (CSM) Wildlife & Water Conservation Program, a partnership with PF and the local Natural Resource Districts which pays $10/acre; with an additional $3/acre available from NRD and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission if landowners allow walk-in public hunting access. In exchange, landowners agree to cut their wheat stubble no shorter than 14 inches and leave it undisturbed from harvest through April. Pheasants will nest in wheat stubble over 14 inches because they feel safe from avian predators. And if that stubble isn’t sprayed during fallow, weeds grow to provide chicks the insects they need. Some 25,000 acres were enrolled in CSM last year, but only about 16,000 were actually enrolled due to the severe drought.

Reap what you sow

There was some easy walking snow on the ground when Kokjer, Lines, Kerber, Burke Radcliffe and I headed out to hunt Kokjer’s place the next morning. It was a perfect morning for chasing roosters – mild temps (10-degrees), no wind and sunny. Right off, some birds flushed from Kokjer’s winter shelterbelts, which consist of six rows of nice weedy cedars next to the warm season grass CRP with clover and alfalfa in between the belt rows for brood cover.  That got our attention……..and the dogs’ too. So, we were off to the races, watching the horizon for more color on the wing.

Kokjer said the CRP was actually helped by the 2012-13 drought because it allowed more sunflowers and other forbs to encroach. The chapter helps keep CRP going on the national level by contributing $10,000/year the last two years to PF’s Legislative Action Fund.

“It’s so important to get behind the Farm Bill. We’re very passionate about it,” Lines said. Kerber noted that once CRP becomes more widespread in Nebraska, PF will be ready with a veritable convoy of 60 no-till grassland drills, which were purchased using Nebraska Environmental Trust funds, to do the planting.

We pushed that shelterbelt west and saw a dozen mostly roosters flush long. The snow was covered with tracks. Lines and I winged one bird, but didn’t find it. Not long after, Lines dropped a nice bird with one shot, his smooth-coat wirehair Ava making the retrieve. Next, a group shot brought another bird, Ava closing the deal again.

The dogs soon got hot again with Lines’ other smooth-coat Jade and Kokjer’s golden Molly getting into the action. We chased it a half mile before it broke, Radcliffe doing the honors with a single shot. These Cornhuskers can shoot.

Photo Gallery

 

Read the full story in the 2014 Pheasant Hunting Preview issue of the PF Journal.  Join or Renew your Pheasants Forever membership today and you’ll receive all five issues of the PF Journal annually.  

Story & photos by Mark Herwig, editor of Pheasants Forever’s Journal of Upland Conservation

Dog of the Day: “Chip”

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Chip

“Chip” is Erik Griffin’s 6-month-old chocolate Labrador retriever. The pair, from Crookston, Minn., is currently working on obedience training and upland hunting scenarios. “Chip has shown excitement and the drive for hunting of a dog well beyond his years. I look forward to working with him this hunting season,” Griffin says.

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: “Koda”

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Koda

Steve Laney and “Koda,” his 3-year-old English pointer, worked hard last season hunting roosters on public land in northwest Iowa. This picture was taken after a good day of hunting in December.

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.

A Few More Tips for Adding a Second Dog

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

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We had four or five male dogs for many years, overlapping generations without ever having problems. Their ages were spread out, and we never had more than one male intact. The last go-around changed everything when the youngest male reached about a year old and we had two intact males in the house. Play turned rough one day and the two were at it in a full blown dog fight before we realized what was happening. We neutered the younger one and developed several strategies for keeping life calm. Most of the time they are fine, but occasionally they still get edgy with each other.

Bringing a puppy into the house when you already have an older dog requires careful introduction and supervision until Dog #1 clearly accepts the puppy and the puppy learns its place in the household routines. Down the road, however, when the puppy becomes Dog #2, other measures may be needed to be sure life in the household stays smooth.

Also read: Five Tips for Adding a Second Bird Dog

Fortunately, there are all kinds of “pack management” tactics that keep everyone – dogs and people – happy. The key to most of them is simply knowing our dogs, being able to read their signals, and being able to identify triggers for confrontation.  A lot of our tactics are simple obedience issues, most of which reinforce the fact that we – the people – are dominant. Here are a few employed in our house:

  • When it comes to meal time or play time, we do not let the excitement level escalate. If they start to bark and spin and jump in each others’ faces, we issue a “whoa” then “sit” before they are let out or given their bowls. To avoid the out-of-control race downstairs every morning, the most excitable one must wait at the top of the stairs until released after the other three have been let outside. Humans always pass through the door first if we’re all going out together.
  • If the two start posturing or showing any signs that could develop into aggression, a sharp “cut it” or “leave it” command interrupts the behavior. Another option is to divert the behavior into something else. For example, if the two have been separated for a while, as when one goes on a hunting trip and the other stays home, the older one always wants to re-establish his dominance and gives a low growl when the younger one (who sometimes seems dumber than a box of rocks) jams right into his face to say hello. Simple solution – I put a bumper in the younger one’s mouth before they greet each other which turns his thoughts to play and he bounds away. Another diversion is to call one or both into a “heel” and move them out of that space. Or go directly to the treat jar which distracts the whole pack.
  • Our dogs are allowed the run of the house when no one is home, but those two are separated by rooms. The overzealous eater dines in the bathroom or pantry. No bowls are left on the floor other than the communal water bowl. And only two dogs are allowed to play with a toy or generally wrestle at a time – no threesomes.

This pack management requires more attention than with our dogs in the past, but so much of our daily life is filled with routines that knowing which part of the routines need extra attention has become habit. Most of all, we make sure each dogs gets his equal share of love, bed space, hunting time and songs. Dogs never complain when you’re off key; they appreciate the melody either way.

Nancy Anisfield, an outdoor photographer/writer, sporting dog enthusiast and bird hunter, serves on Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Board of Directors. She resides in Hinesburg, Vermont.

Dog of the Day: “Casey”

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Casey

Norton’s Odyssey Twilight, call name “Casey,” is Ian Pizey’s 5-year-old German shorthaired pointer. “She loves to hunt and retrieve, and has proven herself on ruffed grouse and woodcock in Ontario and sharptails and Huns in North Dakota,” Pizey says, “But my favorite times with Casey are in South Dakota looking for ringnecks.” Casey has also been to Nebraska and Texas in pursuit of quail.

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: “Hank”

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Hank

“Hank,” Michael Sousa’s German shorthaired pointer, had that all-business look on their first outing together.

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.