Posts Tagged ‘KFAN’

UPDATES: Izzy, Trammell and a Thank You

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Izzy found this brace of bobwhites during a Rooster Road Trip hunt last year in Nebraska

Izzy found this brace of bobwhites during a Rooster Road Trip hunt last year in Nebraska

I love to write.  However, as my wife, Meredith, so adeptly penned in her blog post, I was overcome with emotion at Izzy’s passing.  I knew I could never write a blog that would do justice to how much Izzy meant to our family.  I didn’t know where, or how, to begin.  Every time I thought about her potential in the field, I’d tear up.  Every time I’d think about her positive energy and unconditional love in our home, I’d sob uncontrollably.  As bird hunters, we spend a couple dozen days a year in the field with our dogs if we’re lucky, while the remaining 300 plus are spent in kitchens, back yards and walks around the block.  Izzy was the “energy” in our family that’s now gone.  While every dog owner knows he/she will outlive their canine best friend, we’re never really prepared for the day that inevitability comes home to roost, especially at 1 year, 7 months and 8 days.

Our Community

In the days since that fateful Saturday, October 19th, I’ve received more than 200 emails, voicemails, blog comments, Facebook messages and Tweets with words of support and wisdom.  To put it bluntly, I’ve been overwhelmed by the expressions of sympathy and friendship the Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever and bird dog communities have shown me.

As you can imagine, I’ve been brought to tears dozens of times in the days since Izzy was taken too early from us.  What I wasn’t expecting was that my little 1 ½ year old pup would inspire people to reach out to me to articulate their support for my personal well-being, Pheasants Forever’s habitat mission and my role within that mission.  People I’ve never met before or interacted with have grabbed the phone and keyboard to tell me what my words on the screen or over the radio waves have meant to them over the last several years.

Izzy and Trammell find a pair of late August sharp-tailed grouse in northwestern Wisconsin

Izzy and Trammell find a pair of late August sharptails

Trammell’s Recovery

When Meredith wrote her blog post, she did leave out one massive component of our terrible weekend when Izzy died.  She did so purposefully as a sign of respect to Izzy’s importance in our lives.  However, I feel it’s now appropriate to also bring to light just how close we came to losing both our dogs within 24 hours.  The night following Izzy’s passing, Trammell woke us up at 5AM.  She was dry-heaving and struggling to breathe.  This lasted for about thirty minutes before I was overcome by a sense of “I’m not going to lose both my dogs to tragedies in one day,” so we raced to a 24-hour pet hospital.  They immediately took X-rays and found two nails, a staple and a massive wad of grass in Tram’s stomach.  As you can imagine, I was shocked.  While definitely food-motivated, Trammell has never been a chewer.  I couldn’t comprehend how nails were now threatening her life.  The vet did an immediate endoscopy successfully removing one nail, but was unable to capture the second.  Emergency stomach surgery to remove the second nail surrounded by a massive ball of grass commenced and was thankfully successful.  I’ll never know how Tram picked up those nails; however, I am fearful they were intended for a wolf in a bait pile left in the same woods Izzy passed.  I hope my thoughts are purely those of an angry and grieving dog owner.  No animal – wolf, dog or other – deserves such a fate.  Thankfully, Tram’s stitches are now out and she is making a full recovery.

Borrowing a Dog

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been offered the services of a dozen people’s bird dogs.  Most of these offers have come from folks I’ve never met before.  I can’t express the measure of generosity I’ve felt from these offers.  Let’s face it; I haven’t had much luck with bird dogs recently.  For a stranger to trust me with their pup speaks volumes to their humanity.

While I’m eternally grateful to these offers, I’ve always had a rule about “borrowing” another’s bird dog (even before the tragedies of the last two weeks).  Under no circumstances will I ever put myself in a situation of being responsible for another’s pup.  Likewise, I’ll never lend out my own dogs.  My opinion is it’s simply too much of a risk for both parties to be in a situation of having to answer for unexpected circumstances.  Nevertheless, I do want to acknowledge the overwhelming gratefulness I’ve felt each time one of these offers arrived in my Inbox.  THANK YOU for trusting me.

Rooster Road Trip

The afternoon after Trammell’s surgery, I emailed Andrew and Anthony from my home after waking up from a sleep with Tram in bed.  In that email, I told the guys there was no way I’d be going out on this year’s tour without either of my dogs.  “Agony” is the word I used to categorize the feeling I’d have wandering five states “alone” to think about my departed Izzy and mending Tram.  As you’d expect from fellow dog guys, they understood completely and quickly enlisted Rehan Nana, Pheasants Forever’s Public Relations Specialist, to fill my slot.  I think you’d all agree, the trio did a marvelous job on this year’s Rooster Road in my absence.

Top Gun Yzerman "Izzy" v. St.Pierre

Top Gun Yzerman “Izzy” v. St.Pierre

Cremation and Rebirth

There were tears in our kitchen again last week.  Heavy tears.  Meredith brought Izzy’s cremated remains home from the vet in a tin urn.  As I write, that tin rests on our mantle next to Izzy’s puppy blanket . . . and I miss her a lot . . . and the tears stream down my face again.  1 year, 7 months and 8 days of joy.  Thank You, Izzy, for loving me and being my bird dog.  I’ll miss you FOREVER and hope to someday join you for another hunt.  Just you, me and Tram.  I love you . . .

Life and death, it is the incongruity of our existence.  Izzy’s passing has put the St.Pierre name on the list for a Top Gun litter again this spring. God willing, Izzy’s half-sister will join the St.Pierre family late next spring and you will have to endure another round of articles about dog names, potty training and first birds.  For Meredith and me, there was never any question we’d have to add another pup to our family as soon as possible.  The void Izzy’s departure has left in our home with her “big” personality is just too large to not try filling immediately.  I understand why some folks would take more time to grieve before getting another puppy.  Simply put, the opposite was needed for our recovery.

If you’d like to read a bit more about my beloved Izzy, here are a few links:

Finally, I just wanted to say “THANK YOU” for all the notes, love and support.  THANK YOU for all the messages and photos about your pups pointing in Izzy’s honor.  Most importantly, THANK YOU for giving your pup a scratch under the chin in Izzy’s memory.  That was always her favorite spot and I know she’s wagging her tail every time another pup gets a little love there.  THANK YOU.  I am humbled and thankful for your friendship.  Bob

Izzy's first pointed grouse came at the tender age of 7 months.

Izzy’s first pointed grouse came at the tender age of 7 months.

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.

BOOK REVIEW: Hank Shaw’s “Duck, Duck, Goose”

Friday, November 1st, 2013

The author, Hank Shaw, will also appear at National Pheasant Fest 2014 in Milwaukee

The author, Hank Shaw, will also appear at National Pheasant Fest 2014 in Milwaukee

Over my careers working for Pheasants Forever, in the front office of a minor league baseball team, and co-hosting on KFAN radio, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some relatively famous people.  (WARNING – NAME DROPS COMING)  I’ve had the good fortune to pitch baseballs to the likes of Bill Murray and Andrew Dawson, play catch with Alan Trammell and Rollie Fingers, manage press pools for President George W. Bush, organize meet & greets with Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Michael Stipe of R.E.M., and interview four different members of the Swamp People. Out of all those experiences, I’ve come to value a person’s genuine friendliness above all else.

 

While Hank Shaw doesn’t yet have the name recognition of a Grammy winner, he recently added a James Beard award to his resume as the country’s best food blogger. More importantly, Hank is a guy anyone could drink a beer with while talking about the day’s bird hunt and becoming fast friends. Hank has a way of emulating your oldest drinking buddy.

 

Much to Hank’s chagrin, I always attribute his friendliness to the fact he served as a political reporter for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press while Jesse “The Body” Ventura was Governor of Minnesota and then as beat reporter for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger before embracing his culinary career. Anyone having to endure those tenures as a journalist was bound to come out the other end either jaded by the world or able to see the good in humanity under any situation. Thankfully, Hank escaped as the later.

 

Over the last couple of years, I’ve gotten to know Hank through his appearances at National Pheasant Fest where he speaks on the event’s Cooking Stage. During the show when he’s not speaking, Hank hangs out in the Press Room with me and my cohorts. He tells us of his favorite hunts, evening’s dining plans and the scuttlebutt across America’s wild game food scene. More importantly, he jumps in and helps whenever he can. On a moment’s notice, he’s helped me do a live pheasant cooking demonstration for a television station and then the next moment he’s helping haul boxes to a special banquet event upstairs. Want to grab a beer after the day, Hank’s buying.

 

And did I mention, he won the James Beard Award this year as the country’s best food blogger. Basically, he’s the MVP of food writers. And his new book Duck, Duck, Goose lives up to the standard you’d expect coming from the Heisman of honker cooking. Duck, Duck, Goose is filled with exciting recipes featuring wild edibles like morel mushrooms and ramps, as well as fun new approaches like duck sliders and buffalo duck wings.

 

However what I found most interesting was Hank’s review of different species of ducks and geese as table fare. Did you know a specklebelly goose is nicknamed “ribeye in the sky” for its exquisiteness on the plate? I’ve heard the sandhill crane called the ribeye or “flying fillet” before, but never the speck. Hank’s favorite waterfowl for dinner at his own home, the canvasback.

 

Duck, Duck, Goose is a marvelous addition to any bird hunter’s collection. It’s filled with beautiful photography and a good mix of both simple and complex dishes. It’s hard bound and perfectly suited as a gift for the upcoming holiday season. Equally as important, Hank is an independently employed good guy. Your purchase of this book doesn’t furnish a beach house in the Bahamas or a bank account in the Caymans. Your purchase of this book helps a guy like you pay for his hunting license, a box of Prairie Storm and a six pack of suds to wash down a dinner of roast duck.

 

Hank Shaw on a diver duck hunt

Hank Shaw on a diver duck hunt

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

 

Hank is slated to speak on the cooking stage again at National Pheasant Fest 2014 in Milwaukee on February 14, 15 & 16, 2014. His topics include:

  • Happy Hour: Pairing beer & wine with wild game
  • Getting the most from your upland birds
  • Wild game sausage and other curing techniques

 

Saturday Morning FAN Outdoors Radio Interview 

And lastly, you can listen to Hank with me this Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors. “The Captain” Billy Hildebrand and I will be interviewing Hank about the new book and his fall hunting & book tour across the country. I’ll also do my best to persuade Hank to begin writing an upland-oriented book for his third hardbound endeavor. So far, he’s refuted my advances, but we’ll see if 100,000 watt radio can change his mind. Tune in at 6:30AM this Saturday on FM 100.3 or anywhere in the world at www.KFAN.com.

 

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.

Our Busy Izzy Rests

Friday, October 25th, 2013

The St.Pierre Family (Izzy, Bob, Trammell & Meredith)

The St.Pierre Family (Izzy, Bob, Trammell & Meredith)

By Meredith St.Pierre (Editor’s Note – Meredith is the wife of Bob St.Pierre, the regular author of this Blog)

It may come as a surprise for readers of this blog and FAN Outdoors radio listeners to learn that when Bob and I got married 8 years ago, I gave his Groom’s Toast. Bob was overcome with emotion and love for his family, much like he is now. So for the second time in our marriage, I’m going to do my best to convey his thoughts as he struggles to find words to write worthy of the bird dog he so dearly loved.

On Saturday, Bob and I lost our youngest pup, Izzy, in a freak accident while she was running through the woods. She collided with an oak log, ruptured her carotid artery and was gone from us in only a matter of minutes. There was nothing that could have been done to save her; even her skid plate was no match for the force of impact. Her loss has shaken us to our cores and left us with an unimaginable void. She was only 1 ½ years old; we thought she had thousands of birds yet to point. We weren’t ready to let her go; no dog owner ever is, but this was especially early and cruel.

Izzy always caught the camera, like this photo from a Gander Mountain photo shoot

Izzy always caught the camera, like this photo from a Gander Mountain photo shoot

We could go over Izzy’s best hunts, our favorite memories or what we’ll miss most about her, but the truth is, we’re not alone. Izzy’s loss has shown me once again that the hunting community is a special one. The outreach and support we’ve had has been tremendous. The stories of men who hunted behind our Izzy help us to remember her. Hearing that others thought she was a gem of dog, help too. It also helps to talk about her tornado of energy and limitless loving nature. But more so, it helps to know others have felt our pain and returned to the field behind future canine best friends.

We know life will go on, but a part of our hearts was lost in the Wisconsin grouse woods on Saturday. Top Gun Yzerman “Izzy” St.Pierre was a great dog and we’ll miss her spunk, restless energy, joy and love. To honor her memory we’ll return to the field and to the woods. We’ve got birds to find and she wouldn’t want it any other way. She died doing what she loved, and we’ll cherish her forever.

Thank you for your support. Give your bird dog a little extra scratch under their chin tonight in honor of our “Busy Izzy,” she always loved that spot.

- – Meredith St.Pierre, to see more photos of our shorthairs, Izzy & Trammell, follow @mstpete on Instagram

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.

Izzy was always excited to add a rooster to Bob's game vest

Izzy was always excited to add a rooster to Bob’s game vest

Wild Game, It’s what’s For Dinner

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Hunt_Meat_Graph1

“Hunters are increasingly motivated by meat,” that’s the headline of a report released on Wednesday by Responsive Management, an international survey research firm. According to their findings, the percentage of hunters identifying “for the meat” as the most important reason for hunting participation rose from 22 percent in 2006 up to 35 percent during this year’s study.

The report attributes the 13 percent climb to three factors; 1) the recession, 2) the locavore movement and 3) the increased participation of females in hunting. Summarizing the findings, Responsive Management concludes our country’s economic downturn has reinvigorated people’s food acquisition through hunting because of its relative affordability (they obviously haven’t accompanied me to Gander Mountain). Their research also indicates women have a slightly greater propensity to choose “for the meat” as a motivation over their male counterparts.

While I agree the economy and gender have played a role in the rise of wild game meat motivation, it’s the “locavore movement” I believe has had the most influence in this quest for game meats. As I look across “pop culture;” from television to magazines to books to restaurants.  I see prime time shows featuring Andrew Zimmern on a squirrel hunt, I see Hank Shaw’s books climbing Amazon’s best sellers list, I read about Lily Raff McCaulou leading Elle magazine on a rabbit hunt and I see restaurant menus featuring quail eggs.  Further, almost every episode of the hugely popular Duck Dynasty series ends with a family dinner around a plate of frog legs or mallard breasts. In fact, I believe this new embrace of wild meats is fostering a greater understanding of hunting across society.

While I’m certain Aldo Leopold never would have imagined Zimmern’s propensity for bug-eating, I do think Zimmern and today’s other locavore leaders can attribute their local food roots direct to Leopold’s 1949 philosophy from A Sand County Almanac:

“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm.  One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” – Aldo Leopold

The obvious hope of organizations like Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever is today’s locavore trend will take one additional step toward Leopold’s writings – wildlife habitat conservation. Whether you favor beef or venison, chicken or pheasant, the common connector is our land. It is my belief society’s need for food and water will someday soon change our seemingly insatiable appetite to tile our uplands and drain our wetlands.  Or to put it more plainly, local food will lead to local conservation.

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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.

How to Approach a Dog on Point

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

John Edstrom, PF & QF’s Merchandise Supervisor, approaches a Brittany on point

I learned to bird hunt behind a Brittany.  I don’t remember my dad ever teaching me how to “approach” a pointed bird, but it has always felt natural because it’s how I got my start.  What’s interesting and more than a little humorous is watching my various hunting partners the last few years who have only hunted behind flushing breeds react to my German shorthair on point.

In almost every case, I’ve witnessed “human vapor lock” as these friends look at me with twitching eyebrows, tip toe with caution as they approach the dog, then stop behind the dog and look at me again.  Are they waiting for the weasel to go pop?  Honest to goodness, I’ve witnessed pure fear on the face of a fellow hunter.

“When a rooster flushes in front of my Lab it’s all instinct and excitement,” one friend explained last season.  “With your darned pointer, it’s like watching a Friday the 13th movie and you know Jason is around the corner with an axe.”

I’ve also been told by pointing dog purists to never walk up directly behind a pointer, but rather come in from the front or at an angle.  The pointer purist worries about inadvertently causing “creeping” by approaching a dog from behind.  “Creeping” being the unwanted broken point and creep forward of the dog toward the bird.

With this subject in mind, I called Purina’s “top dog” and pro trainer Bob West for his guidance on how best to approach a dog on point.  “There is no clear cut, best way to approach a dog on point.  You have to factor in the dog’s level of ability, the scenting conditions that day and the species of bird you anticipate being pointed to properly make the best approach for the situation,” explained West.  “When hunting pheasants, it’s not uncommon for me to make a big 20 yard circled approach in front of a dog on point in an attempt to prevent a rooster from running.”

Approaching a dog on point from the front.

West went on to explain to me that he does believe young dogs could be caused to creep by approaching them from behind and an angled approach would be advised; however, he didn’t think a seasoned bird dog would be susceptible to the same problem.  He stressed repeatedly in knowing your own dog’s tendencies and making the best decisions with your dog in mind rather than what some “expert” advised.

West did add that “perhaps more important than what angle to approach is the speed at which to make your approach.  It’s critically important, especially with pheasants, to approach a dog on point at a pace as fast as safely possible.  That bird isn’t going to hold all day and the conditions of the scent and scenario are also constantly changing for your dog.”

Lastly, West reminded me that the bird isn’t necessarily where the dog is looking.  “It’s important to be ready the entire time you approach a pointed dog and be alert in all directions.  The bird may be exactly where the dog is looking, but it oftentimes is not.  Where the dog is looking simply is where that dog picked up the scent to lock into a point.  That dog has been trained not to move any closer than the moment the scent reached a level to cause the dog to freeze.  Its eyes should have nothing to do with it.”

 

Listen to FAN Outdoors this Thursday evening from 7PM to 9PM on www.KFAN.com

To learn more about the pointing instinct and a variety of dog training questions, tune in to FAN Outdoors radio this Thursday evening at 7:45PM (CDT) as Bob West joins the show for a live interview with me and host “The Captain” Billy HildebrandFAN Outdoors airs live on 100.3 FM in Minnesota and can be streamed live across the globe at www.KFAN.com.

Billy Hildebrand, host of FAN Outdoors radio, and I approach Trammell on point.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

 

 

Boarding your Bird Dog While on Vacation

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

When you have to take a trip without your bird dog, who takes care of your hunting partner? PHOTO BY WILLOW CREEK KENNELS

Every Saturday morning, I wake up to a 4:30AM alarm clock to voluntarily co-host an outdoors radio talk show called FAN Outdoors on 100.3FM based in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & Saint Paul.  My weekly appearance on the show provides me a great platform to talk about Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever, conservation, bird hunting and bird dogs.  I also have a great time chatting with the show’s host “The Captain” Billy Hildebrand about fishing and other outdoors related topics.

 

Over the four years I’ve been on FAN Outdoors, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in live remote broadcasts from the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Ely, Minnesota as well as from a fishing lodge on Devil’s Lake in North Dakota. Later this week, my wife and I will depart for the Minnesota/Canadian border for a six-day fishing trip with Rainy Lake Houseboats on behalf of FAN Outdoors.  Without doubt, this is a “bucket list” trip for anyone and an opportunity I wasn’t going to pass by; however, there was one commitment I had trouble figuring out how to handle before I firmly committed to participating in this Rainy Lake adventure.  The commitment I’m referencing was to my two bird dogs.

 

Before I accepted the dream getaway, I had to figure out who was going to care for the safety and well-being of my 5-year-old shorthair, Trammell, and my 14-week-old GSP puppy, Izzy.  I’m sure many bird dog owners planning a summer vacation have encountered similar quandaries.  While I could find any number of friends and relatives to care for my low-maintenance older dog, asking someone to welcome my semi-potty trained puppy into their home seemed like a good way to strain a relationship.

 

Crossing friends and relatives off the list, I started sourcing dog boarding facilities in the Twin Cities.  For a 6X6 space and some play time socialization with other dogs, I could board my dogs for about $45 a day for the first dog and another $22 for the second.  Not ideal.  So my next thought led me to consider the folks I know in the dog training and breeding business, which led me to think about Chad Hines, owner of Willow Creek Kennels of Little Falls, Minnesota.

 

A quick search of the Willow Creek Kennels website informed me that boarding was a service they provided that also included some gun dog training for roughly a third of the price compared to Twin Cities boarding options.  I followed up my web search with a phone call explaining my training priorities for Trammell & Izzy to Chad and my dogs were booked for a two-week stay.

 

I drove Trammell & Izzy to Willow Creek Kennels on Saturday morning where I met Chad and some of his staff.  The drop-off was exactly the scenario every bird dog owner hopes for when leaving their pets in the hands of another.  Chad and his staff took the time to evaluate both of my dogs, talk through my expectations and show me the kennel’s entire facilities; including the specific kennels where my dogs would be staying.  He even took some time to run the young pup, Izzy, through the beginning paces of bird introduction.

 

Izzy retrieved her first pheasant on Saturday . PHOTO BY WILLOW CREEK KENNELS

Another benefit Willow Creek Kennels provides to clients with dogs being boarded are short videos.  Using iPhones, the Willow Creek Kennels staff shoot countless videos of the training process which they upload to YouTube and Facebook for their clients’ viewing pleasure.  Imagine – fishing on the Canadian border and receiving video proof of your beloved bird dog’s safety and training progress.  Pretty awesome!

 

If you have a fishing getaway of your own, or are planning that family visit to Disney, take the time to check out the boarding facilities of the local bird dog trainers and breeders in your area.  You may be surprised to find a more affordable option for your bird dog’s boarding accompanied by the added benefit of a little training to sharpen the pup’s skills come autumn.

 

Listen to FAN Outdoors this Thursday evening (7PM to 9PM CDT) and Saturday morning (6AM to 8AM CD) for our live broadcast from Rainy Lake Houseboats.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

 

 

Puppies Mimic Older Bird Dogs

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Yzerman (Izzy) mimics Trammell's every move, while the older pup ignores her shadow

As I embarked on the adventure of adding a second bird dog to my family, an age-old question hung in my mind: “Do puppies learn from older dogs or are they simply clay in the hands of a human trainer?”

 

For years, I’d heard opinions on both sides of this argument, but having never owned more than one dog at a time, I found it hard to pick a side to believe in this debate.  However, after just a few days of owning two bird dogs, I have formed a very strong opinion that puppies ABSOLUTELY mimic older dog’s mannerisms, actions and behaviors.  There is zero doubt in my mind that my 5-year old shorthair is constantly “training” my 12-week old GSP puppy.

 

I’ve watched Tram (the 5-year old) pick up a stick during a walk.  Moments later, Izzy (the 12-week old)  was carrying a stick of her own.  When running a field together, Izzy measures the distance Tram works away from me and stays at a similar distance.  Every cue Tram drops, Izzy mimics.

 

Recognizing my sample size in formulating this opinion was extremely small, I asked renowned dog trainer and Purina pro-staffer Rick Smith for his opinion in the debate during a FAN Outdoors radio interview.  You can Podcast the interview by following this link; listen for my question on the topic at the 19:12 mark of Hour 1 of the program originally airing on May 26th.

 

Without hesitation Smith confirmed my quick-formed opinion that young dogs learn a lot more from older dogs than from people. “I like having a young dog with an older dog,” added Smith.

 

The caveat Smith made special point of noting, however, was to keep in mind that young dogs are going to learn good AND bad habits from your older dog.  That hit home with me as well.  Izzy is now a dinner table beggar thanks to Trammell’s habits (obviously my fault to begin with), and Izzy also enjoys sleeping on the couch as opposed to the floor (guilty as charged).

 

Try and catch me!

This entire sequence of observations has me even more eager than normal for bird hunting season to see how much Izzy mimics Tram’s hunting expertise.  Izzy has already honored Tram’s point of a mallard pair, so I’m hopeful that’s a sign of things to come . . . yes, I realize there won’t be much need for either of my duck pointers.  Laugh it up!

 

So, for all those multi-dog owners out there, how much have your younger pups learned from your older bird dogs?  Any special advice you’d offer me in this two-dog process?

 

Catching some morning rays together.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

 

 

 

Hunt, Gather, Cook Pheasant Pasta

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

One of my absolute favorite new books of the last year is Hank Shaw’s Hunt, Gather, Cook.  Shaw skillfully blends his personal narrative with unique recipes in this creative exploration of foraging, hunting, and fishing for nature’s “forgotten feast.”  If you made it to National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic last February, then you hopefully had the chance to catch Hank’s fantastic presentations on the Outdoor Channel Cooking Stage.

 

It was with Hank’s ethos in mind that I prepared this evening’s meal.  My cluttered countertop included one rooster from a memorable December pheasant hunt in Kansas, a few dozen wild morel mushrooms scored with the assistance of my FAN Outdoors radio partner “The Captain” Billy Hildebrand, and a few stalks of wild asparagus snipped at my secret railroad tracks spot not far from the Pheasants Forever national offices.

 

Here’s the skinny on my Hunt, Gather, Cook Pheasant Pasta

Ingredients

1 Cubed whole pheasant

4 Cups of fresh morel mushrooms

1 Cup of fresh wild asparagus

2 Cups of angel hair pasta

1/2 Cup of heavy cream

½ Stick of butter

1 tsp flour

Olive Oil

Salt to taste

 

Directions

1)      Sauté the cubed pheasant in olive oil until brown, lightly salt

2)      Sauté the morel mushrooms in ¼ stick of butter till reduced (approximately 5 minutes on medium heat)

3)      Boil the angel hair pasta till tender

4)      Melt ¼ stick of butter over low heat, add flour and whisk until blended, add cream, simmer on low heat.

5)      Boil asparagus al dente, so they are crisp

6)      Combine pheasant, mushrooms and pasta

7)      Pour cream sauce over the top

8)      Add asparagus

9)      Serve

Thanks to my sous chef and wife, Meredith, for helping me out in the night’s finished dish.

 

 

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

 

 

Girl Hunter

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

 

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, women’s participation in hunting has increased by 36.6 percent over the last decade.  That percentage represents 660,000 new female hunters busting cattails, climbing into tree stands and hiding in camouflaged pit blinds.  One of those women is Georgia Pellegrini, author of the new book Girl Hunter.

 

Theories abound as to why women are picking up firearms or bows in greater numbers these days.  As near as I can tell, women’s reasons for enjoying hunting are as diverse as their male counterparts.  In Georgia’s case, her love of food was the genesis for her interest in hunting.  She explains, “I’m an omnivore who has solved her dilemma; I’m a girl hunter.”

 

Like Steven Rinella’s The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine and Hank Shaw’s Hunt, Gather, Cook, Pellegrini’s Girl Hunter leads the reader on a variety of hunting adventures through the eyes of a chef first and a woman second.   The end of each chapter also features a handful of recipes associated with the game she pursued during the chapter. 

 

In the book, Georgia pursues upland birds, waterfowl and big game.  She even slays a wild boar with only a knife in hand.  All the while, her hunts are shaped by the people who serve as mentors, guides, and friends.  There are also a few encounters with the kinds of unethical people who give all hunters and men bad reputations. 

 

Girl Hunter’s characters are well-rounded and the stories move at a rapid pace making for a very fun read; however, it’s Georgia’s own thoughts about hunting for food that resonated most for me.  In particular, the book’s last chapter about squirrel hunting stands out.  I have never been a fan of squirrel meat or squirrel hunting, but the juxtaposition of this beautiful and intelligent city girl waxing poetic about her love of the nutty flavor of squirrel meat has made me anxious for September’s squirrel season.

 

Whether you’re a man or woman, long-time hunter or newbie, I highly recommend you find some time to read Girl Hunter

 

NOTE: I also had the pleasure of interviewing Georgia for FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN 100.3FM.  Listen to the March 31st podcasts for Georgia’s own recount of the book and her introduction to hunting. 

 

 

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

 

 

 

Where will you be on the 2011 Pheasant Opener?

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Opening Day 2010 with (left to right) me, Billy Hildebrand, Erik Hildebrand & Chad Hildebrand. In addition to a limit of roosters, the Hildebrand boys bagged a few ducks early that morning.

Are you ready to go bird hunting?  Personally, I’m ready to hang up the fishing pole and shrink-wrap the boat in exchange for my over/under.  My shorthaired bird dog is wagging her tail in agreement as well. 

 

Yes, I know it’s only August, but hunting season can’t get here quick enough as far as I’m concerned.  And judging by the comments on PF’s Facebook page, I’m not alone in my enthusiasm for pheasant season’s arrival.

 

While I’ve already got two ruffed grouse hunts and a sharp-tailed grouse hunt on my September calendar, I am also happy to report that I know where I’ll be spending my first pheasant hunt of 2011.  For the 4th consecutive season, I will be hunting in central Minnesota on Saturday, October 15th with my FAN Outdoors radio partner Billy Hildebrand and a small collection of friends, family and bird dogs. 

 

Where & when will your 2011 pheasant hunting season begin?

 

 

2011 Pheasant Hunting Opening Days

(These dates are tentative, please be sure to check your state’s regulations)

Colorado                                                    Still TBD

Iowa                                                           Saturday, October 29

Kansas                                                       Saturday, November 12

Montana                                                     Saturday, October 8

Minnesota                                                  Saturday, October 15

Nebraska                                                    Sunday, October 30

North Dakota                                             Saturday, October 8

Ohio                                                           Friday, November 4        

South Dakota                                             Saturday, October 15

Wisconsin                                                  Saturday, October 15

 

 

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.