Posts Tagged ‘National Pheasant Fest’

National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic Show Guide A to Z

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

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National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic runs Friday, February 14th through Sunday, February 16th at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee. In addition to more than 300 exhibitors, there will be seven seminar stages with hourly presentations. The event is presented by MidwayUSA.

Antler sheds. Looking to keep your bird dog busy this offseason? Renowned trainer Tom Dokken is revolutionizing the sport of using dogs to hunt for sheds and presenting at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

Benelli has introduced the new Ethos shotgun for 2014, and you can get your first look at it at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

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New for 2014, the Benelli Ethos.

Cabela’s, World’s Foremost Outfitter, longtime Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever supporter, is presenting sponsor of Rudy’s Youth Village at the show.

Delmar Smith. “To train like a pro…you’ve got to think like a dog.” Well, Delmar has 75 years of experience thinking like a dog, and you can catch up with him on the “Ask the Experts” panel at the Bird Dog Bonanza Stage.

Expert dog trainers. When Delmar Smith, Ronnie Smith, Tom Dokken, Jim Moorehouse and Bob West form a panel for you to ask questions, that’s a combined 260 years of dog training know-how. Each day on the Bird Dog Bonanza Stage.

Free, as in wildlife habitat management plan. Stop by the Landowner Habitat Help Room at the show and you can consult with a wildlife professional about conservation options for your property from anywhere in the country.

Griffons. Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are growing in popularity perhaps faster than any other sporting breed. Learn more at the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club of America booth.

Habitat. Pheasants Forever’s tagline is “The Habitat Organization.” If your passion is improving habitat for pheasants, quail and other wildlife, the Habitat Hall group of exhibitors is a must.

Is your mouth watering? Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are hosting their own “top chefs” at the show, including wild game chefs Tovar Cerulli, author of The Mindful Carnivore  and David Draper of Field and Stream’s The Wild Chef blog.

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See Hank Shaw on the Wild Game Cooking Stage.

J&L Boykins is one of the man bird dog exhibitors at the show. Check out all the bird dog breeds at the Bird Dog Alley.

K9…you can bet there are a couple of exhibitors listed under this letter/number combo.

Life Membership. Make the ultimate commitment to conservation by becoming a Pheasants Forever Life Member. Visit the Pheasants Forever booth by the show floor main entrance.

Missing. If you’re tired of it, then it’s time for a new gun. Check out all the top makers on the show floor: Benelli, Beretta, Browning…

Native grasslands can offer quality nesting cover for pheasants. Come to the Habitat Stage and learn about diversifying and improving this critical habitat.

Outdoor apparel. Start at the Pheasants Forever MarketPlace on the show floor for your Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever-logoed gear. Your product purchases here support wildlife habitat conservation.

Pollinator habitat. What does it have to do with pheasants and quail? Check out the presentations on the Habitat Stage.

Quail are Scott Linden’s favorite bird to hunt. Stop by the Wingshooting USA booth and meet the venerable television host who’s an expert on bobwhite and western quail species.

Rudy the Rooster is Pheasants Forever’s youth mascot. Visit the Youth Village area of the show and get your picture taken with him.

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Bird dog breeders and bird dog training seminars are the most popular attractions at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

Smith, as in Delmar, Rick and Ronnie. National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is a rare opportunity to see the three from this legendary dog training family at the same event.

Training. E-Collars. GPS. Pointers. Puppies. Retrievers. Spaniels. If you can name it, you’ll find a how-to on it.

U.S. Bank presents Pheasants Forever’s Visa Card. Stop by their booth, sign up for their card and receive either a hardcover wild game recipe book, a green PF shooters bag or a chance on a Tri-Star Setter 12 gauge shotgun.

Vegan-turned-hunter Tovar Cerulli, author of The Mindful Carnivore, provides a unique perspective on the Wild Game Cooking Stage.

Wingshooting from the good ‘ol days with the L.C. Smith Collectors Association and the Parker Gun Collectors Association.

X marks your next upland hunting spot, and the tourism divisions from the likes of Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, plus regional tourism representatives and guides and outfitters are here help you book your dream trip.

Yum… Hank Shaw is a hunter, chef, blogger and author of Hunt, Gather, Cook – Finding the Forgotten Feast. See him on the Wild Game Cooking Stage.

Zero-turn lawnmowers. Check out Wisconsin-based – and Pheasants Forever national sponsor, Scag Power equipment, one of more than 300 exhibitors at the show.

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

See the Complete National Pheasant Fest 2014 Seminar Schedule

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Rick Smith is one of many legendary bird dog trainers presenting at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

Rick Smith is one of many legendary bird dog trainers presenting at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

Before heading to the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee for National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic Feb. 14-16, view the complete seminar schedule and plan which presentations to attend. There will be seven seminar stages for upland enthusiasts to choose from, with concurrent seminars running on-the-hour throughout the three-day weekend. The event is presented by MidwayUSA. Highlights include:

Bird Dog Bonanza Stage. Between six panel experts – Delmar Smith, Rick Smith, Ronnie Smith, Tom Dokken, Josh Miller and Bob West – this dog stage hosts more than 260 years of combined training experience. Includes presentations on “Basic Obedience Training and Starting Your Dog Off Right,” “Remote Training and Tracking Your Dog with GPS,” “Shed Antler Hunting – Train Your Dog to Help You Find More Sheds” and a question-and-answer session with a panel of experts. The Bird Dog Bonanza Stage is presented by Purina and SportDOG.

Wild Game Cooking Stage. The cooking stage will feature presentations by authors Hank Shaw and Tovar Cerruli as well as David Draper of Field and Stream magazine. Session titles include “Getting the Most of Your Upland Birds for the Table,” “Preparing Wild Game from the Tailgate,” ”From Tough to Tender, Making the Most of your Venison Cuts” and “The Mindful Carnivore – A Vegetarian’s Hunt for Sustenance.”

Habitat Stage. The habitat presentations include “The Food Plot Establishment and Management for White-tailed Deer and Pheasants, Best Practices,” “Landscape Scale Habitat Efforts – The History of Pheasants in Wisconsin,” “Pheasant Management” and “Pollinators and Great Upland Wildlife Habitat.” The Habitat Stage is presented by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the USDA Farm Service Agency and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Additional seminar stages include the Upland Hunting Stage (featuring the likes of Scott Linden from Wingshooting USA), the Building Habitat Forever stage, the Get into the Hunt stage and Rudy’s Youth Village stage presented by Cabela’s.

All seminars are free upon admittance to the show.

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

A Pheasant Hunter’s Christmas List

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Christmas came early for “Bubba,” Don McCormick’s large Munsterlander. Photo courtesy Don McCormick.

Christmas came early for “Bubba,” Don McCormick’s large Munsterlander. Photo courtesy Don McCormick.

In the spirit of Twelve Days of Christmas, here are my top gift ideas for that tough-to-buy-for bird hunter in your family.

#12  Filson’s Alaskan Guide Shirt.  Classic plaid in a variety of colors.  It’s pricey, but it’s the best . . . and you might as well have the best.

Stormy Kromers are a favorite for this family of upland hunters.

Stormy Kromers are a favorite for this family of upland hunters.

#11 Stormy Kromer.  Warm and fashionable without being trendy.  Also proud to be made in my native U.P. of Michigan.

#10 L.L. Bean Classic Upland Shirt. This is my all-time favorite bird hunting shirt.  The only thing missing is the Pheasants Forever logo.

The L.L. Bean Classic Upland shirt is a personal favorite of mine, high comfort and high visibility.

The L.L. Bean Classic Upland shirt is a personal favorite of mine, high comfort and high visibility.

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#9 Pheasants Forever Belt Buckle.  I’m not tall enough to properly pull off a cowboy hat or cowboy boots, despite really trying (#EpicFail).  However, this buckle makes me feel like a cowboy anyway.

#8 Covey Rise Subscription.  My friend Kim Price started this publication prior to his untimely passing in 2012.  The new owners have taken Covey Rise to new heights in quality photography and top-rate hunting stories.  Kim would be honored.

PFest_MidwayUSA_Logo_2014 (1)#7 Tickets to National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2014.  Our signature event takes place in Milwaukee over Valentine’s weekend this coming February.  It’s a three-day orgy for the bird hunter, amateur dog trainer and aspiring wild game chef.

#6 Arno Bernard Knife.  I honestly don’t know much about Arno Bernard as a company.  I simply stumbled upon their booth at SHOT Show last winter and was enamored by the craftsmanship and beauty of these blades.  More than anything, I love the idea of owning a knife with a handle made from a mammoth’s molar!BerettaSweater

#5 Beretta Wind Barrier Sweater.  I have never owned a better piece of clothing in my life.  It’s as simple as that and #WinterIsComing.

#4 Danner Light Mill Street Boots with Woolrich.  These will cost you a pretty penny, but they caught my eye.  Fortunately for my family’s credit cards, they’ve already sold out of my boot size.

#3 The Wild Feathers debut album.  Every good hunting trip needs a road anthem.  This has been my soundtrack for the 2013 season.  Rock on!

#2 Rescue a bird dog best friend.  If you follow Pheasants Forever’s Facebook page regularly, then you already know our group is filled with heart-warming stories of rescued pups that become fabulous family bird dogs.  In this season of giving, consider giving a bird dog in need of a good home a place next to your lounge chair.

#1 Give the Gift of MembershipPheasants Forever was created and exists today for the purpose of creating wildlife habitat for wildlife, bird dogs and hunters.  Out of every single dollar we have generated over our 32-year history, 92 cents has reached the ground to impact our mission.  The problem is only 10 percent of America’s bird hunters are part of our organization.  Your dad, mom, son or daughter has likely “thought about joining” before.  Help him/her take that first step.    Thank You & Merry Christmas!

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.

 
Back to On The Wing

My Pheasant Fest Agenda

Monday, February 11th, 2013

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National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic plays to the weaknesses of upland hunters: dogs and shotguns, and not always in that order. PF File Photo

Pheasants Forever will celebrate its 30th anniversary beginning this Friday as part of National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Like most attendees, I’m going into this year’s event with my own personal search agenda complete with dogs, shotguns and friends from the past.  Here’s a look at what my eyes will be focused on at the show.

1)      L’Escarbot Kennels.  With a last name like mine (St.Pierre), I have always been intrigued by the idea of owning a French Brittany (Epagneul Breton).  At this year’s Fest, I’m going to make a point of stopping by Booth #1540 to visit with some Minnesotans who have made a name for themselves as America’s leaders in Epagneul Bretons.

2)      28 Gauge Side-by-Side.  There must be some connection to growing older and gravitating toward smaller gauged shotguns.  The last couple of weeks, I’ve been on an internet and sporting goods store search for my first side-by-side and 28 gauge.  I’m looking forward to checking out what Browning (Booth #s 635 & 734), Beretta (Booth #s 447 & 534), Caesar Guerini (Booth #s 1034& 935), Connecticut Shotgun (Booth #1105,1204) and CZ (Booth #s 607, 609, 611, & 613) have on display for me to shoulder.

3)      Georgia Pellegrini.  One of my favorite books of the last year was Pellegrini’s Girl Hunter.  Although, I’ve had the pleasure of talking with Georgia on the phone and during FAN Outdoors radio interviews, I’m looking forward to actually meeting her in person and taking in one of her cooking seminars on Saturday of the Fest (11AM, 1PM & 4PM).

4)      Braque Francais.  With more than 300 exhibitors, I don’t even know what I may or may not find on the Pheasant Fest show floor.  The current Gun Dog magazine’s feature story on the Braque Francais has piqued my interest, so my eyes will be scanning the Bird Dog Parade and kennel booths in search of this rare breed.  As a current German shorthair owner, these pups strike a stunning resemblance to my GSPs.  #Intrigued!

5)      Ruffed Grouse Society.  When your mission is conservation, no group can succeed alone.  In that spirit, I am excited to visit the RGS booth (#1140 & 1142) and renew my membership with this fine conservation partner.  For you elk hunters, also be sure to check out the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s booth #1719 as well.

6)      Friends.  Without a doubt, the best part of Pheasant Fest is seeing the good people that share in the cause of conservation.  From Wild Wings to Hecla’s Dakota Hunting Farms; Focus Outdoors Television to Scott Linden; High Fly’n Kennels to Berg Brothers Setters, Pine Shadows, Casey from Aberdeen and the list goes on; I am fortunate enough to call these folks my friends in conservation.  See you all soon!

Now it’s your turn.  What’s on your To Do list at this year’s Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic?

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.

Record-Breaking Year for PF Youth Events

Friday, February 8th, 2013

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A successful youth event in Johnson County, Kansas. Photo by Aaron Atkinson

The past year was a record-breaking one for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever youth events.

In recent years, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters had averaged a combined 500 youth-conservation education events annually, which is a significant mark by any measure.  However in 2012, PF & QF chapters reported 937 youth events – from youth mentored pheasant and quail hunts, to clay shooting events to conservation field days. A very admirable 15,000 youngsters per year had been event participants, but in 2012 that number jumped to 44,614. That’s a participation increase of nearly 200 percent!

Much of this jump can be attributed to the success of Pheasants Forever’s newly-developed “FOREVER Shooting Sports Program,” a comprehensive effort that was launched with help from Larry and Brenda Potterfield, founders of MidwayUSA. Many chapters have utilized the program to strengthen their own chapter events, while a significant number of chapters have “adopted” a local scholastic shooting team, looking to draw a more direct line between shooting sports and the world of upland habitat conservation.

While the shooting sports program has taken off, Pheasants Forever’s next youth initiative is to create a new wildlife habitat education program. Drew Larsen, formerly Pheasants Forever’s Regional Wildlife Biologist in Nebraska, has been named the organization’s first-ever National Habitat Education Specialist. The program he develops will be designed to work with chapters across the country to involve youth in wildlife habitat projects…and ultimately create the next generation of land stewards.

To cap off this milestone year, one Pheasants Forever and one Quail Forever chapter will receive the “No Child Left Indoors® National Award” at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 16th. The distinction is presented to the chapters for their efforts in introducing youth to the outdoors and bringing along the next generation of hunters and conservationists.

Get ‘em Outdoors is written by Cheryl Riley, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Education and Outreach. Email her at CRiley@pheasantsforever.org

Go-To Gear of the Pheasant Hunting Experts

Friday, February 1st, 2013

In my previous life in professional baseball, I worked with ballplayers who exhibited incredibly strong affinities to particular brands and models of gloves, bats or cleats.  Some of those affiliations had to do with sponsorship (some with superstitions), but mostly those loyalties derived from success on the field.  As I’ve written before, I continue to be amazed by the correlations between bird hunters and ballplayers.  Another one of these parallels exists in pheasant hunters’ brand loyalty and that’s what my focus is today.

In my estimation, pheasant hunters are largely gear junkies and that gear, in priority of importance, revolves around: their favorite breed of bird dog, shotguns, boots, ammunition and hunting vests.

So today’s blog post surveys the nation’s most well-renowned bird hunters to poll their favorites in each of these five categories.  My assumption as I send out this survey is that like baseball players, expert pheasant hunters have a wide array of affiliations and there likely won’t be too many common answers.  Let’s find out.

To start, here are my favorites:

TRCP summit 2008 pheasnt, dogs, pidgeon shootBob St.Pierre, Vice President of Marketing at Pheasants Forever and Co-host of FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN

1)      Bird Dog Breed: German shorthaired pointer

2)      Shotgun: Beretta 686 Onyx 12 gauge over/under with skeet chokes in both barrels

3)      Boots: Danner Santiam

4)      Ammo: Federal Premium Ammo’s Upland Steel 12 gauge 3” 5 shot

5)      Vest: Wing Works Upland Vest

***

Ron Schara

Ron Schara, Host of The Flush presented by Pheasants Forever on Outdoor Channel

1)      Bird Dog: Raven, the black Lab, whistle trained

2)      Shotgun: Benelli Super Black Eagle or Benelli Vinci with Carlson choke tubes

3)      Boots: Irish Setter

4)      Ammo: Federal Ammo’s Prairie Storm 2-3/4” lead 5 shot

5)      Vest: Still looking for a good one; need deep pockets for ammo; easy reach for bird carrying pouch

 

BillSherckBill Sherck, Co-Host of The Flush presented by Pheasants Forever on Outdoor Channel

1)      Bird Dog: My love of hunting dogs is pretty basic.  I want a dog that can find downed birds, always.  That’s A-1 in my book.

2)      Shotgun: I have a 1929 LeFever Nitro Special 20 gauge that became a best friend of sorts.  It is, by far, my ugliest, most beat up shotgun, but I shoot it well and I love the history. Serious patina.

3)      Boots:  Irish Setter 894s, Irish Setter 894s, Irish Setter 894s….

4)      Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm is over the top!  I absolutely love the stuff.  No wounded birds, only kills (when I don’t miss!).

5)      Vest: I’ve become a fan of mountain tech vests.  I have an old Mother’s lightweight I still use a lot.  A Buck’s is my next big investment.

 

Scott LindenScott Linden, Host of Wingshooting USA Television

1)      Bird Dog: German wirehaired pointer . . . is there any other breed?

2)      Shotgun: Webley & Scott Model 2000 in 20 gauge

3)      Boots: Meindl Perfekt from Cabela’s

4)      Ammo: Depends upon the situation: Kent Cartridge Fast Lead or Fiocchi Golden Pheasant

5)      Vest: Filson Mesh Vest

 

HankShawHank Shaw, Author of Hunt, Gather, Cook and speaker at National Pheasant Fest

1)      Bird Dog: Pudelpointer

2)      Shotgun: Franchi Velochi 20 gauge

3)      Boots: Asolo

4)      Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm #5s

5)      Vest: Filson

 

TiffLee & Tiffany Lakosky, Hosts of The Crush on Outdoor Channel

1)      Bird Dog: Black Labrador retriever

2)      Shotgun: Tiffany shoots a 12 gauge Beretta Silver Pigeon and Lee shoots a 12 gauge Franchi Instinct

3)      Boots: Under Armour Ridge Reaper early season & Under Armour HAW’s late season

4)      Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm

5)      Vest: Badlands Pheasant Pack

 

DokkenTom Dokken, Professional dog trainer and speaker at National Pheasant Fest

1)      Bird Dog: Labrador retriever . . . or any dog that loves to hunt.

2)      Shotgun: Browning Citori 20 Gauge

3)      Boots: Danner Fowlers

4)      Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm 20 gauge 3” 6 shot

5)      Vest: J.L. Powell, waxed cotton

 

Nancy 2Nancy Anisfield, Professional photographer, Pheasants Forever National Board member and PF blogger

1)      Bird Dog: German shorthaired pointer

2)      Shotgun: Caesar Guerini 28-gauge Magnus Light

3)      Boots: Danner Pronghorn

4)      Ammo: Polywad Gram Crak-R and Spred-R 28-gauge

5)      Vest: Browning Bird ‘n Lite Strap Vest

 

CaptainBilly Hildebrand, Host of FAN Outdoors Radio on KFAN

1)      Bird Dog: American Brittany

2)      Shotgun: Beretta 686 Onyx Over/Under 12 gauge

3)      Boots: Danner Pronghorns

4)      Ammo: Federal Upland Steel 3s or 5s

5)      Vest: Browning Bird ‘n Lite Jacket

Note 1: Billy also prefers SportDOG Upland 1850, Chevy Z71, Folgers Coffee and “special” sandwiches.

Note 2: Billy’s hunting partners do not like his “special” sandwiches!

 

JustinLarsonJustin Larson, Outdoors Media Specialist for the nation’s pheasant capital, SOUTH DAKOTA

1)      Bird Dog: Prefers Labs, but doesn’t own his own at the moment

2)      Shotgun: Winchester SX3

3)      Boots: Muck Boots

4)      Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm

5)      Vest: Browning Bird ‘n Lite

 

mh, wids, 1-13, ill, 2 (2)Mark Herwig, Editor of Pheasants Forever’s Journal of Upland Conservation

1)      Bird Dog: Springer spaniel

2)      Shotgun: Beretta 391

3)      Boots: Danner Uplander

4)      Ammo: Federal 12 gauge 5 shot Pheasants Forever loads

5)      Vest: A Pheasants Forever strap vest

 

AnthonyAnthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor

1)      Bird Dog: English cocker spaniel . . . and I wouldn’t mind another

2)      Shotgun: Remington 870 Wingmaster, in the market for my first O/U

3)      Boots: Irish Setter Havoc when it’s dry, Muck Boots when it’s not

4)      Ammo: Federal Premium Upland Steel #4s . . . served “chilled”

5)      Vest: Browning Bird ‘n Lite Strap Vest

 

SteveRiesSteve Ries, Owner of Top Gun Kennels

6)      Bird Dog: German shorthaired pointers

7)      Shotgun: Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon over/under 20 gauge

8)      Boots: Irish Setter Upland DSS Gore-Tex hunting boots

9)      Ammo: Winchester

10)  Vest: Gander Mountain Guide Series Hunting Strap Vest

 

 

chad HinesChad Hines, Owner of Willow Creek Kennels

1)      Bird Dog: German shorthaired pointer

2)      Shotgun: Beretta 686 Onyx over/under 20 gauge

3)      Boots: Merrill Moab Hiking boots – I use these for almost all hunting.

4)      Ammo: Federal’s Black Cloud

5)      Vest: Bird ‘n Light Vest

 

MattKucharskiMatt Kucharski, Pheasants Forever National Board Member

1)      Bird Dog: A tandem of German Shorthair Pointer and Labrador, trained to honor each other of course!

2)      Shotgun: Ruger Red Label 20 gauge early season, 12 gauge late season.   Skeet and IC chokes early season, IC and modified chokes late.  Sadly, they’re not making them anymore.

3)      Boots: Red Wing Irish Setter (short uppers) early season and Meindl Scotland GTX (or similar) late season

4)      Ammo: Federal Upland Steel 4 shot.  3 inch in the 20.  2 ¾ in the 12.

5)      Vest: Filson mesh strap vest for short walks, Bird ‘n Lite strap vest if I’m in the field all day or carrying Bob’s birds.

 

JeffFullerJeff Fuller, host of Sporting Dog Adventures

1)      Bird Dog: Labrador Retriever

2)      Shotgun: Benelli

3)      Boots: Danner Pronghorn

4)      Ammo: HEVI-Shot Upland

5)      Vest: Browning vest

 

Now it’s your turn.  What are your favorites?

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

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

pudelpointer

It’s a long way from Montana to Minnesota, but provided they don’t go bust, you’ll see Pheasants Forever member Todd Wirthlin and his Pudelpointer, “Tana Montana,” representing the breed in the Bird Dog Parade at this year’s National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic event coming up in February (if you’re interested in participating in the Bird Dog Parade, click here).

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

Meet My First Bird Dog!

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

The quest for "Sprig," the author's first pup, was chronicled in Pheasants Forever's "My First Bird Dogs" series.

The serious search for “My First Bird Dog” began at Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest* earlier this year. Initially, I’d zeroed in on an English springer spaniel, but after seeing my first-ever English cocker spaniel up close and personal at National Pheasant Fest, I knew. And just before the holiday break, I picked up “Sprig,” a lemon and white female field-bred English cocker, from Thunderstruck Gundogs in Balaton, Minnesota – my first bird dog!

*Speaking now from personal experience, Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is the must-see event for bird dog owners or soon-to-be owners. While I didn’t purchase a pup on the spot, I gained first-hand info from an exhibiting professional dog trainer and his valuable reference on a quality breeder closer to my home. This year’s show is in Kansas City on February 17, 18 & 19.

An English cocker is the perfect fit for me: A close-working dog – check; adept in the grasslands and wetlands – check; a small breed that’s sized for my small apartment – check; and good looking to boot – check. The breeder, Mark Mercie, said, in his experience, he found females a bit easier to work with, so I heeded his advice. In fact, in the six-month lead up to getting Sprig, Mercie took many questions from Kaily, my significant other, and I on an all-too-regular basis – I can’t overstate how important this was to us. We picked her up at her seven-week mark, and didn’t have to dangle a pheasant wing or practice puppy psychology as she was the only female in the litter.

As I type this, Sprig is sound asleep on my lap. An hour before, she was treating the flesh of my hands as a chew toy. These are the highs and lows of puppy ownership, but she’ll age so quick – my day is her week, seven times faster than me – that doing anything other than simply enjoying this time is silly.

The “My First Bird Dog” series will now shift gears to the training process, with sights set on the pheasant hunting opener in 2012. The thought of this teething, 6-lb. peanut ever flushing and retrieving a pheasant is a near-foreign concept right now, with dog training like a foreign language. My puppy passport has been punched – know any good translators?

Previous “My First Bird Dog” posts:

Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

The Hunting Dog Top 20 Chart

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever puppy, number 107 on the AKC list, but number 1 at Pheasant Fest.

One needed only attend National Pheasant Fest 2011 last weekend for proof that nothing draws people to the world of wildlife habitat conservation like sporting dogs. Quite frankly, I’m surprised someone didn’t straight up try and steal the fuzz ball Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever puppy. It was that cute.

The opportunity to see less common breeds such as this is a real draw of the show. But just how common or uncommon are certain breeds? The American Kennel Club last week released its annual list of the most popular dog breeds in America (Spoiler alert! The Lab retained its eternal hold on the top spot).

Either there are less bird hunters or hunting dogs are drowning in a sea of Shih Tzus (the complete AKC list includes all dogs), or both, but most working breeds are maintaining or declining in terms of overall dog popularity. Two breeds, Boykin Spaniels and Irish Red and White Setters, took serious nosedives on the chart, each dropping more than 40 spots. If someone can clue me in as to why, I’d sure like to know.

There are some notable exceptions. Proving that facial hair can really shape image, the breed with the biggest increase in ranking over the past year – hunting or non hunting dog – is the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon  (from 108th to 93rd). And if you examine data going back a decade, German Shorthaired Pointers are pointed in the right direction, jumping from 24th to 16th in that time period.

Listed below are the ranks of selected sporting dog breeds according to the AKC. In parentheses after each breed is its rank from 2010, followed by its rank from 2009 and then its rank from 2000, respectively. And considering the exposure the Duck Tolling Retriever pup got at Pheasant Fest, look for the breed to break the Top 100 next year.

Note: Many pointing dogs are registered with the Field Dog Stud Book as opposed to the AKC.

Labrador Retriever (1, 1, 1)

Golden Retrievers (5, 4, 2)

German Shorthaired Pointers (16, 16, 24)

Cocker Spaniels (25, 23, 14)

English Springer Spaniels (29, 29, 26)

Brittanys (30, 30, 31)

Weimaraners (32, 31, 32)

Viszlas (41, 42, 47)

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers (48, 49, 41)

English Cocker Spaniels (66, 66, 76)

German Wirehaired Pointers (73, 74, 73)

Irish Setters (77, 73, 62)

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons (93, 108, 112)

Gordon Setters (98, 97, 84)

English Setters (101, 95, 91)

Flat-Coated Retrievers (103, 106, 98)

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers (107, 110, NA)

Pointers (111, 114, 100)

Spinoni Italiani (118, 119, 143)

Welsh Springer Spaniels (127, 136, 113)

Clumber Spaniels (131, 128, 121)

Field Spaniel (132, 137, 132)

Boykin Spaniels (133, 92, NA)

American Water Spaniels (143, 139, 125)

Curly Coated Retrievers (146, 145, 130)

Irish Red and White Setters (150, 80, NA)

And in case you missed it, Pheasants Forever’s Bob St.Pierre also touched on the most popular bird dog breeds among Pheasants Forever members in his recent blog post What’s the Most Popular Bird Dog Breed in Pheasants Forever Land?

Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Public Relations Specialist

Nebraska Pheasant Hunting and Pheasant Fest

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

National Pheasant Fest is the nation's biggest event for pheasant hunters.

It ain’t over ’till it’s over, and pheasant hunting in Nebraska definitely is not over. For those of you thinking about mixing in some pheasant hunting during your trip to “The Good Life” in Nebraska for National Pheasant Fest 2011, or mixing in some Pheasant Fest with your late season Nebraska pheasant hunting trip, here are a few good-to-knows.

  • Nebraska’s 2011 licenses are now available. Nebraska’s annual hunt permit is valid for the entire calendar year, which means once purchased, it’s good this January, and then next pheasant hunting season for October, November and December.
  • Nebraska’s pheasant hunting season runs through Monday, January 31st, 2011, meaning you could extend your Pheasant Fest weekend (Jan. 28-30) to wrap up with a day of hunting.
  • At Pheasant Fest, youth age 15 and under can enter in a drawing for Nebraska Game and Parks half price lifetime permits. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will draw for 20 half price youth lifetime permits at National Pheasant Fest. If drawn, youth can get a lifetime permit at half the cost, with the other half courtesy of the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation. Drawing options include lifetime hunting, fishing and combination hunt/fish permits, as well as lifetime habitat and Nebraska migratory waterfowl stamps. Each winner may choose one permit or stamp. Drawing forms can only be filled out in person at the event. Anyone may enter a youth in the drawing.
  • Scott Linden from Wingshooting USA will bring back his popular “Bird Hunting Boot Camp” seminar to the Cabela’s Hunter Help stage for all three days of National Pheasant Fest.
  • And of course, from A (Ammunition) to Z (well, at least “Y” for Yellow Lab), if it relates to pheasant hunting, it’ll be at Pheasant Fest.

The Pheasant Fest Blog is written by Brad Heidel, Pheasants Forever’s Director of Special Event Sales