Posts Tagged ‘Rooster Road Trip’

Rooster Road Trip Recap: Nebraska sets Public Access Standard for Bird Hunters

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

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One of the reasons I look forward to the Rooster Road Trip every year is because it serves as my own form of a pheasant country survey. I enjoy comparing bird numbers, topography, geographic hunting differences, habitat conditions and access programs. As I reflect on today’s memorable 2014 Rooster Road Trip finale, I can say without qualification that Nebraska’s Open Fields and Waters Program is the country’s best template for opening up private land to public hunting access.

Like all the best ideas, the genesis for Nebraska’s Open Fields concept occurred during a hunting trip in 1996 between Jim Douglas of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Pete Berthelsen of Pheasants Forever. The next year, the Conservation Reserve Program-Managed Access Program (CRP-MAP) was created to open up private CRP acres for public access, but with a wrinkle unique from other states. CRP-MAP incentivized landowners to improve the habitat on those acres when qualifying for the access payment. The result was an economic carrot for landowners to create higher quality cover.

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A few years ago, the Nebraska Game and Parks Department changed the name from CRP-Map to the Open Fields & Waters Program for the purpose of creating access for other forms of public recreation, like fishing. The program has also added a scoring system to incentivize additional habitat practices on private land with higher landowner payments. In other words, the higher quality of habitat and the greater potential for hunter satisfaction on array of species, the bigger the payment available for a landowner.

I’ve focused my pheasant hunting on these acres during every previous visit to Nebraska over the years and this morning was no different. Led by Andy Houser, a Pheasants Forever farm bill wildlife biologist, we released our pointers into the frosty morning breeze blowing into a beautiful stand of bluestem. Two roosters received early warning of our arrival and flushed just out of gun range within minutes of leaving the truck.

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A third rooster was not so wise. He rose to the sky off my German shorthaired pointer Trammell’s nose and banked to the left before a load of Prairie Storm 4’s brought him back to the grass. Jerrod Burke, District V Commissioner with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, handed the rooster to me after his Gordon setter made the retrieve and alerted me to jewelry, a red band, on the bird’s ankle.

Houser explained that biology students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit net the wild roosters during autumn nights prior to hunting season. After capture, a leg band is secured and the bird is released. Then as hunters bag those roosters, researchers are able to determine many things like distribution and life expectancy.  After a phone call with the leg band’s number, Houser reported this morning’s banded rooster was indeed captured in this very CRP field earlier this autumn and was born this spring.

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Shortly after all photos of the leg band were complete, Burke added a rooster to his own game vest with a smart left to right crossing shot. And later at the far corner of the field, Trammell was able to equal her previous Nebraska retrieving feats by tracking down a rooster I had winged on a far straightaway shot (my nemesis). While our collection of pups and hunters searched the spot the bird “should be,” I watched Trammell on my Garmin Alpha screen as she zipped to my left 60 yards. With trepidation, I watched her get further and further from me. But this was Nebraska and Tram has a history of “delivering the mail” for me here.  After a few minutes, I’ll be darned if Pheasants Forever’s Colby Kerber didn’t yell to our collection of hunters “here comes a pup with a bird in her mouth.” As any bird dog loving guy or gal will tell you; that kind of retrieve makes cleaning up the puppy messes, the torn shoes, the begging at the table, and the veterinarian bills all worthwhile.

We worked a total of four Open Fields tracts between a cheeseburger and hot chocolate (with whipped cream, of course) before calling an end to the official 2014 Rooster Road Trip. While there were plenty of roosters still to chase, photos needed uploading and blog posts needed composing. Plus, I submitted Thursday and Friday as vacation days before I left Minnesota. My own personal Rooster Road Trip, without camera or computer, starts tomorrow. Where? A Nebraska Open Fields & Waters parcel of course. I’ll be there at 8AM. I don’t drink much coffee, but grab me a hot chocolate with whipped cream and we’ll turn a couple of dogs loose into the wind together. Safe travels and see you on the Rooster Road!

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Follow along to the 2014 Rooster Road Trip at www.RoosterRoadTrip.org and be sure to mention #RRT14 in all your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts.

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.

Rooster Road Trip Recap: A Kansas Comeback

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

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The Rooster Road Trip, Team Pointer crew arrived in Smith Center, Kansas in time for a late hot beef and mashed potato dinner last night with Pheasants Forever development officer Jordan Martincich and his cousin Jimmy Garvey at a local watering hole fittingly called “Pooches.” We wolfed down the comfort food knowing what was happening outside the neon glowing windows. The cold front that had chased us out of Colorado had gained momentum as it whipped across the prairie.  Wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour had added snow to the air and ice to the roads. The most important question on our minds; “had we packed our thermal underwear?” Thankfully, our duffels were prepared for the elements even if our minds hadn’t embraced the idea of winter hunting yet.

Drought has held down the Kansas pheasant and quail populations the last few seasons. Scorched habitat and non-existent nesting success had been the trend until moisture returned this spring. Kansas is proof of the age-old biologist’s wisdom that you have to have habitat on the ground to take advantage of weather when it breaks right. With 2.2 million acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program and more than 1.5 million acres of public hunting land, Kansas is primed for a comeback. That’s encouraging considering Kansas’ historic stature as the nation’s second-highest-producing pheasant state AND second-highest-producing bobwhite quail state. And for this traveling wingshooter’s money, Kansas boasts the country’s best pheasant and quail mixed bag hunting opportunity.

Pheasants Forever's Jordan Martincich proudly displays a public land Kansas rooster while Casey Seirer looks on.

Pheasants Forever’s Jordan Martincich proudly displays a public land Kansas rooster while Casey Seirer looks on.

Despite the improved forecast for bird numbers, I admittedly woke up Tuesday and looked out the window to a snow-covered Ford F-150 and lamented to myself; it wasn’t supposed to be like this. I had successfully averted the first Minnesota snowstorm of the season by being in Kansas where it was supposed to be 50 degrees and sunny. Instead, I was greeted by wind chills estimated into the negative digits.  As our caravan pulled out of town toward our state wildlife area destination, I was pessimistic about the day’s prospects. Boy was I wrong.

Tyson Seirer, a Pheasants Forever farm bill wildlife biologist, and Ryan Grammon of the Route 36 Chapter of Quail Forever led our hunting group to a massive state complex featuring grass, milo, wooded draws and shelterbelts. It was a magnificent property obviously being managed for upland game. Hope crept out of my grin and the sun broke cloudless over the horizon. That’s when I started to put the recipe together; snow on the ground was going to provide great scenting conditions for the dogs and the high winds were going to concentrate the birds in the hollows and shelterbelts.  The foreshadowing of the day was complete when tailgates opened and 13 pointers begged release with 10 earning the first call. There were English setters, a Llewellyn setter, a pointer, a Brittany, a Vizsla, a variety of German shorthaired pointers and a pointing Boykin spaniel. Talk about a dog power game changer.

It only took fifteen minutes for shouts of “quail!” to echo across the valley with “rooster!” following in short order. There was sharp-shooting by Martincich, dozens of points from all pups, countless dogs honoring, three coveys rising, and roosters retrieved. We had hit the Kansas public habitat jackpot.

For 10 hunters and their 13 pointing dogs under a “warm” sun-soaked Kansas sky, it was a crisp morning forever engraved in our memories placing Kansas firmly on the comeback trail.

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Follow along to the 2014 Rooster Road Trip at www.RoosterRoadTrip.org and be sure to mention #RRT14 in all your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts.

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.

Rooster Road Trip Recap: Losing Count in Minnesota

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

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There’s a retired teacher in Marshall, Minn., we’re told, who hunts a different publicly accessible area each time he goes upland hunting – and he hunts almost every day of the state’s 3-month season. Figuring out which of the nearby 40,000 acres outside your back door you’ll walk – doesn’t this sound like a problem you’d like to have?

Within 30 miles of this southwest Minnesota town, there are 40,000 acres of state Wildlife Management Areas, state Walk-In Access areas and federal Waterfowl Production Areas. Our first Team Flusher stop was the Clifton-Rolling Fields Wildlife Management Area, a massive upland project that was dedicated at the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Opener in 2012. Yet all the talk among the chapter members graciously hosting us was about upcoming upland habitat projects – land acquisitions, land donations, prescribed burns, food plots. Yes, 40,000 is a big number, but this local group of Pheasants Forever volunteers doesn’t mind adding to it.

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Nick Simonson, president of the Lyon County Chapter of Pheasants Forever, showcased Pheasants Forever upland projects and upland hunting success in the Marshall, Minn. area.

Despite an idyllic morning and early afternoon, a few misses, a missed identification and a flush too close to a neighboring farm site had conspired, even with roughly two dozen flushes, to leave us entering “The Golden Hour” with just one rooster to our credit.

With the occasional spit of rain, rapidly falling temperatures and wind gusts approaching 30 miles per hour – the polar opposite of our comfortable, windless morning – there was really nothing golden about it, that is, until pheasants started flushing.

Six roosters fell to the line of flushing dogs and upland hunters, and another surely would have ended there had it not been for an inopportune flush near the trucks. Hens kept the dogs plenty busy in between the colorful rises. So how many total? Well, definitely two dozen, maybe three…plus the dozen from the morning…we’re still tallying. And at the end of day of pheasant hunting, that is also a nice problem to have.

Anthony Hauck is Pheasants Forever’s online editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Rooster Road Trip Recap: 26 Flushes in South Dakota

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

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The saying goes, “Even a bad day in South Dakota is better than a good day any place else.” Maybe that’s true.

The weather was just cool enough for Team Flusher’s mix of Labs, an English cocker and a golden retriever to keep hunting hard for most of the day. Ditto for their human counterparts. The wind started with a bite, but never gained any speed so the day remained comfortable. And just when you thought all the pheasants had taken refuge in what standing corn fields remain, another one or two birds flushed to keep our spirits high. Three roosters are in our cooler, and our 26 flush-count does not include the dozens upon dozens of pheasants seen at a distance, including a dizzying number settling down on the far side of a walk-in hunting area with just minutes left on the shooting clock – they’ll be there for someone else, maybe you!

While hunting pheasants anywhere is fun, the pheasant hunting culture of South Dakota really does dominate the day and make it feel like that’s all there is going on. We talked pheasants and pheasant hunting with the hotel clerk, every hotel guest, restaurant patrons, people pumping gas, a few hunters on gravel roads and, of course, with everyone at the café, where blaze orange seemed as common as a blue suit in a skyscraper. Heck, it’s Election Day and with so little talk about politics, it felt as if the only ones running were the roosters.

Sometimes you can go into a day of pheasant hunting with unrealistic expectations. Sure, we’d have liked hundreds of birds flushing from our feet, but 20-something in gun range isn’t bad. In fact, maybe there’s simply no such thing as a bad day in South Dakota.

Anthony Hauck is Pheasants Forever’s online editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Rooster Road Trip Recap: 8 Flushes in N.D.

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

The ingredients were there: perfect looking cover, a slight northwest wind and fresh bird dogs willing to work into it. And yet, as is so often the case with upland hunting, despite everything the recipe calls for, it doesn’t always turn out on the table…or in this case, the tailgate.

Team Flusher grinded it out on a combination of PLOTS lands, Wildlife Management Areas and Waterfowl Production areas to scratch out eight flushes. Maybe too much standing corn hindered our efforts. Maybe we picked the wrong entrance points on the massive, publicly-accessible tracts we pushed. Maybe we just missed ‘em, a simple case of bad bird timing. Maybe we should have split up to cover more ground. Or maybe, and herein lies the not-so-earth-shattering truth, maybe sometimes that’s just how it goes. Thankfully we have another 7-day period left on our nonresident licenses…and two months remaining to come back and use it.

Team Flusher pushed up six hens and two roosters in North Dakota, with one rooster in the bag.

Team Flusher pushed up six hens and two roosters in North Dakota, with one rooster in the bag.

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Team Flusher covered 5.2 miles through the North Dakota uplands, according to Garmin Connect.

Rachel Bush and her Lab, "Belle," take a break in the thick cattails at a PLOTS tract that she, as a Pheasants Forever farm bill wildlife biologist, helped enroll in the program.

Rachel Bush and her Lab, “Belle,” take a break in the thick cattails at a PLOTS tract that she, as a Pheasants Forever farm bill wildlife biologist, helped enroll in the program.

Rachel Bush, a Pheasants Forever farm bill wildlife biologist, with her new flushing friend, "Luna" the Labrador retriever.

Rachel Bush, a Pheasants Forever farm bill wildlife biologist, with her new flushing friend, “Luna” the Labrador retriever.

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Team Flusher managed to put one rooster in the bag in North Dakota.

Anthony Hauck is Pheasants Forever’s online editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Rooster Road Trip 2014: Pointers vs. Flushers

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

Team Flusher - Motto – “Flushers Rule, Everything Else Drools”

Andrew Vavra, Pheasants Forever’s marketing manager

Years with Pheasants Forever: 6

Why flushing dogs? Everyone loves a Lab.

Andrew.BeauWhy Pheasants Forever? Our volunteers are fully committed to our mission of upland wildlife conservation. You’d be amazed how many events they attend, how many miles they put on their trucks, and how many acres of upland habitat they’ve had an effect on…10 million, as a matter of fact.

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Name:  “Beau”

Breed: Labrador retriever

Owner: Andrew Vavra

Sex: Female

Age: 4-years-old

Rooster Road Trips: 4

Bio: A Rooster Road Trip veteran, Beau is a savvy, close-working flusher who is in her prime and has the pheasant game figured out. Fully recovered from an ACL tear two years ago, Beau doesn’t take the reference “Meat Dog” personally and prefers the comfort of dog-friendly hotels.

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Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s online editor

Years with Pheasants Forever: 8

Why flushing dogs? Flush ‘em & crush ‘em.

Anthony.Sprig (1)Why Pheasants Forever? Pheasant hunters care about upland habitat and access. Pheasants Forever has completed more than 1,400 upland projects that permanently conserve habitat (more than 170,000 acres) while opening them up to hunting. Count me in.

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Name:  “Sprig”

Breed: English cocker spaniel

Owner: Anthony Hauck

Sex: Female

Age: 3-years-old

Rooster Road Trips: 2

Bio: A pint-sized “pocket rocket” checking in at just over 20 lbs., Sprig packs a lot of punch for her size. Her specialty is finding downed roosters in the thickest, nastiest cover. A telltale “yip” lets hunters know she’s right behind a bird, and she considers running roosters an affront to her English sporting heritage.

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Team Pointer, Motto – “Habitat is the Point”

Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s vice president of marketing

Years with Pheasants Forever: 12

Why pointing dogs? I like to actually be in the same zip code when a bird flushes

Bob.Tram.EskyWhy Pheasants Forever? I am a bird hunter. My life is built around bird dogs, pre-season, early season, mid-season and late season, and wild game meals. Pheasants Forever is the most effective and efficient organization at conserving the habitat critical to my passion.

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Name: “Trammell”

Breed: German shorthaired pointer

Owner: Bob St.Pierre

Sex: Female

Age: 7-years-old

Rooster Road Trips: 3

Bio: Tram’s prime hunting years coincided with the first ever Rooster Road Trip in 2010. Consequently, she has some epic points and retrieves on her Road Trip resume. She’s a closer working shorthair than most hunters are accustomed to and she works habitat with methodical finesse rather than field trial range. Versatility is also a strength with ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, greater prairie chickens, bobwhite quail, woodcock, Hungarian partridge, and pheasants all on her bird dog life list.

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Name: “Esky”

Breed: German shorthaired pointer

Owner: Bob St.Pierre

Sex: Female

Age: 6-month old

Rooster Road Trips: 2014 debut

Bio: Don’t let the cute puppy looks fool you, this future star already has successfully pointed and retrieved pheasants, woodcock, sharp-tailed grouse and ruffed grouse during her first month of hunting.  She’s proven to be a stylish pointer with natural honoring instincts.  She is, however, very food-motivated with the desire to consume birds whole during the retrieve. Trammell is her aunt and she’s half-sister to the late Izzy, a Rooster Road Trip bird dog in 2012.

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Elsa Gallagher, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever state coordinator – Missouri

Years with Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever: 9

Why pointing dogs? It’s all about style.

ElsaWhy Pheasants Forever: If you’re not volunteering, you’re probably complaining.

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Name:  “Rooster Cogburn”

Breed: Vizsla

Owner: Elsa Gallagher

Sex: Male

Age: 11-years-old

Rooster Road Trips: 2014 debut

Bio: Name comes from Gallagher’s favorite movie – True Grit. Rooster earned his Master Hunter title several years ago and won the Pheasants Forever National Bird Dog Classic Women’s Pointing Division in 2011. Though he’s enjoyed these competitions, he still enjoys Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever youth hunts the best. Rooster’s personal popcorn catching best is 12 in a row.

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Name:  “Pike”

Breed: Pointer

Owner: Elsa Gallagher

Sex: Male

Age: 1-year-old

Pike (1)Rooster Road Trips: 2014 debut

Bio: Will get first wild bird experience during the Rooster Road Trip. He has a good nose and some range to him. Pike spent a month this summer on the prairies of North Dakota so he should be rarin’ to go. He absolutely loves to retrieve anything, shoes, socks, jackets, blankets and even the occasional dog toy. Pike’s personal popcorn catching best is 3, but he’s showing lots of potential.

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Name:  Ginny 12 Horse, “Ginny”

Breed: German shorthaired pointer

Owner: Elsa Gallagher

Sex: Female

Age: 3-years-old

Rooster Road Trips: 2014 debut

Bio: Has become a pro at quail hunting. Name hails from dairy country in New York, where Gallagher’s husband grew up – the Genesee Brewing Company made a small batch of beer called 12-Horse Ale. A small fireball with a good nose, she has good range, a good retrieve and naturally quarters well. Ginny’s personal popcorn catching record is a pack-leading 15.

Must-Have Upland Items for Your Own Rooster Road Trip

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

LEER Minnesota

My name is Bob and I’m a gear junkie. I spent years denying this fact, but I’ve come to terms with my addiction. I love new hunting clothing, gadgets, dog products and shotguns. Lucky for me, Rooster Road Trip provides upland companies with a platform to show off their best products for the upland hunter through our gear testing. The following list includes items you simply can’t depart on your Rooster Road Trip without.

List of veterinarians in the area: This one is so easy to over-look, so I put it first. We all depart on our annual hunting road trip with visions of perfect points, shots and retrieves never imagining the tragedy of a snake bite, barbed wire cut or worse. It takes five minutes to search out and print the phone number, address, and hours of business for the nearest area veterinarian.  It may be a sheet of paper you throw away upon your return home, or it may help save your bird dog’s life.

Browning Tac Pro Leather Shooting Gloves: I’m old enough to remember when batting gloves became all the rage across major league baseball. I can picture Mike Schmidt of the Philadelphia Phillies gripping his bat with a pair of white Franklin batting gloves as if it were yesterday. These Browning shooting gloves are every bit as badass and functional as Schmidt’s batting gloves. They provide skin-like feel of the safety, trigger and forearm while adding a little warmth on those chilly morning walks.

Irish Setter Wingshooter Boots: They say upland hunters are extremely brand loyal to three product categories; 1) dog breed, 2) shotgun and 3) boots. When it comes to a comfortable fit for an early season pheasant hunt, it’s impossible to beat this American-made classic.

Garmin Alpha: When America’s leading GPS manufacturer purchased Tri-Tronics electronic dog training systems, the Alpha was the natural offspring from their marriage. It provides tremendous peace of mind, particularly for the bird hunter who likes to get far, far away from the road.

LEER Locker: Do you own two dogs and have two hunting buddies with dogs too. Space runs out in one vehicle pretty quickly. And don’t you hate driving up to the farm house or wildlife area with a caravan of three trucks for three hunters? The LEER Locker is just the ticket to solve all your space problems. You can store all your guns, shells, e-collars, and gear in this hidden drawer that slides easily inside the roof of your pick-up’s topper.

Browning PF NTS Upland Shirt:  I love this shirt. I am a reasonable 170 pound 5’7” average-built guy, but this shirt makes me feel like a superhero. It’s a slimming base layer that is smooth on the skin, not overly constricting and even flatters a belly that’s had a few too many six-packs, as opposed to a six-pack set of abs.

Prairie Storm Steel 4s: On a public land hunt crossing multiple states with varying regulations, I simply find it easier to exclusively carry steel shot with me. And when you consider the speed and knock-down power of Federal Premium’s Prairie Storm, you can’t convince me that I’ve compromised any bag limit success with this decision.

Browning FCW Mountain Vest: Over the last few years, I’ve become a big vest guy. I like freedom in my arm’s range of motion. This very comfortable vest is fleece lined with a sturdy outer layer to block the wind.  I’ve found it to be especially versatile on those early morning hunts when you need just a little extra warmth under my blaze orange Browning Bird’n Lite strap vest.

Pheasants Forever Membership: Out of every dollar raised through Pheasants Forever, 92 cents gets right into the ground to fulfill our upland habitat mission. We are the most efficient and effective non-profit upland habitat conservation organization in the country. Your Pheasants Forever membership, merchandise purchases at www.PFStore.org, and support of our sponsors all helps us create habitat today and for future generations of bird hunters.

Follow along to the 2014 Rooster Road Trip at www.RoosterRoadTrip.org and be sure to mention #RRT14 in all your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts.

Photo courtesy of LEER

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.

Too Cool for School, But Not for Pheasant Hunting

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Nolan Benzing (left), 20, from Gilman, Iowa, and Brooks VanDerBeek, 19, from Oskaloosa, Iowa, head up the Iowa State University Pheasants Forever chapter in Ames, Iowa. Photo by Anthony Hauck / Pheasants Forever

Brooks VanDerBeek, 19, a sophomore at Iowa State University in Ames, wrote his paper ahead of the due date earlier this week so he could skip class, rope a buddy into doing the same, and join Pheasants Forever’s Rooster Road Trip for an afternoon of public land pheasant hunting in Iowa.

Brooks didn’t have to twist his friend’s arm too much. Nolan Benzing, 20, is also an underclassman at Iowa State, and he’d already been out duck hunting this morning. Both studying natural resources, VanDerBeek and Benzing are the president and vice president, respectively, of the Iowa State University Pheasants Forever chapter, which was the first college PF chapter to form in the country.

If VanDerBeek and Benzing had a Halloween party to get to later in the evening, they were already dressed for the occasion, though I get the feeling they pull this kind of stuff even when the Rooster Road Trip’s not in town. Hopefully your professor is a pheasant hunter, Brooks, and looks kindly upon you. But if not, you still get an A for the day in our book.

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

Rooster Road Trip Dogs of the Day: “Mojo,” “Chance” and “Jackson”

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

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This trio of German shorthaired pointers locked up on four roosters on a morning hunt at a South Dakota Game Production Area. Pheasants Forever has contributed to prescribed burns and tree plantings at this north-central South Dakota public tract. From left, Jim Ristau, Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist, and his dog, “Mojo,” Mike Stephenson, Pheasants Forever Regional Representative in South Dakota and his dog, “Chance,” and Justin Derga, Pheasants Forever Habitat Specialist, and his dog, “Jackson.” Back right is Andrew Vavra, Pheasants Forever Marketing Specialist.

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.

Bismarck: The Bird Dog-Friendliest City in America

Monday, October 28th, 2013

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Lengthy and outstate pheasant hunting trips require soooo many details to come together to be successful, not the least of which is keeping your best hunting buddy in tip-top shape on the rooster road. After a long day of hunting, it’s nice to come back to a clean, comfortable and warm hotel room. Thankfully, despite being a city of 60K-plus people, such places are easily found in Bismarck, North Dakota

On our morning drives (including the weekend before the trip officially began), we spotted pheasants along roadsides just minutes outside of Bismarck, and found productive PLOTS lands and state wildlife areas not terribly far from town as well. At the end of a long day, we were able to return to one of the 15 or so dog-friendly hotels in the Bismarck-Mandan area.

While we had two hotel rooms which required us picking up the extra pet fee (typically a nominal amount at most hotels), the clerk waived the charges by claiming one of our dogs as a “service dog.” “Any dog that hunts is a service dog in my opinion,” he said with a wink. The wallet was left a little fatter, and today we proclaim Bismarck, North Dakota as “The Bird Dog-Friendliest City in America.”

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