Posts Tagged ‘Tom Dokken’
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:
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, 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
Bill 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 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
Hank 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
Lee & 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
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
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
Billy 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!
Justin 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
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
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
Steve 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 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
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.
Jeff 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.
Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
I received the following message via Twitter from @bulldog2012 yesterday:
My GSP won’t stop to drink water out in the field, any ideas?
I admitted to @bulldog2012 that my shorthair also often refuses water in the field, so I promised to get some expert guidance from a few pro dog trainers. This morning, I sent emails on the topic to Purina’s Bob West, SportDOG’s Clay Thompson and Oak Ridge Kennel’s Tom Dokken and received some fantastic guidance.
A Rinsing Squirt
I’ve always approached canine hydration in the field from a perspective of, “I’ve gotta get my pup to drink a cup of water.” Turns out I’ve been wrong all along.
Bob West explained the importance of a rinsing squirt of water. “People stay cool by sweating across their entire body. Dogs, on the other hand, regulate their heat through panting by drawing air across their tongue and back of their throat. Panting is a dog’s single method to cool down,” West continued, “As a canine exercises in the heat, mucus forms in their mouth and on their tongue. As a hunter, you need to give your bird dog just enough water to give them a little hydration and, as important, water to rinse the mucus from their tongue to keep the pup’s heat regulation system operating efficiently.”
West went on to explain that, in fact, he doesn’t want a dog to “drink” too much water. “Hunters DO need to be ‘forcing’ water on their dogs before the pup is thirsty. A thirsty dog will gulp water, which adds extra air into the stomach leading to bloating and twisting; bad news for your pup.”
Sit, Stay, Squirt
Clay Thompson echoed West’s thoughts and reiterated the importance of training bird dogs to drink from a squirt bottle. “I use a water bottle in the field to make it easier on me, because I do not have to bend over to give the dog a drink of water with this method.”
Pheasants Forever stocks the WingWorks Vest which includes two built-in squirt water bottle holders.
Don’t Give your Dog Gatorade
If you’re like me, you make assumptions. I’ve always assumed that Gatorade’s ability to replace electrolytes in me would be equally beneficial to my bird dog. Not only am I wrong, I could have killed my own dog with this logic.
“Dogs don’t lose electrolytes,” explained West. “In fact, adding additional electrolytes to a dog’s system during times of heat stress can actually speed up the dehydration process.”
Thompson reiterated West’s guidance, “Gatorade or other drinks of this type should not be used with dogs, because they are designed to replace electrolytes, salts and other nutrients that people lose when we sweat. Since dogs can’t sweat, human drinks are giving dogs things they do not need as well as unnecessary extra sugars.”
The Finicky Dog and Peanut Butter
No dog can resist peanut butter. That logic has helped Tom Dokken convince even the finickiest of pups to consume water during a hunt. Check out Dokken in this SportDOG training video.
Later this month, SportDOG also plans to launch a new product called Canine Athlete Hydration. “Our new Canine Athlete Hydration product is liver flavored to entice the most finicky dogs to drink, and it has been specifically formulated to benefit bird dogs,” explained Thompson. “It also comes in convenient packaging for the hunter in the field.”
Remembering the Bird Dog Deaths of 2003
Young dogs and over-weight dogs are the most susceptible to heat-related problems. It’s important for your bird dog to be in shape all off-season as you prepare for opening day.
We need to simply look back to October 2003 for proof. That year, 90 degree temps greeted South Dakota hunters for the pheasant opener. Tragically, that weekend’s heat led to hundreds of bird dog deaths. When it’s hot, be sure to monitor your dog’s demeanor and appearance. Specifically, be sure to check your pup’s tongue color. The darker the red of the tongue, the hotter your dog is becoming.
Lastly, it’s important to know that severe heat stress events can impact your dog’s long term health and damage your dog’s heat regulation system forever.
Thanks to @bulldog2012 for the great question and blog topic. If you’ve got an idea for a blog topic, go ahead and drop it in the comment section below or send me a message through Twitter @BobStPierre.
The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.
Friday, May 6th, 2011
For pheasant hunters who also moonlight as deer hunters, the biggest drawback to pursuing the ungulates is the absence of perhaps the most appealing aspect of bird hunting – the dog. Enter shed hunting, an activity blending bird dogs and bucks, which may be just the ticket to get your bird dog out of its offseason training rut.
What Bird Dog Breeds Can Be Shed Dogs?
According to Tom Dokken, legendary dog trainer and owner of Dokken’s Dog Supply, current shed dogs are mainly Labrador Retrievers. “The strongest breeds are the ones that are going to pick something up,” Dokken says, alluding to Labs and Golden Retrievers.
But Dokken says most bird dogs can become well suited to shed hunting. “Really any dog that likes to play fetch can be a shed dog,” he says. “Even pointing breeds, especially those with natural retrieving instincts like German shorthaired pointers and German wirehaired pointers, can find success.”
Hunting Season Just Got Longer
When pheasant dogs go bad, the most likely culprit is a shortage or complete lack of an offseason training regimen. “Quite frankly, a lot of people just drop the ball after pheasant hunting season,” Dokken says, “Shed hunting is another way to get offseason activity, and one that’s definitely different than what most bird dogs are used to.”
Bird dogs can easily pick up shed hunting, and in short order, Dokken points out. “Think of it as an upland hunt, but for antlers,” he says, “The dogs are using their hunting drive, their noses and working on retrieves, so it’s really a way to extend the hunting season.” That goes for the trainer, too. “It really feels like I’m going on a hunting trip,” he said as he and his dogs prepared to head west to South Dakota in search of sheds this April.
Fortunately, quality shed hunting can be had almost anywhere these days, including suburbia, and isn’t exclusive to just whitetail deer antlers – bird dogs can also retrieve mule deer, elk and moose sheds.
Will Shed Hunting Ruin My Pheasant Dog?
In a word, “No,” Dokken says. “Hunting for sheds doesn’t mess up a pheasant dog, there just isn’t that competition between birds and sheds,” Dokken adds, “The antler can never take the place of a living, breathing, good-smelling and exciting live bird.” As easily as bird dogs can pick up shed hunting, the transition back to doing what they do best, hunting birds, is just as seamless.
While places to hunt abound, the most important element is, as with all things dog training, finding the time. “It’s not something you need to train your dog for years to do,” Dokken says, “It’s simple stuff you can do at home.” While Dokken runs a 12-16 week shed dog training course (www.dokkensoakridgekennels.com), he’s seen dogs pick it up in a matter of weeks.
Dokken recommends starting with a simple game of fetch, tossing the antler around the house, then the backyard, letting the dog have fun picking it up and brining it back to you. “Take a command word and work it in, but make sure it’s not a word you emphasize for other commands,” he says. His preferred command is “find the bone.”
To a bird dog, a hard shed antler, unlike a soft, well-scented pheasant, typically takes some warming to. Dokken, who doesn’t use treats when training dogs for upland birds or waterfowl, does use them for shed training. “A treat let’s the dog know it’s worth picking up,” he says.
One caveat as you increase the number of sheds you’re hiding around the house or backyard is the scent from your own hands. “At first, dogs will key on to sheds because of the scent from your hands. You’ll eventually need to eliminate that scent using rubber gloves and boots when you place the sheds.”
Fast Growing Dog Sport
Dokken recently hosted the first ever World Shed Dog Hunting championship at his Oak Ridge Kennels in Northfield, Minnesota. Of the participating dogs, Dokken said 80 percent were “bird dogs.” The amateur and junior divisions at the event were won by Lee Lakosky (from The Crush on Outdoor Channel) and his Lab, Tank.
With arguably the two most popular outdoor personalities – Lee and his wife Tiffany Lakosky – into shed hunting dogs, the profile of the sport continues to grow. Dokken has started the North American Shed Hunting Dog Association, and a special shed dog trainer website (www.sheddogtrainer.com) devoted to the sport. He fully expects more shed dogs and their owners out in March and April in coming years as bird dog owners see the value of having a different kind of dual purpose dog. “For bird dogs, there really isn’t a downside to shed hunting, it’s all upside.”
Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor