Posts Tagged ‘Top Gun Kennels’
Friday, January 25th, 2013
Last autumn, on a bird hunting trip with Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s online editor, we stopped by my brother’s house in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Anthony’s little nugget of a bird dog, “Sprig,” was in tow.
Sprig, an English cocker spaniel, made fast friends with my niece, nephew, and brother. So much so that my sister-in-law, Julie, said that Sprig might be just the ticket for helping push my brother over the ledge to adding a bird dog to their busy family. We ventured further on the trip to Escanaba, Michigan where both my parents also offered to “take Sprig off Anthony’s hands.”
While “nice shot,” is always an appreciated sentiment on a pheasant hunt, I don’t think there is any greater compliment for a bird hunter than a fellow hunter remarking “I want a bird dog like yours.” For all the trials of potty training and the tribulations of obedience afield, bird dogs provide the greatest rewards when others appreciate the fruits of your labor.
Although my immediate family seems fixated on Anthony’s Sprig, I’ve been honored to have many hunting partners comment on their desire to have a shorthair like my “Trammell” pup. A few have even gone so far as to connect with Trammell’s breeder and seek out her bloodlines through Top Gun Kennels. That’s a fact I’m flattered by . . . although Top Gun’s breeding has more to do with Trammell’s prowess than any training I accomplished.
At its foundation, following the bloodlines of a bird dog you enjoy hunting behind is a great formula for finding a bird dog pup that you’ll cherish for a decade and more. Have you ever pursued the pup or breeding of a hunting partner’s stellar bird dog?
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.
Thursday, June 14th, 2012
Steve Ries, owner of Top Gun Kennels, may have stumbled upon a new business model for his German shorthaired pointer kennel business: incorporating marriage proposals with puppy pickups. For at least one customer, that was the business arrangement last Saturday.
When Brandon Berg of West Concord, Minnesota visited Top Gun Kennels in Iowa this spring and put a deposit down on a GSP puppy, he told Ries the puppy was part of a surprise for his girlfriend. Yes, only part of the surprise. You see, Brandon was also in the process of designing a one-of-a-kind engagement band for Shay Jurgensen of Kasson, Minnesota.
“Shay loves German shorthairs and I wanted to make the perfect proposal very special and unique to her,” explained Berg. “After I told Steve my idea, he was all-in and excited to give me advice on how to best pull my plan off.”
So with Brandon’s plan in place, the couple road-tripped from southern Minnesota to Iowa last Saturday to “look at” Top Gun Kennel puppies. Shay had no idea what lay in store for her.
“Steve handed me the pup I had picked out earlier this spring. Around the pup’s neck was the collar I had given him with the engagement ring I designed attached,” explained Berg. “When I handed Shay the puppy, I dropped to one knee. With puppy in her arms and Shay’s eyes fixed on the ring, the tears began to roll pretty quickly down her face.”
The happy couple named the new pup, “Remington,” and plans to hunt pheasants, ducks and geese over him this autumn. Most bird dog owners will tell you that there is one dog that stands out as their “dog of a lifetime.” I’m confident Remington will be exactly that dog for Shay and Brandon. No word yet on Remington’s role in the wedding ceremony, but I’m placing the smart money on the position of ring-bearer.
Tune in to FAN Outdoors radio this Saturday morning at 7:30AM CDT to hear Steve Ries tell the story in his own words.
NOTE: In a twist of serendipity, Remington happens to be from the exact same litter as my new shorthair pup, “Izzy.”
Monday, May 14th, 2012
Bird dog names are a big deal to me. Admittedly, they’re probably too big of a deal. However, as I’ve written about in previous posts about dog names, a bird dog’s name says a lot about the owner as well as what you hope the bird dog will become. In naming a bird dog, there are two qualities I hold as important guidelines: creativity and personalization.
Although you may not realize it at first blush, a creatively named dog is an advantage in the field. I’ve often been in hunting groups with multiple dogs named the exact same way. Not only are the owner’s commands confusing for the dogs, they’re confusing for the other hunters too. Under this guideline, I personally throw out the nation’s most popular dog names as well as a few names commonly popular to other bird hunters. The names “Drake” and “Hunter” fall in this second category, as does any name referencing your favorite brand of shotgun.
If you’re struggling to find a creative name, consider a different language to fit the breed of dog you’re getting. There are lots of fun ways to connect a dog’s German, French, Spanish, English or Irish heritage through their name.
For me, a bird dog’s name should tell a story about the owner. Read some of the comments at the bottom of my Please Don’t Name Your Bird Dog That post and you’ll find fantastic examples of dog names in honor of people’s heroes, favorite book characters and idolized musicians, as well as fun stories of the circumstances surrounding the dog’s personality.
Admittedly odd for some to understand, I named my now five-year old female shorthair “Trammell,” in honor of a male Detroit Tigers baseball player, Alan Trammell, who retired two decades ago. However, naming my pup “Trammell” immediately personalized that pup to me. Her name has also always served as a conversation starter about my love of baseball and my roots as a grouse hunter from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Later this month, my wife and I will be adding our second bird dog to the family. The new pup comes from the same Top Gun Kennel bloodlines as Trammell. In the sequel to this post, I’ll finally spill the beans on our new pup’s name. Got any guesses?
Monday, June 28th, 2010
Here are some quick hitters for this Monday morning.
- Listen back to this podcast for great bird dog training advice from Steve Ries of Native performance dog food & Top Gun Kennels during his Saturday morning radio interview during Hour 1 of FAN Outdoors. Steve talks about how to avoid making your dog gun shy, 4th of July fireworks, water training, and “roading.”
- Also last Saturday on FAN Outdoors, Ben Bigalke (Pheasants Forever’s Regional Wildlife Biologist for South Dakota) gives an early look at the pheasant forecast in the “Pheasant Capital” during the end of Hour 1 and the beginning of Hour 2. Ben tells us it’s been wet during the peak of the pheasant hatch across SoDak, NoDak, Nebraska, and Minnesota. Bummer!
- I spent Sunday on the lake with my good friend Matt Kucharski. The fishing was slow, but the sun was out and the laughs were fast and furious. Good friends & the outdoors, always a good time.
- Check out the story of Rick Oliver. He’s a North Carolina dude who has been struck by lightning and mauled by a bear. No mention of any deep sea fishing plans.
- Cougars in the U.P. Yep, the Michigan DNR has their 7th confirmed “Yooper” cougar in my homeland of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I have yet to see a mountain lion in Michigan or anywhere else, but I have had the pleasure of tasting them at wild game dinners. You may be surprised to know they are a very delicious white meat that reminds me a bit of pork. They are legal to hunt in many western U.S. states.
- Speaking of tasty . . . Minnesota’s snapping turtle season gets underway on July 1st. Check out the Minnesota DNR’s fishing regulations book for the rules around snappers. Be careful, they can snap off your finger, but their sautéed flesh is worth the risk.
- July 1st also marks the beginning of the new season of Pheasants Forever Television on Outdoor Channel. I’m predicting this year’s premier episode will be Matt Morlock’s Hollywood coming out party. Matt is an “Acre Maker” Farm Bill Biologist for Pheasants Forever in South Dakota and makes appearances in two segments of the PF TV season premier. He’s also a helluva good guy, a cracker-jack hunter, and grows the meanest beard on the Pheasants Forever staff.
- If you haven’t checked it out yet, take a gander at For Love of Dogs, an Outdoor Life group of essays I was honored to participate in writing. I wrote about my love for German shorthaired pointers, while other hunters extolled the virtues of their favorite dog breed; including, a compelling essay on Labradors from my good friend John Devney of Delta Waterfowl.
- Of interest from Field & Stream’s Chad Love; 1) Immortal Jellyfish . . . what? And, 2) Chad’s take on my blog “Does Pheasant Hunting Need Brad Pitt?”
- And to end today’s hit list, I’ll ask the same question Field & Stream’s David Dibenedetto asked last week: Do You Feed Your Dog Table Scraps? I will admit that my pup, Trammell, has been known to find a few nibbles after most dinners in the St.Pierre household. What about you? Does your dog get any table treats?