Posts Tagged ‘Trammell’

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.

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.

 

 

 

Naming my Second Bird Dog, Part 1 of 2

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Pictured here is Hope, my new pup's dam. Photo courtesy of Top Gun Kennels

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.

 

Creativity

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.

 

Personalization

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.

 

Pictured here is Fletcher, my new pup's sire. Photo courtesy of Top Gun Kennels

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?

 

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

Are you like your Bird Dog?

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Tram & I pause for a photo on a sunny pheasant hunt without a cattail in sight

We’ve probably all heard the sayings about owners and their dogs looking alike, but what about shared mannerisms?  I’ll venture our bird dogs mimic their hunting masters in a variety of ways.  Here’s a sample of the similarities and adaptions I believe my shorthair, Trammell, and I share.

 

  • Methodically Short and Deliberately Dainty.  I am not the tallest guy in the room, any room, even an 8th grade classroom.  At 5’ 7”, my short legs work harder than most to cover the fields and forests.  Thankfully, my shorthair works slower and more methodical than other pointers I’ve observed.  Amongst my Pheasants Forever co-workers, Trammell is referred to as a “dainty” hunter.  To some guys, those may be fighting words, but I’m pretty sure Tram and I bag more roosters than those China Shop Bulls.  We may not vacuum up big expanses of ground, but I’m relatively certain we don’t run over too many hunkered birds either. 

 

  • Hunting Marathoners.  While Tram and I may not beat many tag teams to their daily limit, our deliberate pace does allow us to hunt from the day’s sunrise to the day’s closing bell.

 

  • Cattail Skirters.  Unless one of us gets “birdy,” we’re both content to work the outside edge of the cattail sloughs and keep our feet dry. 

 

  • Rain, Rain, Go Away.  Speaking of dry feet, Tram and I both avoid being outside on rainy days.  It’s funny to watch Tram go outside for a potty break in the rain, she tip toes into the yard as if she’s literally melting and zooms back inside the minute her “business” is complete.  Likewise, I’ve been quoted as saying “this isn’t fun for me anymore,” during a rainy hunt.

 

  • No Water Wings.  While I love to eat ducks, I’d rather spend my time and energy walking in pursuit of any bird without webbed feet.  Tram has a similar aversion to spending her hunting hours stuck in the mud over plastic fake birds when the real thing is to be had one step in front of the other.

 

  • Favorite Color is Orange.  Hunter orange and Detroit Tigers orange compose our wardrobe’s two seasons.

 

  • Birdy Buddies.  Probably most important of all is our shared affinity for upland birds; including, pheasants, quail, grouse, woodcock, sharpies, and prairie chickens.

 

 

What about you?  What traits do you and your bird dog share?

 

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

 

Please Don’t Name Your Bird Dog “Bob”

Friday, November 18th, 2011

PF's Matt Morlock and his English setter, Bob

I am an admitted bird dog name snob.  I realize that and also admit to having named my bird dog after a has-been baseball player from two decades ago – Trammell.  All that said; I encountered a new dynamic with a bird dog on this year’s Rooster Road Trip in South Dakota.

 

Have you ever been in a field with two hunters named Mike?  Sure, it’s a little confusing, but at least both Mikes can speak for themselves.  However, I bet you haven’t been hunting a field with a bird dog that responds to the same name to which you respond, have you?  Humorously, that’s exactly what happened with Matt Morlock’s English setter, Bob, and I yesterday.

 

Matt and I are friends, but rarely have an opportunity to hunt together.  Consequently, we walked the fields next to each other for an opportunity to chat.  The name confusion arose in the middle of a cattail stand that towered over both our heads.  A rooster flushed in front of Matt and he made a nice swinging shot to drop the bird in the middle of the cattails.  That’s when the instructions for “Bob” to do this and do that began.  Add a howling wind to the tall cattails and you can imagine my confusion about what I was supposed to be doing and what “Bob” the dog was being ordered to do.  It made for a fantastic rendition of “Who’s on First.” 

 

Follow Pheasants Forever’s Rooster Road Trip 2011 at www.RoosterRoadTrip.org, on Facebook , YouTube, and Twitter (#rrt11). 

 

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

Keeping your Bird Dog Fueled on The Rooster Road

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

 

Keeping our bird dogs in the game will be a challenge on the 5 states in 5 days Rooster Road Trip

I asked Bob West, a professional dog trainer and Purina dog food guru, for some advice on proper nutrition and hydration for my bird dog while on the 5-day hunt of the Rooster Road Trip.  Here are his top tips.

 

  • · Rotation.  In a perfect situation, Bob recommends rotating multiple dogs through the consecutive day hunting trip for proper opportunity to rest, feed and rehydrate hard-working bird dogs.  In this perfect scenario, Bob would run one dog in the morning, feed that dog at mid-day and let the dog rest all afternoon and evening before bringing that dog back into the hunt the next morning.  Unfortunately, I have one dog – Trammell – and I have always hunted her all day long.  The key, as Bob warns, is to really know your dog’s capabilities, conditioning and tell-tale signs of fatigue.

 

  • · Cool Down & Calm Down.  It’s important to wait till your dog has had an opportunity to rest and calm down after a hunt before you serve the food.  A half hour’s rest should be enough to prevent your dog from gulping down that food.  The danger in gulping is swallowing air bubbles which could lead to bloat and other problems. 

 

  • · Caloric Intake.  It’s common sense that a dog exerting a tremendous amount of energy on a multi-day hunt is going to need additional calories.  What most folks don’t realize; however, is that cooler temperatures also necessitate a need for more calories.  Consequently, a bird dog working hard in the field in 20 degree weather may need nearly double the number of calories in a day compared to a leisurely summer day in the 70s.  Note: each cup of Purina Pro Plan Performance has 493 calories.  All dogs’ needs vary depending upon breed, size, conditioning and activity, but as a baseline, a 40-pound dog needs about 1200 calories in a day of normal activity.

 

  • · Truck Naps.  The cooler temperatures of hunting season also should be considered with your dog’s food needs depending on where that pup is sleeping.  If that pup is sleeping in the truck, they are going to also need extra calories to stay warm through the night as opposed to the pup that’s sleeping in the hotel room on a hunting trip.

 

  • · Hydration.  Dogs regulate their body temperature through panting by drawing air across their tongue and back of their throat.  Panting is a dog’s single method to cool down.  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.  In cold weather, the air is often dryer, so a dog can actually lose more fluid than even in hot weather when they respire.  Consequently, it’s of equal importance during cold hunting days to keep your dog hydrated in the field.  NOTE: Bob suggests serving your dog’s food in water to help keep that pup hydrated.

 

  • · Probiotic.  Before extended hunting trips, Bob also puts FortiFlora probiotic on his dog’s Purina Pro Plan Performance food beginning four days prior to an extended hunt and every day during the hunt.  FortiFlora, which is available from any vet, helps prevent upset stomach issues common with bird dogs from the stress of travel and just simply having a deviation from their routine.

 

  • · Trick or Treat.  It’s not uncommon to see proud dog owners after a great day of hunting ask the waitress of the local steak house for plate scraps for their pooch.  Bob warns against this kind of indulgence.  More often than not, good intentions wind up as loose stools the next morning.  West suggests a spoon of canola oil on the dog’s food as a better treat and source of additional calories for your pup.

 

Follow Pheasants Forever’s Rooster Road Trip 2011 at www.RoosterRoadTrip.org, on Facebook , YouTube, and Twitter (#rrt11). 

 

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

What is that Dog Pointing?

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

No cranes were harmed during the making of this photo.

I am an admitted pointing dog fanatic. In my biased eyes, the pointing instinct is both fascinating and beautiful. I am also a horribly average wingshooter, and admit the help of a pointer’s cue has added dozens of extra breast fillets into my skillet.

However, pointer ownership isn’t always high art and rock solid points on cornered birds. Last weekend, my German shorthair locked up on a pair of sandhill cranes at 100 yards (don’t worry, no cranes or crane nests were disturbed). If you’ve never owned a pointer, my pup’s point of cranes may strike you as a bit odd. Your skepticism will likely deepen as I also admit that my pup, at 8 weeks of age, also pointed a small boy exiting a minivan. She has also pointed numerous mammals; including, coyotes, skunks, porcupines and deer. And if you’re not doubtful of Trammell’s hunting abilities yet, then I’ll admit to her point of a painted turtle in the middle of the Fort Pierre National Grasslands last September. While I have no idea what that turtle was doing in the middle of the prairie, I also have no idea what scent triggered my pup’s pointing instinct.

Thankfully, Trammell’s pointing instinct has been successfully honed to target pheasants, quail, ruffed grouse, sharpies, woodcock, and Huns in more consistent patterns than painted turtles.

Today, consider this blog the pointer’s confessional. What is the oddest thing your pointer has ever locked up on? Come on and be honest. I know you tell your buddies that your pup only points roosters and doesn’t even bother with hens, but I don’t believe you. What’s your pointer’s painted turtle point?

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

Hanging your Bird Dog above the Fireplace

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Kreig Jacque took this photo and . . .

While flipping through a recent bird hunting periodical, I encountered an advertisement for dog head urns.  That’s right; there’s a company selling taxidermy replica heads of your favorite breed of bird dogs with a quail or pheasant in its jowls and inside your pup’s ashes are stored for posterity.  Check out the photos by following this link

Call me a traditionalist, but I favor the classic bird dog portrait over a fireplace as a way to memorialize a beloved pup.  In fact, Iowa artist Kreig Jacque’s sketch of my shorthair, Trammell, already hangs in my living room and Tram is only 4-years old.  I’ve considered giving a dog portrait as a Christmas gift before, but I’ve never thought about it with enough time in advance.  Maybe this will be the year!

turned it into this amazing pencil sketch.

Here’s a little info from Kreig on one-of-a-kind dog portraits.

Portrait Format: Unframed pencil and painting portraits are created on a 17″ x 22″ format. 

(Size and format may vary depending on the expectation of the client)

Timing: The time that it takes to create the original piece of art primarily depends on the amount of detail (subject matter, background, etc.) that the client wishes to include in the portrait.  All of these specifics need to be considered in the turnaround time.  Typically, a single dog pencil portraits take four days to complete.  The paintings may take anywhere from two weeks to a month for completion.  Again, the time will vary depending on the amount of detail the client chooses as well as scheduling constraints.

What’s needed for the portrait: The more images that the client can supply as references, the better.  Every dog has its own disposition and way of showing emotions that are particular to that dog and his or her handler that will show up in these images.  Being able to include these components is what helps to make the portrait so personal to each individual client.

Cost: The cost of the portraits vary depending on the time, subject matter, background, size, and detail that the client wants to include into the portrait.  Typically, one dog pencil portraits will be $400 and the painting of the same stature will be $800.  These quotes are based on a basic hunting scene including one dog.

If you’d like to contact Kreig with other questions, you can reach him at www.kreigjacque.com.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.

Why I Hunt

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

A New Year's Eve 2010 ruffed grouse hunt in the U.P. with my dad, nephew Nicholas and bird dog Trammell. Why do I hunt? Look at the photo. Nuff said.

When Andrew asked me to write a blog about WHY I HUNT, I said “no problem” and figured it would be a pretty easy assignment.  However, as I’ve examined the question, it’s become clear to me that my answer is a complex one with many layers developed over time and influenced by many people.

The St.Pierre & Maurer Clans

Why I started hunting has everything to do with my family.  Dad hunts.  Mom hunts.  Grandparents hunt.  Aunts and uncles hunt too.  I grew up in a family culture that embraced the outdoors, nurtured my enthusiasm for the chase, and celebrated every kill with a meal.

Say Ya to Da U.P. eh!

I grew up on ten acres in the woods surrounded by thousands more “neighborhood” acres of land accessible by friendship or government.  After getting dropped off by the school bus, I’d grab my Ithaca and enter the forest looking for grouse, timberdoodles, rabbits, squirrels, ducks, geese, and deer.  I also lived in a town that closed school on the opening day of deer hunting season.  My teachers hunted, my classmates hunted, my buddies hunted, so I hunted.

Tradition and a Brain Aneurysm

As happens to many a young lad at college, the pursuit of other “things” captured much of my attention.  However, I always kept sacred a long weekend’s return home to Michigan from college in Minnesota for an October bird hunt with my family.  Early into my working career, my dad suffered a brain aneurysm, which reaffirmed my need to continue those bird hunting traditions.  As my dad laid in that hospital bed fighting for his life, my prayers surrounded the plea for future grouse hunts with him. 

Note to Dad: I’ll see you in Escanaba on September 15, 2011!

Solitude

I’ll certainly never decline an opportunity to hunt with family or friends, but my preference these days is to walk alone.  The world has become a busy place and I’m a guy that values “being inside my own head.”  Give me a field of waving grass or a forest of Fruity Pepple-colored leaves and I will walk till sunset with my thoughts and just my bird dog to keep me company.

If You Kill it, You Grill it

I am an ardent believer in eating everything I kill afield, and over time I’ve grown to love cooking, especially wild game meats.  Pheasant, quail, grouse, duck, and venison are so much fun to experiment with in the kitchen.  In fact, my wife and I share the fruits of each fall with family and friends in an annual holiday “Pheasant Feast,” in which I’ll cook a dozen different dishes. 

To Love a Bird Dog

If you’ve ever read my blog before, you know how much I love my German shorthair, “Trammell.”  Owning my own bird dog (as opposed to the family pup), has given me a new sense of excitement and enjoyment that I never experienced in prior years.  Not only has Trammell taught me how to be a better hunter, she’s taught me to see and not just look at every aspect of the hunt. 

Completing Andrew’s WHY I HUNT task has taken me hours.  On one hand, it is complex.  On the other hand, I can answer it in a simple phrase: “it’s who I am.”

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.