Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Willys for my bird dogs

I have, for many years, been the owner of a 1947 Willys CJ2A. I bought it in the late 90s to haul dogs on bird hunts and to take with me on occasional big game hunts. 

On an elk hunt on Day Ridge, Oregon
Inevitably, one day it 'failed to proceed'. I thought it was the fuel pump, but found a new replacement didn't help. Decided it was dirt (or rust) in the fuel lines or perhaps a bad carburetor. SO pulled the fuel lines and carb and sent it to be rebuilt… parked the Jeep and covered it with a tarp and got busy with other stuff. A few years later I got back to trying to repair the old buggy. By this time there were still more problems. It wouldn't turn over.  Pulled the head… had a piston frozen in the block. 

Now the fun began. Looking it over, I decided that it needed some serious attention and I began dismantling it to find and cure all the ills. In short order I was involved in a frame restoration. Stripped it down and examined all components to see what could be used, fixed, or needed to be replaced. That was over a year ago. Now the old Willys has a newly rebuilt engine, transmission, transfer case, axles (with a full floating rear end with locking hubs), new brake system, new suspension, tie rod ends, and a rebuilt steering box. I am toiling to get the body repairs (read fixing the rust) done. This is what I am hoping to get to - a funky, but fully functioning, flat fender Willys classic…

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Indian Head Outlaw

Jessi was seven months old when this photo was taken. By the time she was nine month old she was completely broke - steady to wing and shot, and required very few corrections to get to that point. All her preliminary bird work was with pigeons and electronic launchers, and when gamebirds were introduced there were no significant faults in her birdwork. As I continued to work her on pigeons there was a point when she tested me, and some corrections were necessary. As a result she began blinking pigeons and traps in her birdwork at home. She definitely made a connection between the pigeons and corrections, and wanted nothing to do with either. Her intelligence played a big role in this, as the corrections were not very harsh. I was fearful that this would lead to blinking gamebirds but it did not. I ran her in the California Shooting Dog Championship this past November and finished her with several pieces of exemplary birdwork on released bobwhite. This past weekend on her second wild bird hunt, at 2-years old, she pinned a covey of chukar and stood mannerly through the shot. Unfortunately there was no reward for her, shame on me!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


My two favorite pieces of upland bird gear are my Arrieta 577 double and my Wing Works vest. Beneath the vest I'm wearing a Filson moleskin vest, a Royal Robbins knit longsleeve and lightweight polyester thermals. Headgear this day was a thinsulate camo beanie by Gamehide. Gloves are a lightweight Browning shooting glove. Up top I like clothing that breathes, wicks moisture, and dry's fast. Trudging uphill in chukar country can make you sweat, even in 20-degree weather with a headwind. I can pack a lightweight fleece in the Wing Works vest, put it on at ridgetop, hunt downhill and stay warm.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Cody (on the left with me) after winning the Western Open Derby

Cody has been running in a couple trials this year and no joy yet. 

Cody spent the summer with Travis Gelhaus on the Saskatchewan prairie and it really sharpened him up. He is in shape, running an all-age race and HUNTING hard. Now we need trial ground time and a little luck to get him his first Championship. He is ready to win, and Sheldon is taking him to the Southeast where he will run in the Continental Championship and the Florida AA Championship. These are major circuit trials and will allow us to see how Cody stacks up against the best of the best.

We bred Cody to a daughter of Crockett's Deep Freeze (Johnny Crockett X Super Christina) and are expecting some nice pups very soon. These pups will be as close as it is possible to get to Johnny Crockett via Crockett's Deep Freeze, See Johnny Run, and Jetsetter. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fishing Kelly Creek

Just returned from a week fishing Kelly Creek in Idaho. A beautiful place with only moderate fishing pressure when we were there. Not peak conditions, but we did find plenty of willing West Slope Cutthroat trout from ten to seventeen inches. Beautiful native fish in their native stream.

Caddis were the main menu items and, as usual, I found that standard dry patterns got more refusals than takes. I did most of my fishing with a soft hackle - a no. 14 Woodcock & Orange.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Puppy progress with Andy

I got a brief note from John McIltrot (Seranoa Kennels in Broadview, MT) and Andy seems to be taking his lessons well.

Right now the theme is yard work and barrel work, but on July 15th, he will begin running on wild birds - Hungarian partridges and sharp-tailed grouse. John reports that it looks like a good year for birds, so I am expecting Andy to get a lot of exposure to birds.

So far, so good

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Montana proposes ban on hunting sage grouse

Montana Wildlife and Parks is currently considering a closure of sage grouse hunting in the state. This proposal seems to be sponsored by oil & gas developers and cattlemen in the state. 

Once there were more than 2 million sage grouse throughout the West. Now, the best estimates show there are somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 of the birds left in the Unites States, mostly in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and Idaho.

Sage grouse ARE under stress across their current range, but the primary reasons are oil & gas development, sage land conversion, over grazing, and West Nile virus. Hunting mortality is not a major contributor to the continued decline of sage grouse populations.
Please take a minute to click >here< to post a comment on the Montana Parks and WIldlife website. Comments close on June 23rd.