Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Thanksgiving Pheasant Hunt

Photo by Holly Higgins
We hunted pheasant Thanksgiving day hoping to harvest a rooster for the table that evening, but at the end of the day were glad we had thrown a chicken in the cart (just in case) while shopping the previous evening. That morning there was a skiff of snow on the ground and tracks were noticeable everywhere in the cover; criss-crossing through the sage and native grasses, down fencelines, in and out of the willows. There was a chill in the air all day and the frost never left the cover except when one of us, or a dog, brushed it off while hunting through it. When the wind came up you felt it anywhere there was bare skin or wet clothing. The dogs were the heroes of the day, hunting hard in the cold and wet persistently. We managed to put a few birds in the air but pinning a bird down was tough....

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Green-up Is Coming

Photo by Sutter Rogers

In late September, early October, Fall seemed to be coming-on like a lion; a fair amount of rain, a skiff of snow, and some chilly mornings had us believing it was "on" for chukar season. But for the last month, since a week-or-so before the season opened, "dry and dusty" best describe what conditions have been like. It has been warm and dry, almost too warm to get the dogs out for more than a few hours in the morning. And birdwork has been at a premium, at least in southern and eastern Oregon.
It's now Thanksgiving and things seemed to have changed. As much as a foot of snow has hit the eastside! The snow should get them moving, but after this cold spell when temperatures reach the high thirties and we get a little sunshine some green-up should occur in the cheat grass and the chukar should begin to disperse as feed becomes more readily available. Something to be thankful for?

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

High Country CRP

Photo by Holly Higgins
This block of CRP was mostly brome (what the horse is standing in) but had a nice strip of vetch running through it. The vetch provided a nice edge, and heavier and taller cover for the birds. To the north you can see grainfields which are dry-land farmed for wheat and barley, and to the west out of the picture are cattle allotments where native sagebrush and bunch grass cover the landscape. All forms of cover held birds; the CRP seemed to hold birds of a younger age class, while birds found on ground heavier to native sage seemed to be older larger birds. The CRP which we trained in was loaded with grasshoppers of all shapes and sizes - great for young birds. Even on mornings like this, when the cover was moist from a bit of rain the night before, the bugs were out. Here I'm off the horse and trying to get a bird in the air for Indian Head Whiski - "Jim".

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

More Summer Training

Photo by Holly Higgins
Click on the photo. If you look hard you can see the Sharpie on the horizon, about equidistant that I am from the dog (which is almost directly in the middle of the photo), going the opposite direction. This is one of those occasions where a majority of the covey had left, the dog chased a little at the flush, I made a correction, and getting off my horse to flush for the dog another bird flew. Couldn't ask for a better training scenario with a young dog......

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Field Trial Gallery

Southwestern Championship, Johnson Ranch, Trail City, SD

Horses

Preparing to ride, Circle, Montana

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Invitational Champions

A must-have book for the field trialer and pointing dog aficionado, The Invitational Champions, by John P. Russell, covers extensively the past 56 champions of what has been deemed the "dream trial" by the late William F. Brown. The Quail Championship Invitational is limited to 12 invited contestants, the best of the best of the previous year's major circuit all-age competitors. "The trial seeks to identify a bird dog with strength, courage, intelligence, and character at the highest level, the best of the best." "The trial provides the most comprehensive and equitable test of the major circuit all-age dogs of the field trial sport." John Russell does a great job of compiling information on each years champion which includes; the authors narrative, a portion of the report from the American Field, a list of each dog running that year - it's handler and owner, information on the champions pedigree and win record, and more. The book is available at Lulu.com, and possibly Amazon and Barnes & Noble.