Friday, March 24, 2023

"Lords of the Fly"


In "Lords of the Fly" Monte Burke brings the history of tarpon fly angling and the biggest names in the game to the page in this great accounting of the fish, men, gear, lifestyle, and the fishery that make the amazing sport. A spectacular page turner...

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Bird Dogs

Val and Jill hunted hard and showed some wear at the end of this hunt; bloody-tipped tails and teets from busting brush, hocks and forearms chaffed from running through ice-crusted snow. Conditions were cold and cruddy; hunting was in about 8-inches of snow which had fallen a couple nights prior, thawed a little the previous day, settled, then froze and developed a good crust overnight.
We didn't start hunting until around noon because temps had dropped into the single digits that morning; temps while hunting were initially in the low to mid twenties and at the end of the hunt started dipping back into the teens.
Initially we hunted some stand-alone tule patches and clumps of whitetop, but didn't see any pheasant tracks, point, or put-up any birds. Things started to change the deeper we got into the property; I started seeing tracks and the occasional wild-flushing (200 yards distant) bird. I marked where a couple birds had landed and hunted the girls into that cover; this resulted in a couple points, and wild flushes, but no shots fired; the scent and birds in the air put a little spark in the girls hunt though, and the game was on.
We hunted into a huge patch of pepperweed, tracks were everywhere trailing into heavy clumps of brush, and the birds began popping distantly; in five minutes we put ten birds in the air, mostly roosters. In short order Jill was on a hot trail, having two barren stands in rapid succession with great intensity; eyes staring distantly, head and tail high-and-tight and not flinching as I went in to flush on both occasions. A hundred-yards further I saw her stack-up again; this time Val was off to her right and staunch as well. I made a dash toward both dogs and about thirty yards out the first rooster went crossing left, and at the shot the second rooster lifted and went crossing right...

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Saturday, December 17, 2022

"Doubling Down"...

In an August 2, 2022 blog Greg McReynolds, Mouthfil of Feathers (, announced they were ..."doubling down on the blog, ...recruiting new contributors, and printing the book." The book, Mouthful of Feathers - Upland in the West, was released originally as an e-book and, is no longer in print. However the print edition, Mouthful of Feathers - Upland in America, is due to be released the summer of 2023. To pre-order go to the Mouthful of Feathers blog or
As promised, the group has "doubled down." The print edition of the book is in the works, new contributors have been recruited, the reading is fabulous!

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Double the fun... two new pups!

 I have lost two of my setters in the past six months... always tough when an old friend passes on.

But a friend in Texas gave me two well-bred setter pups. Funny how these things work out.

Here are  Cap and Rock at one year old.


Sunday, February 27, 2022

Prairie Blues


2019 Southwestern Championship, Johnson Ranch, Trail City, SD

You're rolling in at sunset with a truck of restless dogs

And the whistling wind comes, sounding rather scary.

Unlock and open camp, then light the lanterns and the stove.

And we'll face another summer on the prairie.

Tomorrow we will cull them. And you'll say your string's the worst,

But, of course, it's far from extraordinary.

Some mornings on the check cord and some hunting of young chicks,

And they'll carry all their days the mark of "Prairie."

You'll wrench an arm - and bounce - when your brainless nag departs

After dropping you kerplunk - (you were unwary)

A skunk gets you from one side and a porcupine the other

If you dismount haplessly upon the prairie.

Your best dogs point them, too, and there's little you can do

To correct their "varmint finds" - unneccessary.

If hail and twisters lay and you find the birds today,

You may still get somethiing done out on the prairie.

The summer speeds away and you feel you've come to naught.

Then your dogs show form that's due next January.

When the money trials come up, you don't place a single pup,

So you fold your camp and vow to shun the prairie.

But, dreaming, longing nightly for the blue flax fields in bloom,

When your June time state side life is sedintary,

You'll jam the truck with gear and set your wheels for northern roads,

Towards the hopes, dreams - and mirages - of the prairie.

From the book "The Unforgettables and Other True Fables" by Bill Allen. The book is now in it's third printing and available at

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Long time coming

It has been quite a while since I posted on Living with Bird Dogs. If you missed the posts, sorry. If you didn't miss them, then no harm done.

So what's new? 

 Practically everything. I have relocated to the mountains of SE Arizona with my five setters. I had six when I arrived here two years ago, but my good old dog, Ted, died in October at 16-1/2 years old. We had a great run, but damn, i miss that dog everyday.

Bought a house and land bordering the Coronado National Forest. Elevation 5100 feet. A rolling piece of land dotted with oaks (several species), junipers and, of course cat's claw and brambles of many types. No barn (it burnt to the ground in 2017) so I erected a decent sized metal barn/car garage/shop to keep my boat, Jeep, Landcruisers, and dog truck. Also installed my tools and other drag-alongs from my old place.

I built a kennel room off the garage at the house with individual runs (from TK Kennels - 1st class product) and with A/C for the summer months and heat for the winter. Adjacent to the kennel is a fenced paddock for the dogs that they use daily. An acre or two with gullies, oaks, and lizards to pursue.

 I acquired a pair of Atlas AT250 clay target machines with carts and voice releases, put bigger tires on the carts so they could be towed around behind the Jeep. 

So this is all to say that I have sort of set the place up to suit myself.

This past summer a friend from Teaxas gave me a nice setter pup from a litter he bred. At six months now he is feeling his oats and I've been working him on the basics with a check cord - seeking some co-operation. It might be happening. Have a cage full of quail to work him on when we get to that stage. He does not need to be shown birds to build enthusiasm, as he has plenty of drive and a ton of point.

 So I had promised Jared during a visit to his place last summer that I would resume posting. And I expect to provide some comments and information as convenient or when I have something to say that I think iteresting or important. I hope that you enjoy the future blog posts.