Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Days of Summer

Photo by Holly Higgins
It's that time of year again. Time to get the dogs we hunted and field trialed last season back in to shape, give the broke dogs a tune up and get the puppies that have been pointing and chasing, broke before this fall season. It's a tough time of year to train; the weather is hot, the weeds (foxtail, cheatgrass, madusahead, speargrass) are dangerous, it's snakey, and the hours at work are generally long; time is a scarce resource. The dogs feed is being cut back to help burn off the winter layer of insulation and prepare them for early season field trials and hunts; they will typically be three- to seven-pounds heavier in the winter than in the summer; depending on the dog. Some folks like to change feeds between the high activity level seasons of fall and winter, and the lower activity level seasons of spring and summer. I've always stuck with the same feed year-round, a high quality 30/20 mix, and just regulate the once-daily ration of feed according to the dogs needs. Each dog in the kennel is different in it's daily consumption; some are easy keepers and most aren't. I have a small female that weighs in at about 36-pounds, and may be a couple pounds heavier in the winter, and a male that will go 55-pounds in winter and down to 47-pounds during field trial and bird season. Even at their heaviest, my dogs have a waistline. If hipbones and spine begin to show as they cut weight during the summer, I'll add a little feed to smooth-out the bumps. Pointers and Setters are world class athletes and need to be kept in top physical condition to do their job in the field at the highest level. High quality feed, and access to clean fresh water throughout the day are important in managing your dogs physical condition year-round.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

De La Valdene

Guy De La Valdene is mentioned several times, in Thomas McGuane's "The Longest Silence, A Life In Fishing." Poling Key West with McGuane, angling for bonefish, tarpon, permit (the big three), and mutton snapper among other species. A quick web search put me into a list of De La Valdene's books, and I chose "Making Game...", mostly because I hadn't done much reading on woodcock and the description of the contents of the book sounded interesting. This book covers a few good hunts, but also focuses on habitat, migration, the conservation of the species, and the bird as table fare. I don't know any woodcock hunters, but after reading it, I imagine this book would fit into the niche of "a must have" among the tried-and-true. Russell Chatham illustrated the book, Jim Harrison makes an appearence or two, you get the point..... good stuff!

Thursday, June 4, 2020


"The Longest Silence, A Life in Fishing," was composed by Thomas McGuane some twenty-plus years ago. His essays of both salt and freshwater angling span the globe, as McGuane pursues gamefish that most of us only dream to oneday have on the end of our outfit. Anyone that has spent any time on the water will appreciate how McGuane puts you in the moment; whether it be poling the flats of Key West in search of tarpon, permit or bonefish, or presenting a dry to a fat cutty on a gin-clear Montana stream, it's as if you're there with him, wind at your back, hauling line, presenting, and anticipating the strike. I found this book hard to put down. A great book for the spring season, when most of us are looking for a spot to wet a fly, trying to get our birddogs in order, and anticipating the upcoming fall....