No excuses here. This day was a 10 for Wayne, Abby, Shaq and Brian.
Dog tired. Brian and Mark enjoy a tasty lunch prepared by Gail and Jannie while Lucky takes a well-deserved siesta.
Photo op. Jim, Roxie and Ken take a quick break. Ken bought Roxie from us as a 2-year-old and she has matured into an excellent grouse dog.
Another grouse for Sam. Jim’s dog Sam is a nine-year veteran of the grouse woods and knows how to do his job.
Lights, camera, action! Oscar pins a pair of running grouse and Mike and Steve hustle to get into position for the shot.
This one didn’t get away. Oscar will retrieve them, too.
Guide string accommodations.
Team work. CH Houston’s Belle, me and Jamie with his five grouse. At age nine, Belle has a head full of grouse sense. Oh yeah, and Jamie shot well, too!
Season’s end. A gorgeous November sunset over Lake Winnie as viewed from Bowen Lodge.
Serendipity…fate…good timing…..or whatever one chooses to call it. Jerry and I have felt it before and we think it definitely played a part when we were looking for a solution to our employee situation.
Earlier in the fall, Jerry and I had a dilemma. Zac, our excellent and loyal employee of three years, was leaving to begin his senior year of high school. He would soon be concentrating on homework, basketball and parties (not necessarily in that order) rather than on dog training and kennel chores.
Similarly, our summer neighbor and training helper, Jeff, would be spending his days hunting grouse and woodcock. And soon after but before the first snowflakes appear, Jeff and his wife, Carol, leave for their winter home in Arizona.
Through our rural township grapevine, Jerry and I heard that a close neighbor, Dan Stadin, was retiring from his many years of service at the federal prison. We’ve known and liked Dan and his wife, Paula, for all the years we’ve lived here but little did we know the depth and breadth of his expertise and knowledge.
What we did know:
• avid outdoorsman who fishes and hunts turkey and deer
• has owned retrievers—at least one Labrador and a Chesapeake
• along with other family members and friends, owns a cabin “up north”
• drives a very cool Harley.
What we didn’t know:
• beginning in 7th grade, bred and trained sled dogs and competed in local races
• for many years beginning at the age of 14, had a summer job as a dock boy at a resort on the Ash River
• earned a degree from the U of M Waseca with an emphasis on Swine Production
• worked for a fur farm that produced mink and silver fox for pelts; skunks, raccoons and ferrets for the pet market
• bought and ran a beef cow and horse farm; managed a hog farm or two
• worked 20 years for the Federal Bureau of Prisons where he held several positions—his final 15 years as a Correctional Counselor.
Dan is a tremendous asset and already we see improvements in our operation. He has initiative and has taken over responsibility for feeding, watering and otherwise caring for the pigeons, quail and chukars. Dan genuinely likes animals—a trait that is reflected in his ability to relate to them. Jerry feels he has a wonderful way with the dogs.
One of Dan’s primary responsibilities this fall has been the development and training of our puppies. He’s worked them in the pasture on quail and chukars and has also taken them in the woods for training on grouse and woodcock. While Jerry spent the better part of October doing guided grouse hunts out of a lodge in northern Minnesota, Dan helped me manage the kennel.
We’re not sure who’s happier…Jerry and me because we found Dan…or Dan because he’s found a new passion…or Paula because Dan is so happy.