North Dakota outlawed bird dogs in 1919!

The history of using dogs for hunting game birds in the state of North Dakota is peculiar, to say the least.  It would be funny, too, except that it actually happened. Less than thirty years earlier, Indian wars were being fought and forty years earlier the American Bison was still being market hunted. How could bird dogs be of that much importance?

In 1919, North Dakota passed a law that outlawed the use of dogs for hunting upland game birds. Dogs were allowed for retrieving waterfowl only. “No bird dogs allowed to run loose or with owners between April 1 and November 1.”

Shortly after those restrictions, the North Dakota Game and Fish Board of Control, in its 1919-1920 Biennial Report, bragged about the success of the law:  “It is conceded by everybody that the grouse and prairie chickens were never more plentiful than they were the past two seasons…the bill cutting out the use of dogs was one of the most far-sighted pieces of legislation ever passed for the conservation of game and should never be repealed…”

Some members of the Board of Control believed fewer birds were lost or crippled by using dogs to retrieve them.  In 1933, after much bantering about what types of dogs, the law was changed again to only allow spaniels or retrievers for retrieving. “Use of Pointers, Setters and Droppers is unlawful.”

Later in 1943, a new law was passed that is still in effect today:  “All types of dogs were legal to hunt upland game in season.”

Finally, common sense prevailed.



Quotes from Feathers from the Prairie by Morris D. Johnson and Joseph Knue.

Ice x Prancer puppies: quite a litter

The all-female litter out of CH Westfall’s Black Ice x Northwoods Prancer is now about 12 weeks old.

We’ve heard excellent reports from Mark & Janie Fouts (Timber), Chip Young (Birdie), Tony & Cheryl Follen, Dave Sheley, Mike Stout (Jackie Daniels) and Ben Mergens.

Jerry and I kept an orange-and-white that we named Vixen. Jeff, our neighbor and friend who helps with training, and his wife, Carol, have a black-and-white. They named her Izzie after the doctor on Grey’s Anatomy.

These two couldn’t be cuter or more precocious or more fun. Vixen lives in the house with us and I love sitting on the floor with her and her chew toys. One day Jerry threw a dead pigeon for her. She ran out, picked it up (it was as big as she was) and carried it all the way back to him.

Jeff takes his group of pointers to a nearby lake to cool off on these hot summer afternoons and throws a dummy.  Izzie took off after Jeff’s older pointer, Hershey, when he out for the retrieve. What to do? Jeff threw one just for Izzie…and she loved it.

What I’m reading: Inside of a Dog

I recently finished the New York Times bestseller Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz and overall found it fascinating. Horowitz is a cognitive scientist and her book explains, based on her research and the research of others, how dogs perceive their worlds, other dogs and humans.  In short, she tries to help us picture what it is like to be a dog.

The book begins with a brief background of how the dog came to be. Horowitz includes interesting information about the importance of genetics vs. environment and concludes that the combination ultimately determines what an individual dog will become.

“…dogs, like us, are more than their genome.  No animal develops in a vacuum: Genes interact with the environment to produce the dog you come to know.”

The chapters on the various senses of the dog were insightful but the descriptions of various experiments used to make a point were, at times, too detailed.

I thoroughly enjoyed the section “Inside of a Dog” (same as the book title) which includes topics such as what a dog knows, dogs and time, right and wrong, living in the moment and others.  If you only read this section, the book will have been worth your time.

Although not a formal training book, Inside of a Dog has practical application for understanding behavior.  And the more we know about how dogs think and act, the better dog trainers we can be.

Northwoods Birds Dogs    53370 Duxbury Road, Sandstone, Minnesota 55072
Jerry: 651-492-7312     |      Betsy: 651-769-3159     |           |      Directions
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