Photo Album: October 2013

Zada (Ridge Creek Cody x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2013) with sharp-tailed grouse in Montana.

Zada (Ridge Creek Cody x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2013) with chukar in Montana.

No matter whether the grouse numbers were up or down; no matter whether the early days were more summer-ish than autumnal; no matter what state one hunted in or for what bird, it seems that our friends and clients and their dogs spent more time in the woods and fields than at the workplace during October.

Tony with Lucy (Westfall's Black Ice x Northwoods Prancer, 2011) with grouse in Minnesota.

Tony, owner of Lucy (Westfall’s Black Ice x Northwoods Prancer, 2011) with grouse in Minnesota.

Jerry and I have received dozens of photos and enthusiastic phone calls, texts and emails. Dogs of all ages—many just puppies, some one- to two-year olds and others with years of experience—have been on the ground and hailing from as far east as Pennsylvania, across the upper Midwest, through the Dakotas and into Montana and Idaho.

Jessica with Mac (Blue Shaquille x Houston's Belle's Choice, 2013) with pheasant in Minnesota.

Mac (Blue Shaquille x Houston’s Belle’s Choice, 2013) and a friend with pheasants in Minnesota.

Nothing…nothing…give us more satisfaction than knowing that dogs we’ve bred and/or trained are now fulfilling their potential with their owners in the woods and fields. Thanks to all who shared.

“And BTW Jerry, I have taken your advice. I keep my mouth shut while in the woods with her. As you well know, that’s the best thing I could have ever done.”

“Just got back from a few days in the grouse woods with Tia (Sweet Tea). The boys are in 8th and 10th grades this year.  I still believe it was a good move to buy her from you when we did, even if the grouse count is headed down. The boys are in their formative years and they’ll remember a good dog such as Tia in good years and bad. We couldn’t be happier.  She’s such a sweetheart. We all love her!”

Scout (Elhew G Force x Northwoods Vixen, 2013) with grouse in Michigan.

Scout (Elhew G Force x Northwoods Vixen, 2013) with grouse in Michigan.

“The most fun I’ve had has been watching her drive, focus and intensity grow with every grouse and woodcock touch.”

Joe, owner of Buddy (Elhew G Force x Northwoods Vixen, 2013) with pheasants in South Dakota.

Joe, owner of Buddy (Elhew G Force x Northwoods Vixen, 2013) with pheasants in South Dakota.

“Never took a shot all day last. Last 45 minutes, took Buddy out just trying to see if I can get him to move with me and respond to the collar Shot 4 birds over him. He looked at me with “Hey, I was born for this.”  I was shooting a 72-year-old LC Smith 20-ga. I rescued.”

Kids, a Labrador and Tana (Northwoods Blue Ox x Northwoods Chablis, 2012) on lunch break in Minnesota.

Kids, a Labrador and Tana (Northwoods Blue Ox x Northwoods Chablis, 2012) on a picnic lunch break in Minnesota.

“My kids accompanied me and we had a “picnic” in the middle of the hunt. The picture…epitomizes my feelings of why October is the most perfect month of the year for anything outdoors.”

Piper (Ridge Creek Cody x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2013) with a woodcock in Minnesota.

Piper (Ridge Creek Cody x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2013) with a woodcock in Minnesota.

“Piper pointed at least 12 woodcock and 2 grouse over 90 minutes. I limited on woodcock. This dog loves to hunt already and absolutely will not quit. Only 34 pounds but nothing slows her down.”

Bart, owner of Snicker (Northwoods Blue Ox x Northwoods Chablis, 2012) with woodcock in Minnesota.

Bart, owner of Snicker (Northwoods Blue Ox x Northwoods Chablis, 2012) with woodcock in Minnesota.

“Snicker was wonderful today…it was a thrilling point and this time I didn’t miss!”

Scout (Blue Shaquille x Houston's Belle's Choice, 2013) on woodcock in Minnesota.

Scout (Blue Shaquille x Houston’s Belle’s Choice, 2013) on woodcock in Minnesota.

“First solo actually able to be killed for him! See if you can spot the woodcock in front of his nose! He’s been pointing, backing and hunting hard! Awesome dogs you’re producing!”

Ian with horses and Cold Creek Pearl (Blue Shaquille x Houston's Belle, 2007) with sharp-tailed grouse in North Dakota.

Ian, owner of horses and Cold Creek Pearl (Blue Shaquille x Houston’s Belle, 2007) with sharp-tailed grouse in North Dakota.

Wayne with Northwoods Magic (Dashaway x Goodgoing Moxie, 2006) with woodcock in Minnesota.

Wayne, owner of Northwoods Magic (Dashaway x Goodgoing Moxie, 2006) with a double on woodcock with his Purdey in Minnesota.

Northwoods Fuzzy Navel (Northwoods Blue Ox x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2012) on grouse in Michigan.

Northwoods Fuzzy Navel (Northwoods Blue Ox x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2012) on grouse in Michigan.

Rainy (Magic's Rocky Belleboa x Banshee, 2009) with grouse in Minnesota.

Rainy (Magic’s Rocky Belleboa x Banshee, 2009) with grouse in Minnesota.

Midas (Houston's Blackjack x Northwoods Chablis, 2013) on point in Montana.

Midas (Houston’s Blackjack x Northwoods Chablis, 2013) on point in Montana.

Northwoods White Russian (Blue Shaquille x Snyder's Liz, 2012) with grouse in Minnesota.

Northwoods White Russian (Blue Shaquille x Snyder’s Liz, 2012) with grouse in Minnesota.

Chet (Can't Go Wrong x Cold Creek Pearl, 2011) on a covey of Huns in North Dakota.

Chet (Can’t Go Wrong x Cold Creek Pearl, 2011) on a covey of Huns in North Dakota.

Ken, owner of Northwoods Aerosmith (Blue Shaquille x Houston's Belle's Choice, 2011) on a grouse hunt in Minnesota.

Ken, owner of Northwoods Aerosmith (Blue Shaquille x Houston’s Belle’s Choice, 2011) on a grouse hunt in Minnesota.

Drew with Stoeger (Ridge Creek Cody x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2013) with a pheasant in Minnesota.

Drew, owner of Stoeger (Ridge Creek Cody x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2013) with a pheasant in Minnesota.

Stormy with grouse in Minnesota.

Stormy with grouse in Minnesota.

Bob, owner of Jill, Grits and Sally. Is there a better way to end a day of hunting?

Bob, owner of three generations of grouse dogs:  Choice (Gusty Blue x Houston’s Belle, 2005), Grits (Northwoods Blue Ox x Northwoods Chablis, 2011) and Chablis (Blue Shaquille x Houston’s Belle’s Choice, 2009). Is there a better way to end a day of hunting?

Fast As You

blog yoakam 460

Maybe I’ll be fast as you
Maybe I’ll break hearts too
~ Dwight Yoakam, Fast As You

Even though Dwight Yoakam probably had something else on his mind when he wrote those lyrics, they seem apropos to bird dogs at a horseback field trial championship.

So it’s fitting that this song by Yoakam, who’s usually outfitted in a big hat, very tight jeans and high-heeled cowboy boots, is the background music to Dennis Lutynkski‘s video of the Region 19 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship. Chris Mathan posted a short piece on her Strideaway website that includes a link to the youtube video.

It is a very well-edited, fun, foot-stomping video and Jerry and I were thrilled to see footage of two dogs we bred.

Northwoods Nirvana (Pete) is featured throughout the opening sequences. He is a big, fast, powerful tri-color setter that flies over the ground. Truly, at one point, he is airborne as he gracefully leaps over a scrubby oak. Co-owned by Frank and Jean LaNasa, Pete is handled by Frank and scouted by Jean. Pete is a 2011 dog out of CH Houston’s Blackjack (owned by Frank and Leroy Peterson) x Northwoods Chardonnay.

Towards the end of the video, CH JTH Izzie, a black and white pointer female works like a missile through the cover. She is owned and handled by Jeff Hintz and is out of CH Westfall’s Black Ice x Northwoods Prancer. Amazingly, like Pete, she is only a two-year-old dog.

Even though Pete and Izzie didn’t place, congratulations to Frank and Jean because Blackjack (CH Can’t Go Wrong x CH Houston’s Belle) was named runner-up champion.

Maybe I’ll break hearts
And be as fast as you, ahh
~ Dwight Yoacam

(Google Image photo of Dwight Yoakam.)

Mid season report and perspective

Northwoods Prancer retrieves a grouse so gently that its gorgeous wing feathers are untouched.

Northwoods Prancer retrieves a grouse so gently that its pretty wing feathers remain untouched.

The early part of the grouse and woodcock season with its bluebird days and beautiful woods could have been an ad for Minnesota tourism but sure made hunting difficult. The temperatures were warm, the conditions were bone-dry and since no hard freeze had occurred, the cover was green and thick. Mid October brought a welcome weather change and, within days, most of the leaves had fallen in central and northern Minnesota.

It takes a tough, determined dog to hunt in the north woods. Susie's hard work pays off after a push through tall ferns and grasses.

It takes a tough, determined dog to hunt in the north woods in early season. Susie’s hard work pays off after a push through tall ferns and grasses.

Throughout the season I’ve found a good number of local woodcock and have just begun seeing flight birds. Ruffed grouse are a different story, though. I’ve only flushed two broods. Otherwise, dogs’ points indicate young birds—when grouse are walking on the ground in front of the dog—or mature, savvy birds. I’ve had dogs follow those running grouse up to 300 yards before they flush.

This isn’t surprising to me. The year 2010 was the last peak of the grouse cycle so we’re now in the third year of decline. In my experience, the next two years will be tough, too.

In years with low grouse numbers, an experienced dog truly shines. Blue Shaquille followed a running grouse for 300 yards before finally pinning it.

In years with low grouse numbers, an experienced dog truly shines. Blue Shaquille followed a running grouse for 300 yards before finally pinning it.

In years with plentiful birds, even a mediocre dog can look fairly good but in low grouse years, an experienced, talented dog makes a big difference. When birds are few and lots of cover separates them, the extraordinary grouse dog “takes you to the birds.” It will be exciting to see which dogs rise to the occasion.

2X CH/2X RU-CH I’m Blue Gert

Dave Moore and CH I'm Blue Gert.

Dave Moore and CH I’m Blue Gert.

Gert is a cool dog. She has a snow-white body, just lightly ticked, and her 40-lb., strongly muscled conformation seems perfect for a grouse dog. The deep orange on her handsome, blocky head nicely sets off a dark nose and eyes.

Gert is owned by Rochel and Dave Moore, who live on a nice spread outside Big Lake, Minnesota. Ever since their marriage in 2002, they have owned bird dogs—setters and pointers both. They train, condition and work their dogs together and share chares, too. Even though Rochel and Dave are hunters, they especially train for field trial competition. They enjoy putting their dogs up against the best in the country. “I like to watch my dog but especially I like to watch my dog win,” Rochel said.

The last pick.
Gert was whelped in 2006 out of Paul Hauge’s talented I’m Houston’s Image (Houston x I’m Jet Setter) and our own Blue Silk (CH First Rate x CH Blue Streak). Even though Dave and Rochel were on the list early, they didn’t care which puppy they got. “I’ll take the last one,” Dave said.

Gert’s name.
I’m Blue Gert is a cool name. Each word has special meaning. I’m is in honor of her sire’s impressive pedigree which goes back to Paul’s favorite setter, Houston. Gert’s dam’s side is formidable, too, for both of Blue Silk’s parents were multiple champions. Gert is short for Gertrude, the daughter of friends of Moore’s. Dave said, “Gertrude was rock-star good-looking and if we’d had a daughter, I’d want her to look like that.”

Dirty Gert.
Most dogs have several nick-names—some are endearing, others playful. Gert earned her name of Dirty Gert many years ago. “By about 40 minutes into training sessions, Gert usually ends up dirty,” Dave said, whether by rolling in something dark and stinky or by pushing hard through heavy cover.

Gert as a house dog.
Even though Gert lives in Moore’s kennel with pals Slew and Elle and her son Zack, whenever she gets in the house, she makes a beeline for the master bedroom. According to Dave, “She lies down on our bed and won’t get up.”

Gert in the field.
Rochel deserves credit for Gert’s debut as a field trial competitor. She handled Gert to a placement in a puppy stake at a 2007 spring trial held by the Minnesota Grouse Dog Association. That was the only time Rochel handled a dog in a trial, preferring instead to scout, but it was exactly the start Gert needed.

While Gert has been worked to bring out her best, sometimes it’s the things that can’t be trained that become paramount; other characteristics can catch the hearts and minds of judges. What sets Gert apart?  “Gert has zero quit. She’s always searching for a bird. There’s just no quit,” Dave said.

After the 2013 North Country Walking Shooting Dog Championship, Rochel Moore poses RU-CH I'm Dirty Gert (on right) and Dave Moore holds the plaque. Scott Chaffee poses the champion on the left.

After the 2013 North Country Walking Shooting Dog Championship, Rochel Moore poses RU-CH I’m Blue Gert (on right) and Dave Moore holds the plaque. Scott Chaffee poses the champion on the left.

Gert’s championship placements.
2013 RU-CH North Country Walking Shooting Dog Championship
2013 Minnesota/Wisconsin Pro Plan Cover Dog of the Year
2012 CH Region 19 Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship
2012 RU-CH Minnesota Grouse Championship
2009 CH Region 19 Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship

Gert is a producer, too.
The 2013 runner-up champion of the National Amateur Grouse Championship is Woods R Callen Sam, a male owned by Bill Frahm. Sam is out of Gert’s only litter by Tom Jones, Scott Anderson’s dog out of his CH A Rolling Stone.

Congratulations to Rochel and Dave on your success with such a cool dog, I’m Blue Gert!

Northwoods Birds Dogs    53370 Duxbury Road, Sandstone, Minnesota 55072
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