Bird dogs and hidden traps

We still store the traps Jerry used when he was young. The collection includes snare, leg-hold and Conibear traps as well as the necessary chains and stakes. The large trap in front is the 220 Conibear that caught Jerry’s Brittany spaniel in 1985.

We still store the traps Jerry used when he was young. The collection includes snare, leg-hold and Conibear traps as well as the necessary chains and stakes. The large trap in front is the 220 Conibear that caught Jerry’s Brittany spaniel in 1985.

Jerry will never forget the day in 1985 when he saved the life of his first bird dog, a female Brittany spaniel. While pheasant hunting in the river bottoms of southern Minnesota, he heard a brief, odd, exhaling yelp and then nothing. The sight was horrific. His dog’s neck was caught in the jaws of a 220 Conibear trap.

After a moment of panic and a good kick of adrenaline, he worked quickly, cursing a broken safety catch on one side, and pried the trap open. She was free but not breathing and her gums and tongue had turned blue. Jerry performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as the final step.

Fortunately for the dog, Jerry knew about traps and CPR.

From the ages of 11 to 18 years of age, Jerry was a trapper. He used Conibear (although never as large as a 220), snare and leg hold traps, matching trap to quarry—whether fox, raccoon, mink, beaver or muskrat. As required by law, he walked his trap lines every day during the season with a wicker pack basket on his back and gained valuable knowledge about the intricate workings of many kinds and sizes of traps.

Even though Jerry and I haven’t known of any dogs—either ours or dogs owned by friends and clients—killed in traps, we do know of some who were injured. But dogs do die as Doug Smith, outdoor writer for the Twin Cities-based Star Tribune, reported in a piece on January 15, 2013.
http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/187053051.html

We think it behooves all hunters to become familiar with the types of traps they might encounter and how to free a trapped animal.

Snare Trap
Cut the wire (Carry a Leatherman or other tool capable of cutting wire.)

Leg-hold Trap
Step on the spring(s) and the trap will release.

Conibear, also called Body Grip Trap
Print the instructions from the website below and carry with you, along with heavy-duty zip ties as specified at the bottom of the document.
http://www.mntrappers.org/_fileCabinet//bodygrip.pdf

Another life-saving technique that worked for Jerry and his Brittany spaniel is CPR. In addition to resuscitating a dog from a trap, CPR can be useful in other emergency situations.
http://depts.washington.edu/learncpr/cat_dog.html

Many thanks to Chris Bye for the idea of this post.

“For the love of bird dogs”

blog star trib shaq 460

The play story in the Outdoors Weekend section of today’s Star Tribune, “For the love of bird dogs,” features Northwoods Bird Dogs. Outdoors columnist Dennis Anderson wrote the piece after he visited the kennel and hunted over Shaq and Oscar last week. He also shot the photographs.

Dennis has written about Jerry twice before but those articles centered on training and developing pointing dogs. This time he focused on the background of our business and the significance of our breeding program.

Dennis is an excellent writer no matter whether he’s taking on tough conservation issues or reporting on a fishing trip to a northern lake. I’ve always especially liked his pieces that are essay-like in style and cover subjects not necessarily outdoors-oriented.

In the final paragraphs when Jerry releases Oscar from a grouse point, Dennis perfectly captures the desire of our dogs to find and point birds:  “Racing ahead, and quickly up to speed, Oscar was intent on finding still another bird. It’s what he lives for.”

The main photo by Dennis is good, too. Shaq is as fine a bird dog as we’ve owned and Dennis caught the handsome head and breath-taking composure on point.

http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/279478132.html

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