Mocha had another great year on the Montana prairie. I guided over her 25 days already and hunted over her another 10 days.
~ Mitch, owner of Mocha (CH Shadow Oak Bo x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2014), Montana
Every now and then it’s good to reflect on the past year. It can be tempting to focus on sad times—and especially this year when many dogs died. Beloved dogs May, Franny, Prancer, Chardonnay and Blossom are gone but will remain forever in our hearts.
In the midst of our grief and pain, though, puppies were born and puppies always herald joy and hope and never fail to make us smile.
In addition, during the hunting season Jerry and I received lots of communication from clients. Whether calls or text messages or emails, these reports always made us feel happy.
Some themes were evident in the correspondence this fall.
• Bird dogs get tired after a day in the field and are rewarded with naps on the furniture.
• It doesn’t seem to matter the bird or the state. Dogs found birds.
• Age of the dogs doesn’t seem to matter. All dogs got plenty of action.
• There’s no bigger smile on a handler’s face than after his young dog places in a tough derby stake.
• The hunting tradition continues…sometimes from hunter to son to grandson and other times from hunter to daughter.
So, it’s been a good year. Jerry and I are proud of our dogs and are extremely grateful to their owners. Our best to all in 2017!
Jade is a great pup, and did well for the early season. Now we are waiting for late season grouse and a couple trips to Oklahoma for quail.
~ Frank, owner of Jade (CH Rock Acre Blackhawk x Northwoods Vixen, 2015), Michigan
Dixie is a rock star. Here she is with her best friend Penny hunting with my dad in Montana.
~ Isabel, owner of Dixie (CH Shadow Oak Bo x Northwoods Carbon, 2016), Texas; her father Sam, owner of Penny (CH Elhew G Force x Northwoods Vixen, 2013), Colorado
Here’s Biscuit with a proud look over her birds. She found a covey of what I think was 6. I got 2…but they were whizzing all around me. No stopping Biskers!
~ Ryan, owner of Biscuit (Northwoods Blue Ox x Northwoods Chablis, 2011), Minnesota
Here’s a screen shot of Stella’s GPS. 30 miles for a Saturday. I think that might be a record. She was fine and ready to roll the next morning!!!
~ Laura, owner of Stella (Northwoods Grits x Northwoods Carly Simon, 2015), Illinois
Grandson, 3 woodcock. Son, 3 woodcock. Izzie, 30 woodcock, 8 grouse. Priceless.
~ Jeff, owner of Izzie (CH Westfall’s Black Ice x Northwoods Prancer, 2011), Minnesota
Roy snuggled into Kate at Barry’s house last week.
~ Chris, owner of Roy (Northwoods Blue Ox x Northwoods Chablis, 2012), Wisconsin, and Barry, owner of Kate (Northwoods Blue Ox x Houston’s Belle’s Choice, 2010), Minnesota
Here’s Lacey with our younger son Austin. She is definitely a cuddle dog! She is obviously doing well and we love her!
~ Missy, owner of Lacey (CH Elhew G Force x Northwoods Vixen, 2016), Pennsylvania
Maddie ends 2016 having placed in each event she was entered in by placing 3rd today. Go Maddie! Now for a few weeks enjoying hunting.
~ Robby, owner of Maddie (CH Rock Acre Blackhawk x Northwoods Vixen, 2015), Maine
Loki had a wonderful day. 6 birds.
~ James, owner of Loki (CH Shadow Oak Bo x Northwoods Carbon, 2016), Minnesota
Three points, three roosters. Emma rocks.
~ Howard, owner of Emma (Northwoods Grits x Northwoods Carly Simon, 2015), Montana
Coop is doing very well with his training. We are so happy with him. He is a handful, but such a pleasure to own. His natural ability is a testament to you and your breeding of pointers.
~ Tim, owner of Coop (CH Elhew G Force x Northwoods Vixen, 2016), Massachusetts
Rae on the left, Willow on the right, after a tough day of hunting. Notice the leather chairs, both heads on armrests, hunting boots, setter lamp. Priceless.
~ Gregg, owner of Rae (Sunny Hill Sam x Northwoods Carly Simon, 2016) and Willow (CH Ridge Creek Cody x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2013), Wisconsin
Yesterday Jenny got her turn 3 different times. Lots of bird contact. She was bumping and chasing woodcock all over the woods and then a flash point stop to flush on this grouse. I knocked it down and Jenny was on it. Her prey drive is so high that she never stops hunting.
~ John, owner of Jenny (CH Shadow Oak Bo x Northwoods Carbon, 2016), Michigan
Here’s Sadie holding point on a chukar.
~ Bob, owner of Sadie (CH Houston’s Blackjack x Northwoods Chablis, 2013), Minnesota
If only all of our dogs’ lives were as long and happy as Blossom’s.
Blue Blossom, call name Tina, was out of our best field trial setter, 4X CH/4X RU-CH Blue Streak, and another grouse champion, Grouse Hollow Gus. She lived with Jerry and me for about six years but for the majority of her life, Tina was the treasured hunting partner of Tim Esse.
Tina was trained as all our other dogs are—on wild bobwhites in Texas, native prairie birds of North Dakota and on ruffed grouse and woodcock in northern Minnesota. She was perhaps best-suited to the latter and gained quite a reputation as a star member of Jerry’s grouse guiding string.
Because Jerry and I are also breeders, our hunting females get bred. With a bit of kismet, we chose Blue Chief for Tina in 2006 and that cross became our first nick.
We repeated Chief x Tina for three consecutive years. Her famous puppies are legion—Cooper and Cammie, Elle and Daisy, Ollie and Peanut, Bee and Banshee —and they are scattered across the country. Tina’s legacy will continue because we continue to breed one of her special sons, Blue Riptide.
Jerry and I retired Tina in 2008 after her last litter. We sold her to Tim, a passionate grouse hunter from the Twin Cities who schedules the rest of his life around the fall season. For one thing, his job enables him to work remotely. For another, he has family living in northern Minnesota and can easily slip back and forth.
Throughout these eight years, we’ve stayed in touch with Tim and were always so happy to see Tina. As late as this fall when Tina was 14 years old, Tim took her hunting 15 times.
We were deeply saddened to receive an email from him in late November. “Tina is in hunting heaven,” he wrote.
RIP, dear Blue Blossom.
There’s nothing better than a bird dog puppy at Christmas.
The litter out of Northwoods Carly Simon by Erin’s Prometheus is now four weeks old. Suddenly, they seem so grown up.
And with good reason. Jerry and I think some of the biggest changes occur between two and four weeks. At first, puppies are totally dependent on their dam for everything—food, elimination, protection and grooming. Their only senses are smell and touch. They spend their entire time nestled together, nursing or sleeping.
From those tiny, practically interchangeable creatures, individual puppies emerge. They gain two more senses—sight and hearing—and teeth appear. We begin feeding them dog food softened with warm water. Paws first, they dive in and gobble it up until muzzles and front legs are covered.
Puppies have no fear at this age. Socialization increases with both Carly and their littermates but this is also when Jerry and I spend time with them so they become accustomed to people.
A major change is their mobility. Little legs are gaining enough strength to support their rear ends and they waste no time testing them out. They leave their heated nest and stagger around the dog house to eliminate and investigate. We then removed the barrier between their house and kennel run and they quickly scrambled out the door.
We also think much of the success of a litter depends on the nature of the dam. Carly is amazingly patient and gentle. I’ll never forget one quiet afternoon when Carly was stretched out on her side. A big male puppy crawled over the pile of his littermates towards Carly’s head. When he got as far as he wanted, he crawled up and fell asleep sprawled across her neck. Carly didn’t budge.