Jerry’s passion for bird dogs began with birds. At the age of 10, he raised chickens, pigeons, pheasants and quail in coops he and his father built in the backyard of their Henderson, Minnesota, home. When Jerry was 15, he studied for and became a Master Falconer. Over the years he trained many birds of prey: red-tailed hawk, goshawk, peregrine falcon, prairie falcon, kestrel and Harris hawk.
Jerry was introduced to upland bird hunting in 1975 by a high school teacher who owned English setters. In 1980, Jerry bought his first pointing dog, a Brittany named Adrienne, and trained her on ruffed grouse, woodcock and pheasants.
On a lark, Jerry entered his first English setter, Spring Garden Tollway, a handsome black-and-white male, in a grouse field trial in 1987. Even though Tollway didn’t place, Jerry was hooked and became, over the ensuing 20 years, one of the most successful amateur trainers and handlers in the country. He took CH Blue Streak, a dog he and Betsy bred in 1995, to the pinnacle of success when Streak won the Michael Seminatore English Setter Cover Dog Award and the William Harnden Foster Award in 2002.