Just wanted to say thank you again and let you know our puppy is doing great already. Attached is a photo of our little guy Jack with the puppy. She has been adjusting wonderfully, although we know this is just the beginning
~ Karrli and Caleb
In some ways, this litter out of Northwoods Vixen by Elhew G Force was unprecedented.
Just the night before, Vixen had slept in the house with no sign of being close to whelping. When she did begin whelping at about noon on May 21, she didn’t stop until 12 hours later when she had safely delivered 11 puppies, our largest litter ever. Most impressively, all puppies were healthy and vigorous and all survived.
The eight weeks the litter is with us fly by and soon it is time for them to go to their new homes.
Tim Moore, owner of G Force, chose a white-and-black male. Next Jerry and I decided on a liver male and an orange female. Then puppy buyers from as close as the Twin Cities and from as far away as Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Florida and Oklahoma made their picks in order until all 11 were with their owners.
The puppy is great. We had absolutely no problems at the hotels or on the very long ride home. We decided on the name Coop. Thank you so much.
~ Tim, Massachusetts
She is doing great. No mistakes in the house. Coming to my mouth whistle. Went fishing with us tonight. Only problem is deciding on a name!!!
~ Brian, Pennsylvania
Huxley is doing great! He is so smart and loves to retrieve his soft new pheasant toy. I’m very impressed. He’s been a pretty good sleeper for the most part as well. A couple accidents, but we are trying to make sure he goes out often. Heidi keeps saying he couldn’t be more perfect. I agree.
~ Brandon, Minnesota
We just picked him up. He’s doing great and my two kids are spoiling him with hugs and a little bit of hot dog.
~ Tim, Florida
One evening, Jerry and I couldn’t resist tossing a dead pigeon around for our two puppies. What fun to see them grab the bird and proudly carry it around the yard.
Prancer was a Cadillac.
~ Mark Fouts
With heavy hearts, Jerry and I share the almost unbearably sad new that Northwoods Prancer has died.
Prancer was whelped out of Fallset Fate, owned by Mark and Janie Fouts, by our male Dasher in 2008. In lieu of a stud fee, we wanted a female puppy and as Prancer was the only female in the litter, Mark honored the deal.
Prancer lived in the house with us when she was young. There is almost nothing more heartwarming than holding a sleeping puppy.
Prancer was a star in our kennel—whether in the woods guiding grouse hunters or as a dam. Prancer was also smart and a beautiful dog with a strong physique. We adored Prancer but when she turned six, we gave her back to Mark and Janie in a totally fitting, happy turn of events.
Mark wrote this moving tribute to Prancer.
“With all great dogs they have to start from somewhere. I was fortunate to have a female pointer named Fallset Fate. She was white and orange. She was everything you would want in a hunting dog. Worked to the front, pointed, backed and a strong retriever. She even retrieved from water. She was a joy to handle and had an easy loving personality. A very good family dog, or as I say, a “good citizen.”
“I was thinking if I was fortunate to have another dog like her I would be blessed. I had heard of Jerry and Betsy at Northwoods Bird Dogs and their breeding program. I was told about Dasher and thought this would be a good fit. We decided on the breeding and waited for the results. Fate had only four puppies, three males and one female. The little orange and white female looked like her mother. She was chosen to join the Northwoods kennel.
“When Jerry and Betsy retired Prancer from their breeding program Janie and I were fortunate and gifted to get her back to our family. When she arrived it was like looking at her mother Fate. The look in her eyes, same personality. I always wonder if dogs know that they used to be at a home or kennel in their earlier lives. She adjusted well. She was instantly part of our family. I can’t recall how many times I called her “Fate” while I was hunting with her.
“I have had other breeds of dogs and had some very good ones, but you know when a breed and style suits you. I like to put it in simple laymen terms. Everyone drives different vehicles. They all get you to the same location. But I have settled on driving a Cadillac. They are smooth, easy to look at, and with a little polish they hold their value. Prancer was a Cadillac.
After a day in the woods, Mark Fouts proudly shows off his trio of female pointers: Prancer, on left, with her daughters Jordy and Timber.
“In the field she was a truly honest dog. If she had a point there was a bird somewhere, trust her. Jerry and Betsy brought out the best in her and she was able to pass those traits on to her offspring. Right now I have two dogs from Prancer, Northwoods Fallset Timber and Northwoods Fallset Jordy. The fleet of Cadillacs is still going strong.
“When you lose a dog like Prancer I think you miss a little heartbeat. Sometimes it is hard to get your breath back when it happens. With wet eyes you have to remember the good times and the love that they give back unconditionally, no strings attached.
“Thank you to Northwoods Bird Dogs for letting your family be a part of ours.”
~ Mark Fouts
This caution is repetitive but it is not redundant.
Jerry and I know of bad things that have happened to puppies over the Fourth of July holiday. They have become so scared that they panic, run away and are lost. Some have been hit by a vehicle. Others have chewed out of crates, breaking teeth and scratching until their paws are bloody.
Even if your young dog has been exposed to gunfire, you still need to be careful. Here are two easy precautions.
• Put a crate in a protected, quiet place and put the puppy in it.
• Provide background noise such as TV or radio.
If your young dog will be exposed to fireworks, consider these actions.
• Go about things normally during the fireworks. Act as though nothing special is going on.
• Don’t comfort the dog or give it any attention. Don’t look at the dog; don’t talk to it; don’t touch it.
• If your dog wants to be close to you, let it; but again, don’t comfort it. Comfort will most likely reinforce the behavior and make things worse.
In fact, consider older dogs, too. Even though they’ve been shot over countless times, those have usually been in hunting situations. The circumstances of loud noises and fireworks are utterly different.
Perhaps a hunter can relate to this. If you’re at a gun range, blasts, shots and noises of all kinds are expected. But if you’re sitting on your deck reading a book when a gun is fired 20 behind you, the experience is totally different.
That’s how the dog feels.
Let me amend the caution:
Fireworks and dogs don’t mix.
Photo at top by fortbragg.com.
Warm summer days in Minnesota sure make for fine puppy-rearing weather. And now that Northwoods Vixen’s litter by CH Elhew G Force are four weeks old, they take full advantage of the long June days. With their basketful of soft toys, the 11 puppies love to play.
If not playing, they’re eating or sleeping.
In some ways, our pointer puppies are different from our English setter puppies. Pointers use their paws to, well, paw at each other, paw at me and sometimes just paw at the air. They are extremely coordinated at such a young age, easily scampering up and down their brick steps by the dog door. One female even leaps down from the top brick.
Too, judging by many wrinkles of fur, their bodies and skin seem to grow at different rates…..and they definitely have a lot of growing to do.
Vixen is a wonderful dam—gentle, tolerant, caring, and perhaps best of all, even-tempered and calm.
Left to right, Rod Lein with his dog, Joe Byers with Roxy (Northwoods Grits x Houston’s Belle’s Choice, 2014), Dave Moore with Bette (Northwoods Grits x CH I’m Blue Gert, 2014).
The goal of the breeding program at Northwoods Bird Dogs is to produce grouse dogs that have it all—personality, conformation and hunting ability. Of prime importance to Betsy and me is that our puppies and started and trained dogs go to buyers who will give them ample hunting opportunities.
But, too, since we come from a field trial background, it is both gratifying and valuable to know when given a chance, many of our dogs have the fire, style, focus and tenacity to compete and place in field trials.
On behalf of very proud owners, we want to recognize puppies, derbies and shooting dogs that have placed in grouse, walking and horseback field trials held by clubs around the country.
In 2014 we bred Northwoods Grits (Northwoods Blue Ox x Northwoods Chablis, 2011), an outstanding grouse dog owned by Bob Senkler, to two proven females.
Center, Ellie (Northwoods Grits x CH I’m Blue Gert, 2014) owned by Tom Beauchamp and handled by Rich Hollister.
CH I’m Blue Gert, owned by Dave and Rochel Moore of Minnesota, to Grits produced three females and all became winners. Ellie, owned by Tom Beauchamp of Indiana, placed second in the 2015 Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic. She followed that with several derby placements on grouse and woodcock in Michigan.
Dave and Rochel own the other two females, Skye and Bette, and both dogs placed in grouse trials. Skye won the Moose River Grouse Dog Club (MRGDC) derby last fall while this spring Bette won a derby stake held by the Minnesota Grouse Dog Association (MGDA).
On left, Dave Moore and Jim Tande with Skye (Northwoods Grits x CH I’m Blue Gert, 2014) and, on right, Jeff Hintz with Cooper (CH Rock Acre Blackhawk x Northwoods Vixen, 2015).
Grits’ other 2014 breeding was to Houston’s Belle’s Choice. The lone female of the litter went to Joe Byers of Illinois. Not only did Roxy place second in a 2016 MGDA derby stake (beaten by her half-sister Bette) but she received her certification for use in woodcock banding at less than two years of age.
Northwoods Vixen’s 2015 litter was produced using frozen semen of multiple champion and Hall of Fame pointer Rock Acre Blackhawk. Impressive attributes of Vixen puppies is their innate intelligence and a willingness to please. Whether the offspring are hunted on grouse, woodcock, bobwhite and other quail, pheasants or chukar and no matter what state, all adapted to birds, terrain and handler.
Robby Graham (on left) with Maddie (CH Rock Acre Blackhawk x Northwoods Vixen, 2015).
Three earned placements in derby stakes while still puppies. In Maine, Robby Graham’s Maddie placed in two derby stakes and Arizonan Jeff Hintz’s Cooper placed in a grouse trial derby stake last fall. Bill Owen of California handled his male puppy Sage to several derby placements and first place in a puppy classic.
On left, Bill Owen and Sage (CH Rock Acre Blackhawk x Northwoods Vixen, 2015).
Betsy and I were so pleased with a 2013 litter of Vixen by CH Elhew G Force that we bred her dam, Northwoods Prancer, to him in 2015. Mark Fouts of Wisconsin got a female he hunted extensively on grouse and woodcock. Jordy’s experience showed this spring when on a nasty, rainy, sloppy, 38-degree day, she placed in the MRGDC derby stake.
On right, Mark Fouts with Jordy (CH Elhew G Force x Northwoods Prancer, 2015).
Finally, Ian MacTavish of Minnesota won all three placements in a stake at Minnesota’s St. Croix Valley Brittany Club’s trial this spring. Ian had the foresight to buy two females from a litter we co-bred with Paul Hauge out of our Blue Shaquille to his multiple champion Houston’s Belle. One Ian named Pearl became not only a consistent winner in AKC field trials but also quite a producer.
Ian MacTavish with left to right: Kevin (CH Shadow Oak Bo x Cold Creek Pearl), Pearl (Blue Shaquille x Houston’s Belle), Maggie (CH Can’t Go Wrong x Cold Creek Pearl).
Placing first in the stake was Pearl’s son out of CH Shadow Oak Bo; second was Pearl; and third place went to a CH Can’t Go Wrong x Pearl daughter.
Congratulations to all dogs and their owners!
In the final days of her pregnancy, Jerry and I knew that Vixen was very big but had no idea what we all were in store for.
Beginning at about noon on Saturday, May 21, and finally finishing up about 12 hours later, Vixen whelped 11 puppies. Even thought the count was high and the time was long, Vixen never seemed to struggle or tire.
The breakdown is eight males—four black & white, two liver & white, two orange & white—and three females—one of each color. Nature has a way, perhaps, of evening the score. Vixen’s first two litters were heavily weighted in favor of females—14—to only six males.
This is Vixen’s second litter by CH Elhew G Force. Jerry and I kept four of our own from that litter to raise and train—and kept in touch with or trained the other five. We knew we had an exceptional cross and decided to repeat it.
We are happy and fortunate to report that Vixen and all her puppies are healthy and vigorous.
Two male puppies are available for sale.
Ben is primarily a grouse and woodcock hunter so he and Franny spent their memorable days in aspen cuts and alder thickets.
Franny taught me more about dogs than I care to admit. She was a thinker. She was different. This is what made her special.
~ Ben McKean
It’s always heartbreaking when a treasured dog dies. But especially awful is when a bird dog dies terribly in the prime of her life.
On what started out as another beautiful Saturday morning in Georgia, I left the house early and headed to the kennel to do my morning chores. Immediately, I noticed Franny, a normally lively five-year-old setter female, in an odd hunched position in her run. Her body was bloated, too, and fearing a twisted stomach, Betsy and I rushed her to our vet. Despite an heroic, two-hour emergency surgery, Franny died.
Franny was owned by Ben and Maureen McKean, long-time clients and friends, of Minnesota. Franny was whelped in March 2010, the last litter from Paul Hauge’s multiple grouse champion Houston’s Belle by Northwoods Blue Ox. Franny was a big, powerful female like her blue-ribbon dam; she inherited the grit and endurance of Ox.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember when a robust bird dog was a cuddly puppy…but not Maureen.
Ben and Maureen entrusted Franny to us for her training and Franny, in turn, excelled. She achieved the highest level of training for a pointing dog—steady to wing, shot and fall. Franny also spent every winter with us, gaining invaluable experience with hours on bobwhite quail. She became the star on our Georgia quail guiding string. The weather didn’t deter and it didn’t matter whether we hunted from foot, jeep or horseback or if we were out one or three hours, Franny loved to hunt and always found birds. And when she pointed, the birds were precisely where she indicated.
The shadows were long when I found Franny on point—strong, staunch and stylish on a large covey of quail—at the end of what was to be her last hunt.
Ben hunted Franny extensively on grouse and woodcock and her last fall had been her best.
“Last year, Franny and I had better numbers together than any of my other dogs. She handled at a more manageable range in the thick cover and provided better opportunities than the others. I know she had her strongest talent in the south on quail. I am glad that she was able to put grins on the faces people that she was able to hunt with, including mine. She was an entertainer, a true bird dog and a great friend. She will be missed.”
~ Ben McKean
Betsy and I agree. Franny was a special dog and we were very proud of her. And yes, she put a smile on my face, too, every time I hunted her.
Our puppy, Remi (short for Remington), is doing great. She integrated into our home so quickly that it feels like she has always been here. She is awesome with our kids and is quickly becoming their best friend. We could not be happier with her.
~ Dave and Julie, Minnesota
Our first two English setter litters of this year are settling into their new homes and lives.
The 18 puppies—nine out of CH Shadow Oak Bo x Northwoods Carbon and nine more out of Northwoods Carly Simon by Sunny Hill Sam—were whelped in Georgia where they had a great start. Jerry and I spent countless hours playing with them on green grass, taking them for walks in the piney woods and introducing them to ponds, crates, stake out chains and travel.
Dixie is amazing!! I took her to Montana with my parents this past weekend and she loved it! Plus she’s super cuddly!
~ Isabel, Colorado
About half the puppies went to families in Minnesota but puppy buyers also hailed from Colorado, Montana, Tennessee, Alabama, New Jersey, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Willow and Rainier are turning out to be the absolute best buds. They play so well together, sleep together, etc. We all love them both soooo much, Spence & Kate have both been coming home weekends now from college just to see them.
~ Gregg and Sherrie, Wisconsin
We pulled in last night at 10. Jenny slept most of the way. She loves to chase blowing leaves and play with the many acorns that are on the drive. She does like to be held and has fallen asleep while I am typing this. Thanks so much.
~ John and Jeri, Michigan
Between morning braces of a quail hunt on Pineaven Plantation, Jerry explains the intricacies of Garmin collars with a group of hunters. A matched pair of mules is hitched to the wooden dog wagon where a Labrador waits up front and bird dogs rest in the boxes.
Bobwhite quail. Longleaf pines. Mule-drawn wagons. Bird dogs, retrieving dogs, handlers, horses and hunters. All are integral components of the one-hundred-year-old tradition of wild bird hunting on the plantations in the Red Hills region of southwest Georgia and northern Florida.
Pinehaven Plantation, located near Monticello, Florida, is the setting for the video. It is a privately owned, 5,500-acre plantation where I have been fortunate enough to work on occasion. Because no actual guiding is necessary (rather we follow courses of the mown checkerboard ground), my responsibilities are as dog handler for our client.
Jerry with Penny (CH Elhew G Force x Northwoods Vixen, 2013), on the left, and dog trainer Bobby Ryan with his pointer prepare to start the afternoon brace on Pinehaven Plantation.
Hall and Hall, a real estate company headquartered in Montana but with offices scattered throughout the West, produced this video.
The nine puppies out of Shadow Oak Bo x Northwoods Carbon are six weeks old. They are eating dry dog food three times per day now and Carbon is only with them to nurse once or twice per day. They are at one of their cutest stages! A highlight of our day is when we bring them out onto the lawn to play until they all fall asleep in a pile.
Meanwhile in the next run, the nine puppies out of Sunny Hill Sam x Northwoods Carly Simon are four weeks old. They are much changed since the last post! They walk all over their kennel run…..and in and out of the house. We started feeding them softened dog food (which they smell as soon as we walk into the run and scamper to the dish) and drink water out of a bowl. Carly is still with them all day and night.