Northwoods progeny place on field trial circuit

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).

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.

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).

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).

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).

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).

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).

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!

Big wins for young dogs in national stakes

Northwoods Blackhawk Sage (CH Rock Acre Blackhawk x Northwoods Vixen, 2015) 1st Pacific Northwest Open Derby, Oregon  Owner: Bill Owen, California

Northwoods Blackhawk Sage (on left)
CH Rock Acre Blackhawk x Northwoods Vixen, 2015
1st Pacific Northwest Open Derby, Oregon
Owner: Bill Owen, California

Fall is the ultimate season for bird dog owners whether they choose to hunt in the woods or on the prairies or to compete against the best other owners bring to the line.

Three young dogs bred by Northwoods Bird Dogs won impressively at recent field trials. A seven-month-old pointer male won a derby and a pointer female—as the youngest dog entered—was named champion of the stake. And a two-year-old setter female placed in both open and amateur stakes at a national venue.

Congratulations to these talented dogs and their proud owners!!

Piper (CH Ridge Creek Cody x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2013) 1st  AKC English Setter Nationals,  Nebraska, amateur stake 3rd  AKC English Setter Nationals,  Nebraska, open stake Owner: Chuck Brandes, Minnesota

Ridge Creek Pied Piper
CH Ridge Creek Cody x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2013
1st AKC English Setter Nationals, Nebraska, amateur stake
3rd AKC English Setter Nationals, Nebraska, open stake
Owner: Chuck Brandes, Minnesota

Tian Elhew Verbena (CH Elhew G Force x Northwoods Vixen, 2013) 1st American Pointer Club National Amateur Championship, Ohio Owner: Angela Schillereff, Sauvie Island Kennels, Oregon

Tian Elhew Verbena
CH Elhew G Force x Northwoods Vixen, 2013
1st American Pointer Club National Amateur Championship, Ohio
Owner: Angela Schillereff, Sauvie Island Kennels, Oregon

Northwoods Rolls Royce wins derby stake; continues family tradition

Winners and others gather after the Moose Rive Grouse Dog Club Open Derby stake. From left:  Tim Kaufman, Jerry with First Place Northwoods Rolls Royce, Judge Sig Degitz, Mr. Bjerke with Second Place Sadie, Judge Jason Gooding, Bill Frahm, Ben McKean and an unidentified youngster.

Winners and others gather after the Moose Rive Grouse Dog Club Open Derby stake. From left: Tim Kaufman, Jerry with First Place Northwoods Rolls Royce, Judge Sig Degitz, Mr. Bjerke with Second Place Sadie, Judge Jason Gooding, Bill Frahm, Ben McKean and an unidentified youngster.

The final spring field trial held on ruffed grouse was hosted by the Moose River Grouse Dog Club (MRGDC) on April 25 and 26 in the Douglas County Forest of western Wisconsin. At 14 entries, the Open Derby was the largest derby stake of the 2014-2015 season and perhaps the most competitive. The field included several dogs that had placed in previous derbies, in addition to the eventual winner of the Minnesota /Wisconsin Derby of the Year award.

Northwoods Rolls Royce placed first, followed by Sadie in second and Coulee in third place. Sadie is also out of our breeding—CH Ridge Creek Cody x Northwoods Chardonnay in 2013.

Royce is owned by Bob Senkler; I handled him.

Royce ran a mature hunting race and had a grouse find on which he was steady to shot. This was Royce’s second placement in three starts. Last spring, he placed first in the Minnesota Grouse Dog Association (MGDA) Open Puppy where he staunchly pointed a woodcock.

Royce’s placements prove that he matured early in his hunting application and his ability to point wild birds. He had extensive exposure, too, which helps. As a puppy, Royce was worked on wild bobwhite quail in Georgia and last fall he was hunted hard on grouse and woodcock. I used Royce often on guided quail hunts this past winter in Georgia.

Royce is out of the outstanding nick of Blue Shaquille x Houston’s Belle’s Choice (also owned by Bob Senkler) and joins a long list of siblings that have placed as puppies and derbies in grouse trials.
•    Northwoods Creek (owned by Randy Ott) placed first and second in two MGDA open derby stakes this spring.
•    Northwoods Troy McClure (owned by Dale and Jessica Robinson) placed third in the spring 2014 MGDA Open Puppy.
•    Northwoods Carly Simon (owned by Betsy and me) placed third in the spring 2012 MRGDC Open Puppy when handled by young Paul Diggan.
•    Northwoods Chardonnay (owned by Paul Hauge) placed second in the spring 2010 MGDA Open Derby when she was still a puppy. Chardonnay also placed in two spring derby stakes in 2011, enough to win the 2011 Minnesota/Wisconsin Cover Dog Derby of the Year award.
•    Northwoods Chablis (owned by Bob Senkler) placed twice in spring derby stakes in 2011 and was second place (by just two points!) to litter sister Chardonnay for the 2011 Cover Dog Derby award.
•    Northwoods Lager (owned by Jim Bires), a littermate to Chardonnay and Chablis, placed twice in derby stakes in 2011.

Puppies and dogs win big at spring field trials

Tom Beauchamp proudly displays the big red ribbon won by Northwoods Iron Maiden (Northwoods Grits x CH I'm Blue Gert, 2014) for her second place finish in the Grand National Grouse Futurity Puppy Classic.

Tom Beauchamp proudly displays the big red ribbon won by Northwoods Iron Maiden (Northwoods Grits x CH I’m Blue Gert, 2014) for her second place finish in the Grand National Grouse Futurity Puppy Classic.

Spring is a welcome season throughout snow-weary, northern parts of the country. It is true for all whether commuters, merchants or gardeners but perhaps it is even more so for sportsmen and women who own bird dogs and like to get them in the woods to match them against others during the spring field trial season.

Even though Jerry and I don’t compete as much, we anxiously await results of the various venues and are thrilled when others place—especially when the puppies, derbies and older dogs are out of our kennel. Equally exciting, though, is when winners are:
•    owners who are new to field trials
•    dogs that are older, experienced and much wiser
•    dogs out of favorite pointer males

Tom Beauchamp of Fishers, Indiana, had never competed in a field trial but was keen to run his nine-month-old female setter puppy out of multiple grouse champion I’m Blue Gert by Northwoods Grits. As a practice run, Tom drove up to the Michigan Amateur Field Trial Club’s stakes held near Gladwin, Michigan, on April 3. It was well worth the effort for he earned an Honorable Mention.

After the conclusion of the 68th running of the Grand National Grouse Futurity Puppy Classic, judges and winning handlers pose with their puppies. From left: Judge Dick Brenneman, Dave Hughes with Springfield’s Side Kick, Tom Beauchamp with Northwoods Iron Maiden, Dave D’Hulster with Willwoods Squig, Mark Hughes with Springfield’s Dark Knight, judge Eric Locher.

After the conclusion of the 68th running of the Grand National Grouse Futurity Puppy Classic, judges and winning handlers pose with their puppies. From left: Judge Dick Brenneman, Dave Hughes with Springfield’s Side Kick, Tom Beauchamp with Northwoods Iron Maiden, Dave D’Hulster with Willwoods Squig, Mark Hughes with Springfield’s Dark Knight, judge Eric Locher.

That was merely a preamble, though, for the next weekend Tom headed to Marienville, Pennsylvania, where the 68th running of the Grand National Grouse Futurity Puppy Classic was held in the Allegheny National Forest. Eric Locher and top-notch veteran Dick Brenneman judged 28 puppies from which four placements were awarded.

How sensational for Tom and his puppy. He said, “What the hell. I just let her roll.”

2nd Grand National Grouse Futurity Puppy Classic
Northwoods Iron Maiden
(Northwoods Grits x CH I’m Blue Gert, 2014)
Owned and handled by Tom Beauchamp

Randy Ott is proud of Northwoods Creek (Blue Shaquille x Houston's Belle's Choice, 2013) and his first place in the Open Derby at a Minnesota Grouse Dog Association spring trial. The rotating silver cup is filled with engraved names of past greats in the grouse woods.

Randy Ott is proud of Northwoods Creek (Blue Shaquille x Houston’s Belle’s Choice, 2013) and his first place in the Open Derby at a Minnesota Grouse Dog Association spring trial. The rotating silver cup is filled with engraved names of past greats in the grouse woods.

The Minnesota Grouse Dog Association held the first of two weekend field trials beginning April 10. The stakes are always run in the Rum River State Forest near Mora. Several placements are especially  noteworthy.

1st Open Derby
Northwoods Creek
(Blue Shaquille x Houston’s Belle’s Choice, 2013)
Owned and handled by Randy Ott

1st Open Shooting Dog
Merimac’s Adda Girl
(CH Long Gone Nixon x Grouse River Princess, 2006. She’s 9!!)
Owned and handled by Ben McKean

1st Amateur Shooting Dog & 2nd Open Shooting Dog
Goodgoing Hannah Montana
(Dashaway x Goodgoing Elhew Moxie, 2007. She’s 8!!)
Co-owned and handled by Brett Edstrom

2nd Amateur Shooting Dog
Satin From Silk
(I’m Houston’s Image x Blue Silk, 2006. She’s 9, too!!)
Owned and handled by Greg Gress

3rd Open Puppy
Miles
(CH Shadow Oak Bo x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2014)
Owned and handled by Matt Forgit

Matt Forgit and his son happily pose with Miles (CH Shadow Oak Bo x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2014) after his third place finish in the Open Puppy at a Minnesota Grouse Dog Association spring trial.

Matt Forgit and his son happily pose with Miles (CH Shadow Oak Bo x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2014) after his third place finish in the Open Puppy at a Minnesota Grouse Dog Association spring trial.

Meanwhile, beginning April 11, the Minnesota Bird Hunters Association held their spring trial at Four Brooks Field Trials Grounds north of Milaca. Chuck Brandes entered his young female in two stakes and came away with two ribbons.

1st Open Gun Dog & 3rd Open Derby
Ridge Creek Pied Piper
(CH Ridge Creek Cody x Northwoods Chardonnay, 2013)
Owned and handled by Chuck Brandes

A morning with all-age handler Luke Eisenhart

Pro trainer Luke Eisenhart handles his derby winner Awesome during a morning workout in Georgia.

Pro trainer Luke Eisenhart reaches in to take his derby winner Awsum In Motion out of the area after a find.

On a foggy morning in early March, I drove northwest out of our place to Erin’s Covey Pointe plantation near Sale City, Georgia. I was fortunate to have an opportunity to ride along with professional all-age handler Luke Eisenhart during a morning workout.

Luke is a phenomenon. After his first year of competing on the all-age field trial circuit, he was named the 2011-2012 Purina Top All-Age Handler of the Year. He won the next year, too, 2012-2013. In this year’s standings not only does Luke have a substantial lead over second place but he handles two of the top three dogs for the Purina Top Dog Award, Erin’s Wild Justice and Erin’s Kentucky Gambler.

To keep his string in top condition both physically and mentally, Luke combines roading and field work of 30 – 45 minutes on birds. During these workouts, he doesn’t let the dogs range like they do in a trial; rather he keeps them close and concentrates on handling, finding and pointing birds. He runs dogs in pairs and wants each dog to point several coveys and back the bracemate.

Luke Eisenhart walks back to CH True Confidence after the flush and shot on a nice covey find.

Luke Eisenhart walks back to CH True Confidence after the flush and shot on a nice covey find.

On that day, Luke worked pointer champions Erin’s Dog Soldier, Erin’s Wild Justice, Erin’s Full Throttle and True Confidence, along with setters Houston’s Blackjack and derby winner Awsum In Motion.

Like all good handlers I’ve observed, Luke is smooth, confident and soft spoken around his dogs. It can be forgotten that he is working some of the most powerful, driven dogs found anywhere because he makes handling them look easy. Luke is good because he’s passionate about what he does, works hard on a consistent basis, knows what to do and—and just as importantly—knows what not to do. His timing and execution are precise and he knows each dog thoroughly.

Also exciting for me to see was the dogs themselves. Up close, I saw their physical conformation and disposition and, out in the field, I observed their gait, style and performance.

In the truck on the way back to our place, it became crystal clear to me why Luke and his dogs do so much winning.

An hour with CH Shadow Oak Bo

I felt fortunate to chat with Robin Gates and to see CH Shadow Oak Bo up close after the morning's braces at the 2015 Continental All-Age Championship.

I felt fortunate to chat with Robin Gates and to see CH Shadow Oak Bo up close after the morning’s braces at the 2015 Continental All-Age Championship.

Betsy and I were excited to watch two-time National Champion Shadow Oak Bo compete at the 2015 Continental All-Age Championship held at the Dixie Plantation in northern Florida. Though I had watched him before, I couldn’t miss an opportunity for another look.

Bo is handled by professional Robin Gates and co-owned by Butch Housten and John Dorminy.

Bo, who had just turned nine years of age, hunted the course hard and far, yet handled easily as he hunted from one birdy location to another. He had four finds on coveys, one where the birds were unseen by the judges and two that required relocations.

blog bo on point 460

I was very impressed with Bo’s relocations. Both times, he was on point to the front. After thorough flushing attempts, Robin released the dog and Bo was masterful. He moved positively yet cautiously, exuding confidence that he knew his job. After 40 – 75 yard relocations, Bo pinned the coveys. Robin moved in quickly to flush and the birds were right where Bo indicated. Again, in both instances, the quail flushed from a wide area, indicating they were a feeding, moving group—not the kind that are easy to keep on the ground.

Bo finished his hour well, perhaps not as strong as Robin would have liked and not good enough for a placement but clearly showed us why he’s had such a long, successful career. Interestingly, Bo was being treated for a good-sized abscess on the side of his rib cage due possibly caused by a migrating grass awn.

After the morning’s running, Betsy and I walked to the kennel area. Robin handed Bo a treat as he opened the kennel door. We chatted with Robin who then offered to let us see Bo.

Physically, Bo is a specimen—strong and solid. He is a gentle dog with deep, sensitive eyes that convey intelligence and calmness.

blog bo pre run 460

If there is one word to describe Bo’s personality, it is calmness. He was calm on the dog wagon; calm prior to his brace when being outfitted with the Garmin; calm after his brace; and calm while we petted him and chatted with Robin. Most importantly, Bo was calm—yet also composed and intense—on point.

We were happy with everything we observed about Bo. It’s easy to see why he’s so outstanding in field trials.  We wish him the best.

Running of the 2015 Continental All-Age Field Trial

Handler Luke Eisenhart prepares Houston’s Blackjack for his brace. Tracking collars are permitted but the transmitter is held by the judges until after time.

Handler Luke Eisenhart prepares Houston’s Blackjack for his brace. Tracking collars are permitted but the receiver is held by the judges until after time.

Before the sun had cleared the tall pines early on a crisp Florida morning, CH Shadow Oak Bo was loaded into the dog wagon for his brace, second in the day’s running in the 2015 Continental Open All-Age Championship. He sat in the box, big brown eyes calmly observing all the commotion as the seventh day of the prestigious field trial got underway.

This was familiar territory for Bo. In 2011, he won this trial and in 2012 he was named runner-up champion. Bo also won back-to-back National Championships in 2013 and 2014.

While waiting in the dog box, CH Shadow Oak Bo serenely surveys the scene during a the morning’s running of the Continental All-Age Championship.

While waiting in the dog box, CH Shadow Oak Bo serenely surveys the scene during a the morning’s running of the Continental All-Age Championship.

At 10:05 a.m., Robin Gates, Bo’s trainer and handler, placed the dog back in dog wagon but not before Bo had three bobwhite covey finds—two on masterful relocations. Gates commented, “He did a good job.”

The Continental Field Trial
The Continental Field Trial Club was formed in 1895 in Chicago so this year marked the 120th. In addition to the all-age competition, an open derby was held. The prestigious trial drew the best amateur and professional trainers/handlers in the country and not merely for bragging rights. The purses were substantial—$15,000 for the all-age champion and $6,000 for the derby winner.

The list of pros was impressive and included, besides Robin Gates and others, Hall-of-Famer Garland Priddy, 2012 top all-age handler Luke Eisenhart and Richie Robertson. Sean Derrig and Gary Lester, top amateurs, had dogs entered. Even Ferrel Miller, owner, trainer and handler of the famous Miller dogs, came to watch.

The entrance sign to the Dixie Plantation on Livingston Road, decorated with drawings of bobwhite quail, pretty much says it all:  owned and managed by Tall Timbers and home of the Continental Field Trial.

The entrance sign to the Dixie Plantation on Livingston Road, decorated with drawings of bobwhite quail, pretty much says it all: owned and managed by Tall Timbers and home of the Continental Field Trial.

The Dixie Plantation
The history of the Dixie Plantation is similar to other bobwhite quail plantations in the Red Hills Region, an area rich in natural resources in southwestern Georgia/northwestern Florida. In the early 1900s, wealthy businessmen and their families rode the train from their northern homes as far south as possible…and the tracks ended in Thomasville, Georgia.

Gerald Livingston was the son and heir of Cranston Livingston II, an investor in the Northern Pacific Railway. Livingston and his wife Eleanor lived in New York City where he ran the stock brokerage firm of Livinston & Co. In 1910, Livingston first traveled to the area on a hunting trip and later, in 1926, the couple purchased the first piece of property (7,500 acres) and named it the Dixie Plantation.

The lush cover on the Dixie Plantation can be thick with brambles, broom sedge, wire grass and other plants. The overhead canopy is live oaks draped with Spanish moss and longleaf or loblolly pines.

The lush cover on the Dixie Plantation can be thick with brambles, broom sedge, wire grass and other plants. The overhead canopy is live oaks draped with Spanish moss and longleaf or loblolly pines.

During the 1930s, Livingston bought additional property and the plantation increased to more than 18,000 acres and straddled the Florida/Georgia line.

The gallery is often large and can get spread out, especially when a dog is on point. Often a handler not in the brace will ride along and road his dogs.

The gallery is often large and can get spread out, especially when a dog is on point. Often a handler not in the brace will ride along and road his dogs.

The Continental and the Dixie
The tie between the Continental Field Trial Club and the Dixie Plantation goes back 78 years. Livingston had always been an avid sportsman, hunting with his pointers off horseback. When he was president of the Continental, he first hosted the trial at the Dixie in 1937.

After Livingston died in 1950, his heirs continued running the plantation and continued to host the Continental. In 2013, plantation ownership passed to Tall Timbers Research & Land Conservancy but Livingston’s legacy is still honored. Randy Floyd is President/Treasurer of the club and has run the trial for 18 years. He also works for Tall Timbers at the Dixie Plantation.

Water tanks are placed at strategic locations on the courses. They are of multiple use—horses drink, trial dogs are dunked before their brace and roading dogs plop in to drink and cool off.

Water tanks are placed at strategic locations on the courses. They are of multiple use—horses drink, trial dogs are dunked before their brace and roading dogs plop in to drink and cool off.

The running
The vast piney woods of the Dixie is a true challenge. To win, a dog needs to cover acres of lush, thick cover, show consistently and point multiple coveys of wild quail, all while the handler rides about 75 yards ahead of the judges and sings to his dog. Even the scout’s job is limited to riding to each side, ensuring that the dog isn’t passed by while on point.

The all-age circuit is dominated by pointer males and the Continental was no different. Of the 88 dogs entered, here’s the breakdown.
•    pointer males:  66
•    pointer females:  12
•    setter males:  9
•    setter females:  1

Of the many extraordinary champion dogs, Jerry and I were especially excited to see three. We, together with Paul Hauge, our partner in numerous dog ventures, bred Northwoods Chardonnay (owned by Paul) to frozen semen of Shadow Oak Bo. Chardonnay whelped eight and we have four puppies with us for the winter.

Scout Tommy Davis leads Houston’s Blackjack to the breakaway for his brace in the middle of a dry, sunny afternoon.

Scout Tommy Davis leads Houston’s Blackjack to the breakaway for his brace in the middle of a dry, sunny afternoon.

CH Houston’s Blackjack (CH Can’t Go Wrong x CH Houston’s Belle, 2008), again bred by Paul, Jerry and me, is now owned by Paul and campaigned on the all-age circuit by Luke Eisenhart. Jack ran in the middle brace on a dry, calm afternoon. At 35 minutes, he had the first find but was picked up because he moved about six inches on the flush. “The birds were right under him,” Luke remarked.

True Confidence, owned by Frank LaNasa and handled by Luke Eisenhart, is held by Luke’s scout, Tommy Davis just prior to the breakaway.

True Confidence, owned by Frank LaNasa and handled by Luke Eisenhart, is held by Luke’s scout, Tommy Davis, just prior to the breakaway.

CH True Confidence (call name Bob) is owned by good friend and partner in our North Dakota camp, Frank LaNasa. Bob is a multiple champion in prairie trials and this winter Frank placed Bob with Luke. On a brisk morning, Bob ran a strong forward race, had a nice limb find and an unproductive in a known covey location.

The finals
The Continental usually has a thrilling finish. The main running consists of one-hour braces which are really just qualifying heats. At the discretion of the judges, dogs are called back for one-hour and 50-minute finals. The extremely competent judges this year, Harold Ray and Doug Vaughn, named 12 dogs for the finals. As much as we rooted for “our” dogs—Bo, Jack and Bob—none was in the call back.

By the end of Saturday’s running, Luke’s pointer Erin’s Wild Justice, owned by Allen Linder, was named champion and Miller’s Dialing In, owned and handled by Gary Lester, was runner-up.

Congratulations to Luke, Allen, Gary and their champion dogs!

Minnesota Grouse Dog annual meeting

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Winning dogs, handlers and owners pose proudly with judges and others after a spring derby stake sponsored by the Minnesota Grouse Dog Association.

The Minnesota Grouse Dog Association will hold its annual meeting Saturday, January 24, at 4:00 p.m., at Davanni’s Pizza in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Brett Edstrom, a club official, says, “We will eat, drink, talk smart and hopefully get organized for the coming year. All are welcome!”

For further information, please contact Brett:  507-993-6413 or

Davanni’s Pizza
8605 Lyndale Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55420
952-888-6232

The California Chukar Championship & Derby

The California Chukar Championship and companion derby stake are held in a valley against the beautiful backdrop of the Alabama Hills.

The California Chukar Championship and companion derby stake are held in a valley against the beautiful backdrop of the Alabama Hills.

The differences in field trial venues across the U.S. are amazing. Jerry and I are very familiar with grouse trial grounds, whether aspen cuttings of the Lake States, Pennsylvania’s  more open, mature forests or thick cover of the northern New England. Too, we’ve seen trials held on wide open prairies and historic plantations in the South.

But the location of the California Chukar Championsip and Derby in Lone Pine is vastly different.

Lone Pine, California, is in Owens Valley with the Sierra Nevada mountain range to the west and the Alabama Hills to the east. It’s considered high desert (average annual precipitation less than six inches) with an elevation of 3,727 feet.

It’s so stunning that movie producers have used various locations in the area for decades. Actors from movies long ago include John Wayne, Bing Crosby, Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy and Barbara Stanwyck while more current actors are Jeff Bridges, Russell Crowe and Robert Downey, Jr.

Bill Owen moves in to flush for Northwoods Charles in the California Chukar Derby held near Lone Pine, California, in mid November.

Bill Owen moves in to flush for Northwoods Charles in the California Chukar Derby held near Lone Pine, California, in mid November.

That we know about the trial is due to Bill Owen, a Californian and amateur competitor on the all-age circuit, who bought a puppy from us out of Northwoods Chardonnay by CH Ridge Creek Cody in 2012. His brother Steve (from Montana) had bought a puppy from us in 2011 out of Northwoods Blue Ox x Northwoods Chablis and, also in 2012, a CH Houston’s Blackjack x Northwoods Chablis male.

The championship and companion derby, hosted by the Setter Springs Field Trial Club, were held in mid November. Following are the placements.

California Chukar Championship (27 dogs)
•    Champion:  Utah’s Red Rock Express (pointer male), owned by Herb Anderson, handled by Rich Robertson
•    Runner-Up:  Highground Jax Jabba (setter male), owned by Chuck and Kara Kunde, handled by Lori Steinshauer

California Chukar Derby (16 dogs)
•    1st Place:  Scent Seeker (pointer male), owned and handled by Ed Dixon
•    2nd Place:  Tekoa Mountain Bulldog (setter male), owned and handled by Bill Owen
•    3rd Place:  Northwoods Charles (setter male), owned and handled by Bill Owen

This isn’t the first time Bill has campaigned Charlie, nor is it the first time the dog has placed. Charlie won the derby held in conjunction with the Cascade All-Age Championship and placed third in the Larry Brech Memorial Open Derby Classic. Bill commented:  “He’s coming along really well. Took him chukar hunting after the trial. Had 9 finds in 90 minutes!!!!”

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CH Houston’s Blackjack on all-age circuit

CH Houston's Blackjack (CH Can't Go Wrong x CH Houston's Belle, 2008). Photo by Ben McKean.

CH Houston’s Blackjack (CH Can’t Go Wrong x CH Houston’s Belle, 2008). Photo by Ben McKean.

CH Houston’s Blackjack was recently acquired by Dr. Paul Hauge from Jack’s co-owners, Frank LaNasa and Leroy Peterson. Jack is a six-year-old setter male out of Paul’s 2X CH/4X RU-CH Houston’s Belle by CH/RU-CH Can’t Go Wrong, so it’s a very cool and fitting purchase.

Frank handled Jack on the horseback shooting dog circuit and earned placements in many trials, including a championship and runner-up championship.

Paul placed Jack with Luke Eisenhart, a professional handler in all-age horseback field trials. Luke is one of the best and was the Purina  Top All-Age Handler in both 2012 and 2013. Luke will enter Jack in wild bird trials in the Dakotas, in addition to quail trials in the southeast.

The all-age circuit is the highest level and most demanding of pointing dog field trials. It takes a special dog to to compete with the likes of two-time National Champion, Shadow Oak Bo, a setter,  and many, many winning pointers.

Good luck to Jack, Paul and Luke!

Northwoods Birds Dogs    53370 Duxbury Road, Sandstone, Minnesota 55072
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