I know a good field trial horse should be good around dogs, easy to the shot, get along with other horses, be a good scout, and all that, but... check out this horse!
Monday, March 30, 2009
from The Wall Street Journal March 28 2009
The author on the trail with Daisy, left, and Abby
I can tell myself that I take my dogs afield because they want to go and yet when the hunt is on, its urgency spreads from them to me as they course through rivers of scent; I am tugged along in a state of rising alertness and renewed addiction. The Pointer Sisters are running and gasping for my truck while I lug their water jug in one hand, the shotgun in the other while trying not to step on my untied bootlaces. They run round and round the truck to keep it from getting away before I can take them to the hills. Now they peer from the aluminum boxes, happy to be on the wagon and to hear its hearty engine start with a roar, as if glorying in our carbon footprint. It's an unusual East wind and I ponder the places that will let us hunt into it, to gain the scents and ambrosial trails that lead us to the quarry. Dogs, gun, shells and supper -- all in a row. It seems about right.
There have been several hard frosts and the morning is young. Those rattlesnakes not yet denned will be too sluggish to matter. The cattle have been gathered from the hills and now it all belongs to us. The hawks are up to the same thing we are; and it is possible to feel the competition of the Northern Harriers as they course low to the ground in the very fields we hunt. The light from the East and the bright serration of new snow on the mountain ranges surrounding us seem to bind a vast country together.
The dogs wait behind the truck as I rattle some 20-gauge shells into my pocket, slide the plastic water jug into the game bag behind my back. I walk a few yards in front of them, turn and tell them that they may begin. They leave at a blistering rate and in a very short time are rifling through the buck brush and chokecherry stands, across the broad juniper savannah, crisscrossing each other's trajectory with a reciprocity it took them a couple of years to work out. I potter along on two legs, gun broken open and dropped across my shoulder. I seem to be drawn by the wind behind the dogs as if I were sailing. Abby succeeds first, stopping to point as though she'd hit a wall. From a nearby rise, Daisy sees her and backs. If anything on either dog moves, it is because of wind. They are inanimate objects in the landscape. My heart races as I step into a chaotic covey rise of more than 12 birds, partridges everywhere. I manage to scratch down one and Daisy retrieves it to me. At the end of the day, this is all we have, one partridge. It will go into a salad. The carcass is cooked to make a liqueur to go over the kibble.
There is so much in the air suggesting that hunting is an anachronism that it's easy for a hunter to feel he is an anachronism too. An old fishing friend of mine said, as we headed home from an agreeable outing, "I thank God I'm not a day under 80." I'm a meat eater and have the teeth to prove it, but greatly pity the creatures in the domestic meat businesses. An industrial chicken factory gives me heartburn and Thanksgiving is a tragedy for turkeys. I don't wear camo, don't belong to the NRA and haven't been to a gun show since the jovial grandmother sitting behind the pile of machine guns said to me, "Goblins get in your house you'll love having one of these." I have no great enthusiasm for family tradition but my father and grandfather were hunters, and I can not remember a time when I didn't wish to hunt. Like most who have hunted all their lives, I have grown quite austere about what I harvest for our table -- some for sustenance, some for ceremony.
The dogs are everything, and they want to hunt, too. Bird dogs plead with you to imagine the great things you could be doing together. Their delight is a lesson in the bliss of living. As Bob Dylan says, "You've got to serve somebody." I serve my dogs and in return, they glom the sofa. Too many hunting dogs live depressing lives in kennels with automatic feeders and waterers, exercised only enough to keep them ready for work.
All vigorous pursuits bring real change. As I keep track of my dogs in broken country I notice that my memory improves, particularly short-term memory -- no small thing at my age. The hills that at the beginning of the season seemed so laborious roll beneath me. One does not set about doing these things as a salute to the Protestant Ethic but rather by noticing the land, the weather and the dogs and by allowing a sympathetic chord to rise to the hunt.
Daisy at rest
When our northern season ends, the backslide begins, a fearful dullness and the prospect of thickening. The dogs hardly wake up during the day. Something must be done and the longer quail season in the South beckons. West Texas is beckoning too, one of the few places left where mean and deceitful are not considered virtues.
I don't face the facts of late fall in Montana until the whistle freezes to my lip. "Girls," I announce, "we're going to Texas." In two days, Abby, Daisy and I are asleep in an Oklahoma motel, a dump with truckers snoring through the walls. We've just done an 800-mile nonstop and are stunned, in bed with the TV running, and I'm trying to get motivated to drive the last stretch. I step out of the artifice of my truck and I'm some place which, in all its weirdness, is not home. I have a tummy ache from the simple fact of eating along the highway. Is this worth it? But a day later a covey of bobwhites flashes up through mesquite branches, Daisy locked on point and trembling from head to toe, Abby backing and listening to the report of the gun while I drop to one knee and await Daisy's retrieve.
My season ends in the South with old friends Guy and Jimbo, five dogs on the ground at once: the Pointer Sisters; Jimbo's radar retriever Dixie; Guy's recently retired Brittany Obie and Obie's successor in the field, the valiant Bridget. We are like parents at a school play and privately root for our own dogs. The hills sweep under old moss-hung oaks and tall longleaf pines. The morning frost is gone by nine. The pretty black ponds are alive with wood ducks and cranes. We had to get this out of our systems: the Super Bowl is about to start. Guy prepares the mood with stone crab claws and a platter of roasted quail. We watch a somewhat fragmented game between never-ending commercials. At halftime, a lunatic with a microphone runs around in tight pants bellowing to the crowd. My host sighs, aims the remote, and shuts it off. The day had started quite early: It would be a good time to feed the dogs, clean the guns and turn in.
Now the long wait begins before we can do this again. Off season, the reports fly: Kansas has a few birds, Oklahoma looks spotty, West Texas coming back, wheat in Saskatchewan still not combined, bad spring freeze in Montana, Arizona desert birds droughted out, prairie chickens on the rise, ruffed grouse cycle on its way and if they've got woodcock in Louisiana they aren't telling. No sense taking anybody's word for it; we'll see for ourselves.
Thomas McGuane is the author of nine novels, three works of nonfiction and two collections of stories. His new novel, "Driving on the Rim," is due out next year.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Quail hunters might have to back off field trials at Ionia, Highland
by Howard Meyerson
from "The Grand Rapids Press "
Saturday March 28, 2009
Quail hunters may need to find fresh areas to hunt if new regulations go into place for the Ionia and Highland state recreation areas. State park officials are hoping to reduce conflicts between field trial participants and hunters who shoot the pen-raised birds put out for field trial events.
"These areas have been open to hunting during field trial days and we have had a few conflicts and some serious confrontations," said Harold Herta, the resource management chief for Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas. "It's an issue of great importance to field trialers and it has become a safety concern."
The rule, expected to be acted on by the Natural Resources Commission in April, would prohibit quail hunting on any day a field trial is conducted at the Ionia or Highland field trial grounds. Trials are scheduled at Ionia on 16 days during the 25-day 2009 quail season. They are scheduled for six of those days at the Highland State Recreation Area, north of Milford.
Quail hunting would be allowed any other day during the quail hunting season. It would also be permitted on non-field trial portion of each recreation area on the days that field trials were scheduled.
"We're not asking them to stop hunting," said Chuck Langstaff, the grounds chairman for the Ionia Field Trial Association. "If a guy is bowhunting, we don't have a problem with it. Same with duck hunters on the floodings."
"The straw that broke the camel's back is when one of the hunters put a gun up to a field trialer's chest during an event," he said. "The police came and took the guy away, but it is becoming a safety issue."
Ted Kessler, the Ionia State Recreation manger said he had not been able to identify the quail hunters. He knows of no organized group that represents their interests and cannot say whether they were local or otherwise. The complaints typically filter back to him through the field trial organizations.
"We don't kill the birds. We use starter pistols," Langstaff said.
That means the quail may live to be chased another day, or hunted, which is fine with field trialers.
"What is being proposed makes sense," Niewoonder said. "There are very few quail to be found in southern Michigan. If you go to any farm, you almost won't find any.
"The hunters are following the field trialers as they lay out the birds. When the trialer asks them not to shoot them, they are ignored. The birds are shot and there are cross words. We typically get two to three complaints about confrontations every year."
Friday, March 27, 2009
This morning comes word that in 2008 PETA killed 95.8 percent of the dogs, cats and other pets put into its care last year. In fact, during all of 2008, PETA found adoptive homes for just seven pets out of 2,216 animals taken in. To be clear, the animals that were put down where not sick and injured animals: they were animals that PETA simply did not try to get adopted despite an annual operating budget of $32 million. You will not find PETA's shelter in Norfolk, Virginia on Pet Finder, nor are there any visiting hours. Posters are not placed on coffee shop bulletin boards, nor do they work with Pet Smart or anyone else to find homes for dogs and cats relenquished to them. Instead, PETA injects killing solutions into almost all the animals handed over to the them, and then it contracts with a waste disposal company to have several tons of animals a month trucked away, out of sight and out of mind. Why? Simple: they believe a dog in a shelter is better dead than kenneled for even a few days, and they oppose pet ownership entirely. They prefer the animals dead than in the hands of loving owners, and they cannot be bothered to take time away from media-whoring to do the grunt work involved of actually helping real animals in need.
Of 584 dogs surrendered to PETA's "shelter" last year, 555 were killed by PETA and only 4 were adopted out. Another 21 dogs were transferred to the Virginia Beach SPCA, and 15 dogs were still "on hand" with PETA as of December 31, 2008. Of 1,589 cats surreneder to PETA's "shelter" last year, 1,569 were killed by PETA and only 3 were adopted out. Another 13 cats were transferred to the Virginia Beach SPCA, and 2 cats were still "on hand" with PETA as of December 31, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Bearcat, bred by Joe Edwards of Goldsboro, NC, out of Come Back Choo Choo x Sugar Plum Christmas, was trained and handled by Dr. Roger Boser of Seven Valleys, PA. His career spanned placements from New England to Georgia. All in all, Bearcat garnered a record number of 158 placements including 14 championships and 8 runners-up. Overall, Bearcat placed in 61% of all trials entered.
Even more impressive is the impact that Bearcat has had on the quality of red setter field trial performance. His son Desperado was but one of many future champions who ran with Bearcat blood coursing through their veins. Of the many fine red setters who have made an impact on our breed, I am hard pressed to find a specimen who has made a greater impact than Bearcat.
The red setter is considered by most to be a “minority breed” in the field trial world. Certainly, in terms of sheer numbers, we fall far below the English Pointer and English Setter. But is not the Hall of Fame about honoring the contributions of a QUALITY bird dog? In the history of any breed of pointing dog in the United States, the number of dogs who have made the impact on a breed that Bearcat has made on the red setter, could be counted with the fingers of one hand… and those dogs are already in the Hall of Fame, as well they should be.
Each morning as I move to the kennels for my early chores, I look with pride at the string of red dogs waiting to greet me. These are true bird dogs, with the style and drive that would make any hunter or trialer proud! The thread that binds them together is their ancestry to Bearcat. The bird dog world is a better place today because of this fine red setter. Let’s honor his legacy by electing Bearcat to the Field Trial Hall of Fame.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Date: March 18, 2009 at 12:43 pm
In 2008, Lance Mackey proved the impossible was possible again. Today, (March 18, 2009) Lance Mackey made an indelible mark on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and on his legacy as an Iditarod Champion. The Fairbanks Alaska musher arrived in Nome Alaska at 11:38:46 am under a blue sky with thousands of race fans cheering him on. Mackey (Bib #47) made his way under the burled arch with 15 very happy, healthy members of his team. Mackey now joins the legendary Susan Butcher and Montana musher Doug Swingley as having accomplished three consecutive Iditarod Championships. He created an impressive gap between himself and the rest of the pack that has not been seen since 2001. This win was, in a word, “impressive.” Mackey set the pace in the 2009 Iditarod after taking his 24 hours in Takotna. From that point forward Mackey’s teams runs were blistering. He passed all of his competitors and grew his lead each step of the way.
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin called to congratulate Mackey on his three-peat. Iditarod Principal Partner Anchorage Chrysler Dodge owner Rod Udd was on hand to present Mackey with his third Dodge Ram Quad Cab Pick-up truck in a row. Principal Partner Wells Fargo’s Representative Loren Prosser presented Mackey a check for $69,000. In addition, Principal Partner ExxonMobil’s Representative Bill Brackin, and Principal Partner GCI’s Representative, Gary Samuelson presented Lance with the garland of roses for his two lead dogs Maple and Larry.
Tonya Mackey and "Hansel"
Check out Lance Mackey's kennel at http://www.mackeyscomebackkennel.com/index.html
Monday, March 16, 2009
Check out these great photos...
Thanks again to Heather for sharing these pics with the club... please support her efforts by purchasing a couple of photos from her!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
2009 Red Setter Futurity
Amateur Shooting Dog
Billie and Whitey celebrate their wins!
Friday, March 13, 2009
Don Beauchamp and Bonnie Hidalgo present
Walking Shooting Dog award to Al Fazenbaker
Kris Hammons with one of her fine looking red setters.
Our youngest participant at the trial... Brian Morgan!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Congratulations to Bob and Catherine, and to Hall of Famer
Bob & Catherine Gove accept the Red Setter Hall of Fame Scroll on behalf of
WING SHOT FLING
Owner and Handler, Bob Gove remembers “Fling”...
"We are very honored to have Wing Shot Fling, a dog we were privileged to share life with, elected to the Irish Red Setter Hall of Fame! We are very appreciative to all the members who voted her in and to those who share the memory of this wonderful dog with Katherine and me. To quote the late singer song/writer Jim Croce, I’d especially like to thank “my best old X friend” Stan Zdanczewicz for nominating her. (Stan’s a music aficionado) Whelped February 5, 1978 Fling Came to me in April from the Rambling Red Irish Setters kennel of Anne Marie and Randy Kubacz, they could not have sent me a better dog. She was regally bred and her pedigree reads like the Who’s Who of Red Setterdom. Her Dam Turkey Talk Polly has produced many fine pups and had fountainhead-breeding close-up. Her sire the legendary Abra needs no elaboration.
By the end of the spring of 1979 season Fling had won 18 placements (a nice career for a lot of dogs) including 2nd in the spring NRSFTC open puppy stake with 24 entries (can you imagine that... two NRSFTC puppy stakes with 19 and 24 entries, (those were the days). On top of that she won the NRSFTC Puppy of the Year award. Buckle up, Bob!
That August found us on the North Dakota prairies for 2 weeks. Fling had field trial qualities that combined undeniable devotion (willingness to please), burning desire (running with great strength and heart) and extreme boldness (run to the limits of the course no matter how wide). We both learned much about handling, running as big as the country and finding wild birds, Sharptail Grouse in this case. I believe it was the most influential experience in her development, we both learned a great deal. That fall was the start of her derby season and she began where she left off winning 8 derby placements. Again the NRSFTC Championship was at Green River and I met a young man, Keith Martin, who was the son of the area manager. Keith had just started training dogs professionally. Later that fall I sent Fling with him to Georgia to get her into birds. He did a good job and even placed her in a couple of trials down south. The spring of 1980 she finished her derby season with a total of 12 wins and won the NRSFTC Derby of the Year award. She was the first dog to win both juvenile Dog of the Year awards. Fall of 1980 she and I won our first Championship the inaugural NRSFTC National Amateur Championship and it was the thrill of thrills, my kneecaps were jumping. She went on to win the same Championship in 1983 and the NRSFTC Open Championship in 1985. Needless to say we continued to go to a lot of field trials and she won about everywhere we went, she had 103 American Field wins, I wrote them all down. She won the Duke award and was runner-up Legrande in 1985 and won both the Duke and LeGrande awards in 1986. She was always a gallery favorite due in part to her obvious desire to do whatever I asked and the way she artfully and boldly traversed the course to find birds. She was loved by many, feared by some, and hated by a very few that could not bear to lose to a Red Dog. One spring while the NRSFTC Championship was running at Rend Lake in southern Illinois I had to attend a seminar at the University of Indiana so Katherine and Denise Zdanczewicz Stops ran Fling. After I got to the trial I asked them how she did they said that every time she saw a rider off in the distance she would run off to them. They said they thought she spent the whole hour looking for me. The next day I ran her in the amateur shooting dog stake and she was 1st.
Catherine Gove and Deb Fazenbaker show off the "Fling Cake" !!
WING SHOT FLING
A PRODUCT OF THE PUREST CHALLENGE
HELP US HONOR THE CHALLENGE...
JOIN THE NATIONAL RED SETTER FIELD TRIAL CLUB
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
In the field during the Championship!
Brian Gelinas on a relocation
Brian Gelinas has a find