Category Archives: Gundogs

A Glimpse of the Future: Goose Hunting

Rick phoned me on Thursday and asked if I would be interested in a goose hunt.  He went on to tell me that he secured hunting access on a field that borders his property. This is where he is building a new home.  I phoned him later and told him that I would be able to hunt and he told me that Kyle was also coming along.

Saturday morning arrived and I got ready in the early morning hours, but not quickly enough.  I left my house just minutes before I was supposed to arrive at Rick’s old shop in the Heights.  I phoned Rick and he let me know to call him back when I reached Huntley and he would guide me to the hunting grounds.  When I showed up the majority of the spread was set.  Rick, Kyle and I set the rest of the decoys, placed our layout blinds and moved our guns and gear into the blinds.  I took my dog Hadli to her dog blind and told her to kennel.  Then we drove our trucks out of the field and parked them in Rick’s future driveway.

The morning was as uneventful as it was cold.  I let the guys know that this was Hadli’s first goose hunt and that I was unsure how well she would retrieve.  The slow morning and cold temps pushed us out of the blinds and into Ricks unfinished house. We warmed as Rick explained the construction choices he made.  A half hour or more elapsed and we walked back out to the hunting field.

The first flight of Canada Geese yielded one dead goose.  Hadli sprinted out of her blind to the bird but hesitated to pick it up.  I got out of my blind and walked to the edge of the spread.  I called Hadli to heel, pinched her left ear against her collar and commanded ‘Fetch.’  She ran to the goose, found a grip and retrieved it.  On the next set of birds I again pinched her ear and told her to fetch, that was last time I had to apply pressure.  The highlight of her day was by a three goose sequence with the last goose being a blind retrieve.

Just shy of 1pm Rick, Kyle and I counted our geese and found that we were two geese from limit.  Rick and Kyle’s superb calling beckoned the last set of geese into our spread.

Rick’s new house being built next to this field had us all thinking about future goose hunting that included ‘warm up’ breaks in Rick’s kitchen over the aroma of sizzling bacon.  Who knows if it that will ever happen, but it sure is a nice thought.  

American Gundog and Pudelpointers

American Gundog was hunting television at it’s finest.  Harley Jackson traveled around the country hunting and showcasing different breeds of dogs.  The episode below found Harley in Boise, ID with Bob Farris of Cedarwood Pudelpointers.  Enjoy the hunting footage!

For you budding dog trainers, Mr. Farris offers some gold nuggets of training advice.  Pay close attention!

Sage Points Whirlwind 05/08/2010—06/16/2014

WhirlwindIn the beginning of July 2010 I received a phone call from Bob Farris. He wanted to know if I was still in the market for a pudelponter. I replied that I was and he asked if I could pick a puppy up the next day in Bozeman, MT. I was still working for Best Buy and had to close that evening so I told Bob that I would have to call on some friends to make this work. My buddy Rick agreed to make the drive. I called Bob and all was set.

This ball of fur swept into my life.

This ball of fur swept into my life.

The plump 7 week old pudelpointer pup was handed to me from my good friend later that evening. While I had dealt with raising a pup before, I had never dealt with raising a pup with another grown dog in the house. It was apparent from the outset that this would be challenging. Gunnr couldn’t quite decide what to do about this pup. He kept his distance. I was also unsure what to do with this pup. In the past I had been able to plan and get time off to get Gunnr acclimated as a pup. That was not going to happen with Coopr, he arrived in the middle of a work week. Coopr would have to spend at least 5 hours alone with Gunnr the next day. I was concerned about the little pup in the kennel with Gunnr. I worried that he might get stepped on or pushed around too much. I decided to put Coopr in the kennel and Gunnr in the yard. This was a poor decision.
When I arrived at home for my lunch break the next day I heard Gunnr barking. Gunnr was standing outside the kennel barking at Coopr. I wondered how long that had been going on and hoped that my neighbors weren’t upset about the barking.
I got my answer the next week in the form of a very thick envelope from the City of Billings. Someone had turned me in to the Dog Gestapo. The letter said that this was my only warning, further complaints would be accompanied by a visit from an officer of the Dog Gestapo.

That’s how Coopr eventually led me to move out of the City.

Coopr’s first hunting season was a busy time. In his first year he would hunt around Billings, make a trip to Froid, MT and hunt quail in Idaho. Coopr pointed his first pheasant alongside a road outside of Froid. The four-month old pointed at a bush, Rick and I were there immediately and the bird flushed from the other side of the bush. Rick killed it, his older dog Rusty retrieved it and through it all, Coopr never saw the bird. Those that knew him more recently wouldn’t know that Coopr was a smallish pup at four months. He couldn’t see over the tall grass. Coopr’s first season progressed. In Idaho he retrieved his first quail from a tree. He was the only dog that would push through the brambles to get that bird. Overall Coopr’s first season was a success. I always felt that I didn’t kill enough birds over Coopr that first year though.

Coopr points a pigeon during his training for a NAVHDA NA test.

Coopr points a pigeon during his training for a NAVHDA NA test.

The spring after Coopr’s first season I entered him into a North American Versatile Hunting Dog Natural Ability Test. We began training as soon as the snow was off the ground. Coopr was a very honest dog, with a great nose and stylish point. Coopr scored 108 out of 112 points in his NA test for a Prize II.

We will never know what kind of Utility Score he had in him.

The upland bird population took a nose dive after 2010. It was very hard to find birds in Coopr’s second and third seasons. A couple of highlights: Coopr pointed the only pheasant I have ever killed with my 28 gauge. It was an intense, low, crouching point in stubble that pinned that bird. On one trip Coopr pointed 9 hen pheasants on one walk. That is as remarkable today as it was frustrating that day.
Coopr’s fourth, and ultimately last, hunting season was fantastic. All the promise of his breeding and of his training started to come together. In the uplands Coopr showed great patience and perseverance working out the scent trails of roosters in thick CRP. Coopr would work the wind cautiously and thoroughly. He used this method to point and retrieve six roosters on one walk last October.

Coopr with the hard won limit on one of his final hunts.

Coopr with the hard won limit on one of his final hunts.

On ducks he turned into a steady retriever that could put on a good search.

Coopr with a limit of ducks.  Opening Day of Waterfowl 2013.

Coopr with a limit of ducks. Opening Day of Waterfowl 2013.

It was fantastic to jump shoot ducks with Coopr last year. If you are a friend on Facebook I’m certain that you saw the photos of Coopr with this or that limit of ducks or pheasants last year.

I feel cheated. Coopr was really progressing in his training this spring. We had just made a breakthrough in deliver to hand last week! Stop to flush was just ‘clicking’ for him! Then this Friday he didn’t eat his breakfast and Sara told me he had sort of a wheeze. Saturday he again missed breakfast, but still had a pep in his step. By Sunday night it was apparent that we needed to see a vet. By the time of our appointment on Monday it was too late. Coopr died as they tried to help him. A pyothorax infection killed Coopr yesterday. We will never know what he might have become.

We do know what Coopr was, however. Coopr was a happy, go-lucky dog. The hair on his head was always tussled this way or that, but his eyes always burned with love and loyalty. Coopr was the kind of dog that would peak around the corner to see that all was well with his family before he went to bed. Coopr would stand next to your bed waiting for you to awaken. I ache to awaken to his face again.

Coopr daydreaming about hunting.

Coopr daydreaming about hunting.

Coopr was a lover.
Coopr was a gun dog.
Coopr is part of my family.
We will miss you Coopr.