Wednesday, May 4th, 2011...4:21 pm
North Dakota – September 21st
Tuesday, September 21st.
I spent last night in Bismarck, North Dakota. I got up this morning and headed down to Flasher, where I met up with pro bird dog trainer – J.C. Turner. J.C. has been working Cash and Merle for the last 10 weeks on wild Sharptail Grouse, young pheasants, and a bunch of Hungarian Partridge.
The main reason I came this far north was to pick up these dogs and to see them run before we head back south.
We met up at his camp house. He already had the dogs and horses loaded up in his trailer. We drove from there to one of his training grounds so I could see the progress my dogs had made over the summer.
I am nowhere near a horseman, and I proved that once again this morning. The first horse that J. C. started me on didn’t work out for me, so he switched me to another one. This horse and I did better. I’m in a lot better shape than I was the last time I rode, and that makes a really big difference. I also didn’t have to jump off this year, so that’s always positive.
We ran Merle first. He has made a lot of progress. I am real happy with how he turned out.
To quote Mr. JC, “He’s a whooole lot of animal.” Merle’s a really well bred dog. His sire is Phantom’s Wizard and his mother is a full sister with to “Whippoorwill Wild Agin” – winner of the 2008 National Championship at Ames Plantation.
Merle has always been a big, fast running dog. He might be more than I want as far as for a foot dog. He just really lacked wild bird experience. He also had a bad habit of over running birds. He spent a good bit of the summer learning to slow down and use his nose.
I was pretty pleased with his range today. He stayed in with us pretty well and he hunted hard. He found a lot of birds. 10 finds on the first round. On a couple of points there were 20 to 30 birds.
He stood steady to wing and shot on most with just a couple of minor corrections. He did a bang-up job. I was really happy with his work. I may have me a real nice one here.
Next we ran Mr. Cash. Cash is a two year old English Pointer. His grandsire is Erin’s Southern Justice and his mother is a really well bred Elhew female. I got him from Clarence Gamble, Great Basin Kennels in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Cash is one of my favorite dogs. I bought him based strictly off his looks and his great grandfather. Erin’s Southern Justice’s sire is Bly Spymaster. Bly Spymaster is Em’s sire.
I just wanted another black and white dog with some Bly Spymaster in him.
I was happy with how he ran and he looks like he’s carved out of stone. Really muscled up and stylish.
The first three or four finds that he had didn’t work out real well. He knew the birds were there, he just couldn’t pin them down. Some of it was wind issues and some of it was confidence issues. He wasn’t looking real good and J.C. wasn’t real pleased with him.
I had been getting real good reports on him all summer, so I was not that concerned. We ended up running him just a little bit longer to see if we could get him to calm down and do his job. We ran up a little planted feed strip and he had a real nice point. J. C. went up to flush and three pheasants came flying out of the cover. Cash stood there for them, steady to wing and shot.
We worked him a little bit longer down one side of a cover patch to the end. Down the other side was a stand of corn, with a weedy patch that was probably 75 feet wide.
Cash locked up pretty as you please, looking like a million bucks. Stretched out – big and tall.
We rode up to him and J.C. got off his horse. Birds started getting up everywhere. Cash was right in the middle of at least 12 young pheasants. He stood there the whole time and watched them fly off. Shot the gun, he stood there. It was a perfect find. He looked real nice.
We worked him back down that edge. He had two more finds and did a real good job on both. We got down to the end of the corn right at the road and he locked up again. He must of had 40 birds between him and the road edge. All of a sudden birds just started boiling out of the cover. He stood there for every one of them. He had one bird pinned hard and we had to walk that one up, but the rest of them were just going everywhere.
I’m real happy with how that round turned out.
J.C. ran a couple of his field trial dogs. I got a chance to see a couple of nice big running dogs. They both did really well.
I had a good time speaking with him. This is the first year Mr. Turner has worked dogs for me, and I was real pleased with how they both turned out. I’ll be using him again.
He’s in North Dakota for a little over 10 weeks. That’s a long time on the prairie for a dog. They get a lot of exposure to wild birds and that’s a key factor in training a dog
Even if you have a lot of opportunity to hunt wild birds, having them summer in the Dakotas is a pretty good investment. In the summertime, I don’t work my dogs because it’s too hot in Mississippi. So the young dogs are just sitting in the kennel.
I try to get all my dogs at least one summer on the prairie. It’s a good way to get a dog a lot of wild bird contacts. That’s just something you can’t train with pigeons or pen-raised quail and then expect them to be able to handle wild birds in the fall