BLM Bird Hunt

Those fortunate enough to live in one of the western great plains states have access to the massive tracts of public BLM land (managed by the Bureau of Land Management).  Last weekend we took bird dog Tex there to try out his new knees. During the past year, he blew out his two back knees and had TPLO surgery on both to put him back together. This nasty, invasive surgery is a big deal and I was anxious to see if he could hold up to a full day of  heavy duty hunting.

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The magnitude of this vast land is hard to grasp. It is a bad place to loose your keys.

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Reflected Dog

Tex takes a swim in a Texas stock pond during our annual dove hunt. The still morning gave us a pool of glass, reflecting a very happy puppy.

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Snowy Spring Preserve Hunt

Colorado weather is awesome. This weekend was in the 80s, we wore shorts to the Rockies baseball game but last weekend we had a foot of snow! We took English Setter Oak out on that snowy Sunday for a spin on some chukars.

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Floridian Osprey

 

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Tex’s Forgettable Bird Hunting Season

If you follow this blog, then you know that Tex tore the dog equivalent of his ACL back at the beginning of the bird season. The poor dog had to miss October through the middle of December. He recovered well and here are some pictures of his return to hunting fields.dsc_3499
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Another Great ND Hunt!

Another year of great weather! This makes two in a row. We have been hunting ND pheasants for 15 years and this annual event is like a dear old friend. We can’t wait to get back every year and are always a bit sad when the hunt is over. This is one of those things that you know, at some point, will come to an end so we savor every minute, every bird, every point, every step in the field and every moment of comradery with our friends and fellow hunters. As we grow older, the hunt is cherished simply because we are here, in the vast openness of North Dakota – away from the grind, away from the responsibility, away from the noise. This time afield, immersed in God’s creation, is our connection with what is real and what matters. I hope you enjoy these pictures from a perfect hunt.

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A picture perfect lay-up.

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Colorado Aspens

Since Tex is in traction there is no point in hunting just yet. So we took a weekend and went to Aspen to see the fall colors and hit them near their peak. Beautiful stuff!

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Tex’s Last Hunt . . . . for a while.

About 6 weeks ago, Oak the setter puppy and Tex got out for some time on birds. We had a great time and here are the pictures.

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First Point

Meet Oak. The sweet guy is a Llewellin English Setter from Paint River Llewellins out of Saugarties, New York. We took him out on a beautiful summer morning to learn what birds smell like.

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“Oak”

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Shot Swarm

Summer is for clay target shooting. This beautiful Colorado memorial weekend we hit the sporting clays course and captured the incoming swarm of #8s.

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Rocky Mountain Roosters

The real hunting is over for now but we are fortunate to have some very nice preserves or hunt clubs on the Colorado front range. Kiowa Creek, The Bluffs, Quail Run are all great venues, but this weekend we tried Rocky Mountain Roosters . This is a great way to extend the season and get the dogs a little more time in the field.

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Windmill Point

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Wild Quail . . . Finally!

The biblical drought that tormented the western quail country for the past decade has subsided for now. The moisture provided the basic life elements (water, plants and bugs) allowing the quail to return to areas where they seemingly were gone forever. This is a wonderful testimony to nature’s amazing ability to recover when given a chance. We took advantage of the bird rebound with an end of season hunt.

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A beautiful cock and hen

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Fair Weather Pheasant Hunt

What a difference a year makes . . . .

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Our annual North Dakota pheasant hunt last year, sub-zero temps and blowing snow. Not so fun!

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This year was sipping beer in short sleeved shirts! Much more fun!!

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Western Sharptails

Hunting grouse and partridge on the vast plains of the west distills bird hunting to its base elements. . . persistence, stamina, skill and luck. No planted birds, no limiting out in an hour, no horse drawn buggy, no easy walk through a food plot – this is hiking for miles, wearing the dogs out, sweating the finish off your shotgun and putting your boots to the test while looking for the needle in the haystack. The hope is that when you find that needle fatigue does not rob you of the ability to wing shoot a fast flushing bird that is a bit farther out than you like. This is hunting for the die hard bird hunter.

But there is a peaceful joy in hunting limitless land. The dogs run unfettered, you seldom see another hunter and your only responsibly is to follow your dogs and perform when the opportunity presents itself. If you keep at it you will find them and when you do it is because you paid your dues. . . . you didn’t buy it, you earned it.

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The excellent camouflage of the Sharptail grouse

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Super Moon

At the end of September we had a super moon eclipse. A tripod, a cloudless night and a few rum and cokes produced these pictures.

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Montana Sharptails

DSC_5340Neither Tex or I had ever set foot in Montana until this trip so we were excited about hunting a new state. We made it up to the Hi-Line area near Hinsdale in search of sharptail grouse, hungarian partridge and hopefully some sage grouse. “Hi-Line” refers to rail line that runs through the area. It is the northernmost rail line in the country and is only 42 miles south of Canada.

We ran into birds every day, but not nearly as many as we expected especially given the great weather this year and rosy bird hunting forecasts. Maybe we need to realign our expectations when chasing grouse on the Great Plains!  All things considered we had a great time. A terrific bunch of guys, nice  weather (but a bit too warm), and an impressive amount of open country for the dogs to hunt and run made this worth the 13 hour drive from Denver.

One thing about these prairie birds, once they have been hunted it is tough to get close to them. They vacate quickly and typically leave no one behind. We found sage grouse by glassing the country with binoculars. That was a first for me and I was amazed that we spotted them.

These vast, empty plains are quite beautiful and you have to respect the folks who call this home.
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Tex’s Water Adventure with Merrick Backcountry Dog Food

Tex loves to swim. If we let him, he would swim to Cuba, but thankfully he lives in Colorado and won’t get the chance to try! Merrick asked us to have an adventure and give an update on how he is doing on the Backcountry dog food so we picked a swim day.

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Wet Tex

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Happy 4th of July!

May God continue to bless our great country!

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American flag and cross in Aspen, Colorado.

We hope you all have a wonderful 4th!

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American Robin’s Nest

This Robin’s nest with some fresh young ones is in our front yard. I think these chicks are days old.

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