Meet Dodger and Layla, two exceptional English Setters. Here are some shots from a fun afternoon on preserve chukars. It was dastardly cold, but the light was wonderful. Dodger is six, at the top of his game, and Layla is about 7 months. She performed well, naturally honoring and retrieving. I hope you enjoy these beautiful bird dogs.Continue reading
Tag Archives: Hunting Preserve
So far, this hunting season has been fun but a bit challenging! A near birdless hunt in Wyoming, some preserve hunts thrown in for fun and then slim pickings on Kansas public land. We had high hopes for the Kansas hunt because the talk was that this could be a good year. The local biologist proclaimed that we would see “a covey of bob-whites per hour”. I knew that was optimistic but having the local state-employed biologist make that pronouncement seemed a pretty good omen. One expert we ran into at the local Kansas donut shop said it was back to “pre-drought bird counts” and that too sounded like a good thing. Not to get melodramatic but 10+ hours of hunting through some of the most perfect habitat imaginable yielded a mere 2 coveys of quail. Two sweet bobs were taken, enough for a small appetizer. Anyway, we hunt with a terrific group of guys and always have a great time but the bird tide has got to turn. And I am sure it will! We have some great hunts on the calendar and this season is far from over. I did get some good photog and below are the pics . . .
Tex has his game face on!
After a dove hunt in Texas and a long walk in a Wyoming prairie, we thought it would be fun to hit the local hunting preserve before the next season opens. Another reason to get on “bought” birds is that after those two out-of-state hunting trips I have yet to fire my gun! I can understand tough bird hunting in Wyoming, but no dove in Texas?!?! The bird forecast for the upcoming pheasant season in North Dakota is dismal as well, so this interlude was good for the dogs to be reminded what game birds smell like.
Appreciation of the good things in life is intensified by contrast. These lean seasons give us reason to appreciate the seasons of abundance. So far this is a year of paying dues, hoping that we will be rewarded for our persistence. Happily we are old enough and wise enough to understand that the joy of the hunt is not a carcass count. The real satisfaction of bird hunting comes from the time afield with our friends and our dogs . . . but a covey flush every now and then would be nice!
Tex on a serious point!
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.
Here are the rest of the pictures from our hunt at The Bluffs. Be sure to check out “Part 1” as well.
The small Shorthair is a 6 month old bitch named Roux (pronounced [roo]). This is one of the puppies from the earlier post “Cajun-German Shorthaired Pointer Pups Available” where you can see her as a newborn pup. This was her first time hunting and she was astoundingly good!
About an hour east of Denver, The Bluffs is one of the Colorado’s premier hunting preserves. Birds are not ordered and planted for hunts but instead the club manages and augments sustainable populations of game birds such as Pheasants, Quail, Chukar and Hungarian Partridge. The limited membership hunt on 4,000 acres for birds that seem for the most part pretty wild. I think this is as close as you can get to a wild bird hunt without going on a wild bird hunt. We recently spent a full day hunting The Bluffs and here are the pictures. To keep this from being too big I have split this into two posts so be sure to check out “Part 2“.
Yesterday was a big day for Tex. Not quite 6 months old we put him on live birds for the first time. By nature Tex is a very sweet, mellow dog and we love him in the house but you wonder what will happen when he has feathers in his face. Will he have interest, not to mention intensity and an enthusiasm to hunt? Is he going to get it and fulfill his bird dog destiny, or is he going to lay in the shade under the truck and lick his balls?
Not to worry, Tex gets it. Within 45 minutes he went from mildly curious to a bird dog with fire in his eyes. With guidance from our trainer, John Augustine of Nickel Creek Gun Dogs, we had a tremendously successful day. Tex learned what a game bird is, what they smell like and how they taste. To see the light come on, to see the instinct kick in, to see your puppy perform is an incredible experience. I think I am tearing up.
Tex worked the field well, he picked up scent and worked it to the bird. He pointed and held point well and we were able to shoot over him with no ill effect. You always worry about gun shyness, but happily there was none of that. He did pretty good on the retrieve as well. Being his first time, none of this was flawless or executed consistently but the skills are certainly there. Most importantly he was into it and we have the opportunity to develop a terrific gun dog and also have a wonderful pal back at the ranch.
We lost bird dog Rio last November and now the search is on for a new puppy. This morning we shot at some Chukars with Rio’s half-sister, Matrix. You sure can tell they are related, the resemblance is amazing. The hope is to have a pup by the beginning of summer.
We love those white & liver pointers.
Cost and time effective, the hunting preserve provides an accessible escape for the time-strapped hunter. The shortcomings of a staged event are offset by the opportunity to get the dogs on birds and let them enjoy a morning practicing their art. Most compelling is that a bunch of points are a sure thing. Like finding a date at a strip club, the game is abundant as long as the $20s hold out. Last sunday we hit a perfect morning at Kiowa Creek Sporting Club and captured these shots.