Back to retrieving

Last Saturday was a return to retrieving with Doc, Mia and Elettra.

Elettra, Doc and Mia wait while I plant bumpers and bird wings

Elettra, Doc and Mia wait while I plant bumpers and bird wings

Each of the guys got three bumpers and wings to retrieve, and everyone did a good job retrieving as well as honoring each other’s retrieves.

Elettra is more interested in having her picture taken than Mia's retrieve

Elettra is more interested in having her picture taken than Mia’s retrieve

After working each individually, I planted three bumpers and sent all of them out for some competitive searching.

Doc retrieves his bumper

Doc retrieves his bumper

This past Friday, I followed up with a “duck search” in the pasture in which I planted three bumpers and two bird wings throughout the pasture, then sent the guys out one at a time on blind retrieves.

Elettra returns with a bird wing

Elettra returns with a bird wing

We ran the drill twice and everyone did quite well, particularly since this was the first time we ran it. Nobody gave up on their searching even though it sometimes took them 15 minutes or more to find one.

Mia and Doc return with their bumpers while Elettra continues searching

Mia and Doc return with their bumpers while Elettra continues searching

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Hey Grandpa, What’s for Supper?

Okay, so I’m no Grandpa Jones but here’s a list of this year’s recipes for the ducks, Pheasants, and grouse I bagged.

Roasted grouse –
My own recipe, I roasted the grouse in light olive oil with a little poultry seasoning, black pepper, and seasoned salt. A side dish of sliced and breaded summer squash and it made a pretty good lunch.

Apple roasted Pheasant –
This is a recipe from Wildchow that I used on a pair of Pheasants. I doubled the cooking time since I was cooking two birds instead of one and topped the birds off with homemade cranberry sauce. It was downright delicious. The ingredients included:

Pheasant
Salt and pepper
tart apple
onion
soft butter
bacon

Pheasant Kiev –

Pheasant kiev

Pheasant kiev

This recipe came from The Field, top 10 best pheasant recipes. Not to waste anything, I deboned the wings and thighs which I added to the garlic butter stuffing for the breasts. Other than overcooking them a little, they turned out great. Ingredients included:
pheasant
garlic
parsley
lemon
butter
flour
eggs
milk
breadcrumbs
vegetable oil

Smoked duck –

20160221_145925

A little overdone but delicious

A little overdone but delicious

This is “The World’s Best Smoked Duck” recipe from The Outdoor Line and yeah, it could be the world’s best recipe. The only change I made to the recipe boiling the duck in it’s apple cider brine after soaking it overnight. I smoked the duck using branches that I’d trimmed from our fruit trees. I didn’t account for the fire that the bacon fat would create and before I knew it, the duck was cooking in the smoker, so it turned out a little overdone. Ingredients included:
duck
apple cider
kosher salt
brown sugar
bay leafs
cracked peppercorn
minced garlic
garlic pepper

Feel free to share any recipes that you have invented or come across!

Spring training

Friday I braced the guys on several birds and they are doing quite well with honoring.

Doc established point with Elettra and Mia honoring.

20160219_110344Mia caught a scent of something and went on point, Doc and Elettra honored nicely.

Mia on point with Doc and Elettra honoring. Whatever she could scent, it was no longer there.

Mia on point with Doc and Elettra honoring. Whatever she could scent, it was no longer there.

Elettra established point on the second bird with Doc and Mia honoring.

Elettra on point with Mia and Doc honoring.

Elettra on point with Mia and Doc honoring.

Doc established point on the third bird only a couple of feet away, as he and Elettra were hunting in a cross wind.

Doc on point with Elettra and Mia honoring

Doc on point with Elettra and Mia honoring

After working on their honoring, I worked Elvis on a bird and he did a nice job of going on point and holding it.

Outsmarting the wily Spinone

When it comes to training, I’m limited by our 2 ½ acre pasture, especially this time of year when there’s no ground cover. It doesn’t take the guys long to learn where I plant the birds so rather than actually hunting, they just run to areas where the birds are most likely to be.

I mixed things up by digging a hole in the snow for my homemade bird launcher.

I mixed things up by digging a hole in the snow for my homemade bird launcher.

I changed things up last Sunday by digging holes in the snow and planting the birds in the open, away from any cover.

Doc on point

Doc on point

Doc on point

Doc on point

I followed the same training formula by letting everyone out for a run in the pasture, worked with Elvis on tracking and then each of the others on pointing. I finished with bracing Elettra, Mia and Doc.

Mia on point

Mia on point

20160207_113928Mia on point

Individually, the guys are rock-solid and they’re even pretty good when braced together. During their brace, Doc established the point and Elettra honored, but when I called Mia over from the ditch she was hunting, Doc broke and ran right up to the bird where he went on point once again.

Elettra on point

Elettra on point

Elettra on point

Elettra on point

I carried him off and let them hunt another part of the pasture for a few minutes before influencing them back to the bird, where Elettra established point with Doc and Mia nicely honoring.

Elettra on point with Doc and Mia honoring

Elettra on point with Doc and Mia honoring

Happy Birthday Elvis and Dakota

It’s hard to believe that our big boy is 7 and our wild woman is 11, but everyone celebrated Elvis and Dakota’s birthdays with breakfast sandwiches.

Front row: Doc, Elvis, Sophie, Mia. Back row: Dakota, Elettra

Front row: Doc, Elvis, Sophie, Mia. Back row: Dakota, Elettra

Elvis got a double treat when I bought him a chicken wrap yesterday as a treat for a rather long morning of therapy visits. And speaking of therapy, a speech therapist met with me and we are in the planning stages of Elvis and Sophie helping kids in speech therapy.

Spinone brace on point

Friday was the first time I braced Doc, Mia and Elettra all together. I wasn’t sure what to expect but was happy with what I saw.

After giving everyone a run in the pasture, I worked each of the Spinone on a bird, practicing casting and influencing them as we went. As I’ve said before, Elvis isn’t strong on pointing but loves tracking so that’s what we worked on. After finishing their solo training, I braced Mia, Doc, and Elettra just to see what would happen.

A flock of partridge had flown into the pasture between the time that I set the last bird and let them into the pasture to hunt it. The wind was at their backs, and Mia raced downwind of Doc and Elettra then suddenly went on point.

Doc on point with Elettra and Mia honoring

Doc on point with Elettra and Mia honoring

Given the wind conditions, I knew she couldn’t have scented the pigeon, then a few seconds later Doc and Elettra flushed the flock of partridge which were downwind of them, but a couple hundred feet upwind of Mia. If you watch the video on a larger screen such as a computer, you will see Mia on point at the top right of the screen, and the partridge flushing.

We continued training and a few minutes later, Doc established point on the pigeon I set. Elettra honored, and I called Mia over who as hunting the nearby ditch. She honored nicely and for a minute or so, all three were on a very nice point and honor.

Elettra stole Doc's point

Elettra stole Doc’s point

Then Elettra stole Doc’s point and I let her for several reasons. 1- I haven’t worked with her on honoring; 2-I wanted to see how Doc reacted to someone stealing his point; and 3- I wanted them free to make mistakes in order to see what we need to work on.

Neither Doc nor Mia moved a muscle and to her credit, Elettra didn’t do her “sit-down” point. Over all, I was very happy with what I saw.