Saturday, June 23, 2018

Larry's a happy man.

Things have progressed even faster and better than I thought. Although Grady has yet to point a wild bird, he has honored Jake several times and loves the smell of upland birds. It's as simple as getting him to point, than a flush followed by a shot and a thrown dead bird. A few reps of that and we'll be ready to start the season and with patience by me to only shoot pointed birds and hopefully some good shooting Grady will be on his way to being a top notch bird dog.

I put in a 2 1/2 minute video showing him honoring once and getting a little ahead of himself on another flush.

I told you about Grady first and saved the juicy stuff for the end. Our last couple of trips have come up with more young birds this early in the season than I've found in the past. Blue grouse hunters should especially be excited. Lot's more blue grouse broods than I've seen in a long time. Chukars have exceptionally large broods and every bunch I have seen has two different aged chicks. Most covey's only have one adult. There's a theory about that and I only hope it's true.

I haven't got much footage but have seen baby grouse, turkey, chukar, elk, deer and coyote so far this year. I'm still looking for some baby rough grouse, huns and quail and will passing on what I see when it happens.

I hope you enjoy this short clip and it helps get you excited for the upcoming season. Some how I'm out of touch again and you'll have to look at the upland babies of 2018 post to see the video. Sorry.



                         

Upland babies of 2018

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

93 days and all's well in southwest Idaho.

I've been getting several requests about Grady's progress, so before getting into our last couple weeks of scouting I'll share a little bit about him. He is very intelligent  and has learned all the commands I require of a hunting dog, but with that intelligence comes the ability to figure out when he wants to comply and when he doesn't. What he doesn't realize is that I have just ordered an alpha which has the training ability as well as tracking. He just thinks he has the upper hand.


Jake has learned how to play and play hard thanks to Grady. He doesn't hold back and knocking Grady half way across the room is a lot of fun because Grady keeps bouncing back for more. They have become best buds. Grady no longer follows Jake on the mountain but does his own searching but reacts quickly to anything that Jake may show interest in.

As far as progressing in hunting talent, there hasn't been much. He still retrieves dead birds shot with a blank pistol but only when he has the desire. No point on a wild upland bird yet but he has a stylish point on the kill deer and robins around here. It always amazes me how the flushing sound of an upland bird can excite a bird dog and Grady loves that sound and chases with exuberance. This last week he has bumped a rough grouse, a blue grouse with chicks and some chukar and his excitement rivaled mine.

Last week Barb, Jake, Grady and I spent four days in Stanley Idaho hiking the mountains and we got to watch Grady get initiated to many new experiences. The most comical was watching him sprint back to Barb and I with a cow elk in hot pursuit. His legs have grown faster than the rest of his body so I don't need to say any more about his style. We never found the calf, but the cow stayed around keeping an eye on us. We also got into some pretty deep snow and he and Jake both took to some otter like playing.

Grady showed a little sign of flinching at the sound of a twenty gauge so we're backing off that until we get into more birds.

Now, what most of you really care about. The birds. Not much to add over my report a couple of weeks ago but the condition's seem optimum to me. Yesterday, we hiked a familiar chukar mountain and were pleasingly surprised at how green everything still is and the amount of grasshoppers. They were literally everywhere. Although we saw several chukars, there was no sign of a hatch yet. However, we did have two blue grouse flushes and with them were about 12 or so chicks strong enough to fly 75 yards or so away. Things are progressing right on schedule. We always see the turkeys hatch first followed by the grouse and then chukar seems to be just shortly before the huns. I can't give scientific proof, but that's how I usually see it.

As far as the out-of- staters planning your trip over here, I'd say this is a pretty normal year as far as precipitation and if you usually depend on certain waterholes or seeps that is where the birds will probably be heaviest this year. Remember last year followed a very wet winter and the birds were scattered as was the water sources.

I have not been to the Owyhees yet this year but I heard the grasshoppers aren't doing as well there but I also heard the crickets are. Chicks don't care what kind of insects they eat so hopefully that area will be good also.

We'll be hitting the hills as often as possible for the next 6 weeks and hopefully will be able to pass on some good news, but for now we're looking towards the end of July and first of August to find the large young covey's of chukar to train Grady on. That's when I'm going to find out whether putting up with his cockiness is worth it.

I hope the rest of you training new pups are having as much fun as I am and everyone is as excited as I am about the upcoming season.

Monday, May 28, 2018

111 days and the count down begins.

With 111 days until Idaho opener for chukars I've had a few inquiries  from people living out of the state as to what we might be expecting. The short answer is to keep your bags packed because conditions have improved and a good hatch is likely.

A month ago I was worried about maybe having a dry spring because the mountains were already showing that mid June look. Well since then we have had many good wet storms come through and help get the grass growth going again. The hills are green with lot's of growth and the hoppers are starting to hatch everywhere.

Although a couple of the storms have had quite a downpour, I don't think the chukar/hun hatch has happened yet so there would be little chance of wiping out newborn chicks. Along with the rain has been warmer than normal temperatures that are helping promote good growth and insect hatches.

Jake and I haven't been able to get back in as far as normal on our scouts because Grady has been accompanying us and his short legs tire out a lot quicker. The hikes we are getting in are looking very positive though and hopefully in about two weeks the hatch will be on. Come August I hope to be showing you lot's of huge covey's of chukar/hun and possibly a young pup pointing some of them.

As far as planning a trip to western Idaho and eastern Oregon for upland birds I would definitely start packing my gear. If my notes from the past and my memories are right this is shaping up to be another perfect spring for the birds and with the great carry over we should see some high densities of birds.

We'll be hiking around a lot trying to find babies to take pictures of for the next month or two and will try and keep you posted on what we are seeing. Keep your fingers crossed and your shotgun and dogs ready, it's looking like fun times.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Grady and chukar update

The good news about chukars is they seem to be everywhere. I even saw chukars in fairly flat range land yesterday running with quail. Flat land chukars, wouldn't that be nice.
                                                                 
I don't believe most of them are sitting nests yet because we usually see two birds together. When the hens are sitting on eggs you usually only see one bird. It won't be long though.

The not so good news is the weather. We haven't had a lot of spring moisture and the chukar hills are already showing dry spots. The green grass is not even close to what we had this time last year. If this trend keeps up we'll be losing chicks to lack of insects after the hatch but we still have plenty of time for mother nature to correct this problem.

The snakes are leaving their den's now with the warm weather and it's time to start watching for them.
It's also tick season and we pulled our first one off Grady. We'll be putting on tick and flee treatment for Jake and Grady.

Now for Jake's student. He turned 10 weeks old yesterday and he is doing quite well. He is almost house broken and already best buddies with Jake. They have some pretty good wrestling matches even with the size difference. He is the hit at the grandson's baseball games and loves being around other people and other dogs. He now knows the come command and his boundaries in the house. 

Getting him to this point was my job. From here it is up to Jake. If he get's screwed up, it's Jake's fault. We've been retrieving a sock and having great success so we went to bigger game, a hun. He shows no signs of fear at loud noises so I packed the starting pistol for our retrieves. Grady doesn't even acknowledge hearing the pistol so we'll probably go to the twenty gauge next. Here is his first retrieve of a frozen hun. Of course the coach had to show him how it is done.



I know a few of you have gotten pup's this year and would love to hear an update from you. Let's hope some favorable weather from here out.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Grady's first day in chukar country


Well the Big Guy gave me an almost impossible job again today. He wants me to train Grady while he packs around a camera. I tried to stay closer so the runt could keep up but until those short legs grow it's gonna be a lost cause. He didn't show any fear of the mountain or the tall brush and was better on the steep slopes than I thought he'd be but the kid has a long way to go. Although I found some huns, I just couldn't get the kid into the action. If my patience holds maybe we'll get some interaction with birds soon. Here's one of the video's the Big Guy took while I did all the work.

                                                                       

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Welcome Grady

Meet Grady, Jake's new hunting partner. It''s going to get lively around here.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

We're making our pick

After a lot of positive influence from you guys, Barb and I are going to pick out a pup on Saturday. We're going to get another solid liver shorthair from Idaho Shorthairs. Although we're making our pick next Saturday, he won't be ready to come home for another week after that. I can't wait for that puppy breath.

I have a couple more compilations of March jaunts with Jake and hopefully after that we'll have some good stuff about Jake training the new guy. In between I hope to keep an eye on the birds and what to expect next season.