If you're like me, you're probably a sucker for vintage advertising featuring hunting and fishing scenes, particularly ads and commercials with gundogs. I was recently perusing the Team Chesapeake website when I came across a thread about this awesome 1950s commercial for Carling Red Cap Ale.
With Christmas just a few days away, here are some last-minute gift ideas for the wingshooting, dog-owning person on your list. Or yourself.
Some of them I may have previously mentioned and am mentioning again because, well, I like them; others I just haven't gotten around to writing about yet. But all of them are things I have personally used and can recommend.
First up is L.L. Bean's technical upland pants. I tried them on a hunt in Montana and fell in love with them—hand-down my new favorite bird-hunting pants. They're light, fit well, tough where they're supposed to be tough, and stretchy where they're supposed to be stretchy. In the words of sexy Ned Flanders, "It's like I'm wearing nothing at all!" However, as comfortable as they were in the relatively thorn-free fields of Montana, I had my doubts they'd hold up to the vicious sandplum thickets back in Oklahoma. I was wrong. Halfway through our quail season and they still look great and perform flawlessly. At $109, they're not cheap, but good things rarely are.
We all know that our dogs' noses are pretty amazing. They can detect literally almost anything, from bombs, drugs and cadavers to detecting tumors and tracking whales across open ocean.
Now here's the latest wrinkle: their sense of smell is so acute and so discriminatory that they can be trained to find not bodies, but bones, ancient bones hundreds of years old. They can, quite literally, smell the distant past.
From this story on National Geographic: Australian dog trainer Gary Jackson of Multinational K9 has trained a black lab mix named Migaloo as the world's first "archaeology dog," able to locate bones that are hundreds of years old.
Have you ever had a moment with your dog that you desperately wanted to capture on camera—a first point, first retrieve, some poignant milestone—and then utterly missed it, either through sheer operator incompetence or equipment failure? It happened to me yesterday morning on a duck hunt, and I'm still kicking myself for it.
Like many other duck hunters in my area, my season has been hampered by a profound lack of huntable water. Almost all the areas I hunt are either bone-dry or so low as to be rendered effectively un-huntable. As a result, the dog's and my duck season has been pretty miserable to this point. Nevertheless, after seeing thousands and thousands of mallards on a recent South Dakota pheasant hunt (more on that in the next blog) and reading about them I decided to put on my walking shoes (or waders) and go find a spot to hunt on my local reservoir, and low water be damned. A cold front was coming through and I had visions of shooting a few of those 750,000 mallards that were sure to be pouring into the state ahead of it.
One of the most-discussed and contentious aspects of pointing dog development is range; specifically, how much will your dog end up with and is that going to be enough or too much?
The issue of range and whether more or less is better is a fairly pointless (pun intended) argument, as we each have differing needs to suit our individual styles of hunting. But what's not often discussed is when, exactly, your dog "finds" his or her range. Some hunters may send a pup or young dog down the line because it "runs too big." Others may sell a dog because it doesn't run big enough. So when do you know, or think you know, your dog's range? It's an interesting question, and the more time I spend around pointing dogs, the more I become convinced that you don't really know what you've got until you give your dog enough opportunities to show you.