We all know that gun dog ownership and conservation go hand in hand. You can't truly have one without the other. So if you know some worthy individual or group that's doing important and perhaps unheralded conservation work, SportDOG wants to know about it.
The SportDOG Brand® Conservation Fund® is entering its fifth year, and to celebrate, we’re inviting you to join us in picking a deserving winner for the Future Forward Fund Contest! We’ve upped the ante this year and will be giving $25,000 to the winning project. We’ve already provided nearly $100,000 in annual grants to groups and projects focused on wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement. Now we’d like the sporting community to help us decide where to donate our 2012 fund.
The picture above is, obviously, an album cover, for the wondrously talented, criminally underappreciated Austin-based (but Oklahoma raised) singer-songwriter Jimmy LaFave. If you haven't heard Jimmy's music, give it a try. It's good stuff. I think even David Petzal would like it. The picture, incidentally, was taken by yours truly.
That's great, you say, but what does that have to do with the blog? Because I took that picture a number of years ago in the Oklahoma panhandle while on a road trip with my old pointer, and that picture takes me back. It's almost June, you see, and while many of us are probably preoccupied with fishing and other summer pursuits, bird seasons in many parts of the country are only four months away, which means it's time to start making road trip plans.
I've previously blogged about the importance of using live birds for training and how it's smart to use a mixture of both pigeons and pen-raised birds. While I try to mix it up between the two, I have to admit that pigeons are what I use the most. Why? In theory, off-season training with live gamebirds sounds great. In practice, however, there are some issues.
We all know that dogs have been hanging around the campfire for a long, long time, and that as a result they have become quite distinct from their wolf ancestors. But now some researchers are positing that the human/dog connection goes way deeper than we ever beleived. In fact, dogs may have been an important clue in one of the biggest evolutionary mysteries in science: how and why did early humans thrive even as the Neanderthals disappeared?
From this story in the Atlantic: One of the most compelling -- and enduring -- mysteries in archaeology concerns the rise of early humans and the decline of Neanderthals. For about 250,000 years, Neanderthals lived and evolved, quite successfully, in the area that is now Europe. Somewhere between 45,000 and 35,000 years ago, early humans came along. They proliferated in their new environment, their population increasing tenfold in the 10,000 years after they arrived; Neanderthals declined and finally died away. What happened? What went so wrong for the Neanderthals -- and what went so right for us humans?
Wildlife food plots are an integral part of many a deer hunter's strategy, especially on smaller acreages where a few small food plots can make a big difference in your hunting success. But what about bird hunters, or, for that matter, gundog owners looking to improve bird habitat on their land or training grounds?
Now, obviously, planting food and/or cover plots on large public WMAs or hunting preserves is fairly routine, but what about those of us small landholders who are just looking to get a few more birds around our houses or small acreages? Could a few small, upland bird specific food plots make a noticeable increase in the birds you hunt or train on?
The folks at Pheasants and Quail Forever think so, which is why they're selling food plot seed designed specifically for bird hunters.
I woke up a few days ago to a beautiful, sun-kissed, dead-calm spring morning (a rare combination in these parts), so I did what any sane person would do: I went fishing. I abandoned the wife, the kids, the dogs and the rest of the world and felt not one pang of guilt. Sometimes you've just gotta be selfish. I hit the road with no defined plan, and eventually found myself on one particular piece of water that I sometimes use for training dogs. It's not a bad little pond for fishing, either, so I broke out the fly rod.
So you think the media merchants of mindless pap are content to only lobotomize us into drooling, slack-jawed consumers? Think again, fellow zombies, because now they're after our dogs, too. Welcome to the future of canine entertainment, and the end of civilization as we know it.
From this story on businessweek.com: Gilad Neumann wants to be clear: He does not want to turn your dog into a couch potato. But if you’re going out for a few hours, he hopes that soon you’ll leave your television on and tuned to his new cable channel, Dog TV, the first channel directly targeting canine viewers. “Veterinary associations like the Humane Society and the ASPCA have been recommending for dog owners to leave the TV or radio on when they leave their dog home alone for many hours,” says Neumann, Dog TV’s founder and chief executive officer.
Who wants to win a really cool knife? I mean it, I've been playing around with one for the past couple weeks, and I gotta say the new Swedish Fireknife is a very well-designed and comfortable knife, so much so that mine is now a permanent addition to my knockaround/training bag. It's light, ergonomic, razor-sharp and the blade design lends itself well to a variety of tasks. The question is, who wouldn’t want to win one?
All you have to do is continue sending in your training tips to email@example.com for the chance to win. I've got several of these knives to give away, so the more tips you send the more chances you have to win one. Your tip can be about any aspect of training, ownership or hunting with your dogs. It can be a useful piece of gear (homemade or otherwise), a time-saving piece of advice or a novel or unusual way to teach a concept.
Gundog owners are used to low-grade attacks on our way of life. Not even the loony fringe believes outright bans on hunting dog ownership can work. Yet, there are any number of ways that anti-hunting and anti-pet ownership forces can nickel and dime us with laws that, on the surface seem fairly benign or even well-intentioned. I mean, who isn’t against puppy mills, irresponsible dog owners and animal cruelty, right?
So these groups trot out, mostly on the local level but increasingly on the state level as well, proposed legislation like spay and neuter requirements, dog limit requirements, "kennel licensing" requirements, breeding restrictions, etc., that would make owning, breeding, training, and hunting with dogs as difficult and expensive as possible.