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  • February 27, 2013

    National Field Trail Championship: Setter Takes Top Spot for First Time in 43 Years

    By Chad Love

    The last time a setter won the National Field Trail Championship was in 1970, by a dog named Johnny Crockett. Since then pointers have dominated the annual event. Until now. This year's event was just won by a setter named Shadow Oak Bo.

    From this story in the Memphis Commercial Appeal:
    A moment that many people thought would never happen again finally took place Friday afternoon when a setter was named winner of the National Championship for Field Trialing Bird Dogs at Ames Plantation for the first time in 43 years.

  • February 19, 2013

    What's the Strangest Thing You Ever Found in the Field?

    By Chad Love

    There are weird, spooky and unusual things out in the field. And it makes sense that hunters, especially upland hunters who tend to cover large amounts of ground while following their dogs, would find these unexplained things.

    The dogs and I once stumbled across what appeared to be the contents of a lady’s purse in the middle of a huge swath of prairie, miles from the nearest town, road or footpath. How did it get here, in this utterly lonely and isolated spot that was rarely, if ever visited by anyone other than the occasional quail or deer hunter? Who knows?

    But as I looked down at the weathered, dirt-covered items, I recalled an infamous local case about a young boy who simply vanished one day, never to be seen again. The boy’s mother was the prime suspect, and was later convicted of his murder, but a body was never found. I was a newspaper reporter back in those days, and covered the case from the time the boy went missing all the way through his mother's trial and conviction.

  • February 14, 2013

    Hunting Gear Review: SportDOG Sporthunter 1225 E-Collar

    By Chad Love

    A while back, the good folks at SportDOG sent me one of their Sporthunter 1225 e-collars to test out. The 1225 is a collar that really hits that sweet spot between affordability and performance many gundog owners are looking for. Instead of reviewing it myself, I thought I'd try to get it in the hands of someone with a young dog who I knew would give it a thorough workout. I found my test subject when Greg McReynolds, a hard-core bird hunter, told me he had just gotten a new setter pup. He can usually be found chasing birds all across the West when he is not working on state legislative issues for Trout Unlimited in Idaho. You can check out his writing at the Mouthful of Feathers blog. Here's his guest review:

  • February 12, 2013

    Following the 2013 National Field Trial Championship

    By Chad Love

    If lovers of gundogs have a Mecca, it is of course Grand Junction, Tenn. It is the home of the Bird Dog Foundation, which houses the National Field Trail Hall of Fame, the National Retriever Hall of Fame and the National Bird Dog Museum. Grand Junction is also the site of the legendary National Field Trial Championship at Ames Plantation.

    Like many pointing dog fans, I love to follow the progress of the multi-day field trial as it plays out, and the 2013 National Field Trial Championship, which started yesterday, promises to be just as exciting as last year's. Will a pointer win it? Probably, just as a pointer has won it every year since 1970, but there are a few setters in the field I'll be pulling for.

  • February 8, 2013

    Hunting Gear Review: Space Trailer is Ideal Solution For Small Hunting Vehicles

    By Chad Love

    Last year, I parked my gas-guzzling, full-size four-wheel-drive truck and started hunting out of my wife's old Subaru Forester. And I'm certainly not the only one who has downsized his hunting rig. Having to spend three to four dollars per gallon of gas has caused many hunters to re-evaluate and subsequently down-size their driving options.

  • February 6, 2013

    Labrador Retriever: Most Popular Dog Breed in US for 22 Years Running

    By Chad Love

    The American Kennel Club just released its list of the most popular dog breeds. Announcing that the Labrador retriever is once again (for the 22nd consecutive year) the most popular breed in the nation is kind of like announcing vanilla as America's most popular flavor of ice cream. It's just a given. But what about other sporting breeds? How did they fare? Let's take a look...

  • February 4, 2013

    Quail Unlimited Going Out of Business

    By Chad Love

    Big news for bird hunters: The conservation group Quail Unlimited, which has struggled mightily in recent years with financial issues, management scandals, and declining chapters, announced last week that it is closing its doors permanently. In doing so, QU officials urged its former members and anyone else concerned with upland conservation to join Quail Forever, which has acquired Quail Unlimited's mailing list.

    From this story in the Albany (Georgia) Herald: 
    Quail Unlimited has folded, according to an e-mail sent out late Friday afternoon from Executive Director Bill Bowles, abruptly ending the national organization's existence. Our great staff and our great Board of Directors have stood the test and they have given their very best effort. However, the entire Board of Directors and I have made the difficult decision to cease Quail Unlimited operations and go out of business effective immediately," Bowles said in an email sent out Friday afternoon...."There are a few large challenges that we are about to be faced with," Bowles said in his first email. "Could we possibly overcome them?

  • February 1, 2013

    Study: Cats Kill Billions of Birds and Mammals Annually

    By Chad Love

    It's no secret that free-roaming cats are a problem in this country. As both an avid birder and bird hunter, it's a topic of particular concern to me, as I live in a rural area and must contend with feral cats on a near-continuous basis. Last year I blogged about a study that showed what efficient killers domestic housecats are; how housecats and feral cats do a number on gamebirds; and the numerous studies that show the tremendous toll cats take on wildlife. But the results of a just-released three-year study conducted by Smithsonian and the US Fish & Wildlife Service make it clear that the problem is even larger than previously thought.