I've finished reading the entries (all 228 of them) in last week's caption contest. Like every contest, there were many good ones, a number of groaners and a few, well, puzzlers. But in the end, the one that seemed to best sum up the photo in the fewest possible words was from reader Ted Roberts. It was a masterpiece of understated brevity: "The new standard-issue K9mm."
Ideally, we'd all like to have acres and acres of land for our dogs to roam and play in without fear of them wandering off and getting lost, hit by a car or stolen. Unfortunately for most of us, it rarely works out that way, and owning a dog generally means conforming to the often inconvenient or difficult realities of our lives.
Such is the case with me. Although I live on a couple acres in a semi-rural environment, I cannot, for aesthetic, topographical and financial reasons, build a fence around my entire property. It's not a problem most of the time. The dogs are always with me when I'm outside. They know not to chase the neighborhood deer and they generally stick close to the house. But when I'm inside for any length of time, whichever dogs aren't on house rotation must be kenneled. I know many people do it, but I'm just not comfortable letting my dogs roam free when I'm not out with them.
One of the great things about the Internet is the window it provides for learning about sporting traditions in the rest of the world. Since I am not much of a big-game hunter these days, I tend to restrict my cross-cultural hunting-related web surfing to pursuits involving birds, shotguns and dogs. You can spend hours on YouTube watching all sorts of things, from classic European driven grouse shoots to British retriever field trials to coursing hounds to videos detailing how Ukrainian gundog owners teach the basic blind retrieve. And how, exactly, does the Ukrainian gundog owner in this video teach blinds? With a bottle of vodka, of course...
From this story on livescience.com: "...a new study from researchers at the University of Oxford reminds that domestic dogs are also killers and disease-spreaders that can pose conservation problems when they're allowed to roam.
The building behind this bronze pointer is not a palatial home. It is, in fact, a palatial dog kennel—home to some 40 English pointers, labs, and even a few Boykin spaniels that belong to T. Boone Pickens, a legendary businessman and utterly obsessed quail hunter.
Last week I got the rare opportunity to spend some time with Pickens at his incredible 68,000-acre (Yes, that's over 100 square miles...) Texas panhandle ranch, Mesa Vista. If you're a quail hunter, you've probably heard of Mesa Vista. Starting with an initial purchase of 2,900 acres of overgrazed, worn-out Roberts County, Texas rangeland, Pickens has since tirelessly built Mesa Vista into perhaps the finest wild bobwhite quail hunting spot on earth. It is a truly remarkable place, and as a lover of all things quail, it was a high honor just to visit the place, much less talk quail hunting and dogs with the man himself.