Scott & Dibbs 1st Place In Colorado

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A special congratulations to Scott and Dibbs for winning first place in the All-Age Amateur stake at the Northern Colorado Field Trial. The weekend was a huge success as on Friday, he finished the first field trial he has ever entered and won the Gunner’s Award for his performance with Dibbs. Two days later, a little calmer but still shaking, he and Dibbs put together three series they were fortunate enough to impress the judges with. This is quite an achievement for a handler in his second trial and a dog in only its third All-Age field trial. The two have a long way to go to be comfortable, but they are off to a great start! Congratulations Scott and Dibbs and a special thank you to all the Colorado field trial clubs for the warm welcome, hospitality and support over the 10 days.

 

 

Allie’s Alpine Adventure

Believe it or not, places like Grouse Creek and Ptarmigan Lake aren’t always as productive as their names imply. Additionally “They’re everywhere” and “I always see them up there” are officially my two least favorite phrases spoken by non-hunters.

Though it’s never a bad idea to prey on local knowledge in hopes of finding a honey hole, the fact is, most non-hunters have no idea where to find game. Yes, they may stumble upon a grouse or two here and there on their morning hike, or spot a few resident greenheads dabbling around in the cattle dugout they always drive by on their way to work, but rarely do they ACTUALLY know where to find what you’re looking for, i.e. the massive coveys that shake the earth when they erupt or the oxbow lakes that hold enough ducks to black out the sky.

After hiking around ten thousand vertical feet this past week, I feel I have finally learned this lesson. While local knowledge can sometimes be helpful, there’s nothing that puts birds in the bag like boot-leather and good ole fashion location scouting.

Here are some photos from this week:

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(Allie with her first Blue grouse)

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(A nice days limit of blues)

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(Allie in what the locals promised was Ptarmigan Country)

 

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(Allie and I in a place we heard the Ptarmigan “littered the ground” – no such luck)

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(Allie is a lot more excited to run down this 3,000 ft avalanche shoot than I am)

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(Allie in the frozen tundra that actually holds birds)

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(More of above)

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(At the cost of an e-collar remote, half a box of shells, and Allie’s pads, we finally found some!)

Though we wasted a lot of time chasing “tips” from non-hunters, at least we got to do it in the high country. Sure beats the sage plains!

-John

 

 

 

 

Alan & Kermit Go Sharp-tail Hunting In ND

Notes from Alan!

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Kermit and I had a wonderful day of Sharp-tailed Grouse hunting today in ND. After 2 weekends of Field Trials and being on the road for nearly two weeks, this was a great reward for our hard work. It was a pleasure to see Kermit in his true element of hunting and not having to worry so much about the trial rules and regulations. We did very well and I did not even have my own gun. It was a side by side though, Todd and Christina!

 

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It’s that time of the year again!

Adventures With Allie

Adventures with Allie by John

 

After a mere 3,000 miles in the car from Florida to NW Colorado, Allie finally got what she’s been waiting for all year. As our target was almost placed on the endangered species list last year due to habitat loss (not over hunting), Allie reckoned I pack her bags and drive her into the great unknown to chase down one of the Wild West’s most iconic birds, the Greater Sage Grouse. Little did she know, the arid and dry terrain of Colorado’s high plains desert vastly differed from her home in the humid Florida tropics.

After a week in the blistering heat and countless miles over some of the country’s most unforgiving terrain, I was about ready to call it quits for the both of us. We hadn’t seen a single bird yet and we were starting to think there was a reason these birds might be listed after all.

On the penultimate day of the season, after being broken and beaten by 12 miles of thick sage mountain and prickly pear bushes, we decided to slip in to the local Gun & Pawn shop before retiring to our luxurious temporary dwelling for what we hoped would be the last night. They were advertising duck stamps at the door and we figured those sounded like a better alternative to the hell we’d just been through.

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After the unmistakable “you’re not from here” look and a few snide comments about how rough our appearance was, the shop keep asked us where we were from what we’d been hunting for today. My response shocked him, but he was clearly more impressed than bewildered. Bird hunters are always a nice change of pace from the regular elk, mule deer and pronghorn crowd they get in these parts. I inquired as to where I might be able to find some birds and to my dismay, he rattled off the exact same BLM and State trust lands I’d been hunting all week. Overhearing the conversation, the customer to my left asked if I was going to be around in the morning and when I replied yes, he promptly wrote down his information and address and told me to meet him at 8 am for some grouse hunting.

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When I arrived in the morning he tossed me the keys to his Polaris and described some loose property boundaries as well as some spots he’d been seeing the grouse over last few days. When I got to the first grassy knoll I saw them…dozens of the giant turkey looking birds were unmistakable in the CRP field. I parked the side by side, grabbed my side by side, and let Allie do what she does best. We chased the birds for the rest of the morning and filled our limit before the sun began to bake us.

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Though private land hunts and UTV rides are not a preferred method of harvest, sometimes you gotta take what you can get. With the week we’d had leading up, Allie still felt we earned it.

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Next week we start on blue grouse and ptarmigan.

-John

Rich With His New Dog DJ

A very special fun weekend at Craney Hill. Rich was able to handle his new dog DJ in the field and also do obedience drills with the help of Todd this weekend. Rich and Sarah drove all the way out from Boston to have some fun at Craney Hill and to enjoy their new dog.

DJ still has more training to do here at Craney Hill, so I’m sure the ride home to Boston will be long for Rich as he will be missing his dog.  There are some big plans for this team so keep an eye out on our news page.

Congratulations Rich!

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Indie Doing The Craney Hill Way!

Here is an awesome photo of Indie who is from Boston doing her version of The Craney Hill Way. Thank you Sarah for sending in this wonderful photo. Indie has spent many months with us at Craney Hill for her field training. Indie and her owner Rich are planning on a hunting trip out west chasing wild pheasants and sharp tail. We look forward to seeing many photos of that hunting trip.

 

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The Craney Hill Way!

Thank you Steve for sending in this photo. I believe we have started something by posting Alder’s photo the other day. This is great! This is Sully showing I can do it too photo. I know there are a few other Craney Hill dogs out there that can do the same thing, so send in your photos of your dog doing the Craney Hill Way…

 

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