Mar 18th

Ladies End of Year Gear Review: Fav's Old & New

By Rita@HGM


 I ENDED THE SEASON WITH A NEW FAVORITE AND AN OLD FAVORITE RE-FITTED!

Sometimes when we hunt in our South Texas winters - all you need is a sweater.  And in the fall a good pair of snake boots.

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After years (like 30!) of suffering men sized ill fitting hunting sweaters-I could not believe my eyes when I walked into the Beretta USA - Dallas Gallery and saw this sweater!  Had to be wrong - but it was marked "ladies".  It was the Women's Techno WindGuard Half Zip with Washable Suede Sweater.  Still had to check it out in the dressing room to make sure it would fit and allow movement. 

Bingo!  It is long enough too with a little stretch - sometimes I hunt in equestrian jeans tucked in my boots.

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The high soft suede neck helps keep the wind at bay.  It also has self wool
patches at the shoulders and elbows and comes in 3 colors.  Hand wash.

Turns out our last 2 day bird hunt in March was an unusual (remember- Texas) 26° with snow and ice and wind - this is where I was thrilled to have that windproof BWP barrier lining.  The slick lining also makes it super easy to get on and off over layers.   This sweater was a champion- even in December at deer camp.

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This sweater is really gem.  Does it's job and is very good looking. 

NOW FOR THE OLD FAVORITE

We have snakes here in South Texas and I use my ladies tall
Chippewa snake boots primarily for dove hunts.  Occasionally, if it is cold enough and the terrain not too rough, I wear them to upland hunt. 

The above hunt was such a hunt, but I noticed I slipped in the snow a lot.  Then I realized these wonderful old comfortable boots were 28 years OLD!  I looked at the tread and it was worn, slick and hard as a rock. 

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So with a new flexible soul put on - they are probably good for another 28 years. 
 I have seen plenty of snakes in my time, but lucky enough to see them first -so I haven't had to put my Chippewa's to the test.  But they give me Peace of Mind. 
And a pretty good value!

These days Chippewa has a much larger line, so go visit
www.chippewaboots.com
and
Check out the Ladies Collection on-line at
www.berettausa.com

Rita Schimpff

Oct 26th

Skewering Meathunters: The True Cost of a Pound of Game Bird

By Ultimate Upland Lodge
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I often see bird hunters profess that they hunt for food.  But when I think about my days afield, meat is often the last thing that comes to mind. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Sharptail Fajitas and my Pheasant Chowder but eating game birds has always been one of the bonuses of being a passionate bird hunter.

With the current costs of licenses, gear, shot shells and dogs I had a strong suspicion that meat hunting just didn’t add up. But I wanted to put pencil to paper to find out exactly what a pound of upland bird actually costs the average bird hunter.

Since I have a number of birds in the fridge and have just returned from the field, I have some real world data of exact weights for birds (using multiple birds to get an average weight).

Woodcock,  breast meat = 1.67 oz
Quail, whole bird = 4.375 oz
Ruffed Grouse, breast meat = 7 oz
Pheasant, breast and thigh meat = 12 oz
Sharptail Grouse, whole bird = 1 lb 4 oz
Pheasant, whole bird = 1 lb 6 oz

There are tons of choices for shotgun shells. If you take a broad look at shell prices you can shoot lead alternatives for over $25 per box or you can shoot target loads for around $7 per box – good luck knocking down tough birds with these. But the average cost of a box of hunting shells is right around $15 per box, or .60¢ per shell.

I know a lot of good shooters, but the average bird hunter would be lucky to match Ted Williams lifetime baseball batting average of .344 on wild birds. So let’s assume that hunters harvest one bird for every three shells fired making the ammo cost per bird $1.80.

Now to the issue of licenses. I’ve averaged the cost of annual small-game licenses across 50 states. The resident license average is $21.32 and the non-resident license is $99.68. And for our analysis let’s assume that the average bird hunter will take one trip out of state to hunt birds and will also hunt in their home state. So the annual license expenditure average for a bird hunter is $121.

Factoring the cost of a shotgun is a bit interesting, especially when gun prices have such a broad range. But a modest average would be $600. Sure you can get a cheaper shooting stick, but there are many more priced much higher. And of course you intend to use that same shotgun for multiple years – let’s factor you’ll only own that one bird gun for 15 years making the annual cost just $40.

A quick assessment of basic gear that nearly all upland hunters own: game vest ($50), brush pants ($50), hunting boots ($100). And when we first purchase these items we hope it will last forever. But let’s be realistic and give them a 7-year lifespan which makes the annual expense $28.57.

And now to the big line item, the bird dog. Consumer Reports estimates that the 2011 monthly cost of dog food averages $36 per canine ($432 annually). Add to this annual veterinary costs — flea and tick meds, vaccines and boosters, worming, occasional injuries with resulting antibiotics and painkillers. Based on my own bills from multiple dogs a modest yearly vet bill per dog is $520. So the total annual veterinary and food cost per bird dog is $952.

The annual expense for the average bird hunter is $1,141.57. If you own more than one bird dog, one gun, or hunt in more than two states the costs go up very quickly.

Below is the chart of how these costs then translate to the price per pound of specific upland bird. These prices assume the total number of birds harvested at 3 levels with the fixed cost of shells being $1.80 per bird. (Not many bird hunters actually harvest 20 birds per year, let alone 80.)

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If you have hung around through all the math, you can now see what I’ve long suspected; hunting birds for food is just not a winning equation. To all the meathunters who aim to fill a freezer, do yourself a favor; go to the grocery store, buy some grass fed organic tenderloin and live Maine lobster and save yourself a ton of money. Leave the game birds to the true Ultimate Uplanders who value the pursuit beyond the heft of the game bag.
Sep 18th

Conservation efforts....what can be done?

By BirdDogAddict
As we all know, bird forecasts across the nation are on a downward trend.  More and more people are turning away from bird hunting because bascially there aren't many birds around anymore.  Can't same say I blame them, but something deep inside of me won't let me.  Maybe it is being raised with English Setters? Maybe is seeing the two setters I currently have everyday and just wanting them to do great things in the field?  
I have contacted the Missouri Department of Conservation many times asking them what can be done, what are they doing, anything and everything they could offer for information on the lack of quail and other upland game birds.  Response has been: 1) we have quail emphasis areas that have been proven to help quail population. 2) Its out of our hands, weather, other factors.
I honestly think there isn't someone working for the MDC that hunts upland game birds.  I have hunted many of these Quail Emphasis areas numerous times.  All of the times I have been a total of one bird has been found.  Is it bad dog work? Maybe, but when there are birds my 2 dogs usually at the very least act birdy and lock up on point.  Is it these areas are just over-hunted? Doubtful.  In NEMO it has been years...years, since I have run into another bird hunter out in the field.  I predominately just get to hunt on the weekends, as I am sure many of you all do.  Jobs seems to always get in the way.  I can count on 1 hand the number of bird hunters that I know in the area.  
Over the past 2-3 years the big project the MDC has been working on is re-introducing Elk to the state.  Our state has gone antler crazy.  Deer hunting is great here.  Tons of money is brought in every single year from hunters coming to Missouri.  Now they see in the future the chance to have Elk potentially be another option.  My question is this?  We are bringing back an animal, but ignoring animals that are struggling already in the state.   Just 15 years ago, going hunting, you were confident that you would find birds.  Limiting out was a normal thing because there was plenty of birds.  (Limiting out is by no way make a successful hunt, never would I shoot up an entire covey)  Anymore, just finding a covey of more then 5-6 birds is exciting.  
Are we just a dying breed of hunters?  I refuse to think so.  What have you all done in your area?  What problems have you faced?  
Sorry for the rant here.
 
Sep 10th

BRING THE WILD INSIDE: Gamebirds & Feathers

By Rita@HGM

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Gamebirds  are delicious and gorgeous, but
too often the beauty is thrown out or put in a man cave or garage!

Repurpose the Hunt
Save it, Eat it and Use it.

Taxidermy and Feathers can be an elegant home addition.



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Use pheasant feathers in candle sticks in place of candles.

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Take taxidermy to the dinner table to complete the theme, add a feather on the napkin.

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Eldena at Santa Ana Hunting Area (Texas) skinned some pheasants for me after our hunt and gave me instructions for tanning them.

I hope to make mine look like the hanging game shown here. One other I used whole in our Fall wreath, with  hen and cock tail feathers (and a turkey or two) with gold leafed antlers.


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How about an old duck call on a lampshade, it is a good place to show off leg bands too.
Group your taxidermy on top of bookcases & cabinets with a little greenery, in the book shelf and top of the clock! 

My goal is to help bridge the gap between the shared
Hunter/non-Hunter Home

Share this with a non-hunter

It is so easy to bring home tail feathers, the cape might take a little more work or have your taxidermist do it while he is mounting one of your trophies.

If you would like to see more ideas go to my blog
 BRING THE WILD INSIDE
http://www.HeritageGameMounts.com/bring-the-wild-inside-birds-and-feathers




Jan 29th

Start to Finish Training - Wilborn Creek Kennels

By Jeffrey

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Fast approaching my 57th birthday, there is not very many things that will have me out of bed before 9:00. Spending time training and hunting Pointers is a sure bet that I will be up and moving before the sun comes up,
out here on the farm. 
 
What really excites me is starting a 7 week old pup  and watching it develop into a bird dog by its first hunting season. The last six hunting seasons,  I have trained a pup during its first year and hunted all of them their first hunting season. 
 
These pictures of Talon were taken around her first bithday prior to the Illinois Upland Season. She has been an awesome little pup to train and to watch develop over this past year. I am a dog trainer not a breeder. I purchase my pups from a kennel that has a proven track record for breeding dogs. Good breeding will make an average trainer look good. This pup's grandsire was 2007 Grand National Funseeker Rebel. 
 
It's been a great year here at Wilborn Creek Kennels. I am looking forward to this training season. I am still looking for a litter of pups to purchase a direct daughter from a Grand National bloodline.
Jan 9th

Ole Jeffrey and the pups!

By Jeffrey
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    Ole Jeffrey was carring the shotgun on this trip to Quail Country Hunt Club near Vandalia, Illinois. After starting a new job before opening day of the Illinois Upland Season my time to hunt has been very limited this fall. The hunt clubs offer me a chance to get my pups on birds. Sure we hunt the wild birds on the management ground, but I like to hunt the clubs, between trips to keep them on birds. I like to have pheasants put out for these pups. They just fly more like wild birds than the quail.

    We put out 4 birds for each pup. The first part of the season I like to use hobbles on their legs, so the birds can not run. This forces the pheasant to fly. The guys that run the club put the hobbles on for me when they net the birds in their pens. This takes the run out of the birds and keeps the crippled bird from spurring a young pup. This adds an element of control over  the birds . This is just an extention of my training. I also request the type of cover and I always want to be in the field in the morning to eliminate some of the bird, human and dog scent left behind from the previous day. 
     
    Mike my assistant trainer and I do not handle the birds and I do not like to go in the field when there planting birds. I do not want the pup to associate any of our scent in the area or with the birds when wer'e at the clubs. This is training, not hunting !  
     
    It's been an awesome year of training here at Wilborn Creek Kennels. Although starting a new job slowed down the wild bird hunting the clubs in Illinois usually stay open to March or April .
     
Oct 29th

English Pointer with options.

By Jeffrey

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WILBORN CREEK COPPER BULLET aka "COPPER"

We have emptied the pheasant and the quail flight pens yesterday preparing the dogs for the Illinois Upland Season. One johnie house full of young quail for the front training field and a few dozen pigeons still in the coop will be the only birds carried over the winter at Wilborn Creek Kennels this year.

This will be "Copper's" fourth hunting season, this fall. He is truely one of the best dogs I have ever trained or owned. He has been pointing quail since the first week at Wilborn Creek Kennels. He was the fourth pup I trained with my training program. He is the only pup the exceeded my expectations !
As you can see in the picture from yesterdays training "Mr. Copper" is wearing two e-collars, what I call running with power steering ! He has been trained to heel,kennel,here,and whoa in the yard work at around starting at 18 weeks. Once obedience training was around 85 % I start avoidance training with the e-collar.
 
Mike my assistant and I planted pheasants and quail in the training field yesterday to empty out the pens  and to prepare the dogs for the opening of the Illinois Upland Season. With my training method you can easily correct any problems by running the dogs with power steering. The dog  is taught the four commands and learns to avoid the stimulation of the e-collar by complying to the command when given. If the dog refuses low level stimulation comes on. The dog knows how to shut off the stimulation by complying to the command.
 
Copper has been kenneled for most of the year. We have been working him for a few weeks now on live birds. Yesterday was just one of those training days. He was excited to get out of his kennel. I attatched a lead to his collar and straped on the two e-collars. As we walked at heel he was pulling on the lead. I commanded heel and held down the button on the e-collar until he walked along side me at heel and stopped pulling. We reached the training field and I released him say "hunt em up". He found the bird in short order. I had both transmitters in my hands waiting to see what he was going to do. He was locked up. Mike walked past him and I was ready with the e-collars in case he broke. The pheasant in the DT launcher was making a lot of noise in the trap,and he did not even flinch.  If he had of broke point I would have hit the continuous stimulation button on e-collar on the belly until he stopped. No yelling Whoa, Whoa,Whoa ! The dog has been trained to hold point, if he breaks low levels stimulation comes on and the dog stops !  The stimulation has become a non-verbal command, sure I could have used a voice command but by using the e-collar the dog does not associate the correction coming directly  from me. 
 
I attatched a chech cord on his collar in case he broke on the flush. I triggered the remote and launched the bird. I steadied Copper, and commanded fetch. He did a good job marking the big rooster down. He ran out scooped the bird up and headed back with the bird. He was about 10 feet away and he dropped the bird. I immediatly turned on continuous low level stimulation he picked it up and delivered it to hand. The next bird we shot he delivered to hand with no problem. Because Copper was forced fetched with an e-collar, when the stimulation came on he picked the bird back up to shut off the stimulation. Why did he drop the bird? It really does not matter, the point is here I was prepared to make the correction without up setting the dog and move on. 
This training session went really well. Sure the dog made a few mistakes, but was corrected and we moved on. In the excitment or the heat of the moment I was able to control the situation without getting upset myself and by controling the dog with the e-collar I was able to correct the problem without the dog being upset.
 
In closing: in the past I have used two e-collars that were controlled by there own transmitter. This was quite a endevor making sure you had the right transmitter to control the right  e-collar. Both my e-collars were made the same so it was hard to know which transmitter you had unless you checked the label on the transmiter before you used it.
 
 I decided to purchase a new E-collar Unit that was made to run two dogs. This way I can put the black collar on the neck and the orange collar on the belly and control  both collars with one transmitter. The transmitter is a special two dog unit the has a orange button and a black button on the side to control each collar. It has a rheostate dial to control 127 levels of continuous or momontary stimulation. I have not seen a company offer or advertise an e-collar that was made to run a dog with a two collar set up using one transmitter to control each collar. How many times have you heard or 
or read about running a dog with POWER STEERING ? Make a mental note here, when your reading this, that ole  Jeffrey  on UUL, a trainer from Illinois, started using this techique in 2005 as part of his Pointer Training Program. Time will tell whether this becomes a cutting edge training training method. I am waiting to see if the the e-collar companies start an advertisng campaign running a dog with two collars !
 
Remember" FORD'S" first cars did not come off the assembly line with power steering. Power steering was added years later to make handling and controlling the vehicle easier on the driver. Back then you had a choice power steering or manual steering ?
 
The seeing eye dog program proved that old methods of training could be improved by 74% by replacing old training methods that were based on physical development and replacing them with new training methods that were based on mental development. This changed everything in training world! It's your choice how you train your dog. You can be sure my pointers will have power steering installed during there training, to make training go easier,faster and produce a dog that is a pleasure to hunt over !
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Oct 22nd

Pointer's - Come With Power Steering !

By Jeffrey

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Wilborn Creek Hollow Point aka "Hollow" at Wilborn Creek Training Facility

The work is about over for the year and the fun is about to begin as the Illinois Upland Hunting Season is about to begin in just a few weeks.  Hollow is starting to develope a little style when pointing. I have been ask several times this past month about running my dogs with two e-collars. I tell people that I refer to this as running the dog with what I call: Power Steering !

The pup has been through obedience training in the yard for kennel,heel,here,and whoa. I show the pup what each command means until they understand each command. I then start avoidance training in the yard.
This is done with an e-collar on low continous stimulation. The pup learns to avoid stimulation by preforming the command given. The stimulation on the neck for kennel,heel,here,and Ho. Ho is the command I use to teach the dog pattern work. The pup learns to turn on the command Ho. This is started on a long check cord in the training field and transferred to the e-collar. Whoa is taught on the goal post board and a whoa box. I made a special leather harness that is used in teaching whoa. The goal post board,the whoa box and the harness have replaced  the whoa post in my training program. The collar on the belly is only used for the whoa command. Avoidance training
when finished, will give you the contol needed in the training field. I do not allow my pups to chase gamebirds. They naturally point before 10 weeks old. I pull them off birds when the associate bird scent to the birds. This is the key to  knowing when to pull them off birds. I then start obedience training followed by avoidance training. 
 
Once obedience and avoidance training is finished you are ready to go back to the training field armed with the  control necessary to train the pup. I do not have to wait on the pup to staunch and learn that he can not catch birds.
I formally teach the pup point and hold point. Remember the pup naturally pointed and held point at around 10 weeks. When he started to break point we pulled him off birds. Why would you want to let the pup learn to chase and break point, only to have to break them of it latter. Most trainers would agree that it is easier to train a command than to break a behavior ! Now armed with the commands and the ability to contol the pup, you can formally teach the pup that you want.
 
The running the pup on POWER STEERING is just a continuation of the pups formal training. All the commands the pup has been taught can be reinforced in the field. The pup learns by showing the pup what you want and associating this with a command. By repetition of the command,it will become a behavior. By using the "POWER STEERING" technique your able to reinforce all the commands in the field  consistantly over a period of time, until they become a behavior.
 
This new rapaid very aggressive,fast paced training program is based on a pups mental development, not there physical developement as old methods were based. The pup is formally taught all commands in the yard, followed by avoidance training. The natural ability of the pup to find,point and hold gamebirds is never compromised by allowing the pup to chase birds, only to have to break them later as they get older. This takes far less time to train your pup in this manner than to allow the pup to chase birds until they learn they cant catch them, start flash pointing and can be staunched.     
 
Oct 15th

Saving the best for last !

By Jeffrey
I was driving through the country towards home when I saw a couple of birds out in the picked bean field. I was suprised when I slowed down that they were two pheasants,both roosters. I had been seeing small groups of birds on my farm this year while mowing and driving home yesterday a young rooster crossed the road and as we passed by, took flight and headed for cover.

Last spring, when driving to work I  was seeing several roosters displaying for hens in another sections of farm ground a long over grown railroad track.
 We have been seeing more birds here in Central Illinois the past several year.

Several articles have been written the past few years about the increase of pheasants numbers in Illinois due to the lack of young hunters coming into the sport and the benifits of farming practices going to no til methods of farming.
Personaly I do not care about the reasons why were seeing more birds, but I sure am enjoying the opportunity to chase these birds again as we did when we were much younger.
 I killed my last limit of wild pheasants in 1972. After hunting all morning with a friend without seeing any birds, I decided to eat lunch and hunt an area near my home. We lived on the edge off town, so I grabbed my gun and headed to a picked corn field that had a grass waterway winding through the middle, of most of this property. I walked along the back edge the border the management ground when two birds flushed several hundred yards in front of me. I continued in the direction of the flush and came to where the grass waterway started in the corner of the field and ran across the middle of the corn field. I was just starting into the grass when the first rooster flushed from the cover offering me a nice right to left crossing shot. The first shot dropped the bird from the sky. Finally after carrying  the double barrel 20 guage most of the day, I was able to pull the trigger on a Illinois Pheasant. I picked the bird up with my left hand and carried my gun in the other. I started walking accross the field along the grass waterway that led back to the road I would take back home. I was so satified with killing just this one bird, I did not even think about killing a second bird.Instead of putting the bird in my vest, I just carried it.I was so tired from walking all day, I just wanted to get back home. I was half way across the field when the second bird flushed offering me a close shot. I dropped the first bird and pulled the gun to  my shoulder and pulled the trigger on the flushing rooster. I would like to be able to tell you how, I pulled the gun  up to my shoulder , made a smooth swing,pulled the trigger and  had perfect followed through, but the truth is it all happened so fast the bird was falling before I regained my composier. 
37 years have past ! In the last 6 years after going back to my roots pheasant hunting, I have taken several limits of birds over my dogs in Illinois. I remember someone telling me life begins at 50. Who am I to argue.

This season looking to be a good one. Lots of birds close to home, 2 finished dogs to hunt and two pups one 60 weeks and the other 45 weeks that are finishing there force training ready for there first hunting season. As a bonus we have been locating new areas that hold quail the past few years. We try to get the dogs on these coveys and shoot a few birds on the first flush. We seldom try to relocate singles or small groups of birds from these coveys, leaving them for future hunts.

In our state, being able to see these birds numbers increasing and having the opportunity to shoot a few of these wild gamebirds over my Pointer's this fall, is an awesome gift from our maker. I had to wait fifty years for my life to begin, just to get to this point !  I think Illinois has got to be one of the last states to start there Upland Season, to be honest, I am jealous reading all your posts on UUL , I personally hope they saved the best for last,  this fall !  Now that I have reached senior citizen status and after starting my life at 50 a few years ago, I am now 55, soon to be 56, I feel I earned it,  you just dont know how many years a guy  at my age will have left ! If your around my age, you know what I mean, If your younger your time will come !  All kidding aside, have a great season from  jeffrey @ Wilborn Creek Kennels !