Sunday, 3 November 2019

Finding spots

   With the busyness of life finding the time to scout new spots becomes difficult. There is nothing worse then wasting half or all of your time in the field trying to find places to hunt.we have all had those times when we are going out with one place in mind. Hunting public land that spot could already have other hunters on it then what?
   There should always be multiple spots in mind to go. Some time's you have to scout it when you get there but with online mapping you can have a very good idea of the right spot to go. If you take the time to make the connection between what you are looking at on the map and what the land looks like in person you can start to piece together what to look for. when I find these spots to check out you can plot them on a paper map like a gazetteer.
Moose seen during a recent hunt


   When looking for spots to take my beagles I look for certain vegetation type. The dark green spots that almost have black through out them are very thick sections of woods usually small to medium conifers. Snow shoe hare use these areas to keep protected from predators like Hawks, coyotes, and lynx.
   When going ruffed grouse hunting it is similar vegetation to look for. If you look for green that is a little lighter but on the out skirts of the dark green. That will usually be a good place to hunt for grouse and Woodcock. In those areas it gives the birds good feeding grounds and easy access to cover.
  When I find these spots on a electronic mapping system like OnX I create a way point to mark the location. Then I will plot it in my gazetteer to get a better prospective of the location. Now it's time to go check it out to see if the terrain is what it appears on the electronic map. It will take a little time but you will eventually piece it together and have a fairly good idea of where to go before heading out. It could save a day or trip worth of searching for good cover or just settling for OK cover.
 

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Natural Retriever

   The natural ability of retrieving is an valuable trait for a versatile gun dog. When you hunt upland birds it's nice to have a dog that will find and bring back downed game but the finding is the critical part. When you hunt waterfowl the retrieve becomes a critical part also unless you enjoy a morning swim in a cold pond.

   There is a certain drive a dog has when it loves retrieving. There is a look of determination in them. Dogs that go all in on the Retrieve just as much as finding a bird.
   Working on bring out retrieving in a dog is something that could be worked on more. Most times people training there pointing dogs on their own don't work on retrieving enough. Staying focused on the bird work, pointing, and basic commands leaving the retrieve on the back burner.
 
When a dog shows the natural ability to retrieve it is important to build off of it. Work the dog a few nights a week on retrieving but don't over do it and let the dog get burnt out. Another thing to do is switch what the dog is retrieving from bumpers to birds keep it excited. Different location and water will also be beneficial. Working on the retrieve will bring with it great reward come hunting season.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Morning exercise

    There are days when you can't be the weekend warrior. Life just doesn't allow you to make it out on Saturday. There is still Sunday in the areas where the is no hunting on Sunday. It is a day to get the dogs out and get them some exercise and train with them. There my be no guns involved but the much need break from the world is still there.
    That was my weekend I didn't make it out with gun in hand. Instead I got the beagles out Sunday morning. There is just something about a cool frosty morning listening to the beagles run.






Saturday, 12 October 2019

New Opportunities

   The cool mornings and changing leafs mark the end of a season and beginning of another. The eye catching yellow,red and orange leaves are the artwork of fall. It's a time of year in New England I think everyone should experience.
   With fall comes the time to get out the double gun . We have trained and prepared for this time a year for six months. The dog training season has come to an end though the training never really ends. The dog is always training me that it has the noise therefore the upper hand.
    Some time's the it's more about the feel of a shot gun in the hands and to know it's Hunting season then the plan of shooting game. Watching the dogs do what the breeders of old had breed them for is amazing history right before you. There is something about listing to beagles baying a snowshoe hare knowing my grandfather had listened to his decades ago. There is a  tradition that is innate in humans. It is deep in most cultures around the world. It is one of the few things that can bring people from around the world together.
   With the new season it brings new opportunities to bring new people hunting and make strong connection with other hunters. This season we need to put all difference behind realise that there are different styles of hunting and different opportunities. Don't be afraid to give someone the opportunity you have and maybe they can return the favour. We could  all grow in our knowledge and understanding of what other hunters do. Making us the tight knit community we should be.
   Safe hunting.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Hunting Tradition's

Caring for the outdoor life instead of inheriting the disconnected world of today. Is something I think about for my boys. With hunter numbers going down and average age going up. How can I fight back against the trend with my family.
   
When I was young I remember the days of deer hunting with my dad before I could even shoot. The thrill of going and seeing deer and other wildlife while enjoying time out with my dad kept me going out. Now you can't get kids out of bed and off there device. It's only going to get worse as electronics advance more and the world disconnects from nature.
   We needs to come up with a plan how to get the attention of are kids. Bird hunting, rabbit, squirrel, waterfowl are all great ways I'm getting my kids involved. Today world is instant gratification and small game can be the closest thing to that while hunting. It's not guaranteed success but they will see game and be involved in the hunt. Dogs are also getting my kids involved. They love the dogs.


   They go out with me to train the bird dogs or take the Beagles out to run in the off season. It teaches them we don't always bring game home but we have a good time doing what we love. They are far from being able to hunt but they are already starting to love the outdoors and looking forward to going out next. Choosing to take your kids with you sometimes when you hunt will make you get less game but It will get them valuable time in the woods. Letting them see success in the field and failure is going to be important if we want are hunting partners to be are kids. Let tradition continue think about the future now.


   

Friday, 26 April 2019

The Training Table

Dog training season is finally upon us here in New England. Time to clean out the other half of my dog kennel and get serious about a spot to train. Throwing out the old junk and setting up a spot no more excuses for rain and so on. In the kennel I set up a place board, barrel for whoa work,and a training table.
   The training table has turned out to be very valuable. It's something I wish I had used more years ago. The dogs have responded well to using it and want to be on it any chance they get.

   There are many things the table provides you.
  • It gets the dog on your level
  • Gives working boundaries
  • Makes rewarding and correcting faster
  Getting the dog to your level makes it easier on you. There is no bending over and over again while rewarding or correcting. It gets the dog closer to eye level with you making communication easier.
   Giving boundaries I found gave parameters in which the dog is to be expected to work. It made the task for the dog much easier lessening distractions by making your dog work in a given area.
  Crucial corrections come much easier on a table. Having them off the ground I catch more times when I needed to correct. Praising and rewarding dogs whatever your choice is more timely helping the dog connect with what it's being reward for.  

  When training try new ideas. Find what works for your dog. I found the training table it has worked well for my French Brittany's and Beagles. There are many more idea's I have found to try this season. Hopeful to find more. Never stop learn and progressing in your training methods.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Ice fishing

     Sundays here in Maine we are not allowed to hunt. Sunday Ice fishing is a great way to get the family out and enjoy the outdoors while being able to put wild game on the table. It is my favorite way to fish there is just something about having your traps set waiting for a flag to signal a fish. The pure excitement of everyone in your ice fishing party when a flag goes up no matter who's flag it is.
     This style of fishing is a great way to get your young kids into fishing and teaching them about putting food on the table. The nice part of ice fishing with kids is there are a lot of ways to keep the fun going for them while waiting for a flag. There is ice hockey, skating, snow ball fights when the snow is right and many more activities. When a flag goes up it brings the fun they are already having to another level. Personally I find this as a very enjoying way to spend time with my kids.
     The set up I like to use is the low profile polar tip-up traps with shiners hooked just under the spine. When setting the depth I like to  have it right off the bottom however that is going to depend on what you are fishing for I like to catch White perch, Lake trout and Brook Trout but if you were trying for  salmon I would set it a about a foot under the ice.
     This past weekend was the first successful ice fishing trip for my son. He really enjoyed the catch we got. Were able to hook a salmon just off bottom. The salmon was 19inchs which is legal keeper size where we were fishing so we decided to keep it. I cooked it trying Hank Shaw's recipe seared salmon with cucumber sauce I would highly recommend trying it out.

                     Jon
   

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Stress less

  As the new year get started I was fortunate to start by going snowshoe hare hunting. Though an unsuccessful day by game in the vest. The measure of success is not measured on game taken. There has to be game harvested when hunting. If you are coming home empty handed every time out I would suggest a mentor to help you gain experience.
     Success in field comes in many forms. Today I hunted a place with a view of hills as far as the eye could see.  The scenery that you are able to see when you get out and hunt is something a lot of people only see in pictures. You should consider it a successful day when you find those places.
     Success is also found in the time behind a good dog. The refreshing feeling of being alone in the woods with just the dog is something you cant find in the fast paced world. No matter if you prefer pointing, flushing, retrieving or hound dogs being in the woods with them changes your mind set for the better.
     In the stressful world we live in today we need to remember to take the time to find the things in life that sooth are mind. One of my goals for the new year is more time in the woods and on the waters. Spending time with family, Friends and the dogs refreshing my mind and stepping away from the stress.
     
                      Jon

Season Prep

  This time of year the truck bed Permanently gets smaller till the season end with a two hole dog box. The equipment is packed and truck is...