Author Archives: sgbode

Dogs of Wehrspann Part 2

I’m aware of 4 dog runs in the Omaha area. That’s nearly not enough considering how many dogs are in the city. I frequent the dog run at Lake Wehrspann. It is the biggest and the most diverse. Papillion has a dog run at Walnut creek but it is adjacent to an over sized mud hole which get extremely stinky in hot weather. Dogs need to run in order to get the proper amount of exercise. A walk on  a leash just doesn’t cut it.

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Some of the dogs are young and can’t be trusted so they end up at leashes at the dog run.

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The dog above is 13 but he doesn’t look it.

IMG_2472 IMG_2480Black is the favorite dog color. Many of the black dogs are labs or lab mixes. The lab is the most popular dog in the country.

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There’s an eagle nested next to the dog run. Small dogs need to stay close to their owners.

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This is a neat looking Beagle. He looks so proud!

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Gee, its a lot of fun to run!

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This is the largest dog at the park. He’s a Newfoundland mix and weighs well over 100 ibs. He had a brother that passed away several months ago.

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This is a white German Shepherd pup. Many people don’t realize that German Shepherd’s can be white.

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Vizla’s are a friendly hunting breed that are becoming more popular.

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This Springer’s name is Brodie. He looks a lot like my Springer, Cosmo.

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The little guys enjoy running to.

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The two pictures above are of Brittany’s. Most Brittany’s are the white and tan color. My Brittany, Tbone is much darker and many people mistake him for a Springer.

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Reggie is a Springer.

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Another white German Shepherd.

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An unusual colored Cocker Spaniel.

Hundreds of dogs enjoy running at the various dog parks. It’s a joy to watch these dogs have a good time. All photos were taken with a canon SL-1 the smallest DSLR and a Tamron 18-270 lens.

Dogs of Wehrspan I

During the last 30 days I’ve taken some photos of the dogs that frequent the dog run at Lake Wehrspann near Chalco Hills. These are quick snapshots taken with a Canon SL1. The dogs are there to run and have fun so you can imagine that they probably don’t stay still for portraits. The pictures are a record and not meant to be fancy photos. A good portrait of a dog needs to be taken in a studio where light control and the dogs position can be manipulated. It’s much easier to get a photo with the ears up when the canine has fewer distractions.

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This dog is deaf

This dog is deaf

This dog is under one year old and responds well to hand signals. The dog vest with “deaf dog” is there in case the dog gets away from the owners.

13.5 year old Springer Spaniel

13.5 year old Springer Spaniel

This is Cosmo. He is a 13 1/2 year old Springer Spaniel. He has an arthritic shoulder and limps because of it. He still enjoys his walks

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The Brittany in this photo belongs to me. He is the “Forrest Gump” of Wehrspann since he get into lots of the photos. He feels compelled to greet every dog at the park and ends up in many of the photos.

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Some people run their dogs on the dam. They are required to leash those animals. The dog run allows the dogs to run free.

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This little guy is one of the most photogenic at the park and he is a real regular at the park.

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Tbone is a Brittany. This breed needs a minimum of one hour of good exercise a day. He gets a morning walk and another one in the afternoon.IMG_2301 IMG_2302 IMG_2304b IMG_2307 Untitled-1bb

This big guy is really laid back and a little easier to get a photo of. I used a Canon SL1 at the park with a Tamron 18-270 lens. This is a handy lens to photograph dogs. The autofocus is a little slow for fast moving animals however. I chose the camera because it is very light and I have a lens with a broad zoom range that fits on it. To get truly sharp photos with fast moving dogs one would probably need a pro body or at least a Canon 5d mark III combined with a stabilized Canon L glass lens such as a 70-200. Such a combo is quite heavy compared to the SL1 and would be tiring to carry around.

This is group one of the dogs I photographed. There will be more to come in future posts.

The best way to capture video of a pheasant hunt

The video below was taken in South Dakota November 2015. For many years I wanted to capture video of one of my pheasant hunts. I hunt alone or with one other person and it was hard to find a cameraman. I tried using the first go pro hero that came out but the camera was heavy enough on my head mount that it threw off my timing and I had trouble hitting birds. The the Hero IV session came out. It was much smaller and light enough that it did not affect my shooting. The video below was taken with the session. I didn’t do anything fancy with it and the video is primarily for my personal use. That’s why I left the original audio.

The Hero session works with the same headband as the other go pros which was nice.

go pro session along side an iphone to compare size

go pro session along side an iphone to compare size

go pro session

go pro session

You get an idea how small this camera is when compared to the size of an iphone 5. Video from this camera is acceptable from my standpoint but color wasn’t the greatest if the camera is pointed into the sun. The camera did do a good job adjusting brightness. The little red circle on top of the camera is the start button. You press the button for a second or less and a light starts blinking indicating the camera is capturing video. If you press the button for about 3 seconds it captures stills in time lapse. It is hard to turn on the camera and know if it’s working if you have the band on your head. Several times I thought I was capturing video and I was capturing time lapse which was a big disappointment when I loaded the card into my computer. It uses a micro sd card. It also has wifi capability when used with a go pro app. Battery life on this camera was about an hour for me. If used in wifi mode it uses more battery. Unfortunately when you’re hunting you never know when you will run into the birds. It could be in the first few minutes or an hour later. You’ll have to do a lot of editing to get a couple of minutes of action. I did my video in South Dakota because bird numbers are significantly higher than in Nebraska. I had my limit in 45 minutes during this video.

Ideally a second cameraman will give you a much better idea what the pheasant hunt is like. A friend of mine did some video with a Canon T3I while I used the session. The birds in the video below were released and a little easier to get close to.

 

I love to hunt the ringneck Pheasant

pheasant hunt Nebraska

pheasant hunt Nebraska

The surprise of a flushing rooster is one of the reasons I prefer pheasant hunting. Waterfowl hunters call in their prey (not much of a surprise factor in that although it takes real skill). Deer hunters sit in a tree stand and wait for their game to appear. ( This requires some skill but there’s no big surprise) . I’ve missed many a pheasant that flushed right from under me. Nothing is more pleasurable than watching your dogs hunt. I’ve hunted in 6 decades and have an enjoyed every hunt. I shot my first bird in Gibbon Minnesota on my uncles farm. My dad was with me. He seldom found time to hunt and that day in November is probably the last time he went hunting. It’s a memory that I cherish. I only wish I had photographs of it. He was just too busy trying to support a family with 5 children.

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Pheasant hunting can be a real challenge unless you have a dog. My dad picked up a 6 month old female German Shorthair which my high school buddies and I found very helpful in finding the birds. I named her Penny and she had pretty good instincts as far as pointing birds. She was dumb as a box of rocks when it came to retrieving though.

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Archie- my first Springer Spaniel

Archie- my first Springer Spaniel

When I moved to Leigh, Nebraska in the early 70’s I had t get serious about getting my own hunting dog. The first year I lived there I hunted without a dog and bird numbers were pretty good so I got some shooting in. In February of 1971 I saw an add for Springer puppies in the Columbus paper. I’d read that Springer’s were an excellent choice for pheasant hunting. When I arrived to select a pup I was lucky because all the pups were still there and I had first choice. I picked the most aggressive one I could find and home he went with me. We called him Archie (after Archie Bunker) He would prove to be one of the best hunting dogs I ever had. I lived in Leigh for 3 years and the hunting was good and access was also very good. Having been a teacher at the time I knew a lot of farmers since their children attended school. Those first 3 years in Nebraska were my best hunting days in the state.

Archie, Augie and Harry

Archie, Augie and Harry

I ended up moving to Fremont Nebraska an area that had much lower pheasant populations. I bought a female Springer and named her Ginger. She never hunted but we had pups form Archie and Ginger. I kept two of them,  Augie and Harry. Harry had a harelip and we had to feed him by hand as a pup. He had several surgeries on his mouth and turned out to be a really nice dog with lots of personality.

Augie a Springer Spaniel

Augie , Archies son

Augie was really attached to me and had probably the best nose of any of my Springers. I used to hunt all 3 dogs at once. Archie did all the hard work. Augie was kind of lazy and would hunt in easy areas staying relatively close to me. Harry was not the best hunter and seemed to run out of energy fairly quickly. (later on I found that he had diabetes) By the late 80’s I had to spent some serious time to find new hunting areas. My contacts in Leigh were drying up primarily due to a poor farm economy, they were going broke and quit farming.

I started looking west and began hunting the federal wetlands near Clay Center Nebraska. My first hunt near Clay Center was one I’ll never forget. I flushed well over a hundred pheasants one November morning. The bird were wild but I limited out before noon. Archie was getting older and I had to rely on Augie to fill in for him. Hunting got tougher because Augie wasn’t as good. Archie passed away in 1986 and I had to rely on Augie. Augie was about 10 years old so he was also began to slow down.

Gudo

Gudio

Guido and me

Guido and me

I was photographing a client in my studio in 1992 and I mentioned my hunting dog was starting to slow down due to age. He mentioned that he knew someone in Columbus that had a litter of Springer’s that he was going to give away. I called the guy, drove to Columbus and picked out Guido. Guido was a great hunter. He was very similar to Archie except he didn’t retrieve birds.

Guido hunted for 13 years. I shifted north during his tenure. The Winnebago Indian Reservation had fairly good numbers in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. However hunting access in Nebraska itself became more and more difficult. It is during this time I decided to hunt South Dakota and I’m happy I did. My first experience was a place called “Dakota Birds” near Gregory South Dakota. The company was run by two brothers. It cost $200 per day including a place to stay. The farmhouse I stayed in was near their farm. It was comfortable and a great place since dogs could come inside and my dogs were house dogs so they needed to be inside. I enjoyed hunting there. They would drive you around to different spots and let you walk and pick you up at the end of the field. In most cases I limited out in 2 hours or less.

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By 2002 Guido was 10 and he was beginning to slow down. He was a little grumpy in his old age but he still enjoyed the hunt.

cosmo at age 1

cosmo at age 1

Guido and Cosmo Gregory South Dakota

Guido and Cosmo Gregory South Dakota

My last springer is Cosmo. I also acquired Cosmo through a photo client. A couple brought in their 9 month baby with 3 Springers for a photo. The pups were up for sale so I made a deal, $300 worth of photos for one of the pups. I named him Cosmo. He was the most playful Springer I ever owned. I spent countless hours playing tug of war with him as a puppy. Later he became a frisbee fanatic and even at age 13 he still carries a frisbee with him as he goes for his walks. Cosmo was a great hunter.

Cosmo and Me

South Dakota Pheasnt

South Dakota Pheasnt

Cosmo and Me

Cosmo and Me

We still continued to hunt Nebraska in the 2000’s but South Dakota was the place to go. The image above was taken on Thanksgiving Day 2006. CRP was still pretty strong in the mid 2000’s and there were public areas to hunt some pheasants. Unfortunately most of those fields have been plowed and returned to corn. Ethanol subsidies have done a lot to destroy habitat. My South Dakota location shifted farther west to a small town of Kennebec. The first year I hunted there the rancher drove me around on his 3000 acre ranch. Pheasants were everywhere. I got so excited. He let you hunt on your own which is always my preference. There is something about hunting alone with your dog that can’t be matched. Bird hunting was fabulous on his property. It was rare to not get your limit in 2 hours. The years went by quickly and soon Cosmo hit age 11 and he was slowing down. It was time for a new hunting dog. I contacted Springer Rescue and filled out all their applications including a home interview. I passed and when it was time to adopt there were no Springer’s available locally. On a lark I got on craiglist andcheck dogs for sale. Unbelievably there was a Springer listed south of Sioux City about 30 miles. I rushed up there and met Tbone. He was skinny, obviously not well fed. The seller wanted $75 but soon dropped to $35 when I said I’d probably have vet bills with him. I took him home and he bonded almost immediately. The vet said there was nothing wrong with him. I fed him well and he went for 34 lbs to 42 lbs within 3 months

Tbone a Brittany

Tbone a Brittany

Tbone a Brittany

Tbone a Brittany

I though Tbone was a Springer. He looked a lot like Cosmo when he was young. After hunting Tbone I knew he wasn’t a Springer. He pointed on birds and ranged much more then a Springer. I hunted with Cosmo and Tbone through 2014. In fact Cosmo hunted alone with me the last hunt in South Dakota and we limited out in under an hour. Tbone was benched because of an injury.20140720_144719000_iOS 20140622_152854000_iOS

I relied on Tbone as the primary hunter in 2015. He did a great job and we ended the year with 31 pheasants 6 quail and 2 grouse.

I’ve pheasant hunted for 52 years. During that time I’ve had 7 hunting dogs. I miss the one’s that are gone. I enjoyed so many happy hunting hours with them. I’m so happy that I have photos of them. If you are a hunter print some of your hunting photos don’t let them disappear into the digital ether.

I’m 67 now and age is catching up with me. I can’t hunt without aches and pains and after a hunting day. It takes me several days to recover but I still love it and I still love watching my dogs hunt.

Ringneck Pheasant – My Passion

 

Pheasant - Photo taken near Boyer's Chute

Pheasant – Photo taken near Boyer’s Chute

In my opinion the ringneck pheasant is one of the most beautiful birds in North American. I’ve always been fascinated by this species. They can be tricky to photograph since photographing them from a blind is usually not an option. The bird in the photo above was photographed from a car with a 100-400mm lens and a canon 50d. The birds paid little attention to you as long as you stayed in the car. You can estimate the age of a pheasant based on their spur length. I estimate this bird to be 1 1/2 years old.

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Pheasant photos taken after heavy snow

Pheasant photos taken after heavy snow

The best time to see pheasants in the open is after a snow storm when they need to forage for food. These photos were taken in February near Boyers Chute which is north of the Mormon Bridge in Omaha. This area is closed to pheasant hunting and there is lots of grass habitat for the birds.

In order tostay warm pheasant will fluff out their feathers

In order to stay warm pheasant will fluff out their feathers

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The pheasant is a hardy bird and can handle cold weather pretty well. Spring snowstorms with heavy wet snow and strong winds can be deadly to pheasants since this kind of weather often plugs their nostrils with snow and ice and they suffocate. They cannot breathe through their mouths.

Pheasant photos taken after heavy snow

Pheasant photos taken after heavy snow

Pheasants rarely die of starvation unless they lack adequate winter cover adjacent to feeding areas. This pheasant is scratching around in the snow looking for corn.

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The ringneck originates from between the Black and Caspian Seas to Manchuria, Siberia, Korea, Mainland China and Taiwan. This photo is taken in South Dakota, the pheasant capital of North America. Grassland habitat adjacent to sloughs and cornfields along with shelter belts are ideal habitat for the birds. Intense farming is removing much of this habitat and pheasant populations have fallen significantly in many states. Pheasants Forever  is an organization that works together with State game and park agencies and private landowners to improve habitat conditions. The organization also lobbies state and federal governments for habitat improvement. Destruction of habitat that affects pheasants has also decimated song birds and even honey bee.

flying pheasant in South Dakota

flying pheasant in South Dakota

Photographing pheasants can be quite a challenge. Pheasants are flighty and seldom stay still long. You need a long lens. I prefer a 100-400 zoom with a camera that has an APS size sensor such as the 50, 60 or 70d. The newer cameras have better auto focus which is very important especially when photographing flying pheasants. Many of the pictures I have were taken in South Dakota where bird abundance is enough to assure you a chance for some photographs,

South Dakota’s hunting day starts at 10:00 AM after the first two weeks. This gives a hunter the chance to drive around early morning and take pictures. Birds are most active the first hour of daylight and the last several hours. Camera sensors that can offer higher ISO’s are important if you which to work at this time of the day. To stop blur on flying birds shutter speeds of 1/1000 or even higher may be necessary.

When I have a chance I like to take my dogs out and let them chase up some birds. I often carry a camera instead of a gun. Video of pheasants is tricky because they can be unpredictable when they flush. Here is a video I did in October

 

Dedication to a longtime friend


I am dedicating this post to a longtime friend of 48 years who passed away Feb 1, 2016.

Long time friend

Long time friend

I first met my friend Sonny when he was 19. He is 62 in the left side of the picture and around 23 on the right one. Sonny lived several states away . In the last several years his health was not good and I would call him 4 or 5 times a week.

In late October of 2015 I was driving to a hunting spot and I called him on my cell phone. I asked him how things were going and he said last night was terrible. He said his chest hurt and jaw hurt and he broke out into a sweat. I told him he had a heart attack and that he needed to see a doctor. It was Saturday and he said he would check with one on Monday. I couldn’t get him to change his mind.

Later that evening around 7:00 PM I called him back and asked how he was doing. His response was curt, “I’m not feeling good I’m going to bed” and then he hung up. I hesitated for about 30 seconds and called the Brown County Sheriff and told them to go out to his place (he lived out in the country) because he needed help.

They went to his place and called an ambulance. He ended up getting life-flighted to a Minneapolis hospital. He was in the hospital for almost 3 weeks after they put in some stents.

He came home in November and I had one last chance to visit him the second week of November. He started to recover a little and I talked to him on the phone every day. By late January he was having trouble with shortness of breath. I called him the morning of Feb 1 but he didn’t want to stay on the phone very long saying he couldn’t catch his breath. I knew the end was near for him. The next morning I got a call from his son that he had passed away the evening before.

 

 

Photo taken with Rolliflex

Photo taken with Rolliflex

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Sonny was around 23 in the photos above.

I met Sonny in 1968 when I was a sophomore in college. He and I spent a lot of time driving around the summer of 1968. We took a trip up to Mil Lac’s lake and visited a friend of his who was working at a lodge on the lake. I remember his friend taking us out on the lake at night with a 16 foot fishing boat with 4 foot waves. It scared both of us.

We used to hang around the bowling alley a lot and one evening we saw two girls in front of the bowling alley and we asked them if they wanted to go for a ride. They accepted. Eventually I would marry one of them and Sonny married the other 7 years later. Both of us ended up getting divorced in the 80’s.

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Both of us liked to fish and Sonny caught a 40 lb carp one summer when fishing for walleye. He got pretty excited about his catch. We had to go to shore with our pontoon in order to land the fish.

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We used to fish on lake Stella and catch quite a few Northerns.

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Sonny had a band called the “All Beef” which was more of a fantasy than anything. He could play the drums. This the only photo of the two of us together. It seems I was always behind the camera and never got in the photos.

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Sonny visited my studio in 2009 and I got some photos of him them.

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Sonny marched to his own drummer. If I said something was black he’d argue it was white. He wasn’t very motivated and he didn’t accomplish much. We knew each other for 48 years and I considered him my closest friend.  He was a friend because I liked him.

During the last 10 years he suffered with a bad hip and had trouble walking. He put on a lot of weight and really couldn’t do much. I’m dedicating this page to him because he never had a funeral, not even an obituary.

…..and I miss him!

 

Canine tribute continued……………Make prints of those important memories!

Springer Spaniel pupppies

Springer Spaniel puppies

In 2002 I had a client contact me about photographing some Springer Spaniel puppies with their baby. They said they had 8 pups and I recommended that they bring in only 3 so it would be easier to work with them. I mentioned I was l looking for a Springer because Guido my exisiting Springer was ten years old and slowing down as a hunter. We made a deal and I traded $300 worth of photos for Cosmo. He’s the dog on the right side.

Cosmo 10 weeks

Cosmo 10 weeks

Cosmo as a pup

Cosmo as a pup

Cosmo was always photogenic. He had these big eyes that would just grab you. As a pup he was extremely playful and after a day of photographing high school seniors I would play tug a war and ball for hours at a time.

Cosmo and his frisbee

Cosmo and his frisbee

Cosmo with frisbee

Cosmo with frisbee

Springer with frisbee

Springer with frisbee

We used totake  many walks at the park where Cosmo was known as the dog with the frisbee in his mouth. He carried it everywhere.

Cosmo with ball

Cosmo with ball

Cosmo also had his favorite ball to play with in the house. He loved to play tug of war with it.

Cosmo after successful hunt

Cosmo after successful hunt

I introduced Cosmo to hunting when he was only 4 months old. He hunted along side Guido and mostly played during the first year out. He was quickly acclimated to gun fire as I took him down to the gun range and let him hear the shotgunners practicing. He never flinched. The above photo was taken when he was one year and four months old. He caught on to hunting very quick and aided me in a number of pheasant limits.

Cosmo and me after hunt

Cosmo and me after hunt

One thanksgiving my wife Carmen came along while Cosmo and I hunted. We had been married for over 20 years and this was the first time she ever went along. Of course she took the picture which I cherish because I can’t get a picture like this on my own.

Cosmo and me South Dakota

Cosmo and me South Dakota

We hunted South Dakota every year. Unfortunately Cosmo got cut by barbed wire on this trip and I had to cut the hunt short by a day.

Cosmo, me, and grouse

Cosmo, me, and grouse

I used to get a grouse permit for the eastern part of the state. You received 3 tags and were allowed to take 3 birds for the season. On this occasion I got 2 grouse with one shot.

Pheasants Winnebago Indian Reservation

Pheasants Winnebago Indian                    Reservation

We used to hunt the Indian reservation. On this occasion Cosmo flushed 10 roosters one at a time out of a creek area. I shot poorly but managed to get my limit.

Cosmo  flushing pheasants

Cosmo flushing pheasants

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On rare occasions bird hunting was so good I would get my limit early and then photograph Cosmo flushing birds. The first photo was taken on the Indian reservation. I got my limit in a half an hour that morning. In 2011 South Dakota was crawling with pheasants and I had some real opportunities for photographing Cosmo at work.

Cosmo with and without haircut

Cosmo with and without haircut

During warm weather Cosmo gets a haircut. Since he has an affinity for water I is much easier to clean him up after a walk. He’s never seen a puddle he didn’t like.

 

Cosmo's retirement hunt

Cosmo’s retirement hunt

This is Cosmo’s South Dakota retirement hunt. He is 12 years and 4 months at this point. Tbone had hurt himself the previous day and I benched him, hunting only with Cosmo. Although slower than Tbone , Cosmo hunted well that day. He did a good job flushing birds and helped retrieve every bird I shot. The old boy still had it in him.IMG_2278

Cosmos Nebraska retirement hunt

Cosmos Nebraska retirement hunt

We had our final hunt of 2014 in Tekamah Ne.  Cosmo did well considering Tbone covers twice the territory because of his youth.

Cosmo 12 years 6 months

Cosmo 12 years 6 months

Cosmo is slowing down but he still likes to carry his frisbee around and play tug of war with his ball. It is hard to see a dog get old. I will truly miss him when he’s gone. Cosmo is the last of 6 Springers that I’ve owned. It is the end of a dynasty.

Tbone- my Brittany

Tbone- my Brittany

During the summer of 2014 I decided to get another dog. It was that, or quit hunting in a year. I had contacted Springer rescue and jumped through all their hoops, which included several interviews as well as paperwork, to get an adult Springer. I was accepted as an applicant but found at the time only out of state dogs were available. On a whim I checked the dog posts on Craigslist. I couldn’t believe it someone listed a Springer. It was a young dog and the owner was in Onawa, IA. The drive was about 70 miles, so Carmen and I went there to check out the dog. Tbone is a very dark brown and because of his color I thought he was a young Springer, who hadn’t filled out yet. He was terribly underweight, tipping the scales at 34 lbs. The seller wanted $75 for him. I was very concerned about his weight and said I would probably have some vet bills with him. The seller dropped the price to $35 so I decided to take a chance. And boy did I get a deal! I just didn’t know it yet.

Brittany on the run

Tbone on the run

I took Tbone to the vet. There was nothing wrong with him. He needed shots which I was aware of but no health problems. I took about 6 months and I had his weight up to 42 lbs. The first thing I noticed with Tbone is that he liked to range more than a Springer.

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pheasant hunting

pheasant hunting

I took Tbone along to South Dakota for a hunt even though I didn’t know the dog very well.  I’d only had him 2 weeks and he hadn’t ever hunted where there was a good pheasant population. I did fit him with a shock collar to keep him honest. We got into a field that was thick with birds and all hell broke loose with birds flushing all over. Tbone went ape shit  and chased flying birds well over a block and a half. The shock collar wasn’t working and I was scared I would lose him.

I had decided too put him in his cage and just hunt Cosmo and had already left the dog behind when I noticed that the sending unit for the shock collar was set on the wrong frequency. I corrected the problem, left Tbone out of the cage and started hunting again. After a few shocks when he got too far ahead he settled down and hunted well, even retrieving several birds. His style of hunting was a lot different than Cosmo’s but I chalked that up to inexperience.IMG_1608

I took him hunting up to Tekamah with several other hunters and I noticed Tbone seemed to be pointing at times. This is not typical with Springers. When I got home I started googling Brittany images and saw several Brittanies that were a dark liver color. Tbone was a Brittany not a Springer.

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In his second year of hunting Tbone matured into an excellent hunter. He is whistle trained and has done a good job of pointing and retrieving birds. I believe he may be one of my best hunting dogs. I did get a good deal!IMG_9388

 

Photographs are important memories. Take as many as you can and make prints of the ones that are the most important to you. Many of the pictures on this post are also in print form. Your computer will die some day. Don’t lose those precious memories, make prints.

A photographic tribute to my canine family present and past

Since 1971 I have had 6 Springer Spaniels and 1 Brittany as pets and hunting companions. They have enriched my life and brought me joy. My first Springer was Archie. I got him as an 8 week old pup in Platte Center NE. He was the pick of the litter and the best hunting dog I ever owned.

Archie

Archie

I lived in Leigh the first 3 years of Archies life. I remember him chasing up his first bird on the edge of town at about 6 months of age. He was an aggressive hunter and caught some bird when he was young. I had my best years hunting in Nebraska with Archie.

 

Archie - 9 years

Archie – 9 years

Archie hunted until he was 14 in spite of a hip injury which required the removal of the hip joint because of severe arthritis in it. Dogs form a muscular hip and can continue to function after such surgery. The early years of hunting in Leigh were the best I ever had in Nebraska and I could normally hunt 2 or 3 farms during the entire season and take 30 birds or more. I really miss those days of hunting with Archie. As I said Archie was an aggressive hunter and you had to keep up with him when he was on a hot trail. I could do that in those days, not so any more.

Augie ca.1987

Augie ca.1987

My second dog was a gift to my wife at the time. She loved dogs as much as me. It was a smaller female tricolor and I bought her from a broker whom I later figured out was selling for a puppy mill. The pup was not healthy and coughed a lot. We took her to a vet several times before she improved.

Ginger as a pup

Ginger as a pup

Ginger turned out to be a disappointment in the field since she didn’t like hunting. She was a nice pet though. Neither Springer was neutered and we had a litter of pups on our hand within a year. We did find homes for all of them. Several years later she had another litter. We kept two of the pups. I wanted a black and white and my wife wanted to keep the pup we named “Harry” who was born with a harelip. His birth defect required that he be fed by hand when he was of suckling age.

Augie and Harry

Augie and Harry

Augie was really attached to me. I remember holding him as a pup and his little claws would dig into my chest. Both dogs grew into adults and both were hunted.

Augie

Augie

Augie had real skills as a hunting dog. I think he had the best nose of all my Springer’s but he was a little lazy. When I hunted he was reluctant to go into heavy cover and would stay with me on the outside of cover patches. However, he was a great retriever and was right on top of any birds I shot. He let the other 2 dogs do all the hard work and he would take the credit. I hunted the 3 dogs together until 1986. Harry and Archie both died in 1986. Augie hunted pretty well on his own but he was nowhere near the dog Archie was.

 

Augie ca.1987

Augie ca.1987

The picture above was taken sometime in the mid 80’s. I had a picture of both Augie and Harry together with this setting but put it in a veternarian’s office and never retrieved it.

 

Harry

Harry

Harry had several surgeries on his harelip as a pup and although it looked better it was still obvious if you viewed him up close. He was a beautiful dog but didn’t like his picture taken and he didn’t photograph well. I really think he was self-conscious about his harelip. He had more personality than any of my springers, always excited and full of spunk. He had gold colored eyes that would really stand out as you looked at him. When he hunted he ran out of steam after a half hour or so. This was on a consistant basis and I never could figure out why. When he was approximately 7 years old he started losing weight and eventually he lost his sight. I had taken him to a vet and mentioned that he seemed to have trouble seeing. Although there never was an official diagnosis, it is quite obvious he had diabetes. He had a good seven years.

In 1992 Augie was 10 and beginning to slow down with his hunting skills. I mentioned that to a customer and that I was looking for a springer pup. He said he knew someone in Columbus who had pups he wanted to give away and that they would be 8 weeks old in another week. I drove to Columbus and picked Guido out of the litter.

Guido

Guido

Guido lived up to his name. He was a bit tempermental at times and got downright  grumpy in his old age. He wasn’t overly cooperative when taking pictures and I never did get a close head shot of him in all the years that I tried.

Guido during a hunt

Guido during a hunt

Gudio enjoyed hunting and was quite good at it although he didn’t retrieve birds well. Hunting in the 90’s was pretty good in Nebraska and it was during Guido’s tenure that I started hunting South Dakota.

South Dakota 2003

South Dakota 2003

Gudio was 11 years old on this photo and still enjoyed the hunt although he did let my younger dog Cosmo do a lot of the hard work. Guido died in 2006 at the age of 14. He was a little hard to live with his last year but I enjoyed his company and hunting skills in his earlier years.

Gudio,Cosmo, and myself

Gudio,Cosmo, and myself

Unfortunately the average age of Springers in my life have been around 14 years.  After year 11 most dogs slow down considerably and hunting with them is not as effective. I’ve always tried to get a new dog while the older one still hunts because they do learn from the older dog and I can transition into the younger dog rather smoothly. I added Cosmo in 2002 when Guido was ten.

I will have another post covering the two dogs I have with me today. Their names are Cosmo and Tbone.

 

 

Pow-wow WOW!

Celebrating Native American cultures, the pow-wow honors the traditional dance, music, artistry, oral history and foods of various tribes across Nebraska and the surrounding region including, but not limited to, Northern Ponca, Omaha, Santee Sioux and Winnebago. This pow-wow has been held at the Ft Omaha campus since 2008. There is no charge to attend these pow wows.

 Pow wow Ft Omaha campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014

Pow wow Ft Omaha Campus 2014