Thursday, December 16, 2010


Buckwheat and Ramble

We pulled into Southwest Kansas on our annual family pheasant expedition riding a tailwind that we were sure would blow little Toto (all eight of them) into Nebraska. The dogs and hotel secured,we headed to Billy's Bar, great name, to find some Kansas beer .Boulevard Wheat from Kansas City was as close as we could find so we made that work. Sometime during the not so still of the night the wind did an about face and raised its game several notches! Saturday was a really lousey day to be outside in that part of the world. Anna's new husband ,Jimbo, was on his first pheasant hunt and I'm sure he was ready to go back to the cold wet duck blind than to push ahead into a forty-five mph wind. By noon we were shutout, cold, sandblasted and discouraged. I had  dirt in places I didn't know you could have dirt. That afternoon we turned loose and set free the little brown dogs to shine. They really did. No bird on the ground was safe from getting a cold nose on it's butt. Jack the Dog and Hazel ,both English Setters, were starting to figure out this game. Also ,Jimbo had brought his" pipe cleaner" Ramble (Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) and although neither had done this before they both adapted quickly. By the end of the day the wind still hadn't layed. I am sure Auntie Em was now blown southeast to Okie City and was drinking in the Wormy Dog Saloon listening to Billy Joe Shaver and plotting her revenge. Sunday the temperature was even colder but the wind had blown itself to oblivion and was gone. Damn it felt good to be outside. We had about the same amount of luck with the birds, William and Jimbo made their shots count, Anna's streak continues. There is a small bit of debate about one bird though. Buckwheat was the star of the show.His son ,Pierre ,came unglued at a most unfortunate time and it took some remembering of Thomas P Ness dog training wisdom to get him back on track. He is a really good pheasant dog. Boykins are made to be upland dogs, their desire to hunt and please plus a great tracking instinct is a deadly combination.We were all very impressed with Ramble the WP Griffon and Jack the Dog is a pleasure to follow. It was very enjoyable to watch a dog that looked like a white speck in Montana and Texas adapt to going side to side in corn stubble or crp land.We can't think of a better way to spend a few days together out on the prairies and great plains than following beautiful dogs and seeing new places. We hope Susan can make it next year - we need a driver and dog handler!  If we could tap our Russell boots together three times and make the drive shorter, we'd be back next week.

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