Sage Monkey

Sage Monkey

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: The Year in Review

2011 was an interesting year but then again I guess they all are. In terms of dogs for us it was a huge year that was full of lessons learned. Some more enjoyable than others. For instance, I learned Cleo is more apt to eating my favorite shoes when I'm home rather than when I'm not. This lesson has hopefully been truly learned and I won't be taking any remediation courses in 2012.

Compliments of Spottyrella - AKA Ill behaved Cleo

In all seriousness I started this blog 364 days ago on January 1st, 2011. Tomorrow my blog turns one and Jim and I are celebrating it by doing the same thing we did last year to kick it off. Were taking Cleo hunting. No doubt I will be hungover. No doubt I will take a zillion pictures and no doubt I will be excited to share the whole experience with you. I do believe that this is a new tradition for Jim and I, the New Years Day Hunt. I can't think of a better way to christen the New Year.

Since starting this blog it has taken on a life of its own. In June the blog got an extension of its self on facebook. Cleo got her own page title Adventures of German Shorthaired Pointer. The facebook page allows me to capture her spontaneous antics and quickly share when blog posts are published. It's also a great way to interact with people who love their quirky GSP's. Please check us out and "Like Us" if your on facebook.

I thought it would be fun for me to share with all of you some of this blogs analytics. The month I started this blog I had a whopping 83 hits. That has grown quite a bit with my highest month, November totalling  1,714 hits. The month of December was a very close second so were moving in the right direction. There was a total of 97 posts in 2011 with the most being written in May and the least in November.  The top 10 countries that visit this blog are the following: #1. The USA, #2. Canada, #3. The UK, #4. Germany, #5. Russia, #6. Australia, #7. South Africa, #8. France, #9. Netherlands, and #10. Greece. That's not to say we don't get lots of other welcome visitors from all over the world.

Our little party animal screaming Happy New Year!! Guess we should 
have told her we don't do that till midnight...

Although I can't see who you are or where your from I can tell how you got here. Some of you have landed here through hunting dog forums, email links, facebook and a good portion of you through search engines. When you land here from a search engine I get to see what key words you put in to find me. Lots of you are looking for the GSP Hunting Dog Blog so that's great news! But believe it or not lots of you get here because you wanted to know what that awful smell emitting from your GSP's butt we all know those are anal glands and they probably need to be squeezed. Allot of you wanted to know if you could hunt a GSP while its in heat....and the answer is of course you can. Some of you got here by looking up dog biscuit recipes, the NAVHDA Utility Test, GSP's gone bad, GSP heat cycles, info on AKC hunt tests, how to get your GSP to stop eating your shoes, and the list goes on and on.    

But regardless of how you got here, I'm glad your here. I hope you got something out of this blog and if you haven't yet keep coming back because hopefully you will. I have some great ideas for 2012, and Jim and I will have a busy year finishing Cleo's AKC Senior Hunt Title, starting her on Master Hunter and running her in a NAVHDA Utility Test and we are of course getting a new puppy in April. We will have our hands full. I hope your here for the roller coaster ride.

That first hat was just for the pre-party

I love when I get feedback and emails from readers so feel free to comment and or email me at But thanks for sticking around, 2011 was great and I know 2012 will be better.  Be sure to stop back tomorrow and hear how our hunt went. And most importantly, please have a safe New Years Eve. Enjoy yourself tonight and when you wake up hungover tomorrow be sure to look forward to another year of experiences and all the opportunity it will hopefully bring. Happy New Year from Jim and I and of course Cleo.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The future of Upland Hunting

Cleo and Dakota's bounty 

The picture above is of 13 year old Dakota Capwell. Dakota is an amazing young man. He is a talented black belt who trains at my boyfriends Mixed Martial Arts School in the Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley. Dakota's father Bill has always encouraged him to hunt and has worked hard at fostering an environment where Dakota can get exposed to various kinds of game including upland hunting. This morning Jim and our GSP Cleo guided a preserve hunt for Bill and Dakota.

It was a chilly 20 degrees when they set out but they had a good morning with Cleo finding and pointing 8 birds, 4 of which Dakota shot and Bill as the second gunner brought in 2. Jim raved about how well Dakota did. But Dakota is no stranger to hunting. Last year at the age of 12 Dakota won a hunting contest, receiving the grand prize of a trip to Africa.

Dakota at the age of 12 with his Zebra

Dakota and Bill spent 2 weeks hunting in Africa. While there Dakota took a Zebra, two Blesbok's, a Springbok, an Impala, a Wildebeest, an Orux and a Kudu.  The picture that won Dakota the Africa trip is also listed below, its a monster Elk he bagged at the age of 11! Someday when Dakota is much older I have no doubts that he will look back fondly at the time spent with his Dad hunting. And hopefully he will one day work as hard as his father to expose his children to the same joys he had in the fields and woods.

Dakota and his Springbok

Dakota and his father Bill Capwell and his first Blesbok

Dakota and his Wildebeest

Keeping hunting traditions alive in this country start with educating and awakening the spirit in our children. It is essential to the survival of upland hunting and hunting in general to get kids interested at a young age. Most large preservation organizations in this country like Pheasants Forever and Quails Forever realize this all too well and work tirelessly to engage kids in upland hunting by sponsoring youth hunts. And it's up to us to come and bring the dogs to work with them and make the time to expose our kids to these experiences.

Dakota and Bill with his Oryx

Dakota and Bill with his White Blesbok

Dakota and his Dad Bill with his Impala

By starting children out hunting young it instills in them the proper care and safe habits of guns, the responsibility of preserving the great outdoors, it gets them off the couch and away from video games into the fields and woods, it allows them to see and be apart of the process of gathering your own food which is an experience most Americans today never have, it allows them to take pride in accomplishing something that takes skill and patience and it allots them sacred and valuable time with the big people in their lives.

Dakota and his Kudo

Dakota's monster elk taken at age 11 in New Mexico

Taking time to expose youth, both boys and girls to the joys of hunting is ensuring that there will be a future for this great sport. It's also what builds traditions and fond memories. I know that Jim got a great sense of satisfaction today watching Dakota hunt. He recanted for me how nicely he responded to a double wild flush, quickly having to choose which pheasant to take. And although Jim won't be upland hunting on Monday, Jim will be venturing off into the woods to deer hunt with his 21 year old daughter Samantha who is home from college. I'm pretty sure nothing means more to him then getting to spend that time in the woods with her.

Another bull elk taken earlier this year by Dakota with a muzzleloader in 
New Mexico at the age of 13

Dakota has been very lucky and most kids won't get the chance to hunt some of the things that he has, but exposing kids to even the simplest joys of the outdoors will be fruitful to the next generation.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And then there was one....

Gunny and Cleo

A short while ago I dropped Gunny Boo off with Momma Secan. I have to say the closer we got to the drop off point the sadder I got. Gunny was a good house guest the last 5 days. We've all gotten pretty attached to him. However, I am excited to not share my half of the bed with him tonight. Sticking with true GSP form he is an all encompassing bed hog. But I'm sure Jackie will be ecstatic to have him back and hogging up her bed. He is a very good snuggler.

I do believe he had a good time while he was here. He got to sniff butts and play at daycare with Cleo and her buds. Everyday he got to waste himself running through fields and woods. He slept every night in our bed under the covers with his head on my chest. We loved him like he was ours. Cleo I think is sad he isn't here either. She looked for him when I came back solo.  Below are some pics of them running their hearts out yesterday. 

Gunny's idea of exiting the woods and entering the field

At least Cleo will get a pick me up tomorrow. Jim and her are guiding a hunt for a friend and his 11 year old son tomorrow at Powderbourne Pheasant Preserve. I know Jim is looking forward to getting to work her. I'm jealous I have to work and can't go. Hopefully he'll take some pics of their bounty so check back for updates!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Two's Company!

My girlfriend Jackie owns that funny back sleeper on the left. She's out of town for the holidays in Kentucky with her beau so Jim and I are watching her GSP Gunner for five days. We are currently on day 3.

They've been doing really well together. There's been a fair bit of wrestling, snuggling, face biting and lots of tug-o-war. Gunny seems to have really taken to me so Cleo has been a little jealous of me giving him loves and snuggles. If Gunny's sitting with me then she is too. Is pretty entertaining to be the most popular person in the house all of a sudden. Until sleepy's been a struggle sleeping at night with two 55 lb spotted monstrosities jockeying for position on you.

Christmas Eve GSP Pile

It's been awhile since we have dog sat another GSP so it's been nice to see how well Cleo has adjusted to having another dog here all the time. One of the reasons I was so eager to watch Gunny for 5 days was I thought it would give me an opportunity to see what life is like with two dogs. AND because I love my friend Jackie. She's the Thelma to my Louise.

Jim and I have a deposit on another Nobelles puppy who should be born around Valentines day in 2012.  I realize that this experience will be different than one with a puppy mainly because she (the puppy) will be raised with the same set of commands as Cleo, she will be taught from 8 weeks old to leave the cats alone ect. But I give Gunny mad props for adjusting so well to how we do things and I think we have adjusted pretty well to using the commands he is familiar with. We took them to some fields on Christmas just to run them out. Both dogs heeled phenomenally together and both listened great.

Tag team squirrel hunting

Car Ride!!

A little video of them in action

Gunny Boy is funny dude. I'm pretty sure his favorite game is keep away. He loves to bait Cleo into chasing him. He humps folded up dog beds with zeal and gusto. He loves to sleep on his back and sings when he gets up in the morning. He LOVES kisses and pees on everything. He shows zero interest in my one cat and I'm pretty sure he wants to eat the other one. Personally I think its because Jackie told him the brown one scratched her once when she slept over. 

Jackie - That's the brown cat talking trash for trying to get him killed! :)

Check us out on facebook at Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pheasant Hunting in the Garden State

Early this morning I packed up Cleo and we drove two hours to Sussex County, New Jersey to go hunting with Bob Corsaro again on some private farm land. Unfortunately Jim was not able to come with us due to a prior work commitment.


Today Cleo hunted with her younger brother Nobelles Scout. Both Cleo and Scout have the same sire and dam but are 14 months apart, Cleo being the senior. Scouts owner, Jim Given and I were really excited to hunt the pair together. Bob guided us through the property and our friend Steve Fiasco came along as a second gunner. Steve owns Cleo's other brother and litter mate Bruin.  Before we set out on our hunt Bob did a little steadiness training with Cleo with some pigeons. Last week Cleo popped several birds while hunting on the same property so Bob wanted to work with her before we set out. You can read about last weeks hunt here.

Cleo on the go

The picture above is actually from last weeks hunt. Today I didn't carry my camera so I could help work the dogs. It was much colder this morning than last week, around 20 degrees. 

The dogs worked really well together. Today was Scout's second time out hunting and he did a great job. He had no problems blasting through the thick cover and he did a really amazing job of honoring on his own. Below is a crude video I took from my I-phone of the two in some really thick cover. You can hear their beepers going off in the background. Its a pretty decent example of how thick the cover was at times.

Here is another video of Scout coming out of the brush:

They found two pheasants rather quickly today. My funny story from the morning is Cleo locked on point, Scout honored behind her. Bob had me hold onto a lead for Scout so he would stay steady through the shot and fall behind Cleo. Even though they were hunting it was still all about training. It's clear I'm not used to the sheer power of Scout the tank. After Cleo was sent in for the retrieve Scout had enough and pretty much knocked me down and drug me a couple of feet till I could get myself in order and get control of him again. I'm pretty sure Bob was the only one who noticed but it was rather least to me. That boy is a moose! Note to ones self.....always stand on the lead in addition to holding it when dealing with Scout otherwise your going for a ride. 

Cleo on point

Scout and Cleo

To sum things up we got two pheasants. But more importantly the dogs got to work allot of cover. They were in fields, through water, in thick brush and they had opportunities today to honor each other and they got to track. It was a great morning to be outside hunting with your dog. We also spent sometime after the hunt on honoring, retrieving and staying steady. As always there is room for improvement but the process along the way is what makes it fun. It made me really sad Jim couldn't be there today but it was so nice of Bob and the gang to let me tag along solo. 

I'll leave you with one more video of the dogs working:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sunday Hunt in Sussex County, New Jersey

Yesterday Jim and I drove to Sussex County, New Jersey to go hunting with Bob Corsaro on some private farm land. Normally I would immediately come home and blog about it but I have been sick with food poisoning so I opted to wait and write about our adventure today. Who knows what I would have written yesterday....I wasn't fit for human exposure.

Jim and Bob leaving the field and heading into the woods after Cleo

Yesterday was a great experience for not only us but for Cleo. She got to hunt over various terrain and multiple species of bird. Which is exactly what we want for her. To be able to hunt in lots of different situations and circumstances. It was awesome to see her tracking through the thick brush. She has absolutely zero fear of sticker bushes, thick mud and tight quarters. She also does a really nice job of checking in and its apparent she hunts with us as a team rather than hunting for herself.

Cleo on point

Cleo turned on a dime and pointed a cock bird

Cleo had a pretty decent day. She found 7 pheasants and 1 chukar. 5 of those pheasants she popped in the thick brush and 2 she did not, so they were shot, brought home and grilled. It would have been great had she not popped the 5 birds but she was pretty amped up after not finding a bird for the first 40 minutes of our 3 hour hunt. On black friday she didn't pop 1 bird of the 12 she found but those were totally different conditions. That's one of the reasons Bob invited us to go hunting in New Jersey on his hunting land so we could further challenge her and for that we are grateful. I'm also grateful that Jim and Bob were so nice to me yesterday considering my awful condition. I'm sure Jim had his doubts when he had to pull over on the way to the hunt so I could throw up on the side of the road. But I never complained and kept up. I guess its the fighter in me.....I think I can always push through anything, even when I shouldn't. But they were nice enough at one point to chill out while I meandered away and puked in the bushes. To put things in perspective I normally take between 200 and 300 pictures on a three hour hunt. Yesterday I took only 36.

This is Jim and Bob cutting me a break while I get myself together

Bob and Cleo off into the thick stuff

Cleo pointing a chukar

Even though I felt awful yesterday it was a great day. Every time we get Cleo out hunting she grows and we do too. It never ceases to amaze me the drive and desire she has. She has this beauty to her the way she works a field or the woods. There is something that is so free and captivating about it that its really kind of indescribable. Whatever it is it makes you glad to be outside in the woods, away from the hustle and bustle and be with your dog. We all felt it yesterday and talked about it. The guys more than me but I was just trying not to puke. But I guess its one of the reasons I choose to baton death march through the woods rather than stay home.  Its the same feeling I get on cool summer evenings when I run her in the field by our house at night. Peaceful and happy to watch her run and do what she loves the most.

The other fun thing about yesterday was that we got to go hunting with Bob. Other than us, no one knows Cleo better than him. He not only guided us but when she needed it gave her on the job training and us instruction on what we need to do with her in the future. That's a great resource for knowledge hungry newbies. It's also one of the reasons I always highly recommend Bob and Nobelles to anyone interested in a four legged hunting partner. His "after purchase" service and care is unparalleled.

So we are two trips into our hunting season this year and we couldn't be more excited. I'm loving the tasty bird meat and the time spent in the field. Be sure to check back for more hunting adventures in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Doggie Daylight Saving Blues

There is a saying that goes, "spring forward, fall back into depression," and it references the winter blues brought on by daylight savings. With shorter days and less sunlight some people get affected by a disorder known as SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder. I mean lets be honest, for most of us going to work in the morning and coming home in the dark during the winter is a drag. I give it a big old Boo Hiss Boo!  But I'm pretty sure Cleo does too.

This is Cleo's "whatever...I'm just gonna flop down and sigh extra loud repeatedly 
till you entertain me" tantrum

Cleo gets legit bummed when daylight savings starts. By the time I get home its dark every night so there is no running through the park with me, no playing fetch after work, no swimming in local ponds, no after work doggie park play dates or farm field adventures. It's dark and I'm not loosing her or putting her in position to get in trouble when I can't adequately see her. All this minimized nightly activity results in lots of loud sighing and sassy back talk on her part.

Woo Woo Woof!! I want to do something fun!

So you could imagine my excitement last week while at Target shopping, when I found light up Sky Balls. Sky Balls are Cleo's favorite kind of balls. They are this crazy compressed plastic that I can wail through the backyard with a wiffleball bat. Their slippery so Cleo has the toughest time holding onto them which inadvertently makes playing fetch ten thousand times more fun. So apparently, to my delight, Sky Balls can be bought with bounce activated lights. Which means lots of playing fetch in the dark. Check out my crude I-Phone video below.

Lets just say Ms. Sassy pants is a very happy camper to be back to playing fetch after work with me. And before people get all worried about there being light up parts in her ball, she's never left unattended with it to chew it apart. And she plays with Maui balls all the time and never chews through them. But thats not to say that some dogs won't so don't go leaving your dog unattended to eat light up parts or anything.

Here's a pic of the light up ball when its not lit up. I bought her a blue one too because she's spoiled. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Pheasant Hunt!

The heck with shopping on black friday! This year I handed over my coupons and instead hit the field with Jimmy for some pheasants. We had such a good time and Cleo hunted like a machine.

We hit the field early. Everything was still frosted over and the sun came in on a hard angle. It was refreshing and beautiful. It never ceases to amaze me how breathtaking it can be hunting. The abundance of life in the fields, the way the dog works, how crisp the air is, it makes me thankful to be there to witness it and to be a part of it. People who hate hunting clearly have never experienced it before.

Cleo had a phenomenal day. She found and pointed 12 pheasants. She stayed steady on every shot but one. She retrieved all 8 birds we shot and delivered them to hand. She didn't chase any birds, even when they wild flushed or ran. She was a beast and she made it fun. Watching her work was an absolute joy.

Cleo on point

It took us forever to find the hen Cleo was pointing in the picture above. You would have thought it was wearing an invisibility cloak. Cleo stayed steady while both Jim and I searched for it. We tried to ease her in closer to help us but she would take two steps and look at us like she wanted to say, "Really? For the love of god its right there. Do you want me to flush and shoot it for you too??"

Same point, different angle

Eventually we found it, flushed it, shot it and Cleo happily brought it back. I think she was a little annoyed with us that it took so long.

It was pretty chilly this morning. After a few birds Cleo really started to put off some heat. Below is a picture of her on point. It's hard to see it in the first picture so I re-adjusted my position and you'll see in the second pic just how much steam was pouring off of her.

Here are a few more pics:

Cleo on point

Another nice point

More points!

Our bounty

We couldn't get Cleo to look at the camera. All she wanted was to go back into the field.

This was the first of many hunts this season! Be sure to check Cleo out on her facebook page: Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer!