It has been a quiet year for me. The start of a new chapter of school and a late fall house sale/move preoccupied much of my time. I was able to get out but not as much as I would like. I was mildly successful on my upland hunts but my waterfowl and deer was a bust. The two big highlights of the year was in California when I took my boys ocean fishing (August 2012) and my wife and I, while on a whale watching tour (January 2012) had Killer whales come up and nearly splash water on us. Here are a couple of pictures of my year... AND... hopefully, a few more to come before the season ends!!!
Fall is upon us and I just don't think there is a more beautiful time than now! The leaves are on their way to peak color, animals are preparing their way for winter, and the warm, sunny days with the soft cool breeze just entice you into making it a "hammock" moment! I LOVE FALL!
This past weekend, other than a little too warm, was perfect! Saturday was the start of the MI waterfowl season. My brother-in-law, Rob, accompanied me to my usual opener spot with a little "wood duck fever"... There was much anticipation for a duck breast dinner and I did not let him down. Findus tagged along for retrieving duties.
Our day ended pretty quickly with 4; just 2 short of a two-man limit.
There was no hunting in the afternoon but I was able to disc up behind the house and get some clover planted. I am hoping that maybe there is enough time to get some growth in before the white stuff starts to fall...Time will tell!
Sunday brought another opportunity. Myself and Jim (friend) took a road trip north in hopes of finding woodcock and grouse. Needless to say, the woodcock let us down but not the grouse! After about 6 hours of hunting, I would give a rough estimate of 35+ grouse flushes... Many were heard and not seen but it was by far the most productive grouse day that I have ever had. We were able to bag 3 grouse, 2 woodcock, and a cottontail rabbit. My highlight, besides all the grouse, was that I bagged my woodcock without firing a shot. When the bird flushed about 20 feet in front of me, I brought my gun up in anticipation of allowing it to get out before I shot. The bird flew towards me and into the end of my barrel. It then kept going and landed about 25 feet away. NOT a good choice as Dahlia saw the landing and was on it before it could get airborne again. The experience definitely left me with a chuckle. Jim, on the other hand, seems to be very creative with his "game selection". Last time it was 2 squirrels and this time it is a bunny! Heck...his dog even retrieved it and brought it back!
The walk through the woods was very memorable and the beauty just astounds me! It is hard to believe that in only a few short weeks the leaves will be gone and the white stuff will be in the air! If only we could freeze time...
Puppies! We have 2 males left! Their personalities are very opposite... One is very bold and hard charging where the other is more reserved and shy. The wife has taken a liking to the latter but still adores them both! Here is some updated pictures. The red collared one is Payne and the blue collared one is Pherrick (the bold one). We are still trying to find homes and am motivated to sell at a discount to the right home.
Contact me if interested!
When you think of hunting grouse and woodcock, you think of English setters or Pointers... The Hunter, decked out in Orvis or Filson, carrying his favorite side by side/over and under. Sorry, we don't fit that stereotype! Well, OK... Maybe the side by side and the over and under...AND...I do like Filson... But hey, these dogs are a little more progressive and fit within the flusher category. A buddy of mine and his Chessie joined me and my 2 Wachtels on a short, few hour road trip to chase the birds around on the Michigan woodcock opener...
As we progressed to our destinations, we made a stop here and there. The first spot amazed us with the amount of berries/thorn-apples... Woodcock were spotty as was the grouse... We had about 8 to 10 flushes total and game in the bag. The one highlight for myself was that Findus found a porky within an hour of starting to hunt. All I could think was how fortunate I was that he learned his lesson last year and only took about 20 quills to the lower lip....WHEW!!! The unfortunate part was that he was not near as tolerant to me pulling them out. I was able to pull out the majority but he still is sporting one or two... Hopefully time and some antibiotics will assist in their "moving" out.
The second site, was the opposite of our base camp location. Less grouse and a few woodcock but nothing substantial. I was able to scrape down 1 woodcock... Later in the day, I also knocked down one grouse... The tough thing was all the cover and have a clear shot. I learned if you don't shoot, you don't get! Jim failed to produce some birds but he was able to put a dent in the squirrel population with 1 fox and 1 gray squirrel. I was amazed at all the oaks/acorns. That was the only thing I found in the grouse's crop.
Above was our location for our campsite with a pop-up trailer. It was not far from the start of a well-known river. For the sake of protecting our covers, I will not disclose a location except we were in the upper half of lower Michigan.
Below is pictures of our results for the first day. I was VERY impressed with Jim's shot placement while utilizing a shotgun to shoot squirrels. The majority of the pellets hit the head and there was little meat damage.
By the end of the first day, both us and our dogs were exhausted. We made a small fire and watched the river slowly meander by. PEACEFUL! We were quick to bed in anticipation of the next day's adventures and dreams of doubles. We were up at a reasonable time the next morning and had the camp packed up by 0830. A quick run in for fuel and some McDonald nutritional supplements; we were on our way to the next cover. Let's just say that we got in THICK with the woodcock. I would guess, between the two of us, we had probably 75 plus flushes. Lets just say that the ammo companies were extremely excited about our shooting abilities! HOWEVER, we were able to scrape together a 2 man limit. Grouse, on the other hand, seemed to be a little more illusive. No birds to add to the bag but we had a couple of flushes. We just could not seem to find any type of consistency or concentration of birds. I did take the camera out and snap some pictures of the dogs... Just difficult to find them in the thick cover. It has been a while since I have been in birds like that and it was nice to watch the dogs develop as this was excellent exposure for them as well. I learned to read the dogs and find openings to stand in so when the bird flushed; I was ready. It still did not help my shooting.
Dahlia decided that she wanted her bird back!
I was having some fun with the effects of my digital photo program...
Stay tuned as I will continue to share my experiences as the season begin and progress!
On 9/10, we took a road trip to the other side of the state to visit Pointe Mouillee's Waterfowl Festival. It was NOT the most beautiful day out. Rain made things very difficult and very uncomfortable. We endured though and the wife and I enjoyed our time together.
On 9/11, I set up a couple of blood tracks for the pups to follow. Pherrick is the bolder one of the two and is very open to being introduced into trying new things. He is very independent but still loves the human interaction.
Payne is a little more reserved and takes a little more to get acclimated to the situations. However, once focused on task, was just as successful. In the pictures, he is having a "pouting" moment as we are getting him conditioned to being on a lead.
Both pups are still for sale for the right homes... Send me an email if interested. We will continue to work with the pups and post progress as they learn and grow...
Won a fishing trip to Pine Point Lodge located on Crane Lake in Crane Lake, MN. We (my father and 2 brothers) left at midnight on August 26th 2011 and returned on August 31st, 2011. Here our some photo highlights of our trip:
I wonder if they are any relation (to my wife)???
Did I tell you how beautiful the sunrises were???? (From at least 3 different mornings)
Wildlife abound!!! We saw Golden and Bald Eagles, Whitetail Deer, and tons of waterfowl. I watched a Bald Eagle try to pick a Canadian Goose out of the air after our boat kicked them off the water in front of us. I thought I saw a moose swimming in the water till we got closer. It was a Whitetail Deer out swimming in the middle of the lake. We watched it swim for about 45 minutes. It would swim up by shore and then turn around and head back out into the middle of the lake. This was while wolves were howling across the lake on the Canadian side. There were beaver and even turtles.
Landscapes were amazing! I definitely did not take enough pictures of that!
OH...Bet you are wondering abou the fishing??!!! We fished 3 days and had to leave about the time we were figuring it all out. We caught Northern Pike, Small-mouth Bass, Walleye, Perch, and Bluegills. The lake also held large Musky and Crappie. We caught multiple pike in the 36+ range. I think my brothers invested a small fortune in buying BIG lures up at the lodge to catch these monsters. Walleye fishing was good in the AM and we usually caught 6-8 to eat. Bass fishing was slow. It seemed no matter what I threw at them, they had no interest in biting. Of course the best part of the trip was spending time with father and my 2 brothers!!!! (NOTE: Always make sure that your camera is set on the appropriate setting... We lost several pictures because of that and this is why the later pictures are grainy.)
Unfortunately, we did not have to use this very expensive measuring tape! (Note marks on the side of the boat in feet. This boat is used in the ocean) I am hoping to inspire my wife into allowing me to purchase one for my next trip!
Thank you Jeff and Cathy Erickson for donating this trip to the Ruffed Grouse Society! We appreciated your hospitality and had a great time! Please tell your staff thanks as well!!!
Anyone interested in a once in a life time trip... Please check this lodge out and tell them that "Dave Dyer" sent you!
Finally had a moment to head out and try my luck on the early Canadian goose season. I am fortunate to have some property that is between the water roost and feed. This year the field was planted to sweet corn and had already been picked and plowed under. I set up in a cow pasture with a "mud" hole in hopes of enticing a flock or two to take a closer look. Since the grass was so short with not much cover to blend in my layout blind... I figured I would disguise it as a clump of hay since there were several in the pasture much like it. This was a new blind for Finn and I. It took him a little bit to get used to it. In the end, I could coax him inside and get him to lie down. We saw some geese that AM and passed on some long shots in hopes of something coming closer for a look. No success but it sure was fun! My wife came down after the hunt to help me pick up and take some additional pictures!
I even got a couple of pictures of my wife and Findus! She and Findus have an awesome connection and she just adores him!
It has been a few weeks and I thought you might want to have an update.
Baron is now 14 weeks and two days. He weighed in at 22 lbs this weekend. He was 14 lbs when we brought him home. He is skinny as a rail: all legs and feet (very well fed, just burning through it).
He has become a very important part of our family.
He is very well behaved. Don’t get me wrong, he chews, he jumps up, he has the occasional soiling accident, (we are working on all of these) but overall he is well behaved. He goes most places with us. Kristen’s mother (who hated my springer) refers to him as her grand puppy. He is allowed the run of her house. We took Baron on a trip to central PA last week to visit with Kristen’s family for most of a week. He was adored by all. He is growing to be quite the little gentleman and a decent representative for the breed.
Thus far he has learned to reliably (if not immediately) hup to command (I am using the English spaniel hup command versus sit). He will (begrudgingly and slowly) go to his kennel when told. He comes to recall reliably enough that we will often, when at safe distance from traffic and other dogs, allow him to walk with us off of the lead. He will retrieve on land well enough for his age. He has made some water retrieves as well. He seems to be very bright with a good dose of head strong. I am very pleased with what he has learned thus far. He has taught me quite a bit as well and I am also very pleased with that.
He loves the beach and loves to play in the water. Although, he is not always completely confident while swimming. He spends a lot of time running in the water. If the girls are in the water with him he will swim and swim on retrieves. Without someone swimming with him, he prefers to keep his feet on the bottom and to run around. Still for his age he is confident enough with the water.
We have had the occasional dominance test, most of it aimed at our youngest daughter; Regan. I had to give her some instruction on her tone of voice and posture. I also had to explain the dynamic of the pack. Since that instruction she has become much more assertive with him and they have a much stronger relationship.
He is loved by everyone here and seems to be happy enough with us.
I have attached a couple of pictures.
River alias Patton wanted just to say that all is good.
We will start doing some blood trailing this week.
Hope everything is good Dave.
We still have two male pups that need placement.
The last 3 weeks has been very busy and hectic.... Between my change in employment and the shipping of pups, there has been little time to focus on anything else. I feel like I have been slacking with the pictures. We have shipped four out of the five sold. Phantom (the red and white one) will be shipped this coming week. It is very hard to get down to their level and take pictures as they "maul" you when you are in the pen. Somehow, I did manage to avoid it today with the assistance of my daughter. Here are some pictures...
Here are a couple of our happy puppy buyers:
We have 2 brown pups left to place: Pherrick and Payne. If you have any interest in acquiring one of these two, please let me know.
It has been really hot this week. I decided to take the pups out for another swim. Much more bolder and the hunting instinct is starting to come out. Lots of wandering in the weeds and bushes. I think they enjoyed it!
Pups continue to grow and mature. They all were introduced to water and took to it like a fish. Can you imagine how difficult it was trying to keep tabs on 7 active puppies and snap pictures at the same time??!! This coming weekend means litter inspection and tattoos. Then after that....off to their homes they go! ENJOY!!!
We have all but 3 sold. I have 2 brown males and 1 red/white female. Looking for good hunting homes.