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As close to a wild pheasant hunt as you can get on a preserve!

As close to a wild pheasant hunt as you can get on a preserve!

Duck hunting has been slow at best, so I decided to treat Piper to a pheasant hunt.  If given the choice I’m sure Piper would prefer to be a upland specialist but time and opportunity dictate that she spends most of her time sitting quietly next to me in the marsh in pursuit of waterfowl.  I’m certain she understands the difference  because when we exit the truck on a waterfowl hunt, she is mostly all business; and,  in contrast, when we get ready for an upland bird hunt she is almost like a little puppy again, bouncing up and down and spinning with joy.  Our visit to Luckiamute Valley this past weekend proved my theory to be correct: Piper does in fact recognize the difference and her enthusiasm for the hunt matched mine as we left the field at the end of the hunt.  I had found a jewel of a preserve close to Portland!

Our first Luckiamute rooster.

Our first Luckiamute rooster.

I had been wanting to visit Chuck and Kendall Cates, owners/partners of Luckiamute Valley Pheasants,  for some time but just hadn’t gotten around to it until this past weekend.  With an open day, a rarity these days with all the kids’ activities, I loaded Piper up and we were headed south to Monmouth, Oregon.  Having heard great things about Luckiamute and their fast flying pheasants, my expectations for the hunt were sky high and Luckiamute did not disappoint!  As many of you know, the knock on hunting preserves typically centers around the birds.  Either they hold too tight, fly slow or in some cases don’t fly at all.  Well, I can tell from my personal experience that Luckiamute does not suffer from any of these shortfalls.  Their pheasants were fast fliers and ran like hell, making for some very challenging dog work.  There were times when Piper would pick up scent and 3 – 5 minutes would pass as she zeroed in on the running bird before she could finally force a flush.  Once airborne these birds were true athletes bursting from the cover and flying strong until they were either on the ground or out of harm’s way.   Piper and I were very impressed.

"Blind" retrieve!

“Blind” retrieve!

Luckiamute also offers three separate blocks of ground to hunt making it nice for multiple groups or a change of scenery on your return visits.  Piper and I hunted parts of zone 1 and 2 and both were perfectly suited to a flushing spaniel with great river-bottom ground and long narrow food plot strips that held plenty of birds.  Both of these zones are best suited for two hunters and a dog but can be worked effectively by a single hunter.  We did have a few wily birds scoot out the backside of the cover that a second hunter could have easily taken advantage of.

Lastly, Luckiamute also offers a comfortable barn area where you and your dog can hang out between the morning and afternoon hunts.    Unlike many preserves, when you book a slot at Luckiamute you have booked it for the entire day.  If you make quick work of the 5 bird per person limit that’s great; but if you are like Piper and I, you’ll want to spend some time in the field putting a few birds in your vest and then return for a snack and some refreshments.  Hot coffee and cider are always available throughout the day so we enjoyed a short break for lunch and warmed ourselves next to the wood stove.

So, if you need to get out from time to time to stretch your legs and treat your dog to some upland work close to the Portland area, do yourself a favor and book a hunt with Chuck and Kendall.  You won’t regret it.

http://www.lvpheasants.com

Another beautiful Luckiamute pheasant.

Another beautiful Luckiamute pheasant.

A Boykin, a pheasant and  a side by side, does it get better?

A Boykin, a pheasant and a side by side, does it get better?

Piper with "tail" envy.

Piper with “tail” envy.

Great find, great flush and a great retrieve.

Great find, great flush and a great retrieve.

Piper and I with our five pheasant limit!  What a great day.

Piper and I with our five pheasant limit! What a great day.

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Piper in Pencil….

If anyone is interested in a great artist who does amazing work look no further than Newton Smith.  About 6 months ago I have Newton do a drawing of my late Chesapeake Reina and once I snapped this picture of Piper I knew it was time for another portrait.  Thanks Newt!

Piper pencil

 

Original image.

Original image.

 

If you are interested in contacting Newton you can reach him via his website at:  http://www.nssportingart.com

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Besides the name this is a great product.  Invisaboykin has a much better ring to it.  Anyway, I just received mine this evening and after a thorough inspection I think they have designed a near perfect dog blind.  It  was built to be used in the field as well as in the marsh.  Adjustable legs allow you to hunt in shallow water or in water up to 34 inches in depth..  I’ll follow up once the season starts but at this point the construction and materials used seem to be top notch.  I don’t expect to have any issues even with hard use.  The blind itself would be very comfortable for a lab while being  a virtual palace for a LBD.  So if your in the market for a new marsh stand I would highly encourage you to take a look at one of these blinds from Momarsh.  You can read more about them at the following location:

http://www.momarsh.com/shallow-water-solutions/sws-invisilab-universal-dog-hide/

Stand deployed for shallow water use.

I’ll be sure to update this photo with Piper as soon as I can get it into the field!

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One proud LBD!

One proud LBD!

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A good friend of mine reps a line of T-Shirts and I just found out that they chose one of my photos to use on their line of shirts.  This photo was taken on a trip to Eastern Oregon this past fall in search of pheasant and chukar.  As you can see we were successful.  Looking forward to getting my hands on one soon.

http://heybosouthern.com/product/shirts/boykin-tee/

hey125

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Piper just returned from her two week stay at Sauvie Island Kennels.  It is an amazing facility and I know Piper is well cared for during her stay but there is no question she was a bit rusty after her stay.  She was there because we took an amazing family vacation to the SE that had us visiting Savannah GA, Micky and the gang in Orlando and Amelia Island FL.  Three great spots with great weather and high humidity!  Needless to say we probably had a better time than Piper.

Training – After picking Piper up from the kennel I decided to treat her to some thawed out chukar I had in the freezer.  The smell of the real thing really get her excited but I have to admit that her marking suffered a bit as a result of her vacation from training.  She eventually found all the marks but it wasn’t the straight line and pick up that I had been used to leading up to our break from training.  I’m guessing that a few more sessions will tighten things back up and we will be once again marching towards the start of the hunting season with plenty of momentum.

IMG_0769 IMG_0784 IMG_0793 IMG_0812

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I know it has been awhile since our last post but Piper and I have been training.  There hasn’t been much “blog” worthy activity so we went silent.  Anyway, like most we are in the midst of baseball and softball season so we have been really busy racing from one field to the next.  Piper and I have been sneaking out in the mornings and evening doing simple tune up work but we haven’t been pushing hard or increasing our level of proficiency in the field.  I have plans to get this started soon but we will need to get through baseball and softball first so Piper and I can get on a more regular schedule.  I don’t want to ask her to learn new skills on an irregular training schedule, especially with my limited training ability!  It is hard enough to take that next steps and nearly impossible when your schedule is erratic.

Anyway, I hope you all are out there pushing your dogs to greater heights.  It won’t be long before we find ourselves tucked into a blind somewhere waiting on that September dove to pitch in or that early season duck to buzz the decoys.    It will be at that moment when all the hard work pays off with a textbook retrieve!

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