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Piper and I made the finals and need your votes.  You can vote once a day every day until the window closes on the 24th.  Thanks for your support!
It’s finally voting time! Six finalists are vying for a chance to win a free quail hunt with the SportDOG team. We need your help picking a winner. Visit this page and cast your vote for who you think will represent YOU best in the field. The 2 finalists with the most votes will win! You can vote once a day from now through October 24th. Get your vote in now for who’s joining us in the field. http://contests.sportdog.com/workforus

Work For Us | SportDOG

contests.sportdog.com

Mark Reilly showcases his pup, Piper, in this look at why he should be chosen to make Gear the Way You’d Design it. For Mark and Piper it’s all about the magical moment when all the long hours pay off.

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At last…..

Finally, the 2013 hunting season is now underway.  I don’t know about you and your dogs but Piper and I have about had it with bumpers, wingers and blinds.  It is time for the real thing…………

First bird of the 2013 season.

First bird of the 2013 season.

As usual Piper and I started off our season in the dove fields.  The birds were flying but not always close enough for a good shot so while we did get our birds it took a while.  This didn’t seem to matter to Piper who sat there steady as can be until the next bird hit the ground.  Our work over the summer honoring other dogs really showed as she never even thought about breaking even with all the shooting going on.  This bodes well for the duck season when she will be sharing the retrieving duties at the club with a number of other dogs.  All in all it was a great start to the the hunting season and I don’t see a sophomore slump in Piper’s future.

Smile tells the story!

Smile tells the story!

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Finally got up the courage to get Piper her first haircut.  I have to admit that I really like the look and the ease of keeping her groomed and clean.  Burrs don’t even stick any more, well at least not on her body, the ears are still a mess!

Before

Before

After

After

 

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IMG_8802

Piper and I had the good fortune to be invited back to Deep Canyon Outfitters (http://www.deepcanyonoutfitters.com/) for their end of season Tower Shoot.  This year was an epic shoot with 500 pheasant being released.  Piper and I were responsible for pegs 5 – 8  and based on last year’s flight I was feeling pretty good about our potential for lots of action.  Once the birds started flying my theory proved to be true as the sound of nonstop gun fire filled the Eastern Oregon air.  After about 7-10 minutes of shooting the horn would sound signaling it was time to break open the guns and watch the dogs do their thing.  This pattern was repeated 12 time throughout the morning until all 500 birds took flight.  Piper was joined on this hunt by a Black Lab and an American Cocker.  It was fun to watch how each breed approached their job.  The lab worked like you would expect, retrieving his memory birds first and then picked up the remaining birds with a combination of handling and hunting dead.  The Cocker on the other hand was a bundle of energy that quartered tightly through its designated area in search of its downed birds.  She was a real pleasure to watch because of her never ending enthusiasm and amazing ability to locate her targets.  Finally, Piper’s work could be best described as a combination of both the Lab and the Cocker.  This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who owns a Boykin because it is this combination of ability, skill and enthusiasm that makes them such a special breed!

Throughout the morning shoot the bird count continued to grow as the gunners did a better than average job of taking these fast flying pheasant out of the air.  I purposely brought along my flush counter to keep track of the number of retrieves and I’m glad I did because it would have been easy to loose track with all the excitement.  When it was all said an done, Piper had retrieved 88 birds and we were still 30 minutes from lunch.   The afternoon called for a scratch hunt but I informed the outfitter that Piper would be sitting that out.  I know if I had asked her to go she would have gladly gone but it was time for me to be a responsible handler and put a limit on her work for the day.  The temperature was now approaching 75 degrees and she had already had a full days work under her belt.  This was not time to get greedy just to put a few more pheasant in the bag.  The scratch hunt went well as Conner and I guided 4 hunters into an additional 15 birds with 12 going into the vest.  In the end, it was a pretty incredible outing that allowed Conner and I to spend some quality time in the great outdoors while also enjoying some great dog work.  For a dad and an amateur dog handler this will be a pretty hard act to follow!

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Piper made it to the finals of the Southern Fried Cotton Photo contest! Please go to the following Facebook page and cast your vote.
Piper thanks you in advance for the support. Be sure to click on the photo before you “like” it to make sure it goes to the right spot. Feel free to forward this message, she needs all the votes she can get!  As much as I love Labs the world doesn’t need another Lab T-Shirt.  Lets get something for us LBD people!

Vote for me!

Vote for me!

A Homegrown Apparel Company Inspired By Southern Style

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Finally…..

reina mallard

For years I have wanted to get a portrait done of Reina but never ran into the right person or situation to get it done.  Well, thanks to Piper and a great network of friends I’ve met through the Boykin Spaniel Society I was lucky enough to be introduced to a great artist named Newton Smith.  There is no question that Newton has mastered the art of capturing the Boykin Spaniel with pencil and paper but could he do a Chesapeake Bay Retriever?  I’m happy to say the answer is YES!  I plan to display the portrait in my trophy room alongside the original photo as a way to honor the dog that was so tolerant of my training mistakes.  Reina was also the dog that showed me how powerful the bond could be between a handler and his gun dog and I’ll be forever thankful for that.

 

Reina PortraitThanks Newton, couldn’t be happier!

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Piper

Piper

Spring Training NW

Spring Training NW

Lily

Lily

Missy

Missy

Like baseball players reporting to FL and AZ, Piper and her friends officially reported to Spring Training NW.  Our training group consisted of (left to right) Kevin and Lily, Piper and Jack and Missy.  All “browns” but one happens to be the Lab variety.  It was a great start to what should be a great training season.  All the dogs are a bit older and have a seasons worth of real world experience under their belts.  I for one can tell Piper has matured quite a bit and seems to be better able to focus on the task at hand.  She doesn’t seem to be as easily distracted by the geese flying over or the multitude of other sounds that used to result in her miss marking her birds.  So while one day doesn’t make for a successful training season, it does give me hope!

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