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Shrarpies, a GWP, and an awesome weekend


TylerS

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As some people know, Remy and I have been training diligently for the past two summers. Recently, he passed his UT with a max score. I'm already planning on next summer's training for the NAVHDA Invitational.

But at the moment, all I can think about is hunting. Last weekend, I got to see if all that hard work paid off.

Take note that I've had Remy, who turned 2 in May, hunting since he was only four months old. Granted he was far from trained, but I kept my expectations low in hopes that multiple bird encounters and hunting situations would do him good. Combined with all our training, I feel I was right.

On Friday, duck-opener eve, my uncle and I decided to run our dog's in a grassy are of WPA. Nearly all of the PLOTS where we hunted had disappeared in the past few years in this area, but thankfully we've never had very good sharpie hunting on them. It's a ritual to do a bit of sharp-tailed grouse hunting on duck-opener eve as we scout out ducky spots for the next day. It's also the perfect time to run the dogs a bit to burn some steam before the big show.

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We took off on a rather grassy tract of land that we had no inkling of finding birds on. It's this area, which is experiencing a pretty substantial drought, much like the rest of the region.

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Our "honey hole" -- a perpetually grazed WPA that is covered with cockle burs and Russian olive -- was going to be saved for after the dogs calmed down a bit. After we reached the end of the section, we turned around and doubled back. Since uncle's dog is only six months old, he was keeping her away from Remy so as not to bump any potential points. I decided to walk an area near a tree row uncle had just passed.

We were only about 100 yards from the truck and cresting a hill. The wind was whipping from the north at about 20 MPH, and we were headed south. That said, I wasn't prepared for what happened next.

Remy was ahead of me about 50 yards, working the ground from right to left. Suddenly, he swiveled on a dime and struck a solid point. He'd been birdy several times, and had flash pointed twice, but both times broke point and began ground searching -- i.e. mousing. Ready for his point to end at any moment, I began casually walking perpendicular to where he was facing. It didn't take long for me to realize this was different. Remy's eyes were intense, his point, quivering. I could tell this wasn't a mouse. I flipped the safety off my gun, and took one more step when the grouse flushed. I snapped my M2 up, followed it, and nearly pulled the trigger when the remaining covey flushed at once. Four birds were in the air, and I immediately focused on them. They were in a tight bunch, and flushing into the wind.

"I'm going to hit two," I thought, and pulled the trigger.

Two fell.

It's my first season with a semi-auto shotgun, and I was more than pleasantly surprised that just as the two birds fell, my gun was ready for the second shot. One more pull of the trigger, and I cleaned up a third bird and my limit.

Remy never moved.

I hollered "FETCH," and he went out diligently, three separate times and found all three birds.

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I was beyond stoked. I watered the boy, and uncle was kind enough to take a hero shot, one I'm more than proud of.

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After we got back to the truck, I let Remy rest a bit while we waited for my other two uncles. When they arrived, it was time for our favorite spot.

For some reason that I will never know, this spot is a grouse and partridge magnet. I've flushed close to 100 sharpies in a single outing from this quarter back in the heyday, and several large Hun covies. This is despite the fact that it has been grazed nearly to the bare dirt ground for at least the past 10 years. And it's a WPA, which makes it double strange.

In any case, the four of us spread out and began working the spot. I was on the far right, working a fence line, when I saw my uncles far to the left flush a few birds. We were with the wind, and they immediately hitched a ride on the galeforce gusts before anyone could shoot. We had covered nearly the entire spot and were almost back to the truck, when Remy got birdy. It was a weird spot to do it, right next to the prairie trail, but he was feverishly sniffing the ground when two birds flushed about 65 yards to my left. They soared over my head, well out of range, and landed in a weedy draw about 200 yards down. My uncle and I took off to see if we could find them.

I took Remy far downwind of where they landed in hopes that he would pick up the scent. In short order, he did, and quickly established point about 30 yards from the barbwire. I took out my camera, and motioned my uncle to walk up on Remy. The birds held well, and the first flushed. Uncle connected, and Remy stayed put.

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We took a few more steps, the second flushed, uncle shot, and Remy again stayed on point.

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Uncle was ecstatic, and so was I. It was amazing to see all that work come together. Then, we had two days of duck hunting, which Remy once again did very well. Our first duck hunting hole was pretty darn mucky, and I couldn't get too hard on the poor guy for not wanting to retrieve all the ducks and geese we shot in the crotch-deep nastiness. Still, he did it, and I was pleased.

Sunday was a bit more comfortable spot, and Remy was put to work chasing down cripples and making long retrieves. He did well, and I was happy.

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Very cool! I sure miss the North Dakota prairie. Beautiful in so many ways. Great story and pics. Thanks for sharing, Tyler.

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Well done. I've got a GWP also but just tested NA so far. I may go for UT next Spring but my dog is an excellent meat hunter which is what I'm really after. Did you get your dog from Jeff J @ Top Shelf Kennels? I think he is in your neck of the woods and has really nice dogs from what I hear.

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Well done. I've got a GWP also but just tested NA so far. I may go for UT next Spring but my dog is an excellent meat hunter which is what I'm really after. Did you get your dog from Jeff J @ Top Shelf Kennels? I think he is in your neck of the woods and has really nice dogs from what I hear.

I did get Remy from Jeff at Top Shelf Kennels. He puts out some solid litters, and has several breeders awards, too.

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