Anderson: Pheasant Fest kicked off with pooches on parade

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 16, 2013 - 9:44 PM

A cavalcade of canines kicked off Pheasants Forever's 2013 Pheasant Fest

Love strolled through the Minneapolis Convention Center on Friday, four feet accompanied by two, tethered by leashes.

Called the Bird Dog Parade, the furry conga line featured scores of swaggering dogs and smiling masters and kicked off Pheasants Forever's annual Pheasant Fest.

Exhibited were all manner of canines whose love for their owners was matched only by their adoration for pheasants on the wing -- and, ultimately, in their mouths.

Breeds featured were many, among them large Munsterlanders, small Munsterlanders, Italiano Spinones, English setters, Weimaraners and, of course, Labrador retrievers, yellow, black and chocolate.

Each strutted in a nose-to-tail procession before climbing onto a Convention Center stage to be introduced as fur-clad royalty.

Applause rang out as each dog's lineage and rooster-finding aplomb were ballyhooed.

And tails wagged.

This year's Pheasant Fest -- which moves from city to city each year -- marks the 30th anniversary of Pheasants Forever, which was founded in St. Paul and is headquartered in White Bear Lake.

Open to the public, the festival concludes its three-day Convention Center run Sunday, with an expected attendance of 30,000. Highlights include more than 300 exhibitors, along with seminars on habitat development, wild game cooking and, of course, dog training, among others.

"I've made every Bird Dog Parade, all seven of them, and so has Gordon," said Joe Strang of Cascade, Iowa.

Alongside Strang, a regal-appearing 12-year-old yellow Lab -- that would be Gordon, sire of 396 puppies -- nodded virally.

A member of the Twin Rivers (Iowa) Chapter of Pheasants Forever, Strang also was accompanied by two of Gordon's offspring, Frankie and Ted.

Traveling farther still to strut their stuff were Todd Wirthlin of Kalispell, Mont., and his Pudelpointer, Tana Montana.

"I had Labs most of my life, trained them and field-trialed them, but my wife wanted a dog that didn't shed," Wirthlin said. "So I got on the Internet and did some research and ended up buying Tana from a breeder in the San Francisco Bay Area. She's terrific."

Like most -- if not all -- participants in the Bird Dog Parade, Wirthlin is a serious bird hunter. He takes two weeks off every October to scour the Dakotas and Montana for pheasants.

"Then I hunt big game," he said.

The Pudelpointer, Wirthlin added, is a versatile dog developed in Germany in the 1800s. Pudelpointers point, retrieve on land and water, and, he said, are quiet and gentle at home.

"I took a chance, because the first live Pudelpointer I ever saw was this one when she was shipped to me," Wirthlin said. "But she's been great."

Dave Belisle also made a long journey to the Bird Dog Parade, accompanied by Prince, a 7-year-old red setter, as well as Prince's 9-month-old son, Marley.

Belisle is a retired school teacher from Swartz Creek, Mich., who spends three months each fall guiding hunters in South Dakota.

"Back in the '70s, the limit for pheasants in Michigan was two daily, with a 10-day season," Belisle said. "At the time, there were places to hunt and I could get my birds. That's not so true anymore, so I do my hunting in South Dakota."

Red setters, Belisle noted, were developed in the 1930s.

"A group of people got together who wanted to keep the hunting lines of Irish setters, not the show lines, and they did that, calling them 'red' setters," he said. "But the AKC [American Kennel Club] wouldn't recognize them, so red setters have their own registry."

Friday's pageant was the fifth for Belisle, who has attended previous Fests in Madison, Wis., Des Moines, Omaha and Kansas City, Mo.

"Look," he said. "If everyone had the same breed of dog, it would be really boring. I had Irish setters back in the '70s. Then in 1994 I bought a red setter, and I've been strictly red setters ever since."

Distinct among breeds in Friday's procession were a pair of Italiano Spinones owned by Nancy Schultz of Wayzata.

Schultz said she and a group of friends hunt pheasants over Lucci and Gretta each fall in North Dakota.

Also in the procession, among many others, were Smoke, a 17-month-old English cocker, and his owner, Kevin Gaddie of Fergus Falls; Marley, a golden retriever owned by Jim Thomas of Mankato; and Valborg, a standard poodle owned by Pheasants Forever chairman Bob Larson of Minnetonka.

Grand marshall of the convoy was Raven, whose owner, Ron Schara, has registered his dog as both a Labrador retriever and a cash cow.

But perhaps no attending pooch was so simultaneously laid back and cocksure as Gordon, the buoyant yellow Lab owned by Strang.

"Gordon and I have had so much fun at previous Pheasant Fests and met so many nice people that a couple of years ago I decided to hold a 'Gordon Fest,' " Strang said.

"Actually, I've held two. I invite all of his puppies, all 396 of them, along with his grandpuppies and past girlfriends. We hold it at a club near my home that has a -acre pond.

"Last year, 107 of his puppies showed up, 16 of his grandpuppies and seven girlfriends. All afternoon the dogs ran around off leash and swam in the pond.

"At the end, I said to everyone -- Gordon was alongside me -- I said, 'Take a look at this old dog and all the people he has brought together.'

"I guess that's why I also come to the Bird Dog Parade. For the dogs. But also for the people."

Dennis Anderson •  danderson@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 26 FINAL
Atlanta 24
Tennessee 24 FINAL
Philadelphia 43
Detroit 9 FINAL
New England 34
Green Bay 24 FINAL
Minnesota 21
Jacksonville 3 FINAL
Indianapolis 23
Cincinnati 22 FINAL
Houston 13
Tampa Bay 13 FINAL
Chicago 21
Arizona 0 2nd Qtr 8:11
Seattle 9
St. Louis 10 2nd Qtr 5:23
San Diego 3
Miami 7 2nd Qtr 13:15
Denver 3
Washington 0 2nd Qtr 14:10
San Francisco 7
Dallas 7:30 PM
NY Giants
NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Detroit
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Memphis
Portland 5:00 PM
Boston
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Miami
Golden State 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Denver 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
St. Louis 0 1st Prd 6:26
Winnipeg 1
Montreal 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Arizona 7:00 PM
Anaheim
Chicago 8:30 PM
Vancouver
Coll of Charleston 61 FINAL
George Mason 60
Massachusetts 75 FINAL
Florida State 69
Youngstown St 76 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 67
Wofford 64 FINAL
Sam Houston St 53
Ark-Pine Bluff 43 FINAL
Central Mich 75
Southern Ill 67 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Drexel 61 FINAL
Cornell 59
American Univ 51 FINAL
Morehead State 46
CS-Northridge 88 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 94
Bethune-Cookman 65 FINAL
Central Conn St 60
Columbia 54 FINAL
Lehigh 44
Texas A&M 64 FINAL
New Mexico 51
TX A&M-CC 62 FINAL
Saint Louis 56
Merchant Marine 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 89
South Dakota 72 FINAL
Fairfield 80
Longwood 48 FINAL
Eastern Mich 79
Providence 75 FINAL
Notre Dame 74
Jackson State 50 FINAL
UAB 58
Coppin State 54 FINAL
Denver 80
Northwestern St 68 FINAL
Oklahoma 90
Catawba 52 FINAL
Radford 88
Newman 53 2nd Half 3:00
Wichita State 100
Yale 48 2nd Half 7:44
Kent State 46
St Katherine 27 2nd Half
UC Riverside 54
NC Central 22 2nd Half 18:34
Creighton 28
South Florida 29 2nd Half
NC State 33
USC 37 2nd Half 15:48
Penn State 37
Nichols College 38 2nd Half
Holy Cross 60
Dayton 20 1st Half 7:54
Boston College 16
Wagner 17 1st Half 7:49
Hofstra 24
Towson 21 1st Half 5:44
Monmouth 29
NC A&T 4:00 PM
Bradley
Eastern Ill 4:00 PM
Cincinnati
Fla Atlantic 4:00 PM
Georgia
Presbyterian 4:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
St Francis-NY 4:00 PM
Rutgers
UMKC 4:00 PM
Samford
Binghamton 4:30 PM
Navy
USC Upstate 5:00 PM
UCF
UMass Lowell 5:00 PM
Fordham
Montana State 5:00 PM
Kentucky
Iona 5:00 PM
North Texas
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
Seton Hall
Akron 5:30 PM
South Carolina
Connecticut 5:30 PM
West Virginia
Hood College 6:00 PM
Howard
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Tennessee St 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Delaware 6:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Mercer 7:00 PM
Colorado State
SD Christian 7:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Northern Ariz 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Manhattan 7:00 PM
Northeastern
Pacific 7:00 PM
Washington
Miami-Florida 8:00 PM
Charlotte
Old Dominion 8:00 PM
Illinois State
UC Irvine 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Long Beach State 9:00 PM
UCLA
Montana 9:30 PM
Seattle
Char Southern 9 FINAL
(8) Georgia 55
South Alabama 12 FINAL
So Carolina 37
Rutgers 3 FINAL
(10) Michigan State 45
(22) Minnesota 28 FINAL
Nebraska 24
Northwestern 38 FINAL
Purdue 14
(19) Marshall 23 FINAL
UAB 18
Kansas 7 FINAL
(20) Oklahoma 44
Indiana 27 FINAL
(7) Ohio State 42
Penn State 14 FINAL
Illinois 16
(16) Eastern Ky 3 FINAL
Florida 52
TX-San Antonio 7 FINAL
Western Ky 45
SMU 7 FINAL
UCF 53
Tulsa 28 FINAL
Houston 38
Virginia Tech 3 FINAL
Wake Forest 6
Washington St 31 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 52
Louisiana Tech 27 FINAL
Old Dominion 30
Western Mich 32 FINAL
Central Mich 20
New Mexico 20 FINAL
(21) Colorado State 58
Eastern Mich 30 FINAL
Ball State 45
Appalachian St 35 FINAL
Louisiana 16
(12) Arizona 42 FINAL
Utah 10
FIU 14 FINAL
North Texas 17
(18) Ole Miss 0 FINAL
Arkansas 30
(24) Louisville 31 FINAL
Notre Dame 28
Maryland 23 FINAL
Michigan 16
Texas Tech 34 FINAL
Iowa State 31
(14) Wisconsin 26 FINAL
Iowa 24
Syracuse 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
Boston College 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 20
Georgia State 0 FINAL
(23) Clemson 28
Tulane 6 FINAL
East Carolina 34
Stanford 38 FINAL
California 17
Western Carolina 14 FINAL
(2) Alabama 48
ULM 30 FINAL
New Mexico St 17
So Florida 20 FINAL
Memphis 31
Colorado 10 FINAL
(3) Oregon 44
Fla Atlantic 34 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 35
Samford 7 FINAL
(15) Auburn 31
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
Virginia 30
Vanderbilt 0 FINAL
(4) Miss State 51
(17) Missouri 29 FINAL
Tennessee 21
Oklahoma State 28 FINAL
(5) Baylor 49
USC 20 FINAL
(9) UCLA 38
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
Connecticut 0
(25) Boise State 63 FINAL
Wyoming 14
Oregon State 13 FINAL
Washington 37
Fresno State 40 FINAL
Nevada 20
UNLV 35 FINAL
Hawaii 37
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
New England 2 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 4:00 PM
Los Angeles
Montreal 24 FINAL
Hamilton 40
Edmonton 1 1:39
Calgary 7
Alabama 58 FINAL
Temple 51
Massachusetts 46 FINAL
Florida State 74
Creighton 60 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 96
Bryant 79 FINAL
Boston College 90
Robert Morris 84 FINAL
UMBC 60
Sacred Heart 59 FINAL
Maine 58
Virginia Tech 72 FINAL
Providence 69
Coll of Charleston 61 FINAL
George Mason 71
Hartford 59 FINAL
Lafayette 74
William & Mary 80 FINAL
High Point 87
Western Ill 88 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 90
Pittsburgh 64 FINAL
James Madison 80
Toledo 48 FINAL
(24) Purdue 66
Western Mich 47 FINAL
Michigan 74
Cleveland State 73 FINAL
FIU 65
San Diego State 38 FINAL
(2) South Carolina 89
Mount St Marys 62 FINAL
Davidson 67
IUPUI 45 FINAL
(15) Michigan State 64
Illinois State 49 FINAL
Colorado State 70
Incarnate Word 49 FINAL
Indiana 85
Cincinnati 54 FINAL
Iowa State 85
Furman 69 FINAL
Clemson 79
VA Commonwealth 86 FINAL
Ohio State 96
Marquette 51 FINAL
(7) Duke 83
Bethune-Cookman 42 FINAL
East Carolina 71
Coppin State 54 FINAL
Wake Forest 65
(24) Georgia 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 57
Ball State 56 FINAL
(12) Louisville 69
Auburn 51 FINAL
Virginia 66
Utah 43 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 66
Minnesota 68 FINAL
Memphis 62
Georgetown 42 FINAL
Kansas 55
Northwestern St 30 FINAL
Arkansas 78
TX-San Antonio 72 FINAL
Lamar 40
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
McNeese State 57
Air Force 51 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 86
IUPU-Ft Wayne 73 2nd Half 0:07
USC Upstate 85
Morgan State 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 65
Western Ky 75 2nd Half 1:25
Miss State 86
Southern U 42 FINAL
Illinois 62
Eastern Illinois 45 2nd Half 5:30
North Texas 47
Alabama State 61 FINAL
South Alabama 64
Wisconsin 77 FINAL
Drake 89
Seattle 31 2nd Half 19:10
Montana State 50
UC Santa Barbara 20 2nd Half
Northern Ariz 33
Hofstra 30 2nd Half 19:35
Norfolk State 26
Iona 23 2nd Half
Pacific 33
Middle Tennessee 36 2nd Half
Ole Miss 31
Portland 38 2nd Half
Cal Poly 35
(10) Texas 37 2nd Half
UCLA 32
Fresno State 4:00 PM
USC
Ave Maria 4:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Holy Cross 4:00 PM
(3) Notre Dame
Chicago State 5:00 PM
Oakland
(11) North Carolina 5:00 PM
Oregon
Harvard 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Princeton 6:00 PM
American Univ
Missouri 8:30 PM
(14) California
Yale 9:30 PM
Washington
UNLV 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close