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Walter Bruning

Oceanside, Calif.

Rain, Snow and a few Bobwhites in Southern California

This is what the mountains around the High Desert valley looked like yesterday at my game club near Hesperia, CA  I took Pride the English Pointer out for 90 minutes of work on a few released bobwhite quail.  They are well fed and strong and sure feel like wild birds when they flush.  We basically just release them and go find 'em.  That way they are very alert!  Enough to make an old guy blush when both barrels get burned and no feathers fly.  Oh well.

The result was very satisfying-- wonderful quail meal in the offing! (I do love my old AyA XXV 12 bore double.  These make fabulous ruffed grouse and woodcock guns too.)

The surprise guest was Digby, the mighty Dachshund that belongs to the club manager.  He is a fierce hunter and determined retriever.  The quail is about 1/4 his size.  He even tries to drag pheasants in too.  All heart!






Year-round Conditioning for the Urban Bird Dog

Pride on the harness. Look at her pull!

We live in a small condo and have no yard and really no place to exercise Pride, the English Pointer, during the off-season.  Plus, the few fields that might work out are rattlesnake havens in Southern California for about 8 months of the year.  What to do?

A friend suggested a roading harness.  I always thought you used these with a dog sled or wagon, with a bunch of dogs in tandem and trotted them up and down country roads for miles a day.  Not so!  I checked with a really good guy in Mississippi, Steve Snell who runs Gun Dog Supply in Starksville, MS and he told me how to use a harness. "Hook the dog up and walk slowly down the road/sidewalk.  They naturally want to pull.  Works on any bird dog, foxhound, coon dog, whatever." (The one I bought is here--    --It has a great padded area across the chest.  You don't want anything that lodges against their neck.  That could really hurt a dog.)

This works just great for Pride.  We walk her 30 minutes every morning and she really pulls.  Two other benefits: walking on the pavement/sidewalk keeps her toenails buffed down and it keeps me in shape too.  We go about two miles.  When the season opened this past fall she was a little pooped after the first couple of times out but it was also warm.  As the weather cooled it was obvious that she was in good shape.  This may not be as good as runninng 30 minutes a day but it sure beats doggie-couch-potatoe-syndrome!

I know that in MInnesota being out walking with ice, snow and subzero tempertures isn't great but you can do it once the weather eases up and you have all summer to get ready for those great fall days in Minnesota woods and fields.

All I can say is "Hunt 'em up Pride!"