First, good news from South Texas. Rains, thanks to the 'tropical depression' a few weeks ago have been added on to some surprisingly good rains from late spring to now. Cover is gigantic, which will make the early part of the season this year a bit difficult to stay with a dog...but the quail crop promises to be outstanding.
Second, is a call this afternoon from Robert Barksdale, who always stays out there on the cutting edge of new hunting dog developments, tells me about the hottest new dog collar available this year!
Steve Snell of Gun Dog Supply (one of the best sources for Dog supplies for hunters) is recommending the new SportDOG SD 1825 for those of us with running dogs. His opening line on his website review of the collar starts with:
"The SD 1825 is so cool it is now the only training collar I will use on my bird dogs and retrievers. To give you an idea of how big a deal this is to me, I have been using the same model e-collar since 1998. I have tried at least 50 or 60 new systems over the last 11 years but I always went back to my old system. I could not find another training collar that fit my needs. I started using a prototype SD 1825 in September 2008. I ended up using it the entire 2008 - 2009 hunting season and have not looked back."
The Sport Hunter SD-1825 has a ONE MILE range, weighs less than 5 ounces, a customizable transmitter for your way of doing things, and 8 levels, plus a separate 'tone' (which I use a lot, after conditioning the dogs to the 'tone/stimulate' sequence. Very quickly, the stimulate is all my Brittany's need!) Oh, and it uses Lithium lon batteries with longer run-time between charges.
I am not being paid for this recommendation, but I sure intend to pay the price to buy one!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
First, good news from South Texas. Rains, thanks to the 'tropical depression' a few weeks ago have been added on to some surprisingly good rains from late spring to now. Cover is gigantic, which will make the early part of the season this year a bit difficult to stay with a dog...but the quail crop promises to be outstanding.
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 4:12 PM
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
IS DEER CORN A QUAIL KILLER?
Dallas Morning News
09:52 PM CST on Saturday, February 6, 2010 (all rights reserved)
By Ray Sasser email@example.com
As another poor quail season grinds toward a halt, I'm struck by a disturbing thought. Texas deer hunters may be killing more quail than quail hunters kill, and the deer hunters are not even aware they're doing it.
How is that possible? Deer hunters put out an estimated 300 million to 500 million pounds of corn each year to bait white-tailed deer near hunting blinds. Anyone who's watched a bait pile in quail country has seen birds eating corn. It's not just quail; a huge variety of seed-eating birds, including some rare species, consume those golden kernels.
Several factors are blamed for the precipitous decline of bobwhite quail, habitat changes ranking first. I don't think it's a coincidence, however, that the quail decline parallels the dramatic expansion of white-tailed deer and deer hunting throughout West Texas.
Even in South Texas, the state's other ecological island of quail habitat, the practice of baiting deer with corn accelerated in the 1980s. In December, I hunted quail in the Oklahoma Panhandle with John Cox, a wildlife biologist who feeds quail, both as a means of supplementing the birds' natural diet against harsh winter weather and to congregate them for hunting. He no longer uses corn or the smaller grain seeds that quail hunters often prefer.
"I'm feeding the quail with black-eyed peas," Cox said. "Peas work great in an automatic feeder. When you buy them in bulk, they're cheaper than corn. Quail, deer and turkeys all love the peas, and I can go to sleep at night not wondering how many coveys I poisoned that day."
The poison that Cox refers to is aflatoxin, a substance produced by fungi that grow on corn and other food staples. Aflatoxin rates in wildlife corn caused a stir in the 1990s when biologists became concerned about potential damage to deer and other wildlife.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not allow grain that tests more than 20 parts per billion of aflatoxin to be fed to dairy cattle or used for human consumption. It winds up as wildlife feed. Several studies have indicated aflatoxin can weaken and even kill wildlife.
West Texas quail guru Dale Rollins said he's more concerned with secondary effects of aflatoxin. Diminished immunity means the birds are more susceptible to disease. Feeding the birds tends to congregate them, so disease spreads more quickly.
In December, Texas Tech's Quail Tech Alliance sent out a memo to its charter ranch members warning of the risk of supplemental feeding after a cooperating ranch tested its wildlife corn and found it contaminated. Information is available at the project Web site, www.quail-tech.org.
Every expert I've spoken with said that the wildlife feed industry is doing a better job of testing for aflatoxin. Corn testing 100 ppb or higher is not acceptable as "deer corn." Read the label on every sack of corn you buy. That's the good news.
The bad news comes from Scott Henke, a researcher with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute in Kingsville. His aflatoxin research concluded that putting clean corn into aflatoxin-contaminated feeders defeats the purpose of aflatoxin-free corn.
"My study showed that no one storage practice short of freezing the grain effectively curtailed the growth of fungi-producing aflatoxin," Henke said.
Aflatoxin tests are performed when corn is bagged at the mill. Sacks of corn may sit for months in a warehouse or in front of a convenience store. On a ranch, corn and other feeds are routinely stored in bulk bins.
Furthermore, I've never known of hunters who clean out their feeders with disinfectant or even a power washer.
The issue is complicated by the fact that aflatoxin occurs in nature. Also, quail or other birds that succumb to aflatoxin don't die under the feeder. They get sick and weaken slowly. They die out of sight, hiding in thick cover, and are usually eaten by a coyote or some other scavenger.
I'm not sure how scientists can even design a study that reveals the impact of aflatoxin on quail, but common sense tells me the impact is significant.
How many times have you heard this quail hunter's lament? "We had plenty of quail in September but they were gone by November and I don't know what happened to them." Deer hunters ramp up their feeding programs in September and October.
The evidence may be circumstantial but, until somebody convinces me otherwise, I believe that deer corn is taking a toll on Texas birds.
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 8:18 PM
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wonderful note from long time friend and bird dog addict, Jerry Hoffman...
"We have chased birds and bird dogs from Illinois to South Texas. Along the way made some great memories...Working Brandy on a pheasant the day before the Nationals, then you watch him run a great race but no birds. On the way home, stopping in Memphis to visit Graceland...Where Sharon asked the tour guide that famous question, Where are his fat suites??. WE couldn't get out of there fast enough! Then the following year..Great expectations, Brandy could be one of the dogs to beat...then the thunderstorm of all thunderstorms and the rest is history. Was with you to see Sissy retrieve her last bird. Hunting over all your great dogs...Looking for Bo #2 and Sharon calling out from the boss bus..."Look what mama's got" to try to find him. Our Dash dog having 6 finds between the power line and the house on our way in. She was out of Val and Trademark-I think your best breeding. Our Jake dog getting lost only to find him on a covey where a covey shouldn't be (some of his ash's are at that spot). The great anticipation I would always feel when you were about to put Val down. The way she'd bark as she came back after we thought we had lost her...as if to say to us "Where you been...the birds are over here!", and how excited I would be to shoot a bird over her.I loved that dog!.One of the great things about Dos Jefes ranch is that it has brought you and so many others so much happiness. That's the great thing about this sport. For those people that truly love the game...the dog work, not the number of birds in the bag, it gives people the opportunity to enjoy and hopefully improve the breed, but maybe, just maybe, it's a way to bring people of like mind together and create memories that last a lifetime and I guess through friends and family, from one generation to the next. As Bob Hope would say "Thanks for the memories! ps. That GSP backing Daisy is 6 months old.
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 10:46 PM
Monday, January 11, 2010
Dr. Michael Godin--Gerry Hoffman-Rigged out --Daisy and 6 month oldGSP backing!
Click photos to enlarge!
The Hoffmans, Jerry and Julie have been friends for many years and we have chased Bird Dogs from Illinois to South Texas. They join us each Christmas at Dos Jefes and this year was no exception. We also were blessed to have long time friends Garth and Janie Cook and Dr. Michael Godin, (shown)a caring Vet that has been a part of our dogs from their births to the ends of their lives....
It was a wonderful holiday, thanks to friends and good bir dogs!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 9:01 PM
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Click to enlarge
Cold Christmas week at Dos Jefes with ice and freezing rain at times. Bird count lower than previous years, but ample covies to provide some thrilling moments with special friends...Top photo, the consistently thrilling Austin Annie De Lamont, Below left to right, Gerry Hoffman, Dr. Michael Godin, and Gareth Cook with Daisy Mae De Lamont! Thanks for the memories!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 11:23 PM
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The best parts of bird hunting are the friends and the memories. Sometime in the mid-seventies, Sharon and I were invited to fill a spot in a joint lease held by a group of husband/wife hunters that included a number of management level people with Shell Oil. The lease was just west of
I can still recall moments of most of those hunts. I was new to this level of hunting, coming from early trips in
Sharing that feeling with Dick, we started meeting on weekends just west of
Eventually, our friend Joe Coleman invited us to hunt at his ranch south of Ramirez, between Hebronville and Falfurrias. Joe’s customized VW hunting vehicle sputtered out before our group, five of us in all, left the camp that morning and we spent the first four hours getting a spare part installed. Finally, at about 11:30 AM, we took off and were back by 3:00 PM with five limits ... and it took that long only because we limited one shooter to each covie rise! I tried to keep a covey tab but they were coming so fast I lost count. On the trip home, Dick and I decided we wanted our own place in that country! Dos Jefes became the fulfillment of that dream.
Dick had a number of hunting friends, all quality gentlemen, who shared his passion for quail and bird dogs. George Helland of Cameron Iron Works was, and is still, one of those who join Dick each year. That annual trip will take place next week and I have no doubt that it will be another memorable trip. He shared his pre-hunt note to George with me and gave me permission to share it ....
Dear George- as engineers, we both suffer a love for the classics, and whoa- the fact that advances can happen. My favorite gun in my cabinet is a
Then came my (yours) introduction to So TX and the perceived need for more pellets. Came the deadliest gun I ever shot, my Browning Superlight O/U 12 ga bored skeet & IC, straight stock. If I might say so- a miss was a rarity! At least that is how I remember it. But it kicked!
So finally I joined Sam Walton as a Remington 1100 fan, soft on the body and deadly enough. Hope to get at least a dozen birds this year and it will be the weapon of choice.
But remember my classic leanings, and I will repeat this old story. RCA building in 1958 and weekly noon window shopping at the then fabulous Abercrombie Fitch, 10 stories on Madison Ave, the 10th devoted to guns with a large section devoted to estate liquidations. Twas a perfect matched pair of Purdeys @ $3200 that I visited for weeks on end. A tough hill to climb at $760/month, 3 kids. So I had to pass- wish I could forget, but I drooled over those doubles, and wish they were mine. Time marches on.
Have a great trip friends!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 9:53 PM
Friday, December 4, 2009
North wind between 6 and 8 mph.
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 6:28 PM
Monday, November 23, 2009
Thanks to Gareth Cook and Ed Small for forwarding this important article. (Please say it's not so!)
Disease may play role in quail decline
November 23, 2009
Writer(s):Steve Byrns, Dr. Dale Rollins of Texas A&M.
SAN ANGELO – Disease may be playing a role in the demise of Texas quail, said a Texas AgriLife Extension Service expert.
“Quail season has been disappointing,” said Dr. Dale Rollins, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist at San Angelo. “By Texas standards, wild quail hunting has been sub-par since 2006, and I’m wondering if disease might not be part of the puzzle. Certainly, it’s probably not the key reason, but I’m starting to suspect it may be a contributing factor.”
Rollins said coccidiosis (malady caused by parasitic protozoans of the digestive system) is often blamed, but exactly what disease might be behind the drop in quail populations, or even if there is a disease contributing to the problem, is currently unknown. He said there are other potential threats, including West Nile Virus, avian influenza, avian cholera and avian tuberculosis that may be factors.
Sick quail don’t last long before something eats them, so disease surveillance in wild quail is a tough proposition, according to Rollins.
“I’ve always been intrigued by the possible role disease plays in quail dynamics,” Rollins said. “When you think about it, the birds offer a perfect biological fuse for disease spread among the population. They are social birds, and when a covey dwindles to less than about six birds, they go join another covey.
“Blue quail used to be common over areas as far east as Throckmorton, but they disappeared over much of their range in 1988; December 1988 to be exact in my opinion. While hunting in Crockett County that December, I dressed several birds with spotted livers, but didn’t think much of it. I just took some photographs and discarded the birds. Within months, blue quail had vanished as far west as the Pecos River. I can’t explain such a die-off except by some mystery disease. Suffice it to say my antennae are up for sick quail now.”
Rollins asks quail hunters to be on the lookout for sick quail this season. If birds taken are too light for their size or if a green discharge from the vent is spotted, he said it would be worth noting. He said to pay special attention to whether the liver has white or yellow nodules in it which are signs of a bacterial infection.
If disease is suspected, Rollins asks hunters to place the bird in a plastic zipper-type bag, refrigerate it and call him as soon as possible at 325-653-4576 or 325-776-2615.
Rollins is also the director of the 4,700-acre Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch at Roby. He said they are currently live-trapping quail at the ranch for leg-banding to support a radio telemetry project. At the same time, they also are collecting samples for disease and parasite testing.
“We’ll submit about 200 samples for screening of viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases,” he said. “These data will help us better understand whether various diseases really are a factor.
“A separate research project on eye worms and intestinal parasites was started in September in collaboration with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. Preliminary testing from quail collected on the research ranch last winter showed parasite infestation in the eyes, which may be noteworthy. When you’re a bobwhite, you live on the edge as it is; any debilitating factor like worms under your eyelids can’t be good.
“At the research ranch, we’re seeking to unravel just what’s happened to bobwhites and blue quail across much of the Rolling Plains,” he said. “We’ve adopted a philosophy of ‘leave no stone unturned.’ So, we’re investigating some heretofore overlooked agents, namely disease and parasites to see if they possibly are playing a more than minor role in the demise of Texas quail.”
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Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 10:58 AM
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I've often opined to friends that I would probably have been a better parent had I spent more time reading dog training books 'before' my sons were born. Unfortunately, they were in their teens by the time I started training my Brittanys and began compulsively reading everything written by Robert Wehle, Delmar Smith, and later by training beside Pete Thuman, Steven Harwood and a host of other talented people.
Each time I have made that observation, I get a strange look from people who then lecture me on the complexities of child rearing and my blatent insensitivity to the obvious differences between a dog and a child! Finally, I gave up on the idea and by the time my grandchildren came along, I had given up on suggestions of any sort.
Flash Forward to November 22, 2009 and an article in the New York Times has finally validated the potential brilliance of my long-forgotten suggestion.
The article, "Becoming the Alpha Dog in Your Own Home!" by Alex Williams suggests how simply watching TV's "Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan has, for many, replaced a shelf full of books on how to tame an unruly child. It's all the same simple concept: how to be the pack leader in your own house..." A later quote from author Allison Pearson describes the obvious to every one of us who have witnessed the maturity and pride of a year old Brittany or Pointer or Lab when they get it right ... "Unlike modern parents, dog trainers don’t think discipline equals being mean. They understand that dogs are happiest when they know their position in the hierarchy.” The article also clearly discusses the differences and boundaries, but did point out "when you're wishy-washy with your dogs, they take advantage --- kids think the same way!"
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 6:54 PM
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
On the left side of this blog site, I have recommendations for resources I have used successfully for years. I am changing the resource for "dog boots" as of this posting.
In South Texas and many areas of the country, grass burrs (commonly known as 'stickers'), are a major problem for hunting dogs. A multitude of solutions have been used, from "duct tape" to "bicycle inner-tubes". Setter legend Joe Coleman was the first to introduce me to Cordura, an awning material that he used to design boots for his winning dogs. Dale Bush from College Station, a friend of Joe's, actually marketed the boots for awhile as the Coleman Dog Boot .
When Dick Nelson and I purchased Dos Jefes Ranch, south of Falfurias, we encountered major sticker problems. Early on, we purchased a Cordura awning material and had a professional seamstress custom make our own using velcro as the way to keep them on the dog's foot. They worked, to a point. The downside was that we frequently lost a few each hunt, leaving the dog unprotected on the exposed foot. We also had issuses with various types of 'threads' that eventually cut through the material, leaving the boots to 'flop' around freely.
NOT ANYMORE! Gareth Cook discovered www.dogbooties.com and all is well! The company is located in Duluth, MN--a long way from South Texas quail country -- but their boots, developed for large and competition dogs in the north country, have found a new life among an increasing number of Quail hunters!
The material is still Cordura, but it comes in a variety of strengths, and the sizes run from XXXS to XL. It's just that in Montana, a 'small' dog is not the same as 'our' small dogs!
The trick is ordering correctly. For my Brittanys, the 'extra small' size is perfect. Large Pointers might need a 'small". I advise ordering a couple of options and size them before placing a large order.
They also come with three 'closure wrap' options. I like the Velstrech Brand Fastener (these actually have a degree of stretch that I suspect is kinder to the dog's feet.) They also sell 'repair tape' and materials to make your own boots if you so desire.
The lightest material is the 330 Denier Cordura Booties and they come in many different colors, even pink (I still prefer the bright orange, easier to see if lost). The South Texas grass stickers did slightly penetrate this material, however they did not become lodged in the material. The 500 Denier boot, which comes in black only, is probably the better choice if you plan on more than one or two hunts a year! To the touch, the 330 and 500 feel the same, but our trip south two weeks ago sold me on the product so I'm ordering the 500, even though it makes less of a fashion statement!!!
Incidentally, this is not a paid endorsement....I just love this product!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 7:21 PM
Friday, September 18, 2009
From: Gareth Cook
To: Bill Young
Sent: Fri, Sep 18, 2009 8:23 pm
Subject: She remembered
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 10:34 PM
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Within the last week, the area around Dos Jefes has recorded 2.58 inches of rain! Rain Dance continues!!! UPDATE 9.5.09-- Another .96 inch of rain today, more in the forecast this week!
ANOTHER UPDATE 9.11.09--An inch more this week and heavy rain thru saturday night forecast! Already hearing quail calling!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 9:47 PM
Monday, August 24, 2009
Dolly and Daisy (pictured above) are back in the home kennel after six weeks of training at Bunny Brown's High Point Kennels.
Incidentally, Daisy's litter mate, HighPoint Blazen'Lamont out of former Natl Ch Bean's Blaze x Hello Dolly De Lamont is now officially standing stud at www.highpointkennels.com/
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 3:40 PM
Been a busy summer so have not spent lots of time staying current here.
Few catchup issues....first is RAIN (or lack of it.) We are located just a few miles west of the North entrance to the Mariposa Ranch and I stay up with rainfall amounts on their wonderful website. It's a large ranch and they show total rainfall in a number of areas, but it is a grim average for 2009. We are, as of the end of July,16 inches below the annual average by this time, 29.20 inch.
Question from a reader about how to contact John Dearman. He was, and I assume still is, represented by Collectors Covey. His consignment work is available through Luis Briones -- firstname.lastname@example.org or 281 482-2202. Hope that helps.
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 10:43 AM
Friday, May 1, 2009
Allison "Bunny" Brown, the outstanding Grandbury pro-trainer who owns and trains Brittanys, is featured in the article which includes two-year old "Blaze" (pictured) out of Natl Ch Bean's Blaze and our very special Hello Dolly De Lamont. Great article! Thanks for including your outstanding Lamont Stud Dog! I hunted over Blaze this past season and he is amazing!!! Ck out Bunny's website at: http://www.highpointkennels.com/
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 3:07 PM
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 5:05 PM
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Cataract surgery tomorrow knocks out any chance to sneak in a 'last week' hunt. However, friend Gareth Cook has graciously offered to take Dolly, Daisy and Bear with him for an afternoon hunt just west of Houston ... thanks Gareth!
Meanwhile, Robert Barksdale was back in South Texas last weekend at a ranch Northwest of Falfurrias. Found loads of birds and was proud of his two Brittany females. He reports that 18 month old Lady DeLamont continues to impress him with multiple finds. Lady was trained by Bunny Brown (http://www.highpointkennels.com) last fall and is staunch on point, steady to wing & shot and retrieves like a champ (we should all be so lucky with such at this age!)
Dos Jefes partner Dick Nelson sends a report from last weekend ... he is headed back later this week! Go Get 'em Partner!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 7:01 PM
Sunday, February 15, 2009
GRRRR ... My catarac surgery is scheduled this week. Months ago, my name went on a list for a date for this needed procedure before realizing it was likely to conflict with the important end of bird season in Texas! Oh well ... it's been a good year and I'm proud of the times we had with friends and some great performances by the dogs. There is a chance of rain in the forecast for the following week and with good luck for spring rains, we have plenty of 'brood stock' to set up a good crop for next season.
Deer and Turkey will benefit from the rain too! Already, a few spring Toms are showing up. Surprising that our guest's did less deer hunting this year ... amazing how bird dogs and a good bird year can change a hunter's priorities!
Just had a call from Phylis Nelson as they were headed home to Kerrville after their weekend at Dos Jefes. Good report and a lot of pride on Dick's part in their Lamont dog "Stu". Dick tells me he has really blossomed into an impressive bird finder. If anyone knows a bird dog ... it is Dick Nelson (he's owned some spectacular dogs over the years!)
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 1:01 PM
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I love the colors this time of year, particularly the deep orange and white of a Lamont dog on point in a typical South Texas setting.
Boogie Bear De Lamont with find and retrieve (photo by Julie Hoffman)
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 10:12 PM
Monday, November 17, 2008
From: Gareth Cook
Sent: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 7:38 pm
From: Bill Young
To: Gareth Cook
Sent: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 8:16 pm
Subject: Horrible Annie
Gareth, I feel horrible about the terrible problems you are having with this animal from our breeding that is obviously creating major havok within your home environment . I fully understand your dilemma and want to assure you that the Lamont guarantee of "full return of the purchase price" remains well within the stated time limits ("so long as she is alive") ... so please ship her back to us ASAP and the return payment will be in the mail immediately. Incidentally, I am headed for my first hunt at Dos Jefes next week so please be sure she arrives before Sunday. If this is a problem ... I will be glad to charter a flight for her! Whatever it takes to make you happy, and see that she is here in time for that first hunt. Actually, I can go ahead and send you the refund now, in advance, if that will make it easier for you. Or, I can actually wait til monday to leave if that is better......whatever it takes to make me (sorry) ...to make YOU happy! Do I get the Garmin GPS also? I know she's accustomed to it! It might make her feel more at home. Sorry my friend ....(whee)!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 8:28 PM
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The Texas Parks & Wildlife folks are forecasting a 'less than average" year in South Texas. Using 20 mile roadside survey lines, the Commission forecasts a mean rating of 6.58 for 2008 ... compared to last years 7.03 (which actually started out to be a blockbuster). Richard Solomon -- our 'man on the ground' at Dos Jefes reports the cover in good shape with lots of goat weed and ample sunflower (thankfully more huntable than last year's oppressive crop!) He reports seeing some large covies so we will find out for sure soon!
In North Texas ... Bunny Brown obviously has her 'High Point Blazen Lamont"' ready for the season as shown in this great photo from this past weekend! Click on the photo to enlarge ... what a great Dog shot!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 8:55 PM
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Anne Armstrong, one of the most prominent ranchers in South Texas, passed away July 30, 2008 in a Houston Hospice. Mrs. Armstrong was educated at the Foxcroft School in Middleberg, Virginia, where she was president of the student body and valedictorian, class of 1945. She received her bachelor's degree from Vassar College in 1949 and accepted an editorial position at Harper's Bazarre. Before reporting to work however, she visited her classmate, Helenita Kleberg, at her family's King Ranch where she met Tobin Armstrong, owner of an ajoining S.Texas ranch. They were married four months later. She moved to South Texas where she became a mother, respected rancher and quail hunter, but also served as an advisor to three Presidents, Ambassador to England, winner of the 1987 Presidental Medal of Honor (the country's highest civilian award), the first woman to deliver a keynote address at a Republican Natl. Convention, Co-chair of the Republican Natl. Committee, a champion of women's rights, and an avid hunter who loved her Brittany hunting dogs.
One night, my phone rang and Mrs. Armstrong introduced herself, saying she understood that I owned a top Brittany stud dog named 'Bo" that she had heard good things about. After some conversations, the arrangments were made. Beauregard De Lamont http://www.lamontbrittany.com/OurHistory.aspx?id=3
and her Brit female got together and produced what she later informed me were tremendous hunting dogs.
I only spoke to her on two or three occassions, but am proud to have had a brief contact with a truly great lady. Anne Armstrong will be missed.
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 2:24 PM
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Call this week from a friend's grown son who was looking for a Brittany pup ('just like Gareth Cook's "Annie De Lamont"). We should all be that lucky choosing our first hunting dog! Everyone has their own ideas about that subject, but it did give me a chance to write down my thoughts in an email to him...
The key is 'exposure'....dogs are always learning something, good things, bad things. As long as you, and the other members of the family are consistent about what is expected of them, I believe that you can teach a dog virtually anything. I saw a dog once that would retrieve birds and then stand up on it's hind legs to put the bird in the owner's 'pouch' because he had a back problem and could not bend over. I spent time with a male that learned to retrieve a 'dime' that I would pitch out in the dark yard at night, even taught my pointer to retrieve ducks for me. It took time, but I gave them that time and talked to them in 'English'.
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 3:16 PM
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Some wonderful photos in the 'in box' this morning of Bunny Brown and Robert Barksdale's 9 month old Lamont pups out of Dolly De Lamont and Natl. Ch Bean's Blaze. They spent some time this weekend with these two young dogs and some pen raised quail. WOW! (may I have them back please?)
Amazing to see the amount of 'style' these juveniles have on point. A tribute to Bunny's very smart training techniques and good bloodlines.
Enjoy... (click on photos for larger view)
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 4:18 PM
Monday, April 28, 2008
Finally....close to an inch of rain last night at Dos Jefes. From a lush stand of cover in October, we have experienced a brutal lack of moisture for the past few months. Last night's rain is not enough to call it a trend...but we will take what we can get.
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 10:22 PM
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Email today from Bunny Brown, Professional trainer and owner of High Point Kennels in Granbury, Tx with a report on "Highpoint Blazin' Lamont." "Blaze" was the only male from our most recent breeding of Hello Dolly De Lamont x NC/HOF Bean's Blaze (frozen semen). Until Bunny picked him up, Blaze was dominated by the two females in the litter and I was a bit concerned that he would have the agressiveness that would make him a winner. But after just 3 months at Bunny's? Stand Back!!!
"Mr. Blaze is doing well. Even though he handles great naturally I want to make sure he does it every time. Also every bird I kill for him I want to make sure he retrieves close to hand.
Blaze had an exciting finish to the recent Quail season, both in South and North Texas and is now undergoing Bunny's wonderful development program... Bunny Brown is a professional. I trialed with her dad, a 1995 inductee into the "Brittany Hall of Fame" and she knows how to finish a dog, without taking away their style and enthusiasm. She lost a great one last year who was a very successful stud dog for the breed...
4X American FC and FC/AFC RU-National All-Age Champion,
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 9:29 PM
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Also two straight weekends of exciting calls from Robert Barksdale, with another report from his 'soon to be 6 month old' Lady De Lamont. Multiple finds and retrieves again. WOW!
Robert, and Gareth, are shining example's of how to develop great birdogs...take them hunting a lot and develop a line of communication...praise and correction. Both of these gentlemen (and I use that word in the truest sense) treat these dogs as true hunting partners, talking to them as if they are human and, in so doing, build trust and a strong communications link with these dogs. As the fine old-time trainer Ed Brown used to say....'you gotta teach 'em english!"
Meanwhile, Boogie Bear De Lamont was a touch less enthusiastic about his weekend, but sends along his congratulations to sister 'Annie' and niece 'Lady'!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 3:38 PM
Monday, February 4, 2008
After proudly posting about the amount of birds we have been finding at Dos Jefes this year...nature seems to be full of surprises. As more and more rumors surface of a bird 'dieoff' in areas of the state, and particularly South Texas...DJ partner Dick Nelson and guests had a tough time getting birds pointed this past weekend. Covies were there, but much smaller and the birds, in some cases, were not as large as just a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, reports from Robert Barksdale, who's Lamont Brittany pup "Lady DeLamont" is just over five months old (YES!), had a tremendous weekend at a ranch midway between Falfurrias and Hebronville. Robert was full of excitement as he called on his way back to Dallas today, telling of Lady's many solid points and multiple retrieves. It is exciting to see such a talented young dog develop and I am excited that Robert is able to get her into a lot of birds during this important development period. Lady was the most aggressive of the pups out of Dolly DeLamont and Natl Champion Bean's Blaze and from the start, established her dominance over her siblings from the feeding pan to mom's faucets! I cautioned him that she would be a real 'handful', but she has developed into a very enthusiastic but responsive bird dog and at such an early stage!!! Congratulations Robert!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 9:10 PM
Monday, January 21, 2008
I hear rumors of some quail ranches already closing down hunting this year for various reasons, including lack of birds....but we are having a banner year! You just need a Sherman Tank to get to the birds because of the cover!
The real fun came in watching the 3 month reunion of Dolly's pups.....we 'gang' ran them on Jackrabbit Flats and it was off to the races. I was very proud of our Daisy, but Bunny's male, "Blaze" had the fastest and most impressive ground speed and drive for a large pup I have ever seen. Robert's "Lady" had matured a great deal since we watched she and Robert drive away in September and she shows a lot of class and desire.
Update: I'm posting this on Jan 21, sitting in Sugar Land with a lingering cough as I had to cancel my trip down this week with Gareth and John Murchison but the report was 12 covies found yesterday afternoon and 18 (!) finds this morning. A call a few minutes ago said there were another 12 covies found this afternoon! WOW! Plus, the good news was about Daisy, our 5 months old pup that sleeps at the foot of our bed every night. She was really running wide and had knocked a few covies in previous trips but according to Gareth, she found 4 covies this afternoon, with two of the finds that she held long enough for John and Gareth to down birds in front of her, and her to retrieve! DOUBLE WOW! There is nothing like seeing a young dog "get it"! Thanks guys...I am glad you were there with her.
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 4:24 PM
Monday, December 31, 2007
Just home from a week at Dos Jefes with friends, a bunch of bird dogs, and more quail than this man could have ever dreamed of seeing in such a short time. Our friends the Hoffmans (Jerry & Julie) from Dallas join us each year at the ranch for Deer and Quail hunting and trips to the shopping meccas of McAllen and Kingsville's "King Ranch Store" and some place named the "Cactus Flower". Too bad the 'world famous King's Inn" closes during the holidays!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch....Jerry and I and our combined 6 dogs, my son Eric and daughter in law Sarah and their 3 Brittanys, along with two of the finest quail shooters I have ever witnessed, Austin's Gareth Cook (with 1 tremendous Brit) and Ed Small (with 1 terrific Lab), challenged 20 foot tall sunflower loaded with state of the art Tritronics, DT Systems, Dogtra and Garmin technology and found, and even pointed, a world of quail. The most impressive thing about the weekend was the 'size' of the covies...I know, I've been accused of 'overcounting' in the past, but these covies were HUGE! Many 15 plus birds and Ed Small even claims to have seen the largest covey (or a convention of multiples) containing 0ver 30 (!) birds. Thursday afternoon in two hours, we moved 21 covies and flushed numerous more as we drove out of the Mill Pasture area.
The cover is still very tough and Gareth's incredile dog "Annie" kept pulling us into some very difficult country with multiple finds that we could never have seen had it not been for the Garmin Astro Collars (3 of them at work at one time!). Riding along in our VW "Boss Buses" became more like sitting in 'mission control' with beeps and squeaks from all the electronics that are now a must in running bird dogs.
Oh well, it was a great weekend (in spite of a horrid case of allergies on my part). Jerry, Gareth and Ed are real gentlemen and fine sportsman....Gareth's Lamb chops and Ribs and Jerry and Julie's Nebraska "Scotch Pheasant" made the evenings very special.
Happy New Year guys and thanks for the memories!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 9:23 PM
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Dick Nelson, and wife Phyllis, spent this past weekend at Dos Jefes Ranch and filed this 'report' last night. What a neat partner the Nelsons have been! They are so much fun to be with and the two of them can keep a roomful of guests mesmarized with the many stories of their worldwide travels and from years in the top echilons of some of the world's most important corporations!
Thanks Partner....great report and would love to include more stories of your most memorable hunts here on the 'blog'!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 12:20 PM
Monday, December 10, 2007
With temperatures of 91 degrees and winds of 25+ mph, it was not exactly quail hunting weather this past weekend in Falfurrias, Tx. In spite of the heat and sunflower stalks dense enough to misplace a small city, the quail were everywhere! So much so that we lost count quickly. Our friends (Jim Brown, Gareth Cook, and Dalton Tomlin) estimated 80 to 100 covies moved in the 2 1/2 days of hunting...most birds located without thrilling dog participation.
One very bright spot however...Gareth Cook held tutorials on use of the new Garmin Astro GPS and I love it! In fact, Dolly De Lamont might still be lost some 900 yards away had we followed my instincts and gone 'South' to find her, when the Astro said she was 'Northwest'! I'm a believer!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 8:52 PM
Monday, December 3, 2007
With temps predicted in the mid 40s tonight in Falfurrias, Tx but in the mid 80s by Friday, it is easy to get a bit depressed about being here in the city! But one thing is keeping me awake in spite of the forecast...the bird population is phenomenal this year! Richard, the man on the scene at Fal, rode the fence last Thursday evening and called with an estimate of 'driving up 40 plus covies of quail". Now Richard has lived in this country most of his life and is not known for 'exaggerations" so sleep is battling with visions of bird dogs on point "as far as the eye can see".
Regardless of the numbers, I have trouble sleeping before most hunting trips anyway, a trait I first discovered at the age of 7 when dad took me on my first squirrel hunt with my brand new Christmas gift, a 22 calibre single shot. Its still in my gun case! And the passion dad and I shared still lives in my dreams!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 9:07 PM
Friday, October 19, 2007
In one of the many 'dog training seminars' and 'best training secrets' books, someone said "you are always training your dog'! Whoever the author was, he is so right. Even in 'non formal' moments, the dog is learning something and sometimes, its not all 'good'.
I learned so much from the late Stephen Harwood about starting puppies. From the moment they were weaned, the 'training' began. Just getting them acclimated to the new world is the first step...jumping over bushes, chasing butterflys, staying with the owner on walks...every new experience becomes part of their future. My wife Sharon is one of the best 'puppy trainers' in the world.
Bird contact came early at Sundown Kennels (Stephen's wonderland home and training facility). Puppies on 'chain gangs" with someone throwing pigeons in the air, all of them barking, thrashing, going bird crazy. Walking with puppies, letting them chase squirrels and meadowlarks, learning how to stay with the handler, discovering things full of 'wonder'...all of this takes 'time'...and for many of us, that time is why we do this.
Our new pup from the latest litter is Daisy Mae De Lamont. My dad's last dog was "Daisy Mae", a yellow lab he loved and talked to like she was a human. Our Daisy is my tribute to his gentle and loving spirit. Our 9 week old Daisy is already pointing, retrieving live birds....but nothing she does is 'wrong' at this point...and we are also teaching her english. NO PRESSURE! Just the joy of discovery. Plus she sleeps each night at the foot of our bed and, so far, all night long without a trip outdoors!
Come to think of it, that 'joy of discovery' is the reason I still love this game!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 5:22 PM
Funny how 'important' writing your 'blog' can be, until you get really busy with other stuff. Sorry no posts lately, but with a new pup at home and a few projects that seem to be 'dragging' me out of retirement, I've been a bit snowed! The puppies are all in their new homes and we could not have chosen better owners.
Bunny Brown is a quality dog trainer and owner of HighPoint Kennels in Grandbury, Tx http://www.highpointkennels.com/ She has been around Brittanys all of her life and chose this endeavor because (1) she is good at it, and (2) because it is what she always wanted to do! GO GIRL! Bunny chose the only male in the litter "Highpoint Blazen De Lamont". He's already retrieving, and sleeps inside!!! Bunny lost her superb stud dog "Tejas Iron Mike" RU National Champion and 2 time US OPEN Champion this fall and Blaze will someday, hopefully, carry the standard for her successful breeding program.
Robert Barksdale is a successful developer in the DFW, Tx area and a consummate gentleman. An avid quail hunter, he has owned Brittanys for years but admits to having his hands full right now with "Lady De Lamont" who ruled the kennel and her litter mates for 7 straight weeks. Robert reports that he hopes to recoup from her "playful puppy bites" before the season opens. She's a handful, but one of the most exciting pups we have ever whelped. She's already flash pointing and retrieving birds!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 4:17 PM
Sunday, September 9, 2007
One of the greatest joys of chasing bird dogs is the time spent with special friends. Sharon and I met the Nelson's in the mid 70s when we came together as part of a group of hunters to lease some country just west of Yoakum, Tx. Most of the members were employees of Shell Oil...Ken Cloninger, Dan Roe, and the Nelsons, Richard and Phyllis. At the time, Dick was the head of Natural Gas at Shell and later became President & CEO of United Gas Pipeline. We were drawn to the Nelsons, primarily because we both owned Brittanys and enjoyed the successes of the dogs more than the bird count at the end of the day. Not to suggest that the bird count was compromised. Dick and wife Phyllis are two of the finest wing shooters I have ever seen, even to this day. In fact, I once saw Phyllis down 4 birds on one covey rise!
The Nelsons have a great family and share lots of time together at their other homes in Kerrville and in Montana, alongside a world class trout stream.
After hunting on leases together for a few years, we purchased our own place is South Texas...a friendship that became a partnership and has been one of the best relationships of my life. From many of the litters of pups we raised since our original breeding of Buck and Rose, the Nelsons have taken one of the Lamont Brittanys. In fact, they have been the only dogs he has run since the late 80s. Dick has a special 'touch' with these dogs and they are real joys to hunt over. The pix above is "Buck"...taken in January 2007.
Here's to the Nelsons! We love you guys!!!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 9:11 PM
Monday, September 3, 2007
They say there is no better way to 'spruce' up a webpage than with a warm and fuzzy "PUPPY PICTURE"! Since I have never been accused of missing such an opportunity... here goes!
This is "Blaze"....son of National Champion "Bean's Blaze" and "Hello Dolly De Lamont" Born August 14th. He is headed to Granbury, Tx soon to become a 'stud dog' at Bunny Brown's highly regarded "Highpoint Kennels" http://www.highpointkennels.com/
I think Blaze just hit the lottery!
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 8:10 PM
Friday, August 31, 2007
Had a wonderful chat last night online with Jim Brown about the ideal hunting "range" of a class bird dog. "Jim Bob", as he was once known to our group of running buddies, was a member of my graduating class in 1957 at Hudson High School just outside Lufkin, Tx. We reconnected recently at our 50 year (!) class reunion and discovered we shared a passion for bird dogs and quail. We had not talked in that 50 years. Jim went into law enforcement and more recently 'security' while I became a Rock and Roll DJ and later a producer of commercials and music videos.
Jim owns and runs dogs that are decendents of the famed Elhew line, developed by Robert Wehle, which became the most recognized line breeding program in Pointer history. I started running and breeding Brittanys, back when they were still called "spaniels'. The Elhew breeding program became the line breeding template to which I still adhere.
"Range" to me would be loosely defined as the distance in front of the hunter that a hunting dog runs. Having competed with some degree of success for a number of years in horseback and walking stakes in both "gun dog/shooting dog" and "all age" stakes, I have to admit that its not a clear cut distinction. To me, a 'shooting dog' would be a dog that aggressively hunts the existing cover whereas an "all age" dog would push the boundaries of range, independence, endurance and desire to excel. Regardless, both types should recognize winners that 'hunt the country"...if its open, reach for the limit but if it's tight, adjust accordingly. Having said that, I am aware that not all breeders and trialers will agree.
Actually, I believe a good bird dog can be both and sense which one is called for by the cover and conditions...on horseback, from vehicle, or on foot. I had both 'all age' and "gun dog" wins with the same dogs. In both stakes, I wanted the dog to run to the limits of the cover we were hunting at the time. A dog that simply quarters a few yards in front of the hunter will find only birds that one would probably 'walk up' anyway.
A pointer we named "Lamont's Tex", given to me at 6 weeks by my friend Stephen Harwood, won the Oklahoma Derby Classic with one spectacular find a mile to the front, visible to the entire gallery during the long ride on horseback...but three weeks prior had won a 'junior gun dog' stake at a local Irish Setter club trial while handled "on foot" by my 12 year old son Eric. Incidentally, "Ten" (his call name) would also retrieve ducks, although not exactly with classic 'style"!
I still love to see a dog run...somewhere 'out there' near the limits of what the cover allows. Today, I hunt mostly from vehicles at a pretty good pace. The cover varies from tall thick sunflower in flat terrain to medium grass in 'sand dune' country. Same dogs, same hunt, and they stay with me in both while running the limits. I love seeing a find 'out on a limb'...one that requires the dog to stay on point for some time while we reach him. The adrenaline is running and it is the most beautiful site to see a point out two or three hundred yards to the front...the ride to the covey and completion of the flush is why I have stuck around this sport since I was in high school, back at Hudson.
This year, I will be able to push the dogs to range even wider thanks to the new Garmin Astro 260, a gps dog collar that allows the handler to position himself in relation to where the dog is at all times. Even tell when he goes on point! A wonderful gift from a valued friend and hunting partner! This new technology may change my concept of 'range'.
Posted by Bill - Houston,Tx at 11:04 PM