Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A First time Pheasant Hunt

Ok, here is my attempt to capture my thoughts on today's experience.  - Ryan
My New Favorite Sport
Today I had the privilege of observing Bailey in action.  Rod was kind enough to invite me along on a pheasant hunt.   I wasn't sure what to expect,
I have heard Rod's tales of Bailey's numerous hunting excursions and seen the multitude of ribbons marking his accomplishments, but hearing and seeing are two very different things.
  Now, I have seen Bailey race through the woods on hikes and play with my daughter at Rod's house, but watching him hunt through the tall grass, go on point, and then retrieve a bird was special.
 The only thing I can equate it to is watching a professional athlete.  Much like a great athlete, you are first captivated by their agility and strength. 

 Then you come to admire the skill and discipline it takes to master a craft.
  It was thrilling to suddenly see Bailey on point, still as a statue, waiting, waiting, until the bird is flushed, shot, waiting, until Rod gives the signal and then boom, like a rocket he races through the grass and comes bounding back with a bird between his teeth.
  I would definitely buy a ticket to watch that again.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

From Point to Bird in Hand

Bird's Landing December 30th.



Pictures taken by Ryan Faulkner
And something to do with those birds:
Emeril's Roasted Pheasant
Total Time: 3 hr 22 min
Prep   35 min
Cook   2 hr 45 min
Yield: 6 servings


  • Ingredients
  • 3 (2 1/2 to 3 pound) farm-raised pheasants*, innards removed, wing tips and necks trimmed
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup Madeira
  • 1 cup rich chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
  • Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F and position the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.
Season the cavities and the outside of each pheasant liberally with salt and pepper. Divide the chopped onion and carrot equally among the cavities of the pheasants. Squeeze the juice from both halves of the orange and set aside. Cut 1 of the squeezed halves into 3 pieces, and tuck inside of the cavities along with the veggies. Insert 1sprig of thyme into the cavity of each pheasant.
Arrange the pheasants in a large roasting pan, breast sides up. Lay 2 strips of bacon over the top of each pheasant, cutting the bacon into pieces if necessary to cover as much of the pheasant as possible. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove the bacon strips and continue roasting for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, or until the juices run clear. (It is important to not overcook the pheasants, as they are very lean birds.) Remove the pheasants from the oven and transfer to a serving platter, loosely tented, while you make the sauce.
Using a spoon, carefully remove as much extra fat from the pan as possible. Place the roasting pan over high heat and, when hot, deglaze with the reserved orange juice and Madeira, using a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. When the orange juice and Madeira have reduced by half, add the chicken stock and continue to cook until sauce has reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 to 4 minutes. Swirl in the butter and remove from the heat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Remove the back bone from each pheasant, then cut along the breast bone to divide the birds into two halves. Serve 1/2 pheasant per person, napped with some of the sauce and with some of the Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding.
*Note: Wild pheasants are usually smaller birds, and thus will cook in less time. If you are using wild pheasants, please adjust the recipe accordingly.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

End of Year Hike along Carquinez Straits

Today, December 29th, we took a hike in the hills above the Carquinez Straits on the Martinez side.
The hike started at the staging area on Carquinez Scenic Road just west of downtown Martinez.
Once I parked the Jeep, another car followed into the parking lot.  As I unloaded the dogs, the other car's two occupants got out out with a Vizsla.  This was 15-month-old Jasper.  A great looking and well-behaved young intact male.
The first question they had for me as they came out of their car was,  "Are you Redbirddog?" 

I told them, "Actually I am." 

 We had an enjoyable time talking about these wonderful dogs we own.  The three dogs had a splended time searching for critters in the canyons, forests and hills.

At one point, about an hour into the hike, I heard the sound of turkeys squawking in the distance to my right.  A few moments later, as I looked into the sky, 30 turkeys flew overhead into a far valley.  A minute later Bailey came back with a huge "smile" on his face.
  What a knucklehead  
He does love his birds.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Best First Aid Tips for Bird Dogs in the Field

An excellent write up by veteran dog handler Bob West posted to Gun Dog Magazine December 17, 2013.  

Click on title below to open link:

Best First Aid Tips for Bird Dogs in the Field

Opening  paragraph:

"With bird seasons well underway, this is a good time for suggestions on how to deal with those emergencies you’re bound to encounter in the field.
Let’s first talk about vital signs and how to check your dog’s pulse, temperature and breathing rate, as well as what’s normal in each case. I suggest you read this and then practice on your dog; you’ll gain confidence, accuracy and have a better idea of what’s normal for your dog at different levels of activity............


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Classic Pheasant Hunt

Winter solstice hunt. 
Shortest day of the year. 

Bailey running the fields of Hastings Island this cool 27 degree Sunday morning at day break (7:20 a.m.)  
My long time friend, Grant, joins me behind Bailey hunting the elusive pheasant.
Bailey slams on point and pins a pheasant.  Grant getting into position. 
Bailey stays steady as I search out the coverage.

Still looking as Ken (Willowynd) takes these pictures of a classic open field pheasant hunt.

A moment later, a pheasant pops up and flies to the east.  Right into the rising sun.  I took a shot, as Ken ducked.  I had hit the bird at 40 yards and it went down (I could tell I did not kill it with the shot). 
 Bailey was sent for the retrieve. 
Would he retrieve it?  YES. 
Right back to me (bird was still very much alive and not at all happy).

  His experience a couple weeks ago long forgotten!

 Ken and Grant walking along with me behind Bailey.

Grant's German Shorthair Pointer, Cinch, at the end of the hunt.  
 Four nice pheasant were taken this morning.

How Grant was going to cook up the pheasant:

Cut and pound breasts into 1/4" thick strips.
Dust breast strips in flour seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic.
Fry seasoned breast strips in pan with a little olive oil until light brown.
Sauté mushrooms in butter, add Marsala wine add (capers or lime juice).
Pour mushrooms wine and what you like over breasts and heat to your liking. 
(10 minutes or so)
Serve with wild rice

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas under the Mistletoe

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A First Vizsla Hunt in the Philippines

Story to follow. 

 Pictures sent from the fields by my friends Ken and Ramon.

The three first Vizslas in the Philippines in the field

Ken in the fields of the Philippines

Nice warm December rice paddy mud.  How fun.
Cz RedHead Deluxe in honor of red bird dog blogspot

Sunday, December 8, 2013

What Happened in the Reeds?

What happened in the reeds this morning?  I wish I knew, because Bailey came out battered after coming out of the tall reeds with the very live pheasant I had shot (nicked).

you can see the blood just below his collar
It was a cool 28 degrees when we headed out into the fields of Hastings Island this morning at the start time of 7:30.
The low overnight had been 23 degrees and the ground was frozen.

  This first pheasant of the day was huge with  very long talons.  I could not see the "battle" in the reeds between the bird and my dog, but I could hear it and the quick howl of pain from my dog.
  A few moments later Bailey busted through the reeds with the bird in his mouth.  When he handed the bird over to me the bird was still fighting me.  If this was a "farm raised" pheasant, it was the alpha male of the brood.
We had been in the field all of 10 minutes when all this occurred.  We continued our hunting and the next point was great.  I was surprised when three pheasants flushed as I got close.  They burst noisily into the air at one time.  I took aim on one of the bird and missed.  Bailey held perfectly.  I watched where that bird had flown and we headed out that way.  Five minutes later Bailey went on point and I flushed and shot the bird after it flew over a small canal.  Bailey went for the retrieve with drive and purpose, but after checking out the bird, just left it on the ground and took off continuing to hunt.  Very unusual.
I asked him several times with a "here Bailey, here" to bring me the bird but it wasn't going to happen.  So I walked around the canal and back to the bird.  There I put Bailey on a leash and headed for the Jeep. (I could not reward him with continuing to hunt after failing a retrieve)
 We were still only an hour in and I decided to hunt a bit longer after I put Bailey on leash for 10 minutes.  Bailey went on point one last time and I flushed the bird and dropped it only 20 yards away.  Bailey went over, checked the bird over and then left the area again.

This is where I wish Bailey could have told me what had happened in the reeds.   This is a problem I will need to figure out.  I have known a few friends with Vizslas who have "shut down" on retrieving for the rest of their lives after a fight with a tough bird.

What happened in those reeds Bailey?  If you could only tell me.

Below is how I got Bailey out of his "funk."  Double click for full screen view.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why God made a Dog

June 2009 Walnut Creek Open Space
 I first posted the poem "Why God made Dogs" in June 2009 when Chloe was 18 months old and Bailey was just 12 months old.  Now 4 and 1/2 years later, in the same spot, I took some new pictures. 
 I just love these dogs.
 When God had made the Earth and Sky, the flowers and the trees,
He then made all the animals, and all the birds and bees.
 And when His work was finished, not one was quite the same,
He said, "I'll walk the Earth of mine, and give each one a name."
 And so He traveled land and sea, and everywhere He went,
a little creature followed Him, until it's strength was spent.
 When all were named upon the Earth,
and in the sky and sea, the little creature said,
"Dear Lord, there's not one left for me."

 The Father smiled and softly said, "I've left you 'til the end,
I've turned my name from back to front, and called you DOG, my friend."