Friday, December 16, 2011

Sundance West Eva Diva; Oct 15, 1998 - Dec. 10, 2011

Our first bird dog made every single outing an adventure and in a good way. Every single time. We couldn't have asked for more, although as a first timer in Ohio with limited funds I'm sure we never saw anywhere near her full potential. But you'd never know it to watch her. NAVHDA NA Prize II (a story in itself) she always hunted hard no matter what and was always happily ready to go. Right out of the box, she had the goods.

Sundance German Shorthair Pointers

Eva's litter:

Doc vd Westwind MH x Sundance Elishaba whelped 10/15/98 (6 males, 5 females)

Earned NAVHDA Breeders Award. What a group. 

Sire - Doc vd Westwind 

Dam - Sundance Elishaba 
NA Prize I "Liz"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Colorado Elk Hunting

Following up on the roadless rule being upheld, Colorado created an excellent big game brochure. Obviously too late to plan a hunt for 2011 for eastern hunters. But as one of the few states with over the counter elk tags, it could be a great option for the do it yourself hunter.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hope for Roadless Areas

Field and Stream reports that "On October 20th the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule." This is great news for all average outdoorsmen everywhere. While the focus of the debate was extensively in the west, areas affected stretched from coast to coast. You can see a map of roadless areas here. I'd love to hunt elk out west and a public land do-it-yourself hunt is probably the only way I could ever make it happen. The idea that I could go there, put the miles in and have success, or at least a truly wild experience, gives me hope. Much more likely is an NE deer hunt. The way these guys track deer
has always been appealing. So thanks U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, for hope.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ohio's Minnesota

Minnesota might well be the "land of 10,000 lakes" full of outdoor opportunities. But SE Ohio has it's own, albeit smaller version. Call it a "1,000 Lakes" and you wouldn't be too far off. It is the American Electric Power company public areas in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio.

All you need is a free lifetime permit and a valid hunting license to access nearly 90,000 acres of land. That's a lot to cover. Combined with Wayne National Forest and state lands nearby and there is abundant opportunity for the average outdoorsman. There's enough that if you work to get away from the roads you'll likely avoid most of the crowds, especially during the week. At least outside of deer gun season. Just make sure to check the most recent AEP maps before venturing out to make sure to don't venture on to private property. You won't likely see any moose. But you won't have to wear snow shoes either.

For more information, call American Electric Power at (740) 962-1205.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Buckeye Sportsman Radio

If you read much about outdoors in Ohio, you'll soon run into the author Dan Armitage. He's one of the best in the buckeye state, not just hook and bullet stuff, but all types of outdoor writing. But you might not have known that he also hosts a weekly outdoor radio show that is also available as a free podcast on his Buckeye Sportsman web site. It's a new favorite of mine and definitely worth a listen.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dog House from Scrap Lumber

I had some scrap lumber around from a previous project that had been dismantled. My nieces needed a dog house for their dog Woody (not a hunting dog). Actually Woody needed the house much more than they did. He was crated during the day when they were not home, which was long hours on some days. Because I wasn't starting with fresh lumber I didn't use plans. That always makes is more interesting and adds time, but it really wasn't so bad.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What's Knee-High by the 4th of July?

If you know the answer to that question, you're probably from the midwest. It's corn of course. Legend has it that if the corn grows to knee-high by the July 4th the farmer will have a good season.

For the first time in many years, it's not true in a lot of places around our home in Springfield. Like across the street - see above or the background. But given the advances in farming lately, the knee-high rule has been literally a joke. In years with typical spring rainfall, shoulder-high by the fourth has been a better rule.

I'll be curious to see how this year's crop finishes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Make Sure Your Dog is Hydrated

Field & Stream had a couple of recent blog post how to tell if your dog is dehydrated and keeping your dog hydrated during training. I can say that I have always been very conscious of keeping my canine athlete hydrated. It probably stems from my other passion, coaching soccer. Athletes of any kind need to stay hydrated. It's also critical to pull them out of the activity before they get to the point where it's an issue. This is especially true if in soccer you want to return that player to the game or if you're hunting and you want to continue. If you get to the point where they can't go, you've taken recovery from would would have been a "splash and go" to "we're-not-going-anytime-soon time frame," in my experience. That said, I've never had an issue with my GSP in Ohio. If I don't provide the water, she'll find it one way or another.

Fishing in Springfield, Ohio - City Limits

The axiom "the best time to go fishing is when you can" really is true. You can't catch fish without a line in the water. It's also true that fish are where you find them. Springfield, Ohio actually does have fishing available within the city limits or within walking distance of the city limits. Many areas are accessible from the various bike paths that run through the city. One of those places is C.J. Brown Reservoir and Buck Creek State Park.

It's very accessible and one of the better walleye lakes in Central Ohio. You can also catch channel catfish, as my son Chris here has proven. But you don't have to go to the big state park to wet a line. You can catch fish almost anywhere if you know where to look. Like golf course ponds behind condominiums for instance. The best time to go fishing? Now.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Whitewater Kayaking in Downtown Springfield

In Springfield, Ohio we're lucky. A forward thinking group has replaced, or is in the process of replacing, all the low-head dams on Buckcreek downstream from C.J. Brown Reservoir with whitewater features. When I heard this last year, my daughter and I went and kayaked the stream. We wanted to see what the stream was like before the features. We started at Carelton-Davidson Stadium and took out in Snyder Parke near the Madonna of the trail

It was early fall and the water was fairly low. Several times the water was too skinny to float and we had to walk out. Getting out for the low-head dams was a pain. While we were in the water it was relaxing and uneventful. But getting out so often on such a short trip was a drag.

We recently had family in town for a wedding and decided to show them the new kayaking features downtown. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we've had a lot of rain. The water was up 3 feet at the time, I was told later. We put in behind the Springfield Art Museum. There were two guys surfing (surfing in Springfield, Ohio!?) the standing wave below the first drop. But there was also a large tree covering 90% of the top. We decided to not chance it and put in below.

It was uneventful and an easy float to the last set of rapids in Snyder Park. You can see that the water is well up over the sides and onto the sidewalks. Those of us less-experienced boaters in recreational kayakers weren't fairing to well. But with warm weather and plenty of help nearby, we went for it.

It was a blast. We'll be back. As a side note, when I was back taking the picture at the top, a couple of guys fishing came by with a basket of decent sized crappies. A great outdoor recreation facility in an urban setting.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why Did the Turtle (Almost) Cross the Road?

I have a fairly long commute several times a week and have for several years. And I've never seen as many snapping turtles killed along the side of the road, ever, as I have the previous month. One day I say eight in my 140 mile round trip. I tend to notice these types of things, and I'm not the only one. My first guess was that the rain that wouldn't end last month pushed them in some way, but I'm not sure that makes sense. From what I know, they're capable of living in water nearly 24/7.  Does anybody know why the turtles try to cross the road?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ready for Squirrels?

For early hunting season fun, it really is hard to beat squirrels. Ohio's squirrel season typically opens labor day weekend and runs well into the winter now. I know that some other states have open season or squirrel seasons that open much earlier. That's probably how this article Give Squirrel a Whirl came up recently on CNN. It seems like you'd have to be more selective this time of year to target mature squirrels. The ones that are running around the yard and not sacrificing themselves on the roads seem to be on the smallish side.

Like any other time the topic of hunting comes up on a site like CNN the comments section is packed. Check out the survey and vote.

All of it really reminds me that now would be a great time to make sure the .22 is sighted in.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Modified Leopold Bench

The other day I picked up some scrap lumber. Actually it was the remnants of a loft bed with a dresser and closet below that I build for a relative's son. It was my favorite piece I've ever done. But it had served it's purpose and was time to go.

So I was faced with a pile of 2 X 6's and 2 X 4's of various sizes covering the floor of the garage. Nothing that quite matched the requirements for the bench plans I posted earlier. I figured I could make it work. And it does.

It's a pretty laid-back bench, perfect for watching sunsets and deer in the field across the road. Using a 2 X 6 instead of the plans called for 2 X 8 actually opens it up some making it even better for playing guitar.

If you'd like the dimensions I ended up with, leave a comment. I have more pictures as well.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thinking Like a Mountain

The Conservationist has a great post about an upcoming movie about Aldo Leopold, Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time.

I really identify with this quote from Thinking Like a Mountain:

“We all strive for safety, prosperity, comfort, long life, and dullness. The deer strives with his supple legs, the cowman with trap and poison, the statesman with pen, the most of us with machines, votes, and dollars, but it all comes to the same thing: peace in our time. A measure of success in this is all well enough, and perhaps is a requisite to objective thinking, but too much safety seems to yield only danger in the long run. Perhaps this is behind Thoreau's dictum: In wildness is the salvation of the world. Perhaps this is the hidden meaning in the howl of the wolf, long known among mountains, but seldom perceived among men.”

If you need some time and place to sit an ponder more about our relationship with the land and Leopold's ideas, consider the Leopold bench

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sporting Shot: The Future of Upland Hunting

The Shooting Sportsman is probably the best remaining print magazine on the subject when you consider all aspects: writing, photography, design etc.

Their online companion, The Sporting Shot, is maybe even better. It is simply awesome. It makes me want an iPad because I'm sure the experience is even better.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Bird Dog without Birds is..

...a very unhappy puppy. Followed by a unhappy owner. Again it comes down primarily to habitat. That means land, and that means money. In my opinion, the difference maker and savior (if it happens) is going to be water and water quality. Federal programs that protect water and water quality have a greater public acceptance it seems. And they work.

In any event, the good news is that the gentleman bob seems to be getting more attention recently. Here is an excellent post from Field & Stream in the gun dog blog, A Canary in the Coal Mine: Bobwhite Quail Population.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Department of Artificial Resources: Stocking, Habitat and Access

The Ohio Department of "Natural" Resources is in the process of the stocking trout of "catchable size" in numerous ponds and lakes around Ohio. In the fall the agency releases rooster pheasants at a variety of public hunting areas around the state. I put the "Natural" in quotes because in many instances what they are actually doing is creating an "Artificial" Resource. Maybe "Outdoor" Resources is a more accurate and acceptable definition.

I understand this practice and believe it has a place. While wild naturally producing stocks would be preferred, in most cases the trout releases are near human populations and in bodies of water that don't offer many opportunities aside from the release. Same deal with the pheasants. It's an access issue. They give people without access to private land opportunity to pursue upland birds, while some other public areas are managed for wild pheasants.

What I don't really understand or agree with is the stocking of sterile hybrids in viable wild areas. Obviously this applies to primarily to fisheries (although a release of 100% roosters is essentially sterile). But why saugeyes in lakes or wipers in the Ohio River? It seems that this would make it even more difficult for the native species by competing with them for food and habitat. It seems like a net loss, when the real issue, where the money really should be spent, is on improving the habitat so that the native species can thrive. Those are the natural resources.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bobwhite Quail - Seen any Recently?

I don't think of myself as necessarily old. But I've seen wild quail just a stones throw south of I-70 in Ohio in my life. So that makes me old enough to remember the winters of 1977-78. Which makes my not exactly young. And I haven't seen a wild quail around here since then.

So I'm glad to see that Ohio DNR is taking steps to reintroduce our native little gentlemen.

Effort to bring more quail to area under way by Jim Morris.

I've kept quail in a johnny house for dog training. Some of the birds escape or don't recall to the pen. I've had neighbors report seeing those birds later, but I haven't seen evidence of a wild quail this far north. Hopefully the habitat is in place that the birds can make a go of it again.

If you have some land and are interested, there are several habitat workshops coming up:

Feb. 19: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hueston Woods State Park, 6301 Park Office Road, College Corner.
Feb. 23: 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Young’s Dairy Farm Golden Jersey Inn, 6880 Springfield-Xenia Road, Yellow Springs.
March 1: 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Ross County Service Center, 475 Western Ave., Chillicothe.
March 5: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Donald Geer farm, 10700 Ohio 73, New Vienna.
March 7: 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Urbana Service Center, 1512 South U.S. 68, Urbana.

The workshops are open to anyone interested in learning about bobwhite quail, wildlife habitat management or cropland conservation.

Saturday workshops will include a short afternoon fieldtrip to a quail management area. Be prepared to go outside.
For more information, visit or call (937) 372-9261.

Photo courtesy of hutch4434 on flickr.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'd Rather Be Outside.

It's true. I'd rather be outside than inside. Simple fact.

This blog is from just a dude that doesn't get out as much as he'd like, or as far way. So this is an accounting of average outdoor adventures, primarily around southwestern ohio. could be pheasant hunting with a german shorthaired pointer. Could be kayaking. Could be building a quail house. Could be just walking around outside. We'll see what happens.