May/June 2018

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Editor’s Note by Ralph Stuart
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Each year when we begin work on our annual “Hunting Dogs Issue,” I can’t help but reminisce about great dogs I’ve had the pleasure of hunting over. I have witnessed some truly amazing dogwork—from incredible points to mind-boggling flushes to epic retrieves.

But one of the most impressive performances I have ever seen—admitted bias here—was by my late griffon, Auger. It was during his Intermediate Hunting Dog Test, which I had committed to as a member of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club of America (now the Bohemian Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club of America).

Auger had performed flawlessly all day—searching, pointing, tracking a live pheasant and retrieving a dragged one. Now he was facing the test’s toughest challenge: tracking a duck in water. The proving ground was a swamp filled with deadfalls and grassy hummocks, and once the duck had been released, Auger and I were called to the shore and shown the feathers that marked the track’s start.
“Fetch!”

Auger wasted no time charging forth, following what I hoped was the duck’s trail. Occasionally we would see him climbing over logs and crossing open water until he eventually disappeared. After five minutes he came swimming back, empty-mouthed, and sat dripping by my side. I was crestfallen.

Thirty seconds passed as the judges and gallery watched in silence. Then, without me saying a word, Auger plunged back into the water. This time he was gone 10 minutes, and when he scaled a berm 75 yards away, the judges began mumbling to one another.

“Has he gone back to the trucks?”
“I didn’t see the duck cross there.”
The next words were music to my ears: “There he is . . . . He has the duck!” As Auger came back over the berm, it was all the gallery could do to keep from cheering.

When Auger delivered that duck to hand, it was one of the proudest moments of my life. That he earned a perfect 4H (for “honorary award”) was simply icing on the cake.

Life with gundogs can be like that: an emotional rollercoaster. And many hunters wouldn’t have it any other way. In this issue we focus on our four-legged companions with articles like Tom Davis’s feature on English setters, Jessie Richards’ piece on canine conditioning and Tom Huggler’s story on the nightmare of losing a dog. We hope you enjoy the ride.

Ralph P. Stuart

Features

Making Sense of Setters

A few solid points about (English) setters

By Tom Davis

Sharptails Through the Season

Early & late hunting for Montana’s prairie grouse

By E. Donnall Thomas Jr.

Boxall & Edmiston

Bespoke guns blending technology & handwork

By Douglas Tate

Peruvian Pursuits

High & low ’fowling in western South America

By Gary Kramer

Seasons of Snipe

In pursuit of a favorite gamebird

By Worth Mathewson


Departments

From the Editor

Remembering great days with gundogs

Letters

Cover considerations and accidental discharges

The Opener

Catching Air: an athletic attempt to fetch a pheasant

Game & Gun Gazette

Kids & Clays, a close call, the growth of youth shooting, etc.

Gun Review

A Giulio Bernardelli 28-gauge hammergun

By Bruce Buck

Field Gear

Thinking ahead for hunting dogs

By The Editors

Going Public

To Wisconsin’s county forests for grouse & woodcock

By Tom Davis

Going Public

Chasing quail at Georgia’s Fishing Creek Farms

By Roger Catchpole

To the Point

The nightmare of losing your dog

By Tom Huggler


Scattershot

Great advice for the sporting life

Gear Guide

Portable kennels to protect your pup

By Ralph Stuart

The Gun Rack

An over/under made for ’fowling

By Ralph Stuart

Shooting

The right way to clean your smoothbore

By Chris Batha

From the Bench

The ACGG’s 2017 project gun

By Dennis Earl Smith

Shot Talk

An overview of 1-oz, 28-gauge loads

By Tom Roster

Hunting Dogs

Tips for conditioning your canine

By Jessie Richards

Conservation

Exploring the American Prairie Reserve

By Joe Healy

On the cover: “Chap,” a handsome tri-color setter. By Dale C. Spartas

Additional photos: Courtesy of Giulio Bernardelli; Brodie Calef


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