From the Editor
If you were to ask bird hunters to name the most popular pointing-dog breed in the US, you likely would get a variety of answers. Those who chase quail in the South might understandably guess the (English) pointer. Upland enthusiasts in the Midwest couldn’t be blamed for suggesting the English setter. And those who pursue grouse and woodcock in the Northeast might put forward the Brittany.
But none of these answers would be correct, as the most popular pointing breed in America is, in fact, the German shorthaired pointer. Which isn’t hard to believe when you think about it. For many of us, wingshooting is a multi-faceted sport. We don’t limit ourselves to one type of hunting or one species of gamebird. This desire for diversity often is reflected in our choices of gundogs. Instead of picking breeds that exclusively hunt upland birds or retrieve waterfowl, we opt for versatility. And the shorthair is the epitome of a versatile dog.
You can read the details about the GSP’s history and attributes in Dave Gowdey’s excellent article “The Versatile Shorthair,” but suffice to say it’s easy to understand why hunters have taken to these multi-talented, hard-driving, do-all dogs.
I have had the pleasure of hunting behind some very talented shorthairs and have come away impressed. Some of the best have belonged to Steve Bruns, the head guide at South Dakota’s Firesteel Creek Lodge who, together with his brother, Dave, runs Minndakota Kennel (minndakotakennel.com), in Mitchell. Others have belonged to Kyle Waggoner, who operates Wind River Wingshooting (windriverwingshooting.com), in Lander, Wyoming, and who guides in his home state as well as Nebraska.
But the shorthairs I have spent the most time with have belonged to my friend Jeremy Hatch. In the years I’ve known Jeremy he has had a string of great dogs out of Merrymeeting Kennels, in Brunswick, Maine. All three—Sage, Mollie and now Echo (pictured above)—have embodied the beauty of the breed: tenacious about finding and retrieving game (in both the woods and water) but able to dial it back in camp. I always have been awed by their ability to pound the grouse coverts during the day, and then curl up on the couch with a kid or two at night. Little wonder that GSPs are favorites in the field and for the family.
Our annual “Hunting Dogs Issue” is an ode to shorthairs as well as all of the other gundogs that run our lives. We hope you enjoy it with a four-footed friend. — Ralph P. Stuart
The Versatile Shorthair
A hardcore hunting dog of German engineering
By David Gowdey
How to get a great deal on a used shotgun
By Gregg Elliott
Gaining elevation for grouse & trout
By Garhart Stephenson
White & Wild
Challenging ptarmigan and preconceptions in Iceland
By Vic Venters
From the Editor
Shorthairs I have known—and our annual “Hunting Dogs Issue”
Support for the 16, crowing about Crowley, and some ZZ history
The Gun Rack
The Fabarm Elos N2 AllSport
By Ralph Stuart
Sharpening skills by shooting skeet
By Chris Batha
From the Bench
The art and science of color case hardening
By Douglas Tate
Rio’s biodegradable, water-soluble Pro Eco wad
By Tom Roster
The well-bred Labs of Mary Howley’s Candlewood Kennels
By Tom Davis
When upland hunters share coverts with wolves
By Tom Davis
The Caesar Guerini Revenant
By Bruce Buck
Items for spring’s dog days
By The Editors
Chukars and Huns in the Columbia River breaks
By E. Donnall Thomas Jr.
To the Point
Celebrating the thrill of the flush
By Tom Huggler