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  • September 20, 2013

    Louisiana Ducks: Waiting on the Blue Wings-0

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    For waterfowlers, the early teal season is a preamble for the regular season – a reward for enduring the heat and dearth of action since last season. But for many hunters across the South, the wait continues.

    Summer weather continues into late September across the country, and with mild temperatures, blue-winged teal, one of the first ducks to migrate, have held strong in Canada.

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  • September 11, 2013

    Hunting Dogs and the AKC Canine Health Foundation-0

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    I recently attended the AKC Canine Health Foundation’s 2013 National Parent Club Canine Health Conference in St. Louis as part of the team and work I do with Paw Print Genetics. The conference is a chance for Canine Health Foundation grant recipients to showcase their research, findings and future endeavors to the various governing bodies of purebred breed clubs.

    The Canine Health Foundation supports research that investigates the causes of canine disease; more accurate diagnosis; accurate, positive prognosis; and effective, efficient treatment. Typically, the foundation awards approximately $1.5 million a year in new research projects, and since its inception in 1995, it has approved more than $29 million!

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  • September 5, 2013

    Best Ways to Keep Birds for Taxidermy-0

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    Even more than big game, waterfowl and upland birds require careful handling and storage if you want to preserve them for taxidermy work. Delicate feathers and fragile extremities such as wings, feet, beaks and a neck or head can crease and break much more easily than hair or hardened antler.

    While on the phone (paying down my debt) with reigning world waterfowl champion Dale Manning of Custom Bird Works and Big Game Connection in Missoula, Mont., I asked about what hunters can do to care for the birds before putting them in taxidermist’s hands.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • August 28, 2013

    The Case of the $2,000 Panties-1

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    It might not be the $3 million “Fantasy Bra” from Victoria’s Secret, but the pair of panties Ira McCauley found, cost whoever owns them about $2,000.

    McCauley is the owner and head veterinarian at McCauley Animal Clinic in Saint Charles, Mo. Not long ago he had a dog come in with a GI block. McCauley opened the dog up and pulled out a pair of panties it had swallowed. With a surgery like this costing between $1,500 and $2,500 (after radiographs, medication, follow-up, etc.), those knickers just became very expensive.

    Some of the craziest items he’s found inside investigative, bored, or otherwise troublesome pups? “Rocks, tampons, towels, bullets, Gorilla Glue, nipples from baby bottles, Easter eggs, kick balls, turtles, corncobs – the list goes on and on,” he said.

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  • August 20, 2013

    Will Your 2013 Pheasant Hunting Season be a Bust?-3

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    For the last two seasons, at least, pheasant hunting throughout the heartland has been tough. Reports coming out of even the top spot, South Dakota, showed subpar bird numbers. If the early weather, habitat, and nesting reports from Pheasants Forever are any indication, the 2013-14 season will bring more tough hunting, even in the best states.

    Weather – lingering winter in some areas, cold untimely rains in others (both in already pheasant-ravaged Iowa) – either caused a delay in nesting behavior or likely killed many of the chicks that did hatch. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Kansas, typically one of the top-three harvest states along with the Dakotas, still suffers under extreme-to-exception drought. In fact, last year Sunflower State hunters harvested approximately 230,000 pheasants – that seems like quite a few birds, but in prairie-and-agriculture-rich Kansas, that was the lowest total in more than 60 years.

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  • August 9, 2013

    Waterfowl Season 2013: Dreaming of a Teal Slam-0

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    With a trophy-quality king eider, harlequin, and Barrow’s goldeneye all taken last year during two trips to Alaska, my mind has been preoccupied with the “next great hunt.”

    I’m thinking a teal “slam” would be pretty cool. The green-wing, blue-wing, and cinnamon teal are residents of North America, and they all have their own distinct and beautiful markings and plumage. Putting aside the fact that they’re fast, darting flyers, the small ducks present other challenges.

    Green-wing teal: The hardiest, and smallest, of the group, green-wings will stick it out longer than the other two ducks when the weather gets nasty. This fact alone makes them easier to add to a bag, even though their numbers are half those of the blue-wing teal. Their chestnut head with iridescent green patch stands out on the water or when showcased as a mount.

    Blue-wing teal: With approximately 7.7 million blue wings in the country, one of the most numerous duck species, you’d think it would be easy to get a plumed-out blue-wing teal. Well, you’d be wrong. Compared to the green-wings, blues are a sickly little sister – with the first hints of cold weather, they bounce and head to Mexico and South America.

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  • August 5, 2013

    Waterfowl Numbers Up Again in 2013, What Does it Mean for Your Hunting Season?-1

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    Another wet spring has spurred a high level of duck production in the US and Canada. With pond counts throughout Canada and the US sitting about 24 percent higher than the long-term average, it looks like 2013-14 will see yet another strong season of birds filling the sky and winging south this winter.

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  • July 23, 2013

    Preseason Conditioning: How to Get Your Hunting Dog in Shape-0

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    It’s mid-July, the mercury is stretched up the thermometer and boating season is full throttle. But upland bird season is just around the corner, with some kicking off Sept. 1 and others a few weeks later, and that means it’s time for your dog to begin a conditioning program.

    According to bird-dog trainer George Hickox, who also does extensive canine work police units and the military, it takes six weeks to get a dog in to shape.

    “If a dog isn’t obese, it will take six weeks or so to get them in shape. Dogs respond very quickly to conditioning, much better than we do. On the flip side, they atrophy faster, too, and most dogs are not in shape when the season starts,” he said.

    “What makes a dog so effective at finding birds is that he can follow scent while he’s breathing both in and out,” continued Hickox. “If he’s in shape, he can work more efficiently and find birds better. If he’s out of shape, he’s going to concentrate on breathing more.”

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  • July 19, 2013

    Hunting Dogs: 3 Warning Signs of Heat Stress-1

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    Cottage industries that sell coats and sweaters for dogs to wear during cool weather have fleeced the pockets of pet owners for years. The fact is, it’s hard to freeze a working dog to death on even the coldest days. But it’s quite easy to accidentally kill a hard-hunting dog on even a mildly warm day.

    Every year dogs are put at risk for heat-related issues during August, September, and even Indian summer October hunts and field trials. However, if you know the signs and keep a close eye on your dog, you can safely enjoy warm, early-season days afield.

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