Parmesan Crusted Pheasant Breast; over brown gravy egg noodles with prosciutto wrapped asparagus


Recipe by: Tom Smith, General Manager Wildrose Mississippi

6 pheasant breasts
1 bag egg noodles
2 jars Campbell’s brown chicken gravy
6-8 slices prosciutto
1 bundle asparagus
4 eggs
1 bag of shredded Parmesan
Cook and drain approximately one bag of egg noodles.

Preheat grease in an iron skillet to medium high. Use enough grease to almost cover the pheasant

Dip the pheasant in an egg bath and roll in grated Parmesan, repeat.

Put the breasts in the skillet and crust the Parmesan until browned. Be prepared! The cheese will bubble and splatter.

Remove from the skillet and drain the grease from the breasts.

In a glass cooking dish (10×14 works for 6 breasts) pour the egg noodles then cover with brown gravy and stir until the noodles are coated. Chef’s choice to either make the gravy or use Campbell’s brown chicken gravy.

Place the cooked breasts on top of the noodles and gravy and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. This will finalize cooking the breasts.

Wrap approximately 3 stalks of asparagus with a slice of prosciutto, mist with olive oil and season to taste. Place bundles on non-stick baking sheet and cook for 20 mins at 375. I usually cook the asparagus the same time as the pheasant just on a higher rack.

And now, enjoy!

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Tweed, the Original Camouflage: A Look at Traditional Hunting Attire

By: Dr. Ben W. McClelland

different colors of tweed.jpg

Different colors of tweed

Most contemporary American sport hunters wear clothing that’s colored in variousshades of green and brown and patterned with leaves and black tree bark. Our preference of hunting clothes style—camouflage—comes from the military’s ages-old method of protecting personnel from detection by the enemy. A visit to Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak, or Cabela’s reveals the varieties of the today’s “in look” for outdoor wear: a bulky, camo winter coat with a hood and trousers to match.

As surprising as it may seem, tweed once reigned as the signature camouflage for any respectable sport hunter. How did that come about? Through a long and intriguing history, only the highlights of which I’ll outline.

According to “Tweed Guide,” “tweed emerged in Scotland and Ireland as a way for the farmers there to battle the chilly, damp climate that characterizes those parts. Tweed began as a hand-woven, rugged fabric, resistant to wind and water with excellent insulating properties. The cloth was rough, thick, and felted and the colors were muted and earthy.”


Prince Albert

In 1848 Prince Albert bought the Scottish estate of Balmoral and when the foundation stone of Balmoral Castle was laid in 1853 he designed the Balmoral Tweed for use—as camouflage—by all the stalkers and ghillies on the estate. Many of the English aristocracy followed the Royals, buying estates for grouse shooting, deerstalking and salmon fishing. Balmoral Tweed was predominantly grey with overchecks of red and black the background contains threads of black and white yarns twisted together to achieve the appearance of the rough hewn granite so familiar in Royal Deeside.


British tweed was ideal for sportswear for a 19th and early 20th-century gentleman due to its hardwearing qualities.  The English gentry quickly adopted tweed for outdoor wear on their country estates, but it wasn’t until King Edward VII took an interest in tweed, particularly the Glenurquhart tweed, when he brought the cloth to Savile Row, that it really became popular. (Tweed)

The word tweed was not derived from the River Tweed, although the cloth was manufactured in the Tweed Valley. Tweed is usually made by a variation of the basic twill weave, and the old Scottish name for twill was tweel. The name tweed is attributed to a mistake on the part of a London clerk who in 1826, when drafting an order or invoice for tweels, accidentally wrote tweeds, a name that quickly established itself. (Encyclopedia Brittanica)

The wide range of modified twill weaves in use includes herringbones, diamonds,

socks dogs

Wildrose Teton Valley (picture by Chris Dickinson)

chevrons, cross twills, and checks, along with an even more extensive variety of stripe, marl, fleck, and mingled heather effects in many tones and hues. The counts of the yarns and the twist and colours employed vary greatly, as do the ends and picks in warp and weft, or filling. Technical advances in dyeing raw stock, yarns, and fabrics, together with new techniques in finishing, have resulted in a wide variety of stable and hard-wearing apparel cloths made in different weights. (Encyclopedia Brittanica)

A lot of skilled fabric designing went into developing tweed as an effective camouflage fabric. As the “Tweed Guide” explains,

Sporting tweeds were developed as a form of indigenous camouflage to help hunters blend into the landscape particular to individual hunting estates. Color combinations were optimized to find the most effective combinations.  For instance, one local weaver produced eight color variations for the Strathconon Estate before enlisting hunters to prove which was least visible.  Tweed’s estate sporting background is the primary reason we have so many variations of patterns and colors today. (“Tweed Guide”)

One of the old traditions of the Highlands was that the chiefs provided some clothing for their retainers in the clan tartan.  As ownership of Scottish estates changed, new tenants and owners wanted to follow this tradition but they had no “right” to wear a tartan.  The story goes that the first Estate Tweed was “born” when General Balfour of Balbirnie rented the Glenfeshie Estate between 1834 and 1841, the General’s daughter was “disturbed because she had no tartan.”  So she designed a check, based on the Shepherd check, the traditional tweed of the Border shepherds, but with a scarlet overcheck.  She felt that this gave her a “tartan” for her staff, which the ghillies and keepers all wore right into recent history.  This check later developed into the Gun Club checks.

However, there was another reason for the creation of estate tweeds, and that was the need to blend in with the background of the mountain and moor to provide a camouflage for the stalkers when they were on the hill when pursuing the red deer of Scotland. (Tweed)

Also around the same time, Lord Elcho created his tweed for the new London Scottish Regiment.  He felt it wrong that soldiers should be wearing so conspicuous a colour as bright scarlet, and had this idea of camouflage in mind as a solution. This tweed, commonly known as the “Elcho mixture,” led onto the khaki uniform now worn in many versions everywhere. (Tweed)

For some hunters today, tweed is still seen as the preferred hunting attire—specifically, a tweed jacket (or blazer), flat cap, checked shirt and a tie, and breeks (short pants that fasten below the knee).

Admittedly, some social class structure is suggested by a comparison of contemporary hunting camouflage and traditional hunting attire. And perhaps because of mass marketing, camo is ubiquitous, while tweeds are less so.


Loader at Blixt & Co, Wildrose Teton Valley (picture by Chris Dickinson)

A writer in the “Gentleman’s Gazette,” views this as a regretful style choice: “Unfortunately for the dapper gentleman, shooting apparel has dwindled in the same sense that men stopped wearing slacks and blazers in the 50s and 60s and reverted to sweatpants and hoodies as being the socially acceptable attire for a day out. However, there is a contingent of us still who enjoy dressing for the event, and there’s no reason we can’t wear traditional country attire for a day of shooting. Any man who claims you won’t have a successful hunt should be reminded that camo has been used for just a few decades whereas men have been successfully hunting in elegant attire since the Romans.”

Actually, as the popularity of upland hunting grows, so does the appearance of traditional dress—svelte in tweed. Moreover, recently aired English historical period dramas, such as “Downton Abbey,” have also spawned greater interest in traditional hunting plaids.

American upland hunting destinations—which offer pheasant, partridge, and quail hunting—draw clients to the sport and to the traditional style of hunting dress.

For example, Idaho-based Blixt & Co. offers premier, traditional, driven pheasant and partridge shooting, as its website says, bringing “a long-held English tradition to the majestic American West.”

In giving advice to its clients, Blixt & Co. suggests traditional dress:

It is important to come prepared and dress for the shoot. Each shoot is different, but it is best to bring clothing that will keep you comfortable, warm and dry, with an eye to earthy colors and NO CAMMO or BLAZE. Driven Shooting attire should not be confused with duck hunting gear. Tweeds, wools and earthen colors are expected and you should avoid bright colors that will flare the birds. Blaze orange is required for upland or walk up hunting but should be avoided on a driven shoot as the birds flying overhead can see it and will quickly divert their course.

In addition to considering the weather, make sure that you can comfortably mount your gun and that you are not impeded by what you are going to wear.
A traditional Tweed Shooting Suit usually consists of the following: Breeks, Long socks with flashes, Shooting Vest, Sport Jacket, and a Field Coat or other outerwear.  Additionally matching or coordinating trousers can be included. You certainly don’t have to wear all of this, but if you are asked to dress traditionally, consider what you pack. You should also ask your host how formal dinners will be. On some English and Scottish Estates you are expected to wear black tie. (Blixt & Co.)

Blixt & Co. give much more detailed advice for Ladies Field Fashion. Owing to Jennifer Magnusson’s keen eye for ladies’ traditional hunting dress, she opens the section, “Notes,” in a pleasantly conversational style, saying, “Like you I am always looking for inspiration, great fitting items that I can add to my collection and advice from other women.” Jennifer continues, encouraging the clients to interact, “I use Pintrest a lot. You can check out my pins here! I also encourage you to share with me, your favorite items, where to buy, new brands and designers and I will share them here.” In the ensuing multi-page section, “Guidelines for Etiquette & Dress” presents four distinct style “Looks,” each one including a picture of the style described.

Hunters interested in traditional hunting attire can also look to Leonard Logsdail, of True Bespoke Tailors, New York & London. Logsdail presents a full line of traditional hunting dress for the high-end client. Dubbed “Logsdail Classic,” this ensemble includes a classically tailored collection of traditional hunting attire. In a series of YouTube Videos Leonard Logsdail presents each piece of clothing—showing the precise attention to functional detail in the design of each piece, including Game Shooter Vest, Field Coat, Sportsman Jacket, Gentleman Jacket, Poacher Jacket, Breeks, Gentleman Trousers, Cavalry Trousers, and Rake Trousers.

lonard logsdail.jpg

Leonard Logsdail

Viewing the videos, one can learn some interesting facts about bespoke tailoring—as well as some intriguing details about furtive hunting practices. For example, Logsdail appears to delight in demonstrating a large interior pocket sewn inside the lining of the Poacher Jacket. The pocket was designed so that a poacher could hide a hare from the game warden. A strap extends from the armpit to the top edge of the pocket in order to hold the weight of the hare, preventing the jacket from bulging and revealing its illegal contents.

Coincidentally, Leonard Logsdail was a recent Wildrose Workshop participant. In addition, the Wildrose Trading Company stocks his stylish necktie that features the Wildrose puppy-with-bumper logo.

Style choices for hunting attire will continue to trend towards hunters’ personal preferences and type of hunting activity. No doubt, more folks will sport contemporary camouflage; nevertheless, it’s heartening to see that tweed continues to make a resurgence, giving sporting men and women other functional and stylish options for outdoor clothing.


Works Cited & Consulted

Blixt & Co. Sporting Days


British Country Clothing


British Tweed – The Story: 14th October 2016, In “Fabric, Secrets & Know-How,” Tweed


Country Clothes & Odd Jackets


Encyclopedia Brittanica


Gentlemanly Pursuits: Hunting and Shooting Attire


Hunting, Riding & Shooting Suits from the 1930’s


Informal Country Style: Apparel Arts 1938


Leonard Logsdail, A short Interview


  1. Bruce Boyer, Len Logsdail, Part II


Logsdail Classic, a classically tailored collection of traditional hunting attire. YouTube


Nigel Carville, conversation, May 28, 2018. Wildrose Kennels, Oxford, MS.  Since 1999 Wildrose has had a relationship with Nigel Carville, Astraglen Kennels, Portadown, N. Ireland. On a recent visit to the Oxford kennels he provided helpful insights for this article.


Tweed Guide

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The Dog Days of Summer

By: Mike Stewart, President of Wildrose International

Off-season is a time for renewal for sporting dogs.  Two things to consider: 1) Keep the dog in physical shape 2) Refine skills that are in need of improvement identified last season.  The short list for off-season conditioning includes:

Nutrition:  Avoiding weight gain in your dog(s) is important.  Less Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 7.47.26 AM.pngactivity may require adjustment in food intake.  Purina research indicates it is preferred to adjust the amount of food provided if the dog gains pounds off-season rather than switching food mixtures (protein/fat ratios).  As for the dog’s body weight, a good comparison would be that 5 lbs. on a 50-lb dog is roughly the same as 20 lbs. on a 200-lb. person.

“Switching to a maintenance diet in the off-season is like metabolically detraining your dog.  An athletic dog should be fed a performance food year-round.”   Dr. Brian Zanghi, Purina Nutritionist and Wildrose client

It takes a dog 12 to 16 weeks to adjust its metabolism to a food mixture change, then before you know it, hunting season is just around the corner and once again the food mixture is switched.  Better choices:

  • Maintain the protein/fat ratio used during the active season but reduce the amount of food offered rather than switching feed.
  • Engage in exercise, training, adventure activities. Please review this month’s column on the Wildrose S.E.A System.  This program will offer guidance for your dog’s off-season conditioning. (Be cautious of heat exhaustion and know the signs of heat stress).

Training:  Identify your canine hunting companion’s weaknesses during last season and develop a plan to address issues:

Tip 1 – Solve one problem at a time (Wildrose Law #6) to avoid confusion and if what you’re doing in training is not working, simplify (Wildrose Law #19).

Tip 2 – Focus on the core problem first and build a foundation, ie: delivery, steadiness, hunting cover, whistle stops.

The tendency during off-season is to do too much easy, fun training activities just to keep the dog active.  Consider Tip 2 and focus attention and time on behaviors and skills that will pay dividends in the field and marsh next season.

Mike Training.jpg

A frequently asked question is about improving whistle stops and casting at distances.  First, evaluate if the dog will perform the skill in proximity to you. (Consider Wildrose Law #7).  If so, gradually extend distances rather than trying through repetition to make improvements with the dog at long distances making control and assistance difficult.  Success achieved? Then, extend 15 to 20 yards.

Whistle Stop and Cast at Distances

Step 1 – Drop a trailing memory at a fixed reference point on land first.  It could be in a small cover area, by a tree, etc.  To the left or right of the reference point should be another point, object or cover at least 15 to 20 yards away.  As you walk away with your dog at heel, have a helper pop in to recover your bumper and toss it to the second location.  Send the dog after the helper has left the field.  Allow the dog time to hunt the original area, then stop and cast to the location where bumper was placed. When the dog makes the find, you are the smartest guy in the field.  Trust is important.


Step 2 –In a different location set up a similar exercise using a trailing memory with a known reference point and have your helper available to assist.  The difference now is that the cover, where the second bumper is hidden, is placed before the location of the memory as an unseen, either to the left or right of the dog’s line to the memory similar to a baseball diamond configuration. As you walk away from the memory, the helper recovers the memory bumper. Line to the memory’s location then whistle stop the dog going out and cast for the unseen bumper or bird.  Now the dog must stop short of his intended destination and cast to achieve success.  If no stop, no reward.  If the whistle stop or cast is unsuccessful or ignored, re-set the exercise again with no bumper down in the original location.  Repeat the line-stop-cast. Still unsuccessful…


a. Shorten the distance or

b. Attempt the exercise as a pull/cast or

c. Return to Step 1.

Once successful on land, the skill should be practiced successfully five times in five different locations, THEN, go to the water.  (Wildrose Law #8)

Off-season refinement should include every element of the Wildrose S.E.A System:

Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 8.01.26 AM.png




Plus mental conditioning.

Also, don’t disregard the great opportunities the Wildrose Adventure Dog Certification program offers for off-season developmental activities.  What could be more enjoyable for the entire family?

Identify the weakness, focus on the steps for improvement, and through repetition your gundog will be ready for opening day.




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Wildrose S.E.A. System

Written and created by: Guy Billups, Wildrose Texas

The long summer looms ahead of us. This is a time for reminiscing on seasons past and


Sires at Wildrose Texas

tuning up areas in our Gundogs that showed deficiencies.  Also, a conditioning program is in order that is applicable to Sporting Dogs.

The newly developed Wildrose S.E.A. system (Strength, Endurance, Agility) is perfect for sporting dogs two years of age and older. Much like humans, dogs benefit from cross training physically and mentally. Purina and affiliates have done extensive research on what is required for an athletic dog to reach peak physical performance; what we feed, when we feed, and how much we feed are all important. Enter the next piece of the equation, cross training:  strength, endurance, agility and mental stimulation combined with proper nutrition and weight management can produce fantastic results.

According to musher Dr. Arleigh Reynolds DVM, who has conducted extensive research for Purina, it takes 4-8 weeks for a dog to accommodate to a stimulus and super-compensate for the overload at which point there is a diminishing return of results. Time to change. To combat this we change exercises constantly.

Strength – Most labs and other working breeds do excel with strength conditioning. Sprinting up hills or in sand are really good formats for this as well as long swims which provides a low-impact exercise.  For pointing breeds, pulling sleds or “roading” in harness with an ATV are excellent.

Fawn and bike

Endurance – Again, long swims work really well for this such as swimming behind the canoe at a steady pace for 5 minutes.  You can lengthen the swimming time gradually.  Long swims for lining memories is another option.  If you don’t have easy access to big water or your dog isn’t fond of swimming, ie. Pointing breeds, it’s time to lace up.  Incorporate slow jogs of less than 4 mph starting at 10-minute intervals avoiding hard surfaces like pavements to protect joins, and increasing duration and distance weekly.


Swimming next to kayak

Agility– The key component is to develop core strength and reverse muscles. A lot of injuries happen because of overwork of one muscle while not balancing the muscle on the opposite side. Think huge quads with poorly developed hamstrings leading to ACL tears. So conducting heel work doing figure 8s or reverse heel squares on a steep hillside, walking on an air mattress, negotiating balance beams, ramps and steps, or even stepping over agility ladders are all good ways to activate unused muscles and help protect vulnerabilities.

puppy on ramp


Mental– As we know our dog’s mind is a key component to everything we do.  Being physically tired achieves little if their minds are still in full gear remaining unchallenged.  This is where intense obedience work with lots of stimulation, tempting distractions and problem solving activities are beneficial. Group work with other dogs, birds flying, agility courses, negotiating obstacles, whoa work, rolling balls for steadiness, even an off-the-ground find as well as socialization opportunities are all good ways to make your dog really think through things.

bird on pole

Steady to bird

The key is to start activities slowly, or maybe I should say “make haste slowly” and remember routine is good but never to the point of boredom. After 8 weeks, change the activities and routine a bit to keep the progression interesting.

Off season all sporting breeds will benefit from an organized program for development that involves all the elements of S.E.A Systems while we remember the importance of keeping activities variable and challenging.

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Canine Flu CIV

By: Mike Stewart

There are multiple strains of CIV known as canine flu.  The two currently experienced in the US are H3N5 and H3N2.  The H3N2 has been seen in 40 states, most common in Colorado, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania.  The states of Georgia and Texas have reported frequent cases as well. Numbers infected across the country have been in the thousands.

Ghillie (Behnke) (1)

Vaccinations on the market currently do not completely prevent the virus but can reduce the severity and duration of the infection thereby reducing the spread of CIV.  Veterinarians can help you identify the strains in your area and suggest vaccines.  Wildrose has required inoculations for all dogs traveling across state lines for the last year as a precaution and presently all dogs on premises are inoculated.  Our greatest risk is dogs arriving in for training or attending workshops so the inoculation is required.

Signs and Symptoms

The infected dog will experience coughing, sneezing, fever, lethargy, nasal discharge and possibly reduced appetite.  Interestingly, about 20% of the dogs infected with the virus show no signs but they may still spread the virus.


CIV is transmitted through respiratory droplets discharged when the infected dog coughs, sneezes or even breathes.  The infected range of transmission is only a few feet but it may remain contagious on surfaces, bowls, bumpers, drinking water buckets, grooming equipment, leashes or even on your hands, body, or trousers.  This risk may exist for up to 48 hours. The good news is that the virus is easy to kill with common disinfectants and thorough cleaning.


The best prevention is the CIV vaccine.  The vaccine is a killed virus so it will not give ok indian nose in grass coloredyour dog the flu and humans cannot catch this type of flu.  Antibiotics will not help as they are only effective against bacterial infections.  The vaccine will build your dog’s immune system to lessen the effects.


The Vaccine inoculations are given in two doses three to four weeks apart followed by a booster annually.  The type of vaccine is dependent upon the area your dog resides and where you travel.  Consult a veterinarian for details.



Puppies are certainly susceptible to the dangers of CIV.  Inoculations are not given to pups less than 4 months of age so preventing contact with effected dogs is the only measure that can be taken.  Avoid public areas where dogs frequent and contact with unknown dogs.  Be careful to clean and sterilize commonly used items between dogs.



Information obtained from the AKC Breeder written by Sue M. Copeland and Greater Swiss Dog Club of America.



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Wildrose Trainer Profile Series: Steven Lucius, Senior Trainer

By: Dr. Ben McClelland

In his comprehensive training book, Sporting Dog and Retriever Training The Wildrose 


Way, Mike Stewart discusses the art of canine leadership, pointing out “three parts to becoming an effective, positive leader: communication with the dog, understanding canine behavior, and becoming a problem solver” (39-40). The trainers on the Wildrose staff embody those essential elements, and no one more so than Steven Lucius.

Senior trainer at Wildrose, Steven Lucius, began as a part-time kennel assistant in 2008 when he was an undergraduate student at Ole Miss. He got his first dog when he was a junior and, after work, followed Mike around, observing how he trained dogs. Then he would apply those techniques to training his dog. Steven wasn’t the first Lucius to work at the kennel. His brother, Charlie, worked at Wildrose during his college years. The Lucius brothers hail from Marietta, Georgia, and both earned degrees in marketing from the University.

In 2010 Steven was promoted to training apprentice, shadowing Mike and working directly with Mike’s string of started and finished dogs. At the time Mike remarked that he would invest a great deal of time developing Steven’s training skills and he hoped that Steven would stay at least five years on the job. On June 1, 2011, Steven was promoted to assistant trainer working with the gundog and adventure dog training programs. Today—more than seven years after his apprenticeship began—senior trainer Steven coordinates all training operations at the Oxford facility, which includes gundogs, adventurers, and obedience dogs. Therefore, over these years, not only has Steven returned a remarkable dividend on Mike’s investment, but he has also has made an enviable transition from holding a job as a dog trainer to developing it as a career.

Steven recalls a day about five years ago, as he realized that his work was evolving, he called his father and said, “I enjoy getting up every day and going to work.” His father replied that ninety percent of American workers wished that they could say the same and that Steven was fortunate to have found such meaningful work.

On June 3, 2017, Steven added even more meaning to his life by marrying his lifelong partner, Schuyler Corderman, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. They live in Oxford, near Wildrose Kennels. Schulyer is completing a second undergraduate degree in education at the University of Mississippi. The couple enjoys watching collegiate sports and has an active home life.

Moreover, Steven has kennels at home and, in addition to housing his personal dogs, he is able to bring problem dogs to a quieter environment, enabling him to address their needs. Of course, Steven is an avid hunter, so his avocation is closely related to his vocation.

I began my trainer apprenticeship at Wildrose in 2011, just as Steven was working with Mike, and even after that year, I have continued to participate weekly with Steven and the other trainers in Group Work activities. Every Wednesday a trainer sets up a specific, multiple-step, training activity and, working alongside each other, the trainers work each of their client dogs through the activity. Local members of the Wildrose family, as well as anyone visiting with a dog, are welcome to join in the group activity. For me, of course, working in a group of trainers and dogs has given me many opportunities over the years to challenge my dogs’ skills in novel training scenarios with various stimuli and distractions. I also enjoy the camaraderie, much as anyone who attends a Wildrose workshop does.

Steven, of course, uses the group work similarly, judging his client dogs’ progress as developing gundogs and comparing them to other dogs’ work. However, as senior trainer, he finds another value in the group work activity. He and the other trainers can view each other’s handling skills and make constructive observations to each other. The perspective of an outside observer enables one to gain new insight for skill development.

Fellow Trainer Danielle Drewrey has been the beneficiary of Steven’s observations. She said, “Steven is always willing to help a trainer who is having an issue with a dog in training and can lighten things up because he can find humor in a situation. He helped me a lot when I was learning to train. Because he is a patient and methodical trainer, Steven doesn’t try to find a ‘quick fix.’ He takes time to really get to know the dog find a balanced way to resolve an issue.”

From her observations Trainer Bess Bruton agrees. “As a trainer, Steven is considerate, patient, quiet, composed, and successfully reads the dog. . .  its personality, its sensitivity level, and its knowledge level. This keenness lets Steven adjust his training program to fit each individual dog.” Bess says that she emulates the qualities that she has observed in and learned from Steven, concluding, “his success in turning out well-trained dogs is proof of his quiet demeanor, consistency dedication, and love for our canine companions.”

By attending group training, I observed another aspect of Steven’s training technique. As we begin a round of group work, the trainers gather with their dogs in the parking lot near the client-dog kennel. Each dog sits at heel as we wait for everyone to join in. On several occasions while waiting, I observed Steven focusing intently on developing and maintaining eye contact with his dog. When I asked him about this practice, he said, “It’s how we can both read each other,” mentioning the popular metaphor of “the eyes being the window of the soul,” meaning that a trainer can really connect emotionally and physically with the essence of the dog through sustained eye contact.

Mike’s maxim, “Own the Eyes,” enabling direct communication with the dog correlates with this (Stewart 75). Steven added that dogs’ attention span and eye contact vary; some take readily to making eye contact and giving full attention to the trainer, while others require more time and repeated practice to be able to hold eye contact for as long as three to ten seconds. Every command from the handler begins with establishing eye contact and saying the dog’s name, so this practice is an essential foundation to training success. Being consistent in this practice lets the dog understand that it doesn’t go anywhere to begin fun activities in the field until it exhibits good eye contact. Danielle Drewrey also noted that this practice was part of Steven’s ability to connect and really build a relationship with each dog that he trains.

Associate Trainer Erin Davis concurs with Danielle, calling Steven “a true asset to the Wildrose training team.” One of Erin’s favorite things about working alongside Steven, she said, “is watching his gift for reading dogs and his ability to capture their individual motivators. Additionally, I appreciate his insight on troubleshooting and willingness towards idea sharing. While he doesn’t always say much, what he does say has weight. He may not converse at a loud volume, but his choice of words is filled with honesty, realism, and encouragement.”

To succeed as a trainer Steven believes that one must have a balance, must maintain flexibility between dedication and patience. The trainer must consistently come to work every day with his dogs. And a trainer must be patient because the skill level and pace at which each dog learns differ. Moreover, dogs have varying levels of energy. Some are upbeat and others are lethargic, so the trainer must adapt his energy level accordingly.

Steven finds satisfaction in seeing young dogs grow and improve, and in seeing older, trained dogs return, so that he can see what they have retained from their previous training.

Routinely, Steven trains twelve client dogs at a time. In addition, he has three personal dogs: Archer (Widgeon x Purdy), Ivy (Murphy x Pinny), and Moe a descendant of Archer. Six-year-old Archer, who comes from Angus’ lineage, hunts ducks and upland birds, including going on the annual Wildrose pheasant stint in North Dakota. Steven also keeps pups from Archer to train and send out as started dogs.

Even as he consistently works through all steps in the gundog program, Steven views two points of development as crucial. The first is a decisive moment and the second is a harbinger of the dog’s future effectiveness in the field. First, the steps in the process from hold conditioning through back casting is a crunch time for the dog, with the later steps in the training process rolling on more easily from then on. Casting exercises require time and patience. Mike writes, “You need to run back casts, pull/push, rotational backs, and stop-to-the-whistle backs for quite some time—a minimum of 30 days—to ensure that the dog fully understands the back command before introducing left and right hand signals (Stewart 142).

Second, Steven most enjoys when a dog reaches a level of skill where Steven is able to work with birds, shooting over dog, and engaging in transitional drills so that he can see how the dog is prepared to handle important aspects of hunting situations. Here again, Steven takes the time for the dog to run these exercises successfully. Erin Davis said, “Steven typically works alone with an individual dog in areas off the beaten path. This tactic allows him to clearly focus on the dog and provide quick appreciation for the dog’s successes. His dedication to controlling the dog’s environment through decreased distractions undoubtedly allows him to provide dogs with more complexity in training scenarios leading to his positive outcomes in training.”

Steven builds lasting relationships with clients. He begins by communicating with owners every month through two phone calls and photo, plus text messages. Moreover, he asks each client dog’s owner to visit with him and the dog midway during the seven-month training period and at the end. Both visits give the owner a chance to work with the dog, going beyond basic obedience training to retrieving and handling the dog in the field. The midway visit enables to owner to see what progress the dog has made. By that point most likely the dog has completed hold conditioning and is engaged in casting work. The final visit lets the owner see the finished product: the dog’s development from a pup to a started gundog.

Erin Davis expresses the sentiments of many who know Steven as a trainer, “His wealth of practical field experience is evident in the way he prepares his pups correctly from the start. The relationship he forms with each pup allows each one to freely look to him with trust as a leader and teammate. He’s a quiet handler who gives clear direction, fair redirection, and sufficient praise from the yard to the field. These leadership features are evident in his consistent production of confident dogs who are biddable, athletic, and critical thinkers.”

Work Cited

Mike Stewart, Sporting Dog and Retriever Training The Wildrose Way, New York: Universe Publishing, 2012.

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Wildrose Carolinas

Wildrose CarolinasWildrose Carolinas is excited to have its first entry in the Wildrose Journal.  Plans are being finalized for our official opening and once they are final, we will be sure to share them with all of the Wildrose Pack.  We expect to be open in early June and look forward to hosting as many of you as possible to our location for what we think will be another unique experience for you and your dogs.  Stay tuned for more soon!!!
Wildrose Carolinas is teaming up with the Orvis retail location in Charlotte for an “Orivs Day” focused on dogs.  Mark your calendars and plan to come to the Orvis store in Charlotte (address below) and bring your dogs along.  The date is Sunday, April 22, 2018 from 12 pm EST until 6 pm, EST.  Wildrose Carolinas will be on site from 12 until 6 pm with several pups and dogs of all ages.  We will have many training items on display and for sale.  Kirk Parker along with Shawn Yates, Head trainer and manager of Wildrose Carolinas and Kim Yates, retail and healthcare associate will be demonstrating some foundational aspects of the Wildrose Way.  At 3 pm, Shawn Yates will give a presentation on key tenets and training

Shawn Yates

tips of the Wildrose Way and the Gentleman’s Gundog and Adventure Dog. Kim Yates will share some healthcare tips for your dogs as well.  We will also have a site plan for the Wildrose Carolinas facility.

Save the date and plan to come by for a visit, learn more about the Wildrose Carolinas facility plans and pick up training supplies you might need. Bring your dog along as well and help us illustrate some “pack leadership.”  According to the folks at the Orvis store, “the more the merrier.”  If we have not had the pleasure of meeting you, we look forward to meeting you and discussing all of our exciting plans for extending the Wildrose experience to the East Coast.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
12 PM until 6 PM
Orvis Charlotte
To register for Orvis event –
We hope to see you there.  Until next time….
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Bacon Brown Sugar Brussel Sprouts

Recipe submitted by Mindy Ladner: Wildrose Retail Associate



  • 16oz brussel sprouts
  • 4-6 slices applewood smoked bacon
  • 1-2 Tbsp butter
  • 2-3 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • salt & pepper


Trim stems on brussel sprouts and remove any damaged outer leaves, then slice them in half. If sprouts are larger in size, they can be quartered. Set aside.

In a large non-stick skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and leave enough rendered fat to coat the bottom of skillet.

mindy-2016With the skillet over medium heat, place your sprouts in with the flat, cut side down. Season with salt and pepper. Let them cook undisturbed until they get browned and caramelized.  Then stir them and continue to cook med-low heat until cooked through.

Add butter to skillet and let melt.  Stir the butter to coat brussel sprouts.

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top and stir to distribute.  Let the sugar melt then stir again.

Taste to check salt and pepper.  Add accordingly.


Note from the chef: These make a fantastic side that pairs with almost any protein.  If you aren’t a big fan of Brussel sprouts, try them this way. I didn’t care for them until I started cooking them like this. Now they are one of my favorite sides.

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Bacon Wrapped Pheasant

Recipe by: Steven Lucius
Senior Trainer

Pheasant breastsIMG_2550
Thick cut bacon (2 slices per pheasant breast)

Once the meat is cleaned, filet the meat off the breast bone

Cute the breast into 1” portions (clean & rinse meat one last time)

Wrap each portion in one piece of uncooked thick cut bacon – insert toothpick if needed

Heat Green Egg to 350 degrees

Place pheasant wrapped bacon on grill

After 3 minutes flip the pheasant (flip a total of 5 times for 15 minutes)

When bacon is cooked, your meal is ready!

Serve with greens

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The New Arrival

By: Danielle Drewrey
Wildrose Trainer II

At Wildrose we strive to properly prepare our clients for the integration of their puppy to their current family lifestyle.  The list of what to do and perhaps what not to do is rather extensive. Similarly let’s consider how to properly introduce a newborn or toddler to our canine pack. After attending the Wildrose puppy seminar, some say they feel more prepared to bring their puppy home than they were when they brought their newborn home.  What about grandparents or friends expecting visitation from a newborn or a toddler, the same circumstances exist…an odd intrusion on your dog’s stable family pack.  Expecting my own human “puppy” very soon, I reached out to other Wildrose pack members and gathered a list of ‘What To Do’s’ when introducing a baby to meet and coexist with our canine companion(s).

Bringing home a baby will not only rock your world but Fido’s as well.  It is your responsibility to properly prepare Fido for the new addition.  Your pack is growing and all members need to know their place in the pack order. Dogs thrive in an environment with structure, routine, stability and consistency, all of which will be rattled once the baby arrives.

sadie and baby

WR Sadie (Murphy X Brooke)   Owners: The Youngs

The preparation of getting Fido ready for the baby to come home begins long before the baby arrives.  Teaching Fido basic obedience will be the best giftyou can give yourself and your dog in the future months and years to come.  A tip from Anna Swinney, Retail Manager of Wildrose Oxford is to carry around a baby doll a few weeks
before the baby comes home in order for Fido to get used to the new routine and presence of a smaller person.  Something you might notice is Fido’s awareness of the pregnancy, this will aid in the transition of the new addition as well.

Skills like place, crate training, tie out and a proper exercise routine are going to be your saving grace.  Place training is essential to avoid mishaps such as knocking the child over, retrieving the child’s toys or even steeling the pacifier.  Establish a special place to feed the dog where the child has no access, in the unlikely event the dog becomes possessive of their food.  Wildrose never recommends chew toys, but if the dog does have possessions or is given treats for dental care ensure the child has no opportunity to interfere. When traveling with the infant and the dog(s) as always, we recommend the

storm and baby adventure

WR Storm (Deke X Jet) Owners: The Armisteads

dog being secured to prevent the animal becoming a flying object in case of an impact. A harness attached to a seat belt or having the dog in a travel crate is always recommended, especially with a child on board.

For more information on obedience training, see our You Tube and Facebook training videos (search “Wildrose Kennels”) on the specifics of teaching your pup these skills.  Consistency and routine are a huge factor that will help ease the transition for Fido once the baby arrives.  For example, if you have been working Fido in the morning, continue working him in the morning once the baby arrives. Feeding and relief schedules should be maintained as always.

Now that you have equipped Fido with the necessary skills of obedience, you are ready for the baby to come.  Once the newborn arrives the most common piece of advice new parents are given is to bring a blanket or hat home that the baby has been wearing so Fido can become familiar with the new scent.

Jen Magnusson of Blixt & Co., owner of four Wildrose labs, recently brought Baby Em home to her pack, and provided valuable tips about the experience:

The best way to integrate the newest pack member was to:

1st Bring a blanket home with the baby’s scent on it for all the pups in the home to become familiar with.

2nd One at a time, introduce the baby in a quiet setting to each dog in the home.

3rd Take a pack walk with the baby and all pack members living in the home.

4th After the walk, let each dog come over and sit with you and the baby.

During this process of introducing the newborn to the pack Jen notes that the most important skill to practice is for you (the handler and pack leader) to be relaxed and remain under control during the introduction. If you are stressed and nervous during the introductions, your pack members will be as well.

Jen has experienced that as the baby grows, she will learn to steer clear of wagging tails along with learning how to be gentle with the dogs.  She explains, “The hardest part is that she is so comfortable with our dogs that I worry she will run into a dog that needs more space than she is accustomed to.”

The path to introducing a baby to the pack may be varied depending on your dog’s personality.  Just remember YOU are the pack leader and it is your responsibility to set the tone of introducing the newest addition in the best way possible.  Have a plan and remember Wildrose Law number 18, “Train, don’t test- If the fundamental skills are not present the dog will fail.”

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