Bread Pudding

Recipe by Mary K Cardinal, Tell City, IN

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Mary K Cardinal

Mary was the resident cook on the 2018 Wildrose North Dakota Hunt and floored everyone with her culinary skills.  She will be joining the expedition this year as well!

Noted by Mary’s son, Tom Smith of Wildrose Oxford:
“Mary is a natural entertainer and she believes the culinary aspect is very important to a great party. Over the years everyone comes to expect the unexpected from her because she is always trying new recipes or changing tried and true for a different taste, texture, and look.”


Bread Pudding

Bread crumbs bread pudding ingredients
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
8 eggs
5 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Ingredients for Topping
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Fill 9X13-inch pan with bread crumbs and 1/2 cup pecans. Melt 1/2 cup butter and pour over bread. Set aside.


Make custard by combining 2 cups sugar and 8 eggs. Mix in 5 1/2 cups milk, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour over bread and sprinkle top with cinnamon sugar (2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon). Place 9X13-inch pan in larger pan of water. Bake in 350 degree oven approximately 60 minutes. Test with knife. Knife should come out clean when pudding is done.


Ingredients for Sauce
1 cup melted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons whiskey

Whip together until smooth and serve over pudding.

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Staying Engaged with the Wildrose Pack Via Social Media

By Dr. Ben McClelland and Danielle Drewrey

“The robust Wildrose Kennels social media platform keeps us connected as a pack….  Gathering together on Wildrose social media sites is our community meeting place; it’s the kitchen table around which we, as a family, share our stories.”

From Day One at Wildrose Kennels Mike Stewart aimed to develop a dog-raising, dog-training company that engendered a lifestyle around the “Gentleman’s Gundog,” a keen, reliable game-finder in the field and a relaxed, steady companion in the home or lodge. Achieving that goal required gathering a community of like-minded gentlemen and gentlewomen together. Today “The Pack” is our Wildrose tribe, our Labrador-loving clan, our family of hunters, of outdoor adventurers, of service-dog families, and of just plain folks with kindred dog-loving interests.


The robust Wildrose Kennels social media platform keeps us connected as a pack. It lets us stay connected, show our passion, and acknowledge each other. Using social media, we can share our opinions and express our beliefs and ideas. Our private group site, Training the Wildrose Way, allows us to admit our mistakes and offer each other solutions for our problems. Instagram enables us to showcase our dogs and their achievements through pictures and videos. On Facebook we can see each group of folks picking up puppies, see what’s happening at the kennel this week, and view the latest available products. Our Journal and the blog archive carry personal stories, training tips, notes from the field, and even wild game recipes. Gathering together on Wildrose social media sites is our community meeting place; it’s the kitchen table around which we, as a family, share our stories.

The purpose of this article is to explain various media components in our platform and to encourage further use of our social media to achieve our goals with our dogs and to bond with our fellow pack members.

Here’s an example of how Wildrose folks become informed and bond with the aid of social media: Last week I ran into Gary Donnelly at the Wildrose store as he came to pick up two-year-old WR Blue (Deke x Sprint) from training. It was our first handshake, even though we recognized each other from various postings on Facebook. I told Gary that I was working on an article about the kennel’s social media and I asked him about his experience. Gary said that several years ago he had purchased, watched, and used Mike’s training video on a lab that he owned. Then, in December of 2016—when he was trying

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Gary and WR Blue

to decide if a Wildrose dog would be right for him—he had come to Wildrose where he met with Mike and Tom and he felt fortunate to be on a waiting list. After taking Blue home, Gary said that he needed more training assistance and viewed some of the training videos, including those in the Wildrose Journal. Gary especially enjoys Mike’s Purina videos and Tom Smith’s “Mondays with Mattis” videos that give brief specific training tips. “They’re good refresher courses,” he said. Gary also came back for a handler’s workshop and attended some upland bird pickups. In these activities not only did he gain good field experience, but he also met other Wildrose dog handlers, with whom he maintains friendships today, communicating through Facebook chat. “You know, I realized that we’re not just dog owners, but we’re more of a family.”

My chance encounter with Gary showed me a good example of the intersection of social media, training activities, and community bonding at work for us Wildrose pack members.

How can you get more engaged? The full array of Wildrose resources is listed at the end of this article. Let me suggest a few (of many) ways to navigate the media to find information, activities, and people of interest to you.

You can find innumerable training videos—of varying length and detail—that offer training instruction. Go to the kennel’s main website ( and click on the drop tab “Training Videos” to select from dozens.

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Training Videos on

You may also find lots of training videos on YouTube ( Popular to many is the Training your Puppy the Wildrose Way sponsored by Purina Pro Plan ( An easy way to locate training videos by topic is by accessing our Facebook page—where we have 13,300 followers. Simply, click on “Videos” and search through the playlists: Wildrose Journal – Live, Mondays with Mattis, Waterfowl Wednesdays, Puppy Training the Wildrose Way (Purina), and Tips From Texas.

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Playlists on Facebook

Also, you can quickly access conversations about training issues—as well as miscellaneous topics—by joining the “Training the Wildrose Way Group (Facebook).” This is a lively collection of pack members, which now numbers 1.4 k members. On this site pack members share in conversations about their dogs and their activities. One of my favorite stories is Glenn Pabody’s ongoing series of (charmingly boastful) posts about his wife, Maryetta (aka Deadeye), joining with him and WR Abe afield. (And, by the way, Maryetta puts meat on the story’s bones in her informative narrative on another one of our communication media, our blog: ( Click the URL to learn about her life with her husband and dogs, read about her adventures afield, and see her fine new shotgun.).

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On “Training the Wildrose Way Group (Facebook)” members also post questions about training and several fellow pack members and Wildrose trainers respond, suggesting solutions. A search bar and topic tabs give easy access to topics, some of the most popular of which are training your gundog, puppy training, hunting the Wildrose Way, and adventure dogs. Scroll through the daily posts and join in the conversation, just as dozens of folks do, such as Sammye Pisani, Hunter Leonidas, Chris Hines, Erin Davis, Chris Willke, Maria Perez, John Urbik, Lisa Mayer, Kent Matthews, Jimmy Mitchell, and so many more.

Instagram, a photo- and video-sharing service sponsored by Facebook, boasts 16.9 k followers and is a popular site for exhibiting our dogs and viewing others’. You can easily navigate Instagram’s content by using the Highlight Tabs, such as puppies, training, events, shop, hunting, and Adventure. When you post pictures, help others locate them by labeling them with our community’s hashtags: #wildroseway, #gentlemansgundog, or #wildrosekennels.
Follow along with us:
@wildrosekennels @wildrosetexas @wildrosecarolinas
@wildrosedeepsouth @wildrosekennels_mountainstate @wildrosenewengland @wildrosegreatlakes @wildrosetetonvalley @wildroseroaming @wildrose_mattis

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@WildroseKennels Instagram

And for the serious student of training Mike Stewart developed two excellent training videos: The Wildrose Way: Retriever Training for the Gentleman’s Gundogand Training the Upland Gundog: The Wildrose Way. Comprehensive and detailed, both are superior productions. What’s more, both are available for digital download at

The Wildrose Journal—which you are currently reading—is our bi-monthly online publication. Anyone can access the journal by signing up on or the Wildrose app (available from Apple or Google Play by searching “Wildrose Kennel”).  The resources in the journal articles are manifold, offering training tips, stories of pack members and their dogs, a calendar of events, and even recipes. Receiving The Wildrose Journal via e-mail is the best way for you to be up-to-date on all things Wildrose.

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You could read, for example, the story of beginning handler Hattie Billups and her pup, Gus, on their three-year journey to their championship performance winning Wildrose’s Double Gun Classic. ( As with many of the Journal’s feature stories, you’ll experience the ups and downs of daily training with an exceptional dog and a passionate handler.

Furthermore, the interested reader can access the blog archive, which carries bi-monthly articles from 2011 to today. Want to read some interesting history? Take a look at the pictures and story from our first Wildrose Adventure Dog Workshop, Buena Vista, CO, in August, 2011. (

Any look at Wildrose’s social media must include cruising the Wildrose Kennels Main Website ( along with Wildrose Texas ( and Wildrose Carolinas ( which give a comprehensive introduction to all things Wildrose.

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Moreover, Wildrose Trading Company ( offers the best products to use for you dog. Antonio Battista, Wildrose’s retail manager and communications director, recently re-designed and enhanced both the Wildrose Kennels website and the Wildrose Trading Company website. A 2018 graduate University of Mississippi, Antonio employed his expertise in integrated marketing communications and business administration, to develop websites that are better organized and easier for us to navigate. Antonio is also raising and training his own Wildrose pup, bringing him to work daily.

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Just to give an idea of the brisk traffic on the trading company website, 3,100 people visited it in August. Antonio, who put his personal phone number on the website, fields several calls from customers, seeking advice on what products to use and how to use them correctly. For example, a client called recently, saying that his dog would not heel with the regular collar and leash that he was using: “What can you suggest that I do?” Antonio recommended using our specially designed combination lead with a snug tab and slip collar. He further explained how to use the collar effectively. In another phone inquiry a client said that her dog wouldn’t stay on place in the dog bed. In this case Antonio recommended using the elevated kuranda bed, because it defines the place area more effectively for the dog. Because of Antonio’s personal experience with raising and training a dog, he’s able to converse knowledgeably with clients about the products that are best suited for their needs. 

Finally, let me conclude by saying that there’s more good media content headed your way. Krista Oliver, a senior at the University of Mississippi is working as a media specialist intern at the kennel this semester. Krista, who majors in broadcast journalism and minors in political science, is carrying out a number of photo and video projects, involving especially training and special events, such as the Double Gun. We look forward to seeing the fruits of her labor, as she teams up with Antonio Battista to further enhance clients’ social media resources. Stay online folks!

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The Pack – staying connected


Please visit the following websites, purchase the recommended books and DVD’s, and select some of the suggested training supplies to ensure your puppy gets everything needed to grow, thrive, and become a successful, happy and healthy hunting dog, adventure dog or companion to you.

Internet Websites

Wildrose Kennels Main Website                      
Wildrose Trading Company               
Wildrose Texas                                                
Wildrose Carolinas                                    

Wildrose App 

Available on Apple and Google Play – Search “Wildrose Kennel”

Wildrose Online Magazine

The Wildrose Journal—sign up on or the Wildrose Kennels App

Reference Books

Sporting Dog and Retriever Training, The Wildrose Way
Mike Stewart


The Wildrose Way: Retriever Training for the Gentleman’s Gundog,
Mike Stewart

Training the Upland Gundog The Wildrose Way,Mike Stewart
*Both DVD’s are available for digital download on

Training Articles

Wildrose Blog        
Wildrose App                      under the “Articles” icon

Training Videos

“Wildrose Kennels” on You Tube
There are several ways to get access to our You Tube videos:
-Head to:
-Click on the You Tube icon on the home page of
-Click on the You Tube icon on the Wildrose Kennels App

Wildrose Kennels Facebook Page under the “videos” tab

Starting Your Puppy-The Wildrose Way, Purina ProPlan video series under the “Training Videos”on

Social Media

@wildrosekennels @wildrosetexas @wildrosecarolinas
@wildrosedeepsouth @wildrosekennels_mountainstate @wildrosenewengland @wildrosegreatlakes @wildrosetetonvalley @wildroseroaming @wildrose_mattis

@wildrosekennels @wildrosetexas @wildrosecarolinas
@wrnorthcentral @wildrosekennelsgreatlakes @wrnewengland @wildrosemountainstate  @wildrosekennelsdeepsouth @wildrosekennelsrockymountains @wildroseoftheozarks  @wildrosetetonvalley

“Training the Wildrose Way” Group on Facebook

Wildrose Kennels

Wildrose Trading Company

260 CR 425
Oxford, MS 38655




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Lost and Found – The Wildrose Way

By Patty Wood, Canine Search Specialist

patty wood

Ever since I lost my seven-year-old daughter on a beach in Texas, I have had a passion for finding the lost and missing. Tricia was found safe and sound; however, that was the worst ten minutes of my life. While I was frantically searching for her, I kept thinking what a good hound nose could do to find her. That thought and that 10 minutes changed my life. For instance……

Many years later an elderly man, Mr. X, had left his home early in the morning to scout out the perfect squirrel hunting areas in Shelby Forest, located in west Tennessee. He had told his wife he would be home by 9:00 am. With no sign of him that morning, Mrs. X called the park rangers. By 10:00 pm the rangers called Shelby County Sheriff’s Emergency Services for assistance: Joy dog and I are a part of this well-organized and trained first response team with over 100 volunteer members.

Wildrose Wood’s Searching Joy and I answered the call. Once on the scene, I assembled my team of emergency services volunteers. Each team member had a special skill: medical, navigation, and communication. I also requested an armed park ranger (in case of alligator trouble) to accompany us.


Sweat was dripping down my back as we trudged through knee high water to get to the completely dark and quiet woods. The thick green canopy wouldn’t allow cell phone coverage out or moonlight into the woods. Finally standing on dry ground, I cast Joy with her search-for-human command: “Find.” She swirled around and knew exactly why she was there, what to do, and which direction to go.

I worked Joy off lead. She used the air/wind, just like any other hunting dog, to find her target.

Joy’s glowing lightstick, attached to her official search vest with her small bell ringing, showed the way. I had complete confidence in my dog. Suddenly, she took off at a run.

She located her target and started her recall to tell me she had found Mr. X. He had heard her bell, seen her, and started calling for help. Joy knew her job and came all the way back to me to bark and lead me to him. Our medical team member evaluated the victim, gave him water, and a power bar. Communications radioed the base command to advise incident command of the find and the condition of the victim. He was weak, but stable. The navigation team member found a dry exit out of the woods. In forty minutes from the time I had cast Joy to “find,” we had this lost and grateful man in the waiting ambulance. The fastest way to find someone is to use a good certified search dog.

patty wood3

All successful searches are credited to the many people who make them happen. It includes everyone who has hidden in the woods to help me train all the way up the Sheriff himself believing in us.

It takes a year or two to train a search dog. I have to have a variety of people willing to tease my dog with a toy, run away, and let the dog find that person with the toy. The mock victim becomes the trainer and rewards the dog. I continue the chain, training by adding a bark on command, and eventually a recall to the handler with a spontaneous bark at the handler. At this point in training, the handler carries the reward and hands it to the mock victim to reward the dog.

In short, the victim/reward is why the dog searches.

Joy had certifications from National Association of Search and Rescue NASAR in Area Search (live finds), Human Remains Detection on land, buildings, autos, and water. She also accompanied me to schools, camps, and scout meetings to present Hug a Tree, a program that teaches children what to do if they become lost in the woods and how to make themselves found.

Joy and I had fun learning to compete in AKC Rally Obedience. But what Joy liked the best was dancing. Latino music was her favor. We even entered a competition. Being from Memphis, we danced to Elvis’s “Don’t Step On My Blue Suede Shoes.” Having the “place” command really worked for us. Every time I turned away from the GIANT blue shoes decked out with rhinestones, Joy would stand on the shoes. It was a laugh and we both enjoyed it.

Doing something fun with your dog is a big part of training for something serious. A dog can burn out with the pressure of lives at stake.

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Every Adventure Dog is equipped with a set of skills that gives them the ability to take on many situations. A few of the learned skills for Joy to be a successful search and rescue dog included:

Having a dog that will remain calm and patient while you tend to other matters, such as assembling your team, studying maps, or tending to the victim’s needs is important to make your mission a success.

Ignoring wild game and other dogs is also necessary. The dog must have focus. This comes with super rewards from the mock victims while training.

Whistle training is of most importance to me. I only use the whistle for the come. Since much of the live searching is done in the dark; and since I want my dog to range away from me, it is a comfort to know I can always call him/her back to me.

Cancer took Joy away from me, and all of Shelby County, last year. She was my second Wildrose dog. I am now training Wildrose Searching Lucy to follow in her paw prints, but she can’t dance. ☺


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Diabetic Alert Dog Donated to Oxford Boy

Originally posted by The Oxford Eagle

brandon and bilko

Brandon King is in the fight of his life, but he will not continue it alone.

The 10-year-old, who has Type 1 diabetes, faces a daily struggle with his fluctuating insulin levels. Thanks to donations from community organizations, King recently was gifted a diabetic alert dog to help monitor his insulin levels.

Bilko, a yellow British Labrador bred at Wildrose Kennels of Oxford, was trained at Wildrose and Hub City Service Dogs in Hattiesburg in preparation to help King.

“We are honored to have one of the Wildrose Diabetic Alert Dogs placed with Brandon,” said Tom Smith, president of Wildrose Kennels. “We know it will be life-changing. Thanks to the hard work of the Northwest Student Nursing Association and generosity of the community, we were able to give Brandon a best friend and life-saving companion.”

For individuals like King who live with Type 1 diabetes, the biggest threat is rapidly changing and irregular blood sugar levels. Even with the modern technology of the 21st Century, such as glucose monitors, there is still not a method that’s able to sense changing blood levels as quickly as diabetic alert dogs.

Dogs trained to assist diabetic individuals learn to monitor smells in the air for a specific scent on the human breath that is related to rapidly dropping or low blood sugar levels. The dogs are then trained to alert the person with diabetes, usually by touching them in a specific way, such as pawing or nudging them.

The dogs are even trained to alert family members when necessary. Bilko will be on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, allowing King’s family to worry a little less each day.

The Wildrose Diabetic Alert Dog is sponsored by the Northwest Mississippi Community College Student Nursing Association, with contributions from Wildrose Oxford, Hub City Service Dogs, the CREATE Foundation and the King family.

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Donations will cover the cost of the dog all the way through lengthy stages of training. The total cost for Diabetic Alert Dog training can be more than $30,000.

Danielle Drewrey of Wildrose Kennels trained and worked with King and his family on how to handle Bilko in the home, at school and restaurants. The early training was designed to help King gain confidence and build trust with Bilko.  Drewrey also taught King’s family how to send Bilko on retrieves as a reward.  “As soon as they met, you could tell they were going to be best friends,” Drewrey said. “Brandon did great throughout the training process.”

The Student Nursing Association at NWCC presented the final donation for Bilko at Wildrose Kennels Oxford last Wednesday.

To learn more about Wildrose Diabetic Alert Dogs, visit or contact Scott Wilson at

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Preseason Hunting Prep

Written by Wildrose Carolinas

Carolinas Photo 2

With hunting season already here in some locations and fast approaching for others, we offer a few helpful tips and reminders for taking your young dog through its first hunting season. It is important to build on all of the time and effort that you have put into training up until this moment. While most of this is for younger dogs, many of these concepts apply to seasoned dogs as well.

Transitional training: A key step on the journey to developing a true Gentleman’s Gundog is the transitional training before the dog goes to the field for the first time. Try to closely simulate the environment your dog will encounter so that the first time your dog experiences something is not the day of the hunt. Training the way you intend to hunt is a crucial part of how your dog will perform. Build transitional training drills that utilize the tools you plan on using during hunts, such as dog hides and stands, duck blinds, guns, decoys, other dogs, etc. Also, consider how you get to your blind. Do you walk carrying all sorts of gear? Do you ride an ATV? Boat? Have you ever asked the dog to sit quietly while you load and unload and set up to hunt? As we all know, the excitement of real birds, more people, and gunfire are stimulating to say the least. Dogs get excited just as we do; the rush of stimulation can lead to bad behaviors, which usually leads to a bad interaction between you and your dog and nobody wants that. Working your dog with the purpose of transitioning to the real thing, “practicing” prior to the season, allows your dog to be more comfortable with the new environment, sounds, smells, and gear associated with a hunt. Since we know dogs are place oriented, this step in training will serve to make things go smoothly despite all of the action. Ideally, if you can expose your dog to the actual place you will be hunting before season begins, you should. This gives your dog a chance to learn the lay of the land and the particular location.

Carolinas photo 1

Game time: Go to the field with the objective of continuing to train your dog instead of shooting. Early on, let others shoot and focus on your dog. Depending on how things go, you may begin to shoot yourself. If your dog is steady, attentive, quiet, and focused, reward with a retrieve. If not, take note so that you can work on it later. While it is tempting to give the dog a lot of retrieves, it can be overwhelming and cause some undesirable behaviors later in the dog’s life. Finding and/or recovering game is natural to sporting dogs, but the behaviors we all aspire to shape, not so much! Focus here; use the first few hunts, and season for that matter, to continue and extend training rather than shooting and it will pay dividends in the long run. When you’re packing your hunting gear, include a couple bumpers to take with you. If you find yourself in the field on a slow day or have an unsuccessful retrieve, take the opportunity to give your dog a retrieve that will set it up for success. Never let a young dog fail; it is always important to “end on a win.” The “win” could be a simple trailing memory retrieve in front of the blind. Or, if you notice that your young partner is struggling to find a downed bird, place a bumper in the area of the fall so the dog finds something. This will build its confidence in itself as well as you. Remember, this is a marathon and not a sprint; begin with the end in mind and set yourself up for a great future.

Be realistic in your expectations. Your dog should never have its first hunt be with 10 shooters in close quarters with dozens of retrieves. That’s too much stimulus. The ideal first outing would include one to two shooters with selective retrieves. For example, if you were to shoot 20 birds during the hunt, your dog makes 3-5 retrieves. You want your dog to see you pick up birds as well. We refer to these as denials. Over the course of the first season, ideally, your dog will only pick up 25% of the birds shot. The combination of other dogs, yourself and your hunting partners should get the rest.

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A few final thoughts: Before your dog ever goes on a hunt, he/she should be steady and have a firm grasp on all the basic gundog skills. The dog should be steady to gunfire and comfortable with multiple shots, quiet, stop to the whistle and take casts—back, right, and left. All of these are important. With these skills, you should be confident to work your dog to recover birds you or your partners shoot.

Be sure to pay attention to the weather forecast before you leave for your hunt. High winds, rain and snow, and temperature changes can affect the performance of your dog. Prepare for success and carry drinking water and a vest to help your dog perform to the best of its ability. Hunting a young and inexperienced dog in harsh elements such as ice and snow can also confuse, hinder, or possibly injure a dog if severe enough.

Taking your young dog on its first hunt is exciting and rewarding. This is particularly true if you view the hunt as an extension of training. Realistic expectations are paramount. Take your time and make haste slowly! Focus on your dog and look for areas to improve and enjoy the journey to developing a hunting companion that is a joy to work with for years to come.

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The Flip Side

Mike Stewart, Wildrose International

Many may recall, years past for sure, 45 record singles.  One side of the disk offered the artist’s single hit with another selection existing on the flip side.  These singles had a large hole in the center to allow multiple records to be stacked, played in order, then flipped to the other side for continued play.  Thus, the flip side. This term has become relevant when naming a useful Wildrose training solution.

Our training feature this issue is The Flip Side, a great tool for developing a gundog’s lining and handling abilities while encouraging the dog to think not just react as well as respond to handling influences. Ultimately, this is the desirable outcome of our gundog training efforts:  Develop gamefinding abilities and promote an interdependent relationship between dog and handler… teamwork.


The Flip Side

I have had excellent results with the flip side exercise for seasoned dogs to improve memory, avoid the suction of old falls and enhance handling as well as lining abilities.  It is a useful tool to influence a dog that occasionally becomes opinionated in the field thinking that he knows in this situation what is best at the expense of ignoring the handler’s directions. The Flip Side may help convince the “bold one” that they may not be the smartest guy in the room.

The Set Up

We begin with a double. Select two points of cover in a field, woodlands or shallows at water’s edge.  Place a single bumper, scented preferably, at each point as a memory. The placement should be an inversion. Bumpers are placed as “seens” on the opposite side from the direction the dog will approach (back side of the point). Once placed, establish a circle memory by walking around the area until the pre-placed bumpers are at a 45-degree angle or a V configuration.  The dog will be lined from the opposite side of the bumper’s placement, thus an inversion. Line for each bumper, oldest placement to the newest.  Distance, obstacles, and types of cover are completely up to the handler and the dog’s abilities.

dog on retrieve

With both “birds” recovered, it’s time for The Flip Side.  Place the bumpers behind your position as a ladder.  The dog once again observes.  Now, circle the entire pattern area stopping center and beyond the first two bumpers placed.  Your position is now behind the inversion previously set and centered between the “old falls.”  Think of kicking a field goal.  The target is the distant ladders.

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With The Flip Side set, line for the first memory through the two old falls and cover.  As the dog departs for the recovery, back up a few yards.  Be prepared to handle if your dog succumbs to the temptation of the old falls (suction).  If successful on the first, we have extended the line for the second and perhaps have added another obstacle, obstruction or cover feature.  There is nothing to say that you could have placed three or four bumpers in your ladder.  With each, as you back away, you effectively narrow the slot between the previously placed bumpers in round one increasing the challenge with each repetition.

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The Flip Side can be modified in other ways such as distances, types of cover, adding triples for the first retrieves or even distractions. The exercise is an excellent training solution for both waterfowl and upland retrievers alike.

Be sure to review our complementary new upland gundog training series at

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Wildrose Women in the Field: Maryetta Pabody

By Dr. Ben McClelland
As told through the women’s words

During the past fifteen years female participants in shotgun sports has increased 61.1 percent, according to Chris Batha, “Shotgunning Women’s Movement,” Shooting Sportsman. Field clothing for women has been designed to meet the new demand, as well.
Of course, for several years there have been some women wingshooters in the Wildrose pack, including Associate Trainer Sarah Barnes Reffert, whose was pictured afield in Covey Rise some time ago and Associate Trainer Erin Shay Davis. However, in the last few seasons the number has grown significantly. In this article we feature the stories of some in their own words. You may expect others’ stories to follow. 

Marietta Pabody and WR M1A1 Abrams, call name Abe.

During our 20-year marriage, Glenn had trained and hunted over three Labs and one mixed breed. I loved each of our gundogs, which were also family dogs; however, I didn’t hunt and was very averse to training with e-collars, which Glenn used at that time.

maryetta and abeWhen it came time to pick a breeder for the heir of our most recent retiring gundog, we both appreciated the positive training methods in The Wildrose Way. Following these training methods, I knew I wanted to, and could, partner with Glenn to train Abe, with whom I started working on March 9, 2018, puppy picking day at WR Oxford.

Our goals were first and foremost to train Abe as a gundog.

Being a new trainer/handler, I had to quickly learn to be patient. Results didn’t happen overnight. It was/is challenging partnering with Glenn to train Abe, because Glenn has been training dogs since dinosaurs roamed the earth and was now training Abe and me. We have to collaborate on training plans and share results.

Abe has two handlers who have subtle differences in how they handle. Now I was training a gundog, but I hadn’t gone to the dark side . . . upland hunting. A second goal was to campaign Abe in UKC Hunt Tests. At this point I knew that I needed to learn how to shoot a shotgun, which is required by handlers in all but the Started tests. I began taking skeet lessons in February, 2019. Since then, I have been taking weekly skeet lessons from a National Skeet Shooting Association Certified Level 3 Instructor. In June I started taking a second lesson weekly. It was so much fun that one night before lights out, I turned to Glenn and said, “I have a confession. I want to kill a bird.” My desire to hunt was born. On September 1st, 2019, I will go on my inaugural hunt with Abe when we open the Northern zone dove season in Lubbock, TX.

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Choosing a gun has been a thoughtful process. From February, 2019, to May, 2019, I shot Glenn’s Beretta 686 Onyx 28 gauge while I researched which shotgun I thought would be best for me. My top considerations when choosing the right shotgun for me were: Fit, Length of pull (females require a shorter length of pull), Height of comb (females require a higher comb), Cant of buttplate (females typically find a canted buttplate more comfortable against the shoulder), and Gauge. I really liked the weight of Glenn’s 28 gauge and the recoil was acceptable. Most people I talked with recommended a 12 gauge, but I knew it would be heavier and thought the recoil would kill my shoulder.

maryetta and abe 5

I was also concerned about Look: I wanted a wood stock and didn’t want an engraved game scene. In May, 2019, I bought my first shotgun, a Beretta 691 Vittoria Sporting, over under 12 gauge with 30-inch barrels; the 691 was specifically designed to fit the smaller frame of lady shooters. None of the shotguns I shouldered had an exact fit, even the Beretta 691, so I had after-market modifications made to improve the fit:

Added adjustable comb (allows comb to be adjusted up & down, right & left; although the 691 was built for a woman’s frame, the comb wasn’t high enough for me) and Added Graco Gracoil Adjustable Buttplate (allows buttplate to be canted and reduces recoil). The last modification to be made: Change to right cast from neutral cast (comb is adjusted as far right as possible and I’m still shooting slightly left of target). I’m considering purchasing a 3-gauge fitted tube set so I may also shoot 20 gauge, 28 gauge, & .410 bore with my 12 gauge 691.

maryetta and abe3

I have found limited sources and selection of hunting attire. Some women’s attire appears to have the same cut and proportions as men’s attire; shirts and pants are boxy as if no consideration was taken for the women’s shape. If another salesman tells me they don’t have women’s hunting attire and then asks me if I’d like to try on the men’s equivalent, I think I’ll just shut down and go to my place! What I like today: SHE Outdoor: Base layer tops & pants, camouflage tops & pants; Orvis: Field pants, shooting shirts, upland shell, upland hunting vest, upland waxed cotton mesh strap vest, guide pants & river guide shirts (for training in hot Texas summers); Filson: 3-layer field jacket, twill belt pouch (for skeet)


We have several field activities planned with Abe.

  • September 20 Uvalde, TX, dove hunt
  • Local dove hunts remainder of season
  • Regular group training at WR Texas
  • Basic & Advanced Handlers Workshop at WR Oxford
  • Cajun Experience at Covey Rise Lodge
  • UKC Hunt Tests
  • Working Guy Billups’ IV momma dogs
  • Retrieving for European pheasant hunts at Greystone Castle, Mingus, TX

maryetta and abe4

My advice for women who want to become dog handler/shooters is don’t wait; start today! Mack, our once-in-a-lifetime dog, passed April 1, 2018, at 16 years. Because I wasn’t training gundogs or hunting, I only knew the incredible family dog he was; I missed the opportunity to know the whole Mack. Thanks to now being a handler and shooter, I will know the whole Abe.

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Wildrose Women in the Field: Bess Bruton

By Dr. Ben McClelland
As told through the women’s words

During the past fifteen years female participants in shotgun sports has increased 61.1 percent, according to Chris Batha, “Shotgunning Women’s Movement,” Shooting Sportsman. Field clothing for women has been designed to meet the new demand, as well.
Of course, for several years there have been some women wingshooters in the Wildrose pack, including Associate Trainer Sarah Barnes Reffert, whose was pictured afield in Covey Rise some time ago and Associate Trainer Erin Shay Davis. However, in the last few seasons the number has grown significantly. In this article we feature the stories of some in their own words. You may expect others’ stories to follow. 

Bess Bruton, Wildrose Irie

bess irie

Bess and Irie

In May, 2016, I started working at Wildrose Kennel in Oxford, MS, after attending the March Handlers clinic, and learning about the training method Mike had developed. I had been looking for a place to learn how to train dogs, with a more positive, balanced way of training. Being a horse trainer for over 30 years helped me to understand the Wildrose Way, and its excellent benefits, and results. My main job at the kennel was working the momma dogs. It was rewarding, and I gained a lot of knowledge working with different ages, experience levels, and personalities.

Irie and I first met in November, 2016. She had gone through basic gundog training with IMG_5259Clint Swinney, the kennel manager. In March, 2017, Irie was placed in the kennel’s new “Service Companion” program, and came to live with me to be trained as a Therapy dog. In October, 2017, she passed the Pet Partners Therapy dog evaluation, becoming a Certified Therapy Dog. Since then, she has achieved status as an approved Courtroom Dog, a Master Trekker Adventure Dog, and an advanced gundog.

When I started at the kennel, I became interested in clay shooting, and upland bird hunting. The guys at the kennel taught me how to handle and shoot a shotgun. I practiced shooting clays, under the watchful eye of Bryan Hargrove and I participated in the gundog seminars offered through the kennel. I’ve also taken clay-shooting lessons at several clay courses. Shooting clays helps with being able to hit a moving target, quick response, and hand-eye coordination.

bess irie3

Before buying a shotgun, I tried a lot of different guns, mostly friends’ guns, and rentals at clay courses. I purchased a 20 gauge, Mossberg Youth Over & Under. It is lightweight, for a small frame person. Most of the other brands were too heavy or the balance was just not quite right.

It is difficult to find women’s clothing in a size small, which is comfortable. I wear corduroy pants for winter upland hunting. And lightweight pants for summer clay shooting. Also long sleeve shirts are good to protect the arms and fingerless gloves for a good grip, without interfering with feel of the trigger pull. A good pair of tough, waterproof boots is essential when walking through unpredictable terrain.

I mainly go with Irie on tower shoots for pheasant either to shoot or to pick up. Wildrose Double Gun is on my calendar for fall, 2019, and a couple other Wildrose gundog events in 2020, as well as possible upland bird hunts next season.

Irie and I do a lot of hiking, and she travels with me, which helps develop good social bess irie2skills, and she gets lots of experiences being in different types of environments. At home, and on the road, Irie also works on obedience, and retrieves with WR bumpers, and a launcher, following the Wildrose Way.

I suggest that women work each skill separately: Learn proper dog handing, and proper gun handling/ shooting at separate times. Practice both for several months separately. Then combine the two, in several practice scenarios or workshops with instructors. Last…go hunting, once you have developed aptitude, knowledge, and confidence.


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Wildrose Women in the Field: Heather Cass

By Dr. Ben McClelland
As told through the women’s words

During the past fifteen years female participants in shotgun sports has increased 61.1 percent, according to Chris Batha, “Shotgunning Women’s Movement,” Shooting Sportsman. Field clothing for women has been designed to meet the new demand, as well.
Of course, for several years there have been some women wingshooters in the Wildrose pack, including Associate Trainer Sarah Barnes Reffert, whose was pictured afield in Covey Rise some time ago and Associate Trainer Erin Shay Davis. However, in the last few seasons the number has grown significantly. In this article we feature the stories of some in their own words. You may expect others’ stories to follow. 

Heather Cass, Wildrose Jack

My dog’s name was Jack. Born in the UK in 2007, Jack came to Mississippi —where we met—as a finished gundog in 2011.  I had visited Wildrose for the first time in late 2010, after reading a magazine article about Mike Stewart and his wonderful dogs.

My goal was to get an already- trained adult dog as a companion and family dog.

Heather and Jack walking

Heather and Jack

I had no experience hunting and no idea about “handling” or even retrieving.  I got Jack because he perfectly fit my needs as a companion. The added bonus was that he was a skilled hunter.  He clearly loved his work.  And to do his work properly, he needed a handler.  It turned out this was a team sport.  I was intrigued. I had planned from the outset to work hard with my dog to maintain his obedience skills.  It was easy and fun to expand that to include his hunting skills.  And with the help of the seminars and events that Wildrose sponsors, I was able to learn while he practiced.  And have a lot of fun and meet wonderful people along the way.

To increase my versatility as a handler, I’ve begun shooting sporting clays at a public course near my home. Most of the “regulars” are retired military and many of them spend part of every day there.  They are friendly, generous with their knowledge and, of course, love dogs.  They have an excellent training program, which I thoroughly enjoy.  I’ve acquired a sporting clays gun.   When I graduate to the field, I’ll need another gun.  But that problem is still in the future.   My next step will be, following the principles of the Wildrose Way, to find a “transitional” event. There I can put together handling and shooting in a situation which is more controlled than the possible chaos of a real hunt.

This summer my focus is on finding a successor to Jack, who died last year.  I will always miss him, and always be grateful to him for introducing me to this wonderful sport.


Heather sending Jack on a retrieve

The popularity of shooting sports for women seems to be exploding.  I don’t see a downside.  I’ve always felt very welcome in the field.  So, my advice if you think you might be interested: go for it!  It’s a wonderful way to spend time outdoors with family and friends and – of course – DOGS!  You won’t regret it.

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Wildrose Women in the Field: Maria Perez and Lisa Johnson

By Dr. Ben McClelland
As told through the women’s words

During the past fifteen years female participants in shotgun sports has increased 61.1 percent, according to Chris Batha, “Shotgunning Women’s Movement,” Shooting Sportsman. Field clothing for women has been designed to meet the new demand, as well.
Of course, for several years there have been some women wingshooters in the Wildrose pack, including Associate Trainer Sarah Barnes Reffert, whose was pictured afield in Covey Rise some time ago and Associate Trainer Erin Shay Davis. However, in the last few seasons the number has grown significantly. In this article we feature the stories of some in their own words. You may expect others’ stories to follow. 

Maria Perez and Lisa Johnson, Wildrose Cypress

Lisa became a hunter many years ago and picked it back up about four years ago when cypress ducks hutnginthe yacht club we belong to had a shotgun clay tournament.  That’s about the time I decided to pick up a shotgun for the first time.  Chris and Lani Wilke belong to the same yacht club and we knew Chris was an avid hunter.  He showed us his collection of guns, shared with us his experience, and away we went.  We joined a local gun club and took lessons.  We learned about cast, comb, leading the target, not aiming, types of shotguns, etc.  We became friends with a local outfitter.  I settled on a Browning Maxus semi and Lisa added a Berretta A400 to her collection that already included a Remington 1100.  We began to book our own hunts and we met a hunt broker, with whom we became good friends.  We’ve hunted ducks, quail, pheasant, and turkey.  We hope to add a dove hunt this year.  A year ago, we both added O/U shotguns to our collection.  Lisa went with a Caesar Guerini Syren Tempio (gun specifically for women).  And I went with the men’s CG Tempio.  Most women’s cheeks are higher and necks longer than men.  This requires a higher comb.  Some gun manufacturers have started making guns for women.

cypress out in field

Chris and Lani told us about Dames, Ducks, and Dogs.  So, we got two more friends, Margie Offan and Melissa Warren, from New Orleans to register and join us.  And, away we went.  There, we met and became friends with many Wildrose Women and Trainers.  One in particular, Sammye Pisani, lived in New Orleans also.  Thus, we formed the WR New Orleans Syndicate.

We started attending many Wildrose events.  We had worked finished dogs so we understood what it’s supposed to look like.  Sometime in 2017, after a WR event, Lisa and I decided to get on a puppy list.  In July, 2018, we picked up Cypress and began our handler adventure.  We take her everywhere with the three Chi Wees: Gracie, Jack, and Izzy.


With regard to clothes, we did a lot of research, tried on a lot of clothes, kept some, and returned a lot.  Also, footwear is important.  To me, clothes are personal; style and fit are key.  We share with our lady friends much of what we find.  We sometimes have to wear men’s clothes. Somehow, we seem to make it work.

cypresss shooting

Maria shooting at a Wildrose Seminar

It’s been great seeing more and more women attending WR events and picking up a shotgun.  Anyway we can help to increase these numbers we are happy to do so.  I found this article recently to validate my thinking that women hunters is an untapped market: “Shotgunning’s Women’s Movement,” by Chris Batha, in Shooting Sportsman, July 12, 2019:


Chris Batha, “Shotgunning’s Women’s Movement,” Shooting Sportsman, July 12, 2019:

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