Wild Recipes: Pheasant with Mushroom Sauce

Recipe by:
Kelly Hargrove
6-8 breasts
1/2cup chicken broth
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 4oz can sliced mushrooms
1 small can green chilies
Place breasts in crock pot.  Mix remaining ingredients together and pour over breasts.  Cook on low for 6-7 hours. Serve over brown rice.
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A Boy and His Dog

A Boy and His Dog: Nathan Swinney and Wildrose Kim

By: Dr. Ben McClelland

Photo by Katie Behnke

Popular literature is filled with poignant stories featuring an adventurous boy and his faithful four-legged companion. Wildrose has its own version of this tale involving two members of our family: Nathan and Kim. Our story begins a while ago.

Kim (Silversnipe Reformer) came to Wildrose as a British field trial winner, possessing a calm demeanor to go with her excellent gundog skill set. As a dam, she produced several outstanding litters of pups. During her productive time here, she also stayed sharp as a gundog, going afield with staff members, as do all of our sires and dams.

When Facilities Manager Clint Swinney hired on the staff, he began hunting with Kim, taking her to his home for each season, where his wife, Anna, and their three-year-old son, Nathan got well acquainted with her. Precocious Nathan took a special interest in Kim on these visits, hanging out with her as much as he could. Their bonding began here, even though he was just a tadpole and Kim was his dad’s hunting dog.

Anna Swinney, Wildrose Retail Manager, often brought Nathan with her to our onsite retail store, whereupon he would seek out Kim, walking her around the grounds and bringing her into the store to cuddle with. Everyone could see something special developing in their relationship together. Nathan became excited every time he could come to the kennel and Kim perked up each time he came for her. Joyful in their companionship, they were a joy to behold.

After Kim’s final litter in June, the Swinneys brought Kim home to stay. Always when Wildrose sires or dams retire, Mike and Cathy Stewart carefully select loving homes for their retirement. The Swinney home was the obvious choice for Kim. As Nathan embraced Kim, his parents told him that she would be his dog—his very own dog. Instinctively, Nathan, who was six years old, assumed the role of pack leader. Not only did he issue commands, which she obeyed to a tee, but he also took over the daily chores of feeding and caring for her, including giving her meds. What’s even better is that now Kim is his hunting dog. On his outdoor adventures Nathan has his BB gun in hand and Kim heeling at his side.

Photo by Katie Behnke

Nathan underscores the benefit of having a companion, saying, “Now that Kim is my dog, I have someone to go hunting with me.” If ever a father’s pride shows, it’s in the look on Clint’s face as he tells about this keen relationship that his son has developed with his dog.

Not only did Nathan take immediately to Kim, but she naturally found in him her favorite human. In the Swinney home and out, Kim looks to Nathan as the pack leader. No matter who gives her a command, she looks to Nathan for affirmation before obeying. If Nathan leaves her sight, she watches till he returns again.

Anna says, “Nathan finds joy and purpose in the mundane tasks of feeding and caring for Kim, and he spends his days seeking out more adventures for them to have, be it bird hunting in the yard with his BB gun, or performing retrieves with her to keep her in shape. Every day with Kim is an adventure to him.”

Anna was raised in a home where dog-human relationships are special—her mother is Rachel Thorton, DAD dog trainer extraordinaire—and she’s read a lot of stories of beloved boy-dog duos, such as Travis and Ol’ Yeller, Billy Coleman and his redbones, and Timmy and Lassie. Highlighting the special love story that she witnesses daily in her own home, Anna says, “Somewhere, right near the top of that list, you’d see Nathan and Kim.”

Anna sums up the meaning of their relationship for Kim this way, “Kim found joy and fulfillment in running field trials in the U.K., and loved her life at Wildrose, but the life of retirement where she plays the role of Nathan’s companion has proved to be her greatest adventure of all.”

When Nathan and Kim cozy up on the floor and he reads to her, their contentment is evident. What could be more fulfilling for a boy than to live in a loving family and have a dog of his own—a dog who has found her forever home and her heart’s content.

Gallery: Nathan and Kim (photos by Katie Behnke)

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Delivery to Hand

By: Mike Stewart

Photo by Chris Dickinson

The skill of bringing a bird back, preferably uneaten, delivering it to hand, is a core expectation for any well-trained retriever.  Mouthing a bird, plucking feathers, repeatedly dropping the bird on the return, blinking (refusing to pick up the bird momentarily) or running about, frolicking with the bird are all behaviors indicative of a dog inadequately trained for delivery to hand.

Developing natural delivery to hand is not difficult with patience and following the structure of the Wildrose Way of hold conditioning without the use of force-fetch techniques.  These steps are clearly described in our training book, Sporting Dogs and Retriever Training, the Wildrose Way (www.wildrosetradingcompany.com) and on our Basic Gundog Training DVD.  Our discussion in this issue centers on how to avoid problems associated with poor delivers.  “An ounce of prevention” so to speak!

Contributors to Poor Delivery

  1. Obviously allowing young dogs or pups to play with bumpers or birds is out of the question. Chew toys, fiber bones, chewing balls or any non-consumable item that may promote mouthing should be avoided.  Remember, your pup is always in training.  Think about what’s being reinforced.
  2. The antiquated practice of providing the dog with body parts of birds (heads, intestines, slivers of flesh, wings) as a reward and to build birdiness should not be adopted if you expect clean delivery of an undamaged bird.
  3. Hunting a pup too early and allowing him/her to encounter fresh game in an uncontrolled environment provides too many opportunities for things to go wrong with too little potential benefit. Live birds may intimidate the pup.  The pup gets overstimulated and excited resulting in mouthing, plucking, frolicking or even consuming a small bird like a dove or quail.  The young dog’s exposure to birds should occur after hold conditioning and in a controlled situation.  No hunting prior to 12 to 14 months of age and before completing an entire basic gundog training program.  Wildrose Law #4:  Don’t condition in a problem that must be trained out later.
  4. In training, randomly incorporate feather-laced bumpers to introduce feathers.  If the pup blinks or picks the feathers, discontinue the lesson and return to plain firehose or canvas bumpers.  Wait until the hold process is complete to revisit introducing feathers.  (Note:  Feathered bumpers and cold game are included in the hold conditioning process).
  5. Never chase a pup with an object in his mouth. The practice will promote possessiveness and awaken dysfunctional prey instincts.  If a pup initiates a game of keep away on a retrieve, quietly walk away (low stimulus) and call the pup to heel.  The human tendency is to loudly yell commands that will be ignored and move toward the youngster… wrong!  That will surely be perceived as “game on” and the adolescent will win.
  6. If a pup persists on mouthing smaller training bumpers, do not continue the lessons. Think about what you are conditioning.  Repeating any behavior with a dog can result in entrenching that very behavior to the point of habit, good or bad. If signs of mouthing present themselves:
    1. Use canvas or firehose bumpers. Avoid plastic.
    2. Enlarge the size of the bumpers.
    3. Remove feathers.
    4. Avoid small balls commonly used in training.
    5. Do not expose the dog to cold game until the problem is corrected.
    6. Large bumpers or deadfowl training dummies can be used in deep water. In some cases the dog swimming reduces their tendency to chew.
    7. Reduce stimuli in training.
  7. As mentioned, mouthing and dropping can be a result of too much stimuli in training promoting over excitement, competitiveness, or impatience.  To correct delivery problems, slow the training sessions.  Work alone with no other dogs about.  Pace the tempo of the sessions and don’t repeat failures.  Revisit a known behavior where success may be achieved.  Simplify and repeat success.

    Steven demonstrating Hold Conditioning.






    1. Do not begin hold conditioning too early. The youngster should have all adult teeth in, be enthusiastic about retrieving and be mentally developed to the point of understanding the process.  That puts the dog at 7 months plus. At Wildrose we are usually working on hold when the dog is about 8 months of age.  Make a mistake at this point and our prospect could lose interest and enthusiasm in picking anything up.  The restart then becomes a challenge.  We want to see a passion for the retrieve
      before the hold process begins.
    2. If there is a problem in delivery before this point in the pup’s progression, stop retrieving. Don’t reinforce a problem. When working on retrieves with a young pup, do not allow them to drop at delivery. Get the bumper in hand. Sitting and presenting the bumper to hand will be developed later during hold conditioning.
    3. Once hold begins, stop all retrieving until the process is complete.
    4. Do not skip steps in the process. Once the sequence begins, complete every step.  Don’t just “assume” that the skill is mastered
  8. After hold conditioning, use only medium-size, clean birds. Avoid dove and quail—too small.  Geese, rooster pheasants or large mallards—too large.  The best birds for beginners:
    1. Pigeon
    2. Teal
    3. Wood duck
    4. Diver ducks
    5. Spoonbill ducks
    6. Chukkar partridge
    7. Hen pheasant

There will be time for the big birds. Initially, we want to condition in a fast, clean pick of the bird and a prompt return without dropping.  Remember Wildrose Law #5 – Make haste slowly.

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The Six Pack

By Mike Stewart

Tis the season. Hunting season that is. Pheasant, dove, preserve quail and in some northern locations, waterfowl.  We gundog enthusiasts are back in happy times.

Photo by Chris Dickinson

My opening this year was in late August at Wildrose Teton Valley with Blixt & Co., Driven Shooting in America (Follow Wildrose Teton Valley on Instagram and Facebook).  The two weeks picking up were a great indicator of how well our dogs were prepared for game recovery.  In the retriever world this is high value:  no bird left behind.  The dogs were running hot and exposed to dry, dusty terrain, not the best for scenting conditions.  The retrievers effectively marked and lined well for unseens despite the distractions of massive gunfire and hundreds of birds in flight but these were not the real challenges.  It was recovery of birds in difficult cover. The pickers did a fantastic job of recovery based on percentages of birds downed but the work was tough stuff. Once the gundog gets to the area of the fall or is called upon to sweep or quarter to flush birds, the true measurement of the sporting dog’s worth becomes apparent:  nose work – their nose must know.

Runners in heavy cover, a swimmer that steals away into reeds, ducks that drop into cattails or timber breaks… here is where the well-trained dog really earns a reputation as a game dog.  Often, sporting dog enthusiasts of all breeds – Pointers, Flushers or Retrievers do not spend enough training and preparation time in the development or tune-up of their dogs for hunting cover.  Our suggestion? The Wildrose “six pack,” six steps to improve game recovery this season.

Number 1:  Get the dog in top physical condition.  Heat tolerance, body weight, and the amount of pre-season exercise for endurance all effect the dog’s abilities to scent.

  • Overheated dogs are breathing hard which reduces scenting ability.
  • Overweight dogs are not in physical shape, overheat and tire quickly.
  • Dogs lacking hydration rapidly lose stamina and, in turn, scenting abilities.


Obviously get your gundog in great physical shape slowly pre-season gradually increasing

H2O4K9 Canteen. Available @ wildrosetradingcompany.com

duration and strength-building activities to enhance endurance.  Work often in hot weather to improve acclimation while being ever watchful for signs of heat exhaustion.  Float the dog’s food with water at feeding to improve water intake. Do not feed prior to training or hunting. Carry a dog water bottle to the field to provide a drink on hot days while working and between retrieves.  Have fresh water sources available for the dogs during hunting breaks.


Number 2:  Practice with scented bumpers retrieved from thick cover.

  • Feather-laced bumpers or scent them with Bird Down
  • Re-visit the exercises for off-the-ground finds.
  • Scented tennis balls or small puppy bumpers require
    more effort to locate in cover than larger bumpers.
  • Occasionally use cold game in training hidden in obscure, difficult locations.

Number 3:  Practice marking by sound instead of marking by sight.

Use a large Wildrose feather-laced bumper. With the dog at sit, cover the dog’s eyes and toss the bumper high to create a noisy fall into thick cover.  The sound will be “marked” by the dog, then release for the hunt.

Number 4: Handling off the mark.

Have two distinct areas of cover in close proximity.  In one, hide an unseen. Next, collect the dog and have a helper toss a mark into the second bit of cover which is further away.  Send the dog for the mark, stop on the way out and cast into the cover holding the unseen.  It’s best to make this ”find” a high value target such as a cold game bird rather than simply a bumper.  Big reward for the doing the correct thing.

Photo by Chris Dickinson

Number 5:  The Throw Down

In cover or shallow water, toss in a memory.  Turn and heel your dog away.  Have a helper move in and pick up the memory.  Send your dog back for the pick.  The objective is to hold the dog in the area as you make three successful stops to the whistle.  Then, your crafty helper tosses the “find” back into the same area being hunted without the dog noticing, likely distracted by the hunting effort.  Then, success! The dog’s persistency is rewarded for hunting holding the area. Do not replace the bumper or bird if the dog is reluctant on the whistle or shows poor use of nose.

Number 6:  The runner or swimmer. A wounded bird on the move.

Two things should be practiced for this likely event.

  • Using a cold game bird, lay out a scent line using a long check cord dragging a bird.  Detach the bird, circle wide not walking over the scent line to collect the dog.  Identify the line to be tracked for the dog by tossing in an object that will break apart on impact like a dirt clod.  This identifies the starting point, then let the dog learn to trust his nose.  Don’t over-handle.
  • Splash Down- handling of a fall. Hide a bird at water’s edge.  Collect the dog.  Have a helper toss a large rock into the water a distance from the unseen bird.  Send the dog for the mark.  After an unsuccessful hunt, handle the dog to the unseen.  Often, the dog hangs in the fall area convinced of the bird’s location, reluctant to cast off.  In an actual hunting situation you watch in frustration as the runner sneaks further away as the dog continues to ignore your cast. Game over!

The gundog mission is simple:

Locate game
Recover game

The Wildrose Way training methodology is specifically designed to develop sporting dogs that excel in both departments.  But, continuous practice is required as well as pre-season conditioning if success is to be had afield recovering birds from difficult cover.

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Vaccinating the Sporting Dog

By: Dr. Lee Payne and Dr. Laura Wilson
Animal Clinic of Oxford

Vaccines are a very important part of your dog’s preventative healthcare plan. Especially in puppies, they are essential in preventing potentially fatal disease.  Some dogs need more vaccines than others because they may be exposed to more diseases than others.

ALERT:  Canine influenza is an emerging disease that is seen in many parts of the country, especially metropolitan areas such as Atlanta and Chicago.  Two main strains of this disease are seen, H3N2 and H3N8.  Highly effective vaccines exist for both strains and are recommended, especially if your dog travels extensively.

Health Care for Sporting Dogs

Puppies should begin their vaccination series starting at 5-6 weeks of age.  This series should include canine parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus, coronavirus, and parainfluenza.  The vaccinations should be boosted every three weeks until the puppy is 17-18+ weeks old.  After this, the vaccines will be given a year later, then as directed by your veterinarian.  Leptospirosis is also an essential part of the vaccine protocol for puppies and adult dogs that are exposed to water and wildlife areas.  This disease can cause kidney failure if not treated.

Other vaccinations should be given based on risk in your area and your dog’s travel schedule.  Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorfefi) is a tick-borne illness that can cause a wide variety of problems.  Bordetella bronchiseptica (a common cause of kennel cough) is also recommended due to infectious nature of its airborne spread.

Heartworm prevention is a highly recommended part of your dog’s ongoing preventative care as well.  Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes.  In many parts of the county, heartworm disease is spread year round (especially in the lower Mississippi River delta area).  Many types of heartworm preventative are given monthly (Heartgard, Interceptor).  ProHeart6 is an injectable preventative that lasts for six months and can be given by your veterinarian.  Advantage Multi and Trifexis are heartworm preventatives that are combined with flea prevention.

Fleas and ticks are always a concern in many areas of the county and can cause many health issues for dogs.  Fleas can cause numerous skin problems along with low red blood cells counts (anemia) which can cause performance and training problems for dogs.  Ticks carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichia, all of which can cause joint pain, anemia issues, and a variety of other health problems.  Many flea and tick products are on the market, so finding one that fits your pet’s needs should be easy to do.

Working together with your veterinarian and the trainers at Wildrose, you can identify and implement the best vaccination and preventive care program possible for your dog.

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Dove Carnitas

Recipe by: Adam Van Sant

12 to 15 whole dove breast
-1 lb. salt pork
-1/3 c. lard or canola oil
-1 onion quartered
-3 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
-4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
-1 orange halved
-2 limes halved
-2 Mexican cinnamon sticks
-2 bay leaves
-1 TBS. Dried Mexican oregano
-1 14 oz. can diced pineapple
-2 (12 oz.) cans of coke
-Corn tortillas (thicker the better)
– Queso Fresco cheese crumbled
-Pico de Gallo


Heat lard or oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat.  Cube salt pork into 1 in. cubes.  Add salt pork to pot and cook until pork is browned and crispy.  Add onion, chipotles, oregano, cinnamon, bay leaves, and pineapple.  Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add Dove breast to pot along with 2 bottles of coke. Squeeze the orange and limes and place into the pot.  Stir to combine.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours until dove is tender.  Remove dove breast, salt pork, and pineapple with slotted spoon and reserve the cooking liquid.  Let dove cool slightly and shred the breasts with fingers.  Lightly chop pineapple along with salt pork and mix in with the dove meat.  Heat a large griddle or large skillet over medium heat.  Lightly char the tortillas on griddle then wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm.  Lightly coat the griddle with oil and add dove and pineapple to the griddle.  Ladle some of the cooking liquid to the meat to keep it moist.  Once meat has a nice char and pineapple has caramelized remove from griddle.  Serve with warm tortillas, sliced avocado, pico de gallo, and top with queso fresco.


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Wildrose Comes to Texas

Welcome sign at Wildrose Texas

The Wildrose Way is in Texas! Wildrose Kennels is excited to announce that starting October 1, 2017, the Wildrose pack will offer a comprehensive training facility in Dallas, Texas. The facility is located 14 miles from downtown Dallas, on the 4th oldest Shooting Club in the nation. The facility offers a unique sporting dog agility course, water resources for training, access to the Trinity River, duck marshes, dove fields and with many other environments, the opportunities are endless.

Pickers Syndicate
We will have opportunities to pick up on monthly pheasant shoots at the Dallas Hunting Fishing Club, as well as Greystone Castle starting in October. Our first scheduled pick up is October 29th at Greystone Castle. This is a great opportunity for dogs that have completed basic gundog or proven themselves ready to pick up birds on a shoot.  Please email or call to join the syndicate and receive updates on exact dates of shoots to follow.

Boarding & Training
Wildrose Texas offers training programs covering basic gundog, waterfowl, upland, obedience, shed hunting, and Adventure Dog programs.

We offer a sporting dog boarding program which includes a proprietary fitness and agility regiment to maintain and improve the condition of the dogs during their stay.  Each day the dogs are in boarding, they will receive focused mental and physical exercise to improve their overall health.

For rates and availability, contact Guy at (228)861-3474, guy@uklabs.com

Trainer Guy Billups at Wildrose Texas.

Grand Opening
Join us for a reception graciously hosted by Collectors Covey, followed by an open house at Wildrose Texas the following day.

Reception 7:00 pm, Thursday, November 16 at Collectors Covey Art Gallery and Fine Gun Room, collectorscovey.com.

Open House, Friday, November 17, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm at Wildrose Kennels Texas

                                                                            RSVP – guy@uklabs.com

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Farflung Wildrose: Syndicate Activities (Part 2)

By: Dr. Ben McClelland

Wildrose Syndicate Members, Allan Klotsche and Greg Thomas, with Associate Trainer Craig Korff – North Central

Editor’s Note: This is the second article in an ongoing series on Wildrose Syndicate members and their dogs. Syndicate members are a subgroup of Wildrose handlers, who participate with their dogs in various Wildrose field activities, such as picking at upland bird shoots, participating in the Wildrose pheasant hunt, volunteering at shows and presentations, etc. In this article Craig Korff, Wildrose Associate Trainer, North Central, along with Wildrose Syndicate members, Allan Klotsche and Greg Thomas, write about their dogs and the adventure they experienced picking pheasants at Blixt & Company’s Driven Shooting this fall. Here is their story. -BWM

Associate Trainer, Craig Korff – Wildrose North Central

During the week of Sept. 11th, 2017, two of my clients and good friends, Allan Klotsche and Greg Thomas, joined me on a trip to pick up at Blixt & Company’ s Driven Shooting near Driggs, Idaho. Lars and Jen Magnusson and their staff work tirelessly to provide the finest driven shooting in America. Through association with Mike Stewart and Wildrose Kennels, trainers and owners of Wildrose dogs enjoy the opportunity to pick up at this fantastic venue. Ryan Alderman, trainer at Wildrose Teton, was a great host to us. Ryan does an excellent job of organizing and directing the handlers and their dogs for each drive.
Both Al and Greg are proud owners of Wildrose dogs and are very dedicated to the training and proper handling of their dogs. I had the pleasure of training Greg’s dog, WR Josie (Deke x Heather), through the WR Gundog Program. Greg traveled 2 1/2 hours one way, one or two days per week, through the late spring and summer to become more familiar with Josie’s training and to work on proper handling. Al , who has about an hour drive one way, came up about one day per week with WR Beau (Deke X Dream) to train together, as well as attending the Handler’s clinics at Wildrose each spring. Both Al and Greg believe in “Training the Wildrose Way” and are dedicated to learning the proper handling of their WR dogs.

On the trip to Idaho we took 6 dogs with us:
Al with WR Beau, black male, Deke x Dream, 2 1/2 years old.
Greg with WR Josie, black female, Deke x Heather, 21 months old.
Me, Craig, with WR Holly, black female, Murphy x Pinny, 20 months old.
Plus three dogs in training:
WR Maggie (littermate to Josie ), black female, Deke x Heather, 21 months old, owner Kurt McCulloch.
WR Lanner, imported in May 2017, black male, 2 1/2 years old, owner John Raitt.
WR Jax, black male, Barney x Ivy, 11 months old, owner Ryan Little.

A note on Jax, Being only 11 months old, he was a little young for this trip; however, he has been with me for about 7 months after backgrounding with Erin Davis. Jax is doing exceptionally well in training and performed brilliantly whether handled by me or Greg. Jax never broke once and withstood performing his duties under all the difficult circumstances and complexity of the driven shoot.

Craig Korff & Wildrose Holly (Murphy x Pinny), Greg Thomas & Wildrose Josie (Deke x Heather), Allan Klotsche & Wildrose Beau

I cannot stress enough the training value of picking up at Blixt&Co. This isn’t a venue for the young dogs, as the driven shooting takes place in very challenging terrain with difficult obstacles to deal with. That, coupled with hundreds of birds in the air, constant gunfire, diversions of birds falling, and other dogs picking during retrieves, multiple retrieving opportunities and running birds all create a very complex environment in which the dogs are working. Proper handling of your dog is extremely important to help guide them in their work.

There are many training opportunities during every drive, such as watching birds in flight, being steady to wing, shot and falling birds, honoring another dogs work, staying on the bird sent for, hunting (“loss”) when sweeping for downed birds, trailing and picking runners, ignoring diversions and blind retrieves.

The clients’ previous experience in handling their dogs is a plus. Good preparation is essential to provide a solid performance base for your WR gundog, such as, working on solid obedience, steadiness, marking, honoring, ignoring diversions and participating in group work.

Prior to the trip Al, Greg, and I had discussions of what to expect and the importance of keeping each dog under control in this environment. Al and Greg worked very hard to prepare and they did a brilliant job of handling their dogs in extremely complex conditions, which contributed to their dogs performing so very well.
Also, as Al, Greg and I were planning, this adventure to the west, Al suggested checking for any VRBO’s in the area. Al did some checking and we settled on a home in Driggs. This turned out to be one of our best decisions. Each had a private room and we shared the rest of the house. We enjoyed making meals and having more time to share and discuss our fabulous experiences. A significant plus was having our dogs in with us on their places. Having the dogs in was very important as the elevation and terrain took its toll on our dogs. My personal dog WR Holly has a calm, pleasing temperament, with the ability to be patient and calm. In the field she has tremendous focus and is an aggressive bird finder and retriever. This drive and determination took its toll on her as after the first two days afield the webbing between her toes was red and irritated as well having scrapes on each of her front legs. All of these required attention with antiseptic cream and sprays with buffered aspirin for the soreness and good rest after the days events. The dogs had a day off on Thursday, which worked out well. Based on how Holly acted Thursday evening and early Friday morning I wasn’t sure that she would be ready to go afield. We loaded the dogs into the trailer and headed out to meet for the shoot. Upon arriving I opened the door to Holly’s compartment and called her out. She came out ready to go as if she had no soreness or stiffness at all. The desire in these dogs is amazing.

Note: Here are a few important points to consider when traveling/hunting with your dogs:
1. Always have a well-stocked first aid kit with you to treat your dog when needed.
2. Have the phone number and address of the closest vet to the area you will be in.
3. Be sure to give your dog a close examination at the end of the day to check for injuries, thorns, stickers, seeds in the eyes, and be prepared to treat anything you find.
4. Do a quick check before heading out the next day to make sure your valued companion is physically ready to go afield.
I highly recommend, to all Wildrose trainers and owners of Wildrose dogs, to make the trip to Idaho to pick up at Blixt & Company as part of the the Wildrose Syndicate. It is a one-of-a-kind experience. I also want to thank my good friends, and Wildrose Syndicate members Al and Greg for making the trip and experience so enjoyable. –- Craig Korff

Syndicate Member: Allan Klotsche
Dog: Wildrose Lambeau
Deke x Dream
Age: 2 1/2 years old

Training History
I am very passionate about training dogs and developing that 1:1 relationship with my dog, so I decided to train Beau myself, but with a lot of support from the Wildrose team. Beau is our fourth lab, but the first one from WR and trained the WR way. Our previous dogs were great hunters, but really not what you would consider calm in the house and a companion that you would want to take anywhere. I am fortunate to live close to Craig Korff and was spending 1 day each week co-training with him – picking up tips from Craig, and learning by watching Craig work with his other dogs. As you well know, Craig is a class act and an enjoyable person to spend time with. WR is lucky to have someone of his passion and experience as part of your team. I cannot emphasize enough the value that I have received from the Training the Wildrose Way book and the multitude of videos that WR posts on social media. I also am a regular attendee at the WR Handlers workshops in Oxford, MS. Although I can tell a slight difference between a “professionally” trained WR dog and Beau, I am extremely satisfied with how he is turning out and get many compliments on him.

Dog’s Background / Personality
I was on the waiting list for over a year, anxiously waiting for a call from Cathy. On October 31st, my Mom suddenly passed away which, as you can imagine, was a really tough life-event to deal with. Two weeks later, Cathy called me and said that Dream had a litter on October 31st and did I want a pup? Filled with emotion – I knew this was the right litter for me! Beau is a protoypical WR dog, calm and mellow in the house and driven in the field. He has a great nose and an insatiable desire to hunt. When we have company come over to the house and Beau is on his Kuranda bed they will not even know that we have a dog sitting in the next room. The value of place training is absolutely priceless. Beau and I are tied at the hip. When I am home, we do everything together. He runs errands with me and especially likes going to the airport when visitors come in from out of town. Although he is not technically a service dog, he loves going inside, riding the escalators and waiting outside of TSA to greet a familiar face!

Blixt & Company Driven Shoot, September 11-15, 2017

Photo by Chris Dickinson

When Mike first mentioned the Blixt & Company Driven Shoot, I knew that it was something I wanted to do. I am an avid fly fisherman and love the western part of the United States. I knew that this type of training would be nearly impossible to replicate at home or any local training ground. The experience that we had spending a week in Driggs, Idaho, was something way beyond my expectations and one that I would HIGHLY recommend to others. If anyone is serious about advanced handling of your dog, this must be on their list.

Ryan Alderman, Associate Trainer of Wildrose -Teton Valley, was a great host to Craig, Greg, and me while we participated in the Blixt & Company Driven Shoot. Ryan integrated us with his regular group of handlers – who were all very welcoming. On these driven shoots there are 8 shooters, each standing at a peg about 40 yards away from the next shooter. As handlers, each one of us would be assigned a peg and we would stand indiscriminately about 25 yards behind the shooters. The three of us would most often split two pegs, which gave us plenty of work to share across the dogs. After the second day of picking, Beau was so sore and stiff that he could hardly navigate down the two front steps. I was prepared with my first aid kit and hoped that a buffered Asprin and rub down would help him be ready for the next day. The next morning, Beau was still somewhat stiff and didn’t have much energy. Having traveled all the way out to Idaho, I wasn’t real interested in leaving Beau in the truck for the day, so I decided to take him out and just have him sit and get the experience of hearing lots of shooting and seeing lots of birds. However, when the first gunshot went off, Beau miraculously found a second life and said, “Put me in coach!” His retrieves were a bit atypical that day as he took his lines at about 1/2 pace, even more gingerly on the return once he had the prize in his mouth. Forty retrieves later, he successfully finished his third day. From there on out, he was good to go for our final day of picking. There is nothing bigger than the heart of a Labrador!
By the end of our trip our dogs heard 18,000 gun shots, saw roughly 12,000 birds and picked over 2,000 birds (across the 8 of us who were picking)! There is just no substitute whatsoever for this type of volume and experience. I feel like we got 4-5 years worth of training in one week. The steadiness of the WR dogs proved to be such an important component. I was glad to see, but not surprised, that none of the 6 dogs we brought out broke even once.

I have posted six YouTube videos showing what a driven shoot is like and some nice double and triple retrieves that Beau had. You can find links to these at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hB6o7O7IqsI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hrc8xzo5SX8&t=1s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cPqOekChIk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOlFC7g75Ms&t=1s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvzYZmt9-h4 https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_referrer=watch&video_id=K5DbW4IuTFw

If anyone is “on the fence” about this trip and they would like to speak with someone who went, I would be happy to share the many positives of my experience. At a high level, the key benefits were:
1. Unbelievable steadiness. It is one thing to practice at home, but it is just priceless being in a “war zone” with shots going off constantly, dogs running all over, birds dropping in every direction, including within inches of the dogs.
2. Marking. We practice a lot of sight marking and sound marking at home, but I could not believe the improvement in Beau from day 1 to day 4. His senses were so alert towards the end, especially when we were positioned deep in the woods.
3. Diversions. Last year at the WR handler’s workshop we did a simulation of a driven hunt, which was pretty neat. However, the real deal is so much more of a sensory overload for the dogs. It’s unbelievable to see the dog’s ability to stay focused on the bird he was sent for while so much else is going on. The wooded areas that we picked from made for some super challenging terrain with a lot of difficult obstacles to navigate.

Things I would tell other WR handlers in advance of coming out for a Blixt & Company Driven Shoot:
· Get your dog in the best shape possible. The combination of the altitude and the terrain are very tough on the dogs. Not only should they be actively training, but they should be working on aerobic activities like biking and swimming. Beau does a lot of this, which helped him work all four of the days, but he was still very sore in the mornings. Beyond the pure physical exertion, the altitude plays a factor as well.
· Work on toughening up your dog’s footpads in advance – whether it be through gels and ointments or the terrain you are training in. This is something that became an issue for our dogs and held a few of them out for a day. We applied generous doses of Musher’s Secret in the field and at night, which helped. The local pet shop also recommended a spray on antiseptic product that also seemed to help.
· Get into shape yourself. While my count showed us walking between 3-4 miles each day, it is not the walking that gets you, it is the climbing up and down the rocky hills for the sweeps at the end of a shoot. Standing on a 45-degree hill for the shoot is also something that gives your knees/back a workout.
· Make sure you are prepared with plenty of hydration for the dogs and collapsible water dishes. It was 80 degree the first three days that we were out there. Then it turned to 35 and snow!
· Prepare your attire. You are not allowed to wear any camouflage. Although pickers don’t need to be dressed in full English hunting attire, you need to be in khakis, grays and greens. Be prepared for temps as high as 80 degrees and bright sunshine to snow and 30s. We had both in a 24-hour stretch.
· Pack a cooler with plenty of human water and food for lunch as you are pretty far away from town to run in and grab something. It is pretty dry, so having a case of water in the cooler at all times is a good idea. –Allan Klotsche

Syndicate Member: Greg Thomas
Dog: Wildrose Josie (Deke X Heather) DOB 12/11/2015
Owners: Greg and Marty Thomas Black, female. Weight at 21 months 58 lbs.

Training History
Josie started her training with Erin Shay Davis from Wildrose Great Lakes. At nine months of age, she went to Craig Korff in Wisconsin. Craig trained Josie until she was 18 months old when she came home with us to southwest Wisconsin. We are so delighted in what Erin and Craig have taught Josie through all of her training. They are true assets to Wildrose! I work with Josie an average of two hours every day. We do a number of Wildrose drills. I also use various types of launchers with live pigeons and ducks. I’m a firm believer in tossing diversions on retrieves. Hunting lost is a very important part of her training and we practice it several times each session. Overall, Josie is a pleasure to work with. She has taught me many things.

Josie’s Background & Disposition
Associate Trainer, Erin Davis, Wildrose – Great Lakes, discusses Josie’s training background and describes her personality.
“She completed the backgrounding program with me then completed hold conditioning and was just starting her gundog skills. I brought her home around February 1st and I believe she moved with Craig in late October. She had basic obedience commands like sit, recall, place, crate training, and heel. She also had exposure to basic retrieves with trailing memories, 180s, sight memories, and hunting cover on command. She was stopping to the whistle with distance and learning the early parts to back casting. She was working in grass, low cover, thin tall cover, and water. Always a strong swimmer, Josie probably loved water work and hunting cover the most. She’s always had a willing attitude and enthusiasm for her hunting skills. She was very natural with her learning and never had to be forced or convinced. A trusting partner who was content to be a teammate in the field from early on, Josie had steadiness with denials and did a great job honoring other dogs through group work with dogs of varying ages and experience. She had traveled pretty extensively for a 6-month-old with multiple trips from Indiana to Mississippi and Arkansas. She attended the handler’s course that year as a spectator and starting your dog the Wildrose way class. She even participated in the starting your dog class with a young child as her handler to which she was attentive and gentle. Josie’s sweet gentle disposition made the child comfortable and allowed her to enjoy the day of learning. She attended the adventure dog workshop that year as well after exposure at home to kayaks, fishing, bikes, ATVs, hiking, horses, and public access. She was a very hardy puppy who was never fazed by in-climate weather. From the very start Josie was a go-anywhere girl, always willing to hop in the truck for a quiet ride and well mannered at each stop, including going out to dinner with us.” –Erin Davis

Blixt & Co Driven Shoot, September 11-15, 2017

Picking up at Blixt&Co. Photo by Chris Dickinson

I recently had the opportunity to pick up on a driven shoot at Blixt and Company in Idaho. What a fantastic experience this would turn out to be for Josie! Picture this….. NINE shooters, TEN dogs and Hundreds of birds! Talk about excitement! We worked hard at keeping our dogs steady on the first couple of drives. Gradually, we started letting them retrieve a limited number of birds as long as they remained steady. At the end of each drive, the dogs would hunt lost for cripples and dead birds during “sweeps.” There were over 1,500 birds shot in the first three days! The dogs couldn’t have gotten that kind of experience and exposure anywhere else. This goes to show that training the dogs the Wildrose way pays huge dividends when we transition to the field.

Attire for picking up at Blixt & Co: No camo, and no bright colors Your dog’s conditioning is critical. Higher elevation and some heavy cover can be tough on a dog.
This was a wonderful experience that I would highly recommend to any Wildrose owner and their dog. Special thank you to Ryan Alderman, Trainer, Wildrose – Teton Valley. Ryan made us feel very welcome and worked us in with the other Dog handlers. Feel free to contact me at 608-527-1950 or email me at thomasgm@tds.net with any questions you may have. Miscellaneous Notes Driggs, ID, is 45 minutes from Jackson, WY, and approximately a 30-minute drive to Wildrose Teton Valley.

Private aircraft are able to fly into the Driggs Airport, which has a 7,300 ‘ runway. Elevation is 6, 231. Hertz has rental cars at the airport. We were able to rent a VRBO. There are several rooms offered in the area. Some take dogs and rates do vary. Best Western: 208-354-2363 Super Eight: 208-354-8888 Broulim’s Grocery Store, 240 S. Main St. Driggs. Driggs Veterinary Clinic: 1309 N. Hwy 33, Driggs. 208-354-2212. Open 8-5 Monday-Friday. Saturday 8-12 noon.

Having owned several hunting dogs over the years, I’m all too familiar with the training going out the window when the shooting starts. Those are the times we “hope for the best and prepare for the worse.” Josie was wound up as we headed out to our first peg. Not making a mistake on the first shoot was foremost on my mind. To my surprise and relief Josie sat quietly and focused on birds in the air. I watched closely and saw her marking birds as they fell. After two days her tail had that bent in half look and I could tell she was a bit gassed. The following day I didn’t use her but by our last day she was roaring to go. All was not perfect, but Josie did well and I couldn’t have been prouder.
–Greg Thomas

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Farflung Wildrose: Syndicate Actvities (Part One)

By: Dr. Ben McClelland

We can find Wildrose dog owner—pack members—across the continent and, indeed, the globe. Within the Wildrose pack is an active group of dog handlers that constitute the Wildrose Syndicate. The dictionary defines syndicate as an association of persons officially authorized to undertake a duty (Merriam-Webster).

Well, in the Wildrose Pack, Syndicate members are a subgroup of handlers, who participate with their dogs in various Wildrose field activities, such as picking at upland bird shoots, participating in the Wildrose pheasant hunt, volunteering at shows and presentations, etc.

These folks team up with our regional Associate Trainers, such as Tim Clancy (New England Kennels), Craig Korff (North Central), Sarah Barnes (Deep South), Erin Davis (Great Lakes), Travis Facemeyer (Mountain States), and Ryan Alderman (Teton Valley), Guy Cameron Billups (Texas), and Tom Smith (Oxford).

In this part of our discussion of syndicate member activities we feature New Englander Charley Cook and WR Rusty, who does pickup at European Hunts at Addieville East Farm in Mapleville, Rhode Island. Tim Clancy also serves as a guide on Addieville, taking Rusty alongside.

The pictures show Rusty at the scenic eastern coastline. Charley reported that he was sitting on my boat with Rusty when the club had just fired the cannon (for sunset and striking of colors). Rusty perked up, and started looking around. He finally relaxed when Charley said, “No bird.” Charley, says, “Thanks to Tim, Rusty is always ready.” Besides serving as Charley’s trusty gundog, Rusty’s “side activities” include fishing and modeling for a fashion stylists website.

Stay tuned: future parts of “Farflung Wildrose” will feature syndicate members from the other regions of the pack.

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Pilot on Board

By: Karen Weir-Jimerson

Aah, the joy of a puppy! Our household has a puppy again, so we’ve rolled up the rugs, stowed the leather shoes on the highest closet shelf, and bravely opened up the house to our new fox-red English Labrador Retriever puppy, Pilot.

On the day that my husband, Doug, and I went to pick up Pilot, we met other puppies that were destined to be pheasant, duck, and quail hunters. In the group of happy families struggling to hold their wiggly puppy, Pilot was the only dog who was going to become a shed hunter.

The whitetail bucks that call our woods and fields home lose their antlers in late winter and early spring. These bony castoffs are called sheds, because shedding antlers is what deer do—after carrying around their heavy headgear for months, one day the antlers simply drop off.

Bucks are described not by their weight or height but by size of their racks. Count the prongs or points. Some bucks may sport six- or eight-point antlers. Others carry a veritable trellis on their heads. But come spring, regardless of the number of points, the boys drop their antlers in what must feel like a lovely, lightheaded moment of freedom.

Mike Stewart, owner of Wildrose Kennels in Oxford, Mississippi, where Pilot was bred and born, trains hunting dogs. His kennel has produced what he calls “Gentleman’s Gun Dogs” since 1972. Wildrose Kennels breeds and trains imported British and Irish Labrador Retrievers for water fowling (ducks, geese) and upland hunting (dove, quail, pheasant). The same talents that make his dogs great hunters— intelligence, trainability, and calm temperament—also make these Labs excellent service dogs, diabetic alert dogs, and adventure dogs. And yes, their talents can be adapted to finding the quiet quarry of shed antlers.

Stewart picked up a rubber antler and showed us the liquid antler scent that you dab onto it to start the training. It looks like an antler and it smells like an antler. And when you toss it or hide it, Labs do what they love best: retrieve it.It doesn’t take long for a well-trained pup to graduate to the real thing. For the fun of discovery, a kind word, and a pat on the head, we learned that a Lab will do just about anything.

Finding sheds is more than a Saturday afternoon activity. It’s a sport that’s called, appropriately, shed hunting. And like the elusive morel, there are lots of theories about where and how to find sheds. I’ve found slender white antlers lying in grassy open fields as well as nestled amid the leaf litter in the woods. I found one shed under a hedge apple tree in the bare dark dirt, its stark whiteness like a beacon on the ground.


Our antler obsession is purely decorative. We collect and display them in a large wooden bowl on our kitchen island. (We admit to buying them at shops and online, so we don’t limit the hunt to woods and fields.)

Antlers are beautiful—they are smooth and cool, like alabaster. And unlike ivory (which is from nonshedding tusks), sheds are from a sustainable resource. As I arrange our shed collection in their wooden bowl, it makes me think of Gaston, the character in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, who uses “antlers in all my decorating.”

And now we have a professional shed hunter living under our roof.

So in the crisp mornings of early spring, Doug and I will head out into the woods accompanied by our rubber-antler-trained dog, Pilot. Together we will comb the woods and fields in search of cast-off antlers from whitetail deer. And if we come up empty-handed, that’s cool, too. There are worse things than spending a day hiking with an eager dog crisscrossing the ground in front of you.


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