Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

The management and entire staff of The Bombshell, would like to wish all of it's readers a Safe and Happy New Year..
I'm sure we're all looking forward to a much better 2009...

Happy New Year to all!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pete Grannis acts as predicted

Some of the two or three regular readers here may remember my rant about New York City political hack, Pete Grannis being named as head of New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation, and what an incongruous appointment that was by then governor Eliot Spitzer, who later succumbed to his own problems with hubris.
Mr. Grannis is no more grounded in Sportsmen's issues than I am with New York City politics, and therein lies the rub.
Mr. Grannis and our current poor excuse for a governor, David Paterson, have found it useful, with encouragement from the Humane Society of the US, to eliminate the pheasant stocking program in NY, that has been in existence since 1927.
I wonder if either of these two gentlemen ever gave any thought to the fact that this is the only opportunity for some sportsmen in the State of New York to experience any type of hunting experience at all! Or if they even care??
Was any thought given to the impact that this will have on license sales?? Or the local economies of destinations for sportsmen with little access??
And, is this the same David Paterson that pushed for many years for legislation that would allow our Police to be prosecuted if it was deemed that they did not "shoot to wound" instead of shoot to stop??
It seems obvious to me that governor Paterson has a much better grasp on the women he keeps on the side that the realities of being governor...

Here is a link for those that would like to read of the decision by the "Unholy Alliance", and their ties to the HSUS...

As for myself... I'll retire to bedlam....

Confucius say...

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
Applies to workin' dogs... as well as all aspects of life...

Enjoy the day!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

On the last hunt...

Yesterday was spent at the club as a scheduled work day. And old friend stopped in to pass some time and share some stories.
He's an old time birddog man, having trialed Britts years ago. In recent years, he just hunts his 13 year old Britt, and a young English Pointer that he's bringing along.. He was confiding in me that his old Britt was not feeling well... drinking alot of water and urinating frequently... He also said that she'd recently gone off her feed. I recognized the symptoms, and had a feeling that the future did not look bright for this old warrior that still had it in her to point a bird, maybe her last, that very day!
A call later that day in search of the owner with news of the blood work confirmed my suspicions..
It's always a sad day when someone is losing an old friend that they've pounded so many miles with in search of their quarry... For them, and for myself also, as memories flood back from the times I've been in that very position. Knowing it was time to release an old friend, but not wanting to start the painful process of going it alone without the old dog that meant so much, and only a short decade earlier had shown so much promise as a gangly puppy.
It was always my opinion that God, for whatever reason, played a cruel trick upon mankind by giving the man a lifespan of seventy or so years, and his truest companion only ten. Perhaps punishment for original sin?
But, I recently read an interesting observation by Bill Tarrant on this very subject, and it gave me a new insight into one of a birddog man's most crushing blows...
Tarrant expressed his idea that the reason dogs live only a single decade as opposed to our seventy to eighty years is that if a dog lived near as long as a human, the pain of his loss would be too much for us to bear.
That's an interesting concept, and one that could help some folks through their loss.

Following is a poem by Rudyard Kipling, that comes awfully close to explaining my thoughts today...

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;

And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?

Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie--

Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.

Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,

And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,

Then you will find--it's your own affair--'ve given your heart for a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!);

When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,

You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart for the dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.

Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.

Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve:

For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long--

So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Welsh Christmas

While the following traditions were never practiced in our house, it's surprising that due to the tremendous resurgence of Welsh Nationalism, the some of the old ways are coming back into favor..
Wales is an ancient land, and some of these traditional practices predate Christianity, but I thought they might be of some interest...

Click here for Welsh Christmas traditions..

A Merry Christmas to all..

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

At this time, we'd like to wish all of our regular readers, and the folks that stumble upon us, a very Merry Christmas..
Enjoy your family and friends, and of course the dogs that share your homes.
And let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas, and teach it to our little ones lest they think it's all about the toys..

Merry Christmas to all...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008



Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.
- "The Lowest Animal"

Mark Twain

Ain't it the truth...

Monday, December 22, 2008

The call of one's home

At this time of year, the call of my birthplace, which will always be my home, sounds deeply in my heart. The house I was born in still stands, as it probably will for centuries. There is now central heating, and all the comforts of a modern home, but there is also the past. The spirits of my ancestors, some recently departed and some long gone, still call me home, and I'm feeling the need to see my homeland once again, before I retire myself.
On my last trip, I slept in the very bedroom where life started for me, and that can be quite a cosmic experience. My cousin is now in the house by himself. He never married, and I'm sure is quite lonely, having retired a few years ago. But he had a simple life that I envy greatly. Delivering the post to outlying areas without electric or modern conveniences.. stopping to open farmer's gates, and close them after himself.. interrupting the mornings work to watch wild horses work the moors... stopping to pick wild mushrooms for Sunday lamb.. An idyllic existance after giving up the Sea and signing onto tramp steamers in hopes of seeing the world as a young man. And see the world he did... sometimes more than he bargained for, but such is the life of a young man from an ancient seafaring town..

Click here for a little view of my smalltown home, Fishguard, Wales..

Sunday, December 21, 2008

December 21

Also known as Midwinter's Day, or Yule...

'Yule, is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, much celebration was to be had as the ancestors awaited the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth and made her to bear forth from seeds protected through the fall and winter in her womb. Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider.'
Yule Lore

From Celtic tradition.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

FT vs. Hunting

paraphrased from an editorial in Field Trial Magazine...

The argument against hunting trial dogs usually revolves around the fact that when the attention turns to shooting, and the birds start falling out of the sky, dogs can, and often do, become un-broke quite fast. This phenomenon has happened to many field trial dogs that have never had a bird shot over them, and this includes dogs that were campaigned in the woods on wild birds. Some people claim to have outgrown the desire to kill birds and are practicing the bird dog equivalent of catch and release. Others argue that they don't want their dogs to think about the fact that there may be a dead bird to find.

So, once again we see the differences between the trial dog and the hunting dog.. "Broke" is a relative term, and can mean many different things to many different people. The dog isn't born broke, and doesn't stay broke without the constant attention of the handler... There are just too many distractions out there..

Food for thought...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gun fitting pitfalls

For those that would like to read the absolute ultimate treatise on gunfitting that I have ever read anywhere, scoot on over to the Cold Duck blog and read Michaels thoughts on professional fitting with a "try gun"..
He pulls no punches, and tells the tale egg-zactly how it is.. The good, the bad, and the ugly... And, it's all true!

This is what the stockfitters and hook and bullet magazines don't tell you!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Instruction on Living

from The Lakota..


Lakota Instructions for Living

Friend do it this way - that is,
whatever you do in life,
do the very best you can
with both your heart and mind.

And if you do it that way,
the Power Of The Universe
will come to your assistance,
if your heart and mind are in Unity.

When one sits in the Hoop Of The People,
one must be responsible because
All of Creation is related.
And the hurt of one is the hurt of all.
And the honor of one is the honor of all.
And whatever we do effects everything in the universe.

If you do it that way - that is,
if you truly join your heart and mind
as One - whatever you ask for,
that's the Way It's Going To Be.

passed down from White Buffalo Calf Woman

Enjoy the weekend...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Red Dawgs in action!

For some pictures that will raise the hair on the back of your neck, check out our friends at "A Piece of the Purest Challenge" and see what these Red Setters can do..

Beauty is as beauty does!!


pictured is King Cormac, from Conneaut Creek Kennels

Oprah weighs 200 pounds!!

Must have been a helluva lot of celebrating after successfully buying the Presidency of the United States..
Proof, once again that truth is stranger than fiction!

Oprah Winfrey says she weighs 200 pounds
CHICAGO, Tue Dec 09, 11:27 AM

When it comes to her weight, Oprah Winfrey has always been straightforward. The talk show queen continues the honesty, saying in the January issue of "O" magazine out Tuesday that she now weighs 200 pounds and has "fallen off the wagon" when it comes to healthy living.

"I'm mad at myself," Winfrey writes in an article provided early to The Associated Press by Harpo Productions.

"I'm embarrassed," she writes. "I can't believe that after all these years, all the things I know how to do, I'm still talking about my weight. I look at my thinner self and think, `How did I let this happen again?'"

In the piece, Winfrey, 54, details her recent struggles with an out-of-balance thyroid and how the condition made her develop "a fear of working out." She says she's added 40 pounds to her frame since she weighed 160 pounds in 2006.

"Yes, you're adding correctly; that means the dreaded 2-0-0," Winfrey writes. "I was so frustrated I started eating whatever I wanted — and that's never good."

Winfrey also writes that her goal is no longer to be thin; instead, she wants to be strong, healthy and fit. She hopes to get started with her upcoming "Best Life Week," starting Jan. 5 with an episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" during which she is expected to talk candidly about her weight.

Winfrey, who is chairman of Harpo Inc., famously wheeled a wagon loaded with fat onto the set of her talk show in 1988 to represent a 67-pound weight loss while wearing a pair of size 10 Calvin Klein jeans. She had lost the pounds with a liquid protein diet.

"I had literally starved myself for four months — not a morsel of food," Winfrey recalled in 2005. "Two hours after that show, I started eating to celebrate — of course, within two days those jeans no longer fit!"

Winfrey's weight has yo-yoed to the delight of the tabloid press ever since. She weighed as many as 237 pounds and by late 1990 acknowledged she had regained most of the 67 pounds, saying "I'll never diet again."

In 1994, she finished the Marine Corps Marathon and by 1996 hired personal trainer Bob Greene, saying her roller-coaster weight saga was over.

But now, 20 years since the Calvin Klein jeans episode, Winfrey finds herself tipping the scales again, telling AP Television last week that she has yet to choose a gown for President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural ball next month.

"I had a dress on the vision board, but I'm not sure that's gonna fit," Winfrey said. "So I have to work on something else."

In the latest "O" magazine article, Winfrey writes that she hit rock bottom when she wanted to skip out on an April 26 taping with Cher and Tina Turner in Las Vegas.

"I felt like a fat cow," Winfrey writes. "I wanted to disappear."

Winfrey's weight and height put her body mass index at 31.8, which is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says people who are obese are "at higher risk for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol."

It seems Winfrey is aware of the health risks, inviting both Greene and Dr. Mehmet Oz to her show during the first week of January, along with spirituality experts, sex therapists and financial expert Suze Orman.

Winfrey also is expected to discuss her weight on her XM satellite radio station's "The Gayle King Show" on Jan. 5 and will host interactive live Web casts at the week of Jan. 12 to 16 every night at 9 p.m. EST.

Winfrey, an admitted food addict, sounds almost apologetic in her article.

"I definitely wasn't setting an example," she writes. "I was talking the talk, but I wasn't walking the walk. And that was very disappointing to me."


And so it goes in the Land of Oz....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Things were different...

But it is true that things were different when I was a boy, and the Old Man represented the irretrievable mystery of yesteryear. I do not suppose that I would get very far in interesting today's crop of nippers in what to me was high sport and great fun some thirty to thirty-five years a-past. It was altogether too simple then for this age of television and ballet in the circus. Progress, like nearly everything else, is relative, and I often wonder if it's benefits are entirely undiluted.

From "When I was a Boy" by Robert Ruark

Robert Ruark was kind of a "common man's Hemingway," and they had much in common...

One ended his life with a gun, the other with a bottle...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Voice...

For those that have ever seen Celtic Woman perform, and I know that at least one of our esteemed readers has, you will know that The Voice is sung by Lisa Kelly.

I don't know if I'll make it to heaven when my time comes, I suppose that is still in doubt. But, If I am lucky enough to be allowed entry to where my dogs will surely be waiting, I'm sure that many of the angels will have the voice and face of the incomparable Lisa Kelly!

It may be due to the fact of my Celtic heritage, but Lisa's voice touches me in the deepest places of my soul..

We all have our dreams....

Hear Lisa sing "The Voice" here...

Hear Lisa sing "Caledonia" here..

Monday, December 8, 2008

A new widget..

We've added a playlist near the top of the sidebar.

A great listen is at the very top.. Caledonia performed by Lisa Kelly of Celtic Woman, who will be the headliner tomorrow..

Give it a try.. And give me some feedback on how you like it, what additions I should make, etc....

A Tale of Two Jacks

This is Gus on the left, and Jackie on the right... Gus the male, and Jackie the female. They're pictured here, in the converted golf cart which is used for chores around the barn, and sports two steel stanchions for roading about six dogs at a time.. An all 'round vehicle!
As can be seen, they love to ride the cart with me when I'm getting hay, or dumping manure, as seen here. These two JRT's live at the barn where birddog folks come to work dogs, or generally shoot the breeze while caring for the horses. Their job is to keep the ever present vermin under control, and they're experts at their work!
Gus also has the job of telling when one of the female trial dogs is coming into heat.. He knows days before a Vet can ascertain!
Gus has a bit of the wanderlust in him.. He'll gladly jump into anyone's car. About a year back, in a rainstorm, Gus dug his way out and got on the main road.. An old gent stopped, and when he opened his door, Gus jumped in.. He was gone for days. The local pound eventually got a call.. Gusie's owner's went to retrieve him, and the old gent, without dog food, had been feeding Gus deli sliced balogna, and letting him sleep on the bed.. Not bad for an old ratter!!
Jackie though, was not pleased when Gus returned home from his multi-day bender with the smell of balogna on his breath..
They're both getting on in years, and remind me of an old married couple.. a stay at home Mom, with a sometimes wayward husband..
The replacements have already arrived, to allow these two old timers to have their place in the sun, but no two dogs can ever replace Jackie and Gus..
God only knows how much longer they have left... Gus has a bad hip (another funny story) and he runs like a fiddler crab, coughs in the morning, but he still gets the job done...

I'll never forget these two... They've touched my heart in strange ways...

There are many funny stories about Gus, and I'll touch on more in the future.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A new place in bloggerland..

And it belongs to my friend Alpha Setter..

He's got a great way with birddogs, and I know his new blog is goint to be a great success, have a lot of insight into a dog's head and have some emotional passages about the love between a dogman and his charge.

So, check out the new blog, Alpha Setter & The Upland Learning Curve.. Bookmark it, add the link to your blogroll and check in often for a truly unique perspective on the relationship that can exist between Man and Dog...

A Dog's Prayer

Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.

Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.

When it's cold and wet, please take me inside - for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements - and I ask no greater glory than the privelege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth - though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land - for you are my god - and I am your devoted worshipper.

Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.

And, beloved master, should the Great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest.... and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.

by Beth Norman Harris

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Today's quote

Today's thoughtful quote to ponder...

“The difference between mere killing and a glorious sport is the manner in which you do it – over thrilling dogs, in magnificent country and with a near-reverence for the game."

George Bird Evans

Shotgun truisms

For the most honest assessment of shotgun marketing that I've read in a long, long time, go to the Cold Duck blog and read what my friend Michael has to say concerning the attributes we all think we need in our quest for Shotgunning Nirvana..

I think we'll all look in our shotgun cabinets rather sheepishly...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Information and Disinformation on e-collars

I've come almost full circle on e-collar usage..

E-collars, in the old days, were punishing tools. Their most effective usage was for "trashbreaking", or running unwanted game, and for that job they were very effective, because that is the area where high levels of stimulation are necessary. And that is where the first generations of e-collars delivered. The originals were non-adjustable.. just prodigious doses of electric delivered to the dog's neck..
Later, collars were available with interchangeable "chips" that could vary the stimulation sent to the collar. Still imperfect, as the handler could still only work within the range of the chip inserted in the collar.
Modern e-collars overcome all the shortcomings of the early designs by providing a means of altering the range of stimulation at the transmitter.
This makes the e-collar a highly effectivev tool for enforcing known commands.
I started with checkcords... also an imperfect too because of all the violent jerking involved. An improperly used checkcord can turn a dog off to trainiong almost to the degree that an improperly used e-collar can!
Once the e-collars improved, I moved to the electronics for more than just running off game.. I was happy for a time, but I still found the e-collar to be an imperfect tool, at least to my mind, for working around birds.. An unintended stimulation, or a mistake in applying it, can cause setbacks..
So, I'm back to the checkcord for foundation work, and apply the e-collar for finishing touches.. Low levels of stimulation are all that is needed here.. And I wopuld not apply anything to my dogs without testing it out first on myself..
The lowest levels are not even perceptible to me, so I have no qualms about applying it for corrections to the dog..

Obviously, not everyone feels the way I do, and there is much disinformation and misunderstanding concerning e-collars and their proper use.. To raise sentiment, most literature that takes issue with their use still refer to the tools as "shock collars".. This is usually a tipoff that the imformation is decidedly biased..

This is an example of an article that is totally wrong in it's information and it's intent.

Give it a read and post comments as you give it some thought..

For an appropriate use of an e-collar... look here...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


An excerpt from the Essay "Counterpoint: Further Thoughts on Pointing by a Cynic" by Ryan Frame..

It is an accepted fact that the old time trainers allowed pups to chase to their hearts’ content, knowing that they would some day be convinced that they could not catch and then would hold their points. You could put it the way Charley Babcock put it: “… giving the puppy a good time with plenty of opportunities on game with no cares or worries for the dog or for me, yet asking him that question daily, and some fine morning when the weather’s cool, the dew upon the grass, the dog bending every energy to find his game, he will answer and I’ll know he’s telling the truth. As plainly as human speech could tell it, I’ll know that he has sowed his wild oats, shed his puppy ways and is ready for his mission in life.” Or you could cut through that poetic , foo-foo crap and describe it as it really is: That in the pup’s mind, his mission in life is to chase and catch birds and that, some fine morning, when the dew is on the grass, he will finally realize that he is a complete failure at it, will lapse into indecisiveness and self doubt as a result, and will thus stop, and do nothing, which will thereafter be his mission in life.


It's a pity we don't have the bird numbers to naturally train a dog today.. To allow the dog to figure out what works and what doesn't on his (or her) own!
Pigeons are in reality, an imperfect substitute. After all, the pup's lifetime will decidedly not be spent in pursuit of the lowly pigeon. But, the pigeon carries one important attribute for Pointing dogs, and we've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating..
When we make a mistake in training, as we invariably do, that mistake was made on pigeon scent, and not that of a gamebird! And I've never seen the consequences carry over..