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Explore the history, myths, and incredible stories of hunting dog breeds around the world. Co-hosted by Jennifer Wapenski and Craig Koshyk. A Project Upland Podcast. HUNTING DOG CONFIDENTIAL is made possible by Eukanuba Sporting Dog. Complete and balanced nutrition for your canine athlete. https://www.eukanubasportingdog.com/
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Project Upland, in our continued effort to serve our community in new and innovative ways while seeking to lower the barriers of entry into upland hunting, is pleased to publish PROJECTUPLAND.COM ON THE GO. In order to make our content easier to access in more diverse ways, we now publish audio versions of our growing library of online written content. It is our hope that, by creating a new pathway to access the materials we produce, we strengthen our community and bring it closer together.
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The Upland Rookie Podcast, brought to you by Upland Britts is a podcast not only for those new to upland hunting but for those veteran hunters too. No matter where you are on your upland journey, I hope that this podcast can inspire you in one way or another to get out into the uplands, put some miles on your boots, and follow your favorite bird dog. Through conversations with each guest we will take a deeper look into how each person got started and what keeps them coming back time and time ...
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My first-ever interaction with an English Springer Spaniel was when my wife, Emily, brought one home. When considering which dog breed our first hunting dog should be, we ultimately landed on the one with which Emily was most familiar. She grew up with Springers, and consequently, that is where we landed. At that time, we weren’t aware of the diffe…
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“Where were you last night?” These words strike fear in nearly all adolescent children. Is the parent simply curious? Was it an ambivalent conversation starter or a knowing and accusatory set up? The answer always lies within the subtle tones, expression, and body language of the parent. The same is true when thinking about the delivery of a comman…
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It’s not quite U.S. domestic politics or dog food, but raise the topic of “force fetch” or its euphemism, “trained retrieve,” and you’ll quickly discover that pointing dog folks have lots of feelings about it. You’ll generally find four camps: a camp of those who say they don’t need it because they don’t need their dog to retrieve but only help the…
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Having dealt with so-called “fine” firearms for decades, the question “What exactly is a ‘best gun?’” comes up a lot. Explaining what a best gun is can be challenging because it’s more of a concept or ethos to building a gun, not something that follows a set of rules or criteria. As such, the term is used quite liberally, especially when it comes t…
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As each year passes, some of us find enough time to raise and finish our dream upland dog. It is an amazing opportunity to have your dog at the ready, all day long, just begging to be educated. Extra time, whether due to retirement or working from home, has inspired many of us to get out there every day and mold our pup into the finest hunting mach…
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Depending on where in the world you’re hunting turkeys, you may be fortunate to see other remarkable wildlife while you sit and hammer on your box or slate call. You may even have one or two curious predatory critters come into your calls, hoping for an easy meal. For many modern turkey species, their main predators are owls, coyotes, and cougars. …
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If I were to ask you to honestly explain to me your expectations of whoa, what would your answer look like? Would you be okay with the three or four step California roll type whoa, utilizing more than a few commands while throwing in a few choice expletives? You know, the kind of whoa where you turn red while the dog sighs and rolls its eyes at you…
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Dogs that have been trained to hold point until the handler arrives will do so partly due to it being cooperative. However, this is mostly due to the dog fearing that if it moves, the bird will fly away. Steadiness comes into play once the dog realizes the presence of its handler. Before initiating the steadiness process, you would have hopefully p…
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You did your homework, picked the right hunting dog breed, and found the breeder who provided you with the genetic package you dreamt of. On the drive home it hits you. Have I prepared for this new puppy? Now what? How do I start? You own the equivalent of a Ferrari but are unsure how to take it for its first spin without scratching it. Too often, …
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Setters are incredible dogs that offer a wide diversity of type, hunting tendencies, and coat colors. Although some may be harder or softer than others, and some pups may be slightly more hesitant to retrieve, there are two constants that remain regardless of breed or strain: their beauty and amazing companionship in the field and at home. Llewelli…
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Sit and stay is a tall order. I don’t know about you, but this is no easy task for me or my bird dogs. Many of us are now quarantined in our homes. I’m sitting here writing this article with four very patient hunting dogs huddled up beside me awaiting anything remotely training related. And so place training is one of the things that can be accompl…
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The reverberation of a ruffed grouse drumming during early mornings in spring forests is one of the most magical sounds. When you hear it, it starkly contrasts against all other sounds found in the springtime. Its unique nature provokes human curiosity and admiration. No doubt, that very same feeling we get today is what sparked naturalist John Bar…
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Our bird dog training routine has been completely uprooted, though my dogs are thoroughly enjoying all the extra training. Unfortunately for many people, what would have been the start of training season with friends and professional trainers has now become a stay-at-home DIY situation. Nevertheless, we can take this extra time to get some excellen…
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So what if my dog has a wiggle butt and flags a bit on point? It’s kinda cute and still gets meat to the frying pan. If that’s the case and your dog will efficiently hunt, locate plenty of birds for you and stand point, I would happily agree with you. More often than not, however, it will affect your hunt in some aspect as it’s a symptom of underly…
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Being part of the hunting and shooting industry, I get to try the latest and greatest new guns every year. But when I’m not toting a gun for work, I’m usually carrying a vintage shotgun. My duck and pigeon gun turned 100 this year, and my grouse gun isn’t far behind it. I have a safe full of old pumps, semi-autos, side-by-sides, and over-unders, an…
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I’m sure you noticed that you can’t make a move your bird dog doesn’t notice. It’s kind of creepy at times finding your dog at the door staring at you the moment the thought crosses your mind to go out dog training or hunting, as if they are somehow reading your mind. It’s because they’ve been studying your every move since the day you brought them…
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Some say the sweetest springtime sounds come from wild turkeys. As many turkey hunters have experienced, real turkeys aren’t always the ones producing that cacophony of yelps. Oftentimes, on crowded small parcels of land, one may be seduced by the sounds emanating from what turns out to be a hungry hunter, not a hen on the prowl. Hunters using turk…
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Bird dog training at its core is behavior modification reliant upon catching your dog in the thought process and being able to read their emotions. Doing so allows us to predict behaviors before they occur, thereby maximizing the potential for learning. Also, the character of the dog at that moment and the behaviors they are exhibiting dictates the…
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Have you ever hunted over a dog with a sixth sense for finding birds? Perhaps the dog had a higher-than-average drive to push out to find game. Or maybe it was highly intelligent and sought the most productive cover. Its exceptional nose could’ve been dialed in. Regardless of the attribute, it must have had a cooperative temperament, trusted its ha…
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The Ojibwe, the indigenous people of the Great Lakes region, tell a story of how they were starving and aninaatig (sugar maple) fed the tribe with syrup (zhiiwaagamizigan) that gushed forth from its wood. Soon, the people took the gift of sugar from the Creator for granted. They lay under aninaatig all day and just let the syrup drip into their mou…
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The instant it takes to drop your car keys from your fingertips to the floor is all the time you have to relay a message to your dog that they are a good dog or a bad dog. This is all the time you have to tag a behavior. Anything after that simply leads to confusion and resentment. When you are reward-based bird dog training using food, toys or pra…
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A black slash slices over red-lined eyes, streaks down the breast, and connects at the keel as it cuts across the body of a flashy chukar partridge. Gray-blue feathers blend seamlessly into shades of dust-brown across its breast and back, but not its sides, where chukar apparently took some inspiration from zebras. Besides pheasants, chukars are ar…
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The afternoon sun sat low through the thick cover. It glistened off the saturated ground, small patches of snow still pushing back against the oncoming spring. The sound of my Wirehaired Pointing Griffon’s bell came sharply through the undergrowth, occasionally muted by the splash of water as Grim worked his way back and forth. We had been through …
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July is an exciting month for us, as it signals the approach of our shooting season, which starts on 12 August—known as The Glorious Twelfth—with the opening of the red grouse season. My husband Ronnie and I live on the northwest coast of Scotland with our ten Hungarian Wirehaired Vizslas. They are a huge part of our lives—they share our house and …
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A short while ago, I spoke with a behaviorist friend of mine, Matt McKenny, who also owns versatile hunting dogs. I specifically asked him his thoughts about his relationship with his dog and how behavioral science contributes to his ability to work with, train and calm his dogs. He provided an in-depth perspective of how we use science knowingly —…
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During my time at Deerfield Elementary School in southern Wisconsin, my fourth-grade teacher taught us about Wisconsin’s geological history. I recall learning about glaciers, the formation of our local drumlins, and how unique the unglaciated driftless area is when it comes to midwestern landscapes. However, I don’t recall Mr. Meyer teaching my cla…
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“That’s it. I’m sending my dog away to be trained!” So training didn’t go your way today and you are left with an alarmed dog and a bitter taste in your mouth. Hopefully, you called it a day before impacting the trusting relationship you worked so hard to earn. Time for both of you to recover and reset. Take a break, back up and go back to the basi…
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Dog training methodologies are vast. The long lead’s outward appearance may seem to be a relic of training days gone by. And truth be told, for some, they wouldn’t be wrong. With the invention of the e-collar and the now mainstream training approaches of utilizing classical and operant conditioning, many trainers forego the use of the long lead alt…
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When your dog is in a calm state, they are ready to learn and will do so even if you’re not intending to teach them anything. I was at a sportsman club in Maine chatting it up with folks when my German shorthaired pointer started tugging at the lead. Without much thought I reached in my pocket, called her in and treated her throughout the day. What…
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Suppose one found themselves reading a newspaper in 1912. The headlines may have read, “New Mexico, Arizona Admitted as 48th and 49th States,” “Titanic Sank on its Maiden Voyage,” and “First Stop Light Invented in Detroit.” Between articles, you might have spotted a Winchester Repeating Firearms announcement for its new shotgun, the Winchester Mode…
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The Labrador Duck was a beautiful black and white type of sea duck considered the first species of North American birds to go extinct during modern times. The last Labrador Duck to be hunted was shot in 1878 in Elmira, New York. It is presumed that the species went extinct shortly after. The loss of the Labrador duck is not your typical ecological …
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The English Setter was America’s first bird dog. And rightly so; they’re known for being incredible hunting partners regardless of the terrain or quarry. As a result, they have a long history in North America, and evidence of that can be found in classic upland bird hunting texts like The Upland Shooting Life by George Bird Evans. However, this dog…
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Nowadays, when we think of duck hunting, we imagine scenes of wing-shooting mallards in a marsh or stubble field. However, before the invention of firearms, ducks were not shot on the wing. They were caught with snares, shot with a bow and arrow or driven into nets. Eventually, techniques were even developed to lure ducks into cages. So for centuri…
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I grew up during what appears today to be the stone age of upland hunting. It’s hard to believe we could simply throw on a bell and go out hunting. Admittedly, there were plenty of frustrating days when the dogs were having a really good time without us. It was just part of the gig back then. We talked to our dogs a lot, constantly commanding to ke…
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When it comes to evaluating hunting dogs—whether for breeding purposes or bragging rights—the methods and philosophies are as varied as hunters themselves. What constitutes a “good” hunting dog, and whose opinion counts? One hunter’s ideal dog could be a terrible match for someone else’s style, and vice versa. Non-competitive hunt tests came about …
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The sinkbox was effective for waterfowl hunting because it was flush with the water’s surface and nearly invisible ducks and geese, particularly to the low approach of diving ducks. Its popularity began early, three decades before the Civil War, and it remained a waterfowling tool for over a hundred years. Originating on the North Atlantic Seaboard…
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As a new owner of a versatile hunting dog, you’ve probably been asked about running in a natural ability or puppy hunt test. Some breeders may request or require that puppy buyers run in a test, while other owners may stumble into the puppy test through local club chapters such as NAVHDA or AKC. For owners of the German-registered breeds—such as th…
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I have a penchant for watching the weather. My childhood home had a large glass sliding door. It looked west across an open prairie for nearly a mile, and I would stare intently out as spring storms rolled in. My parents called for me to hide under the stairs the entire time, but I just couldn’t get enough. I still can’t, and I love to look at exte…
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The Superposed was the last gun designed by John Browning, according to Ned Schwing’s opus, which is aptly titled The Browning Superposed: John M. Browning’s Last Legacy. Browning was an engineering genius, with many of his designs still in production today. His vision for this particular gun was for it to be a high quality but affordable shotgun, …
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Water spaniels are but a vestige of what they once were. Originally developed in the British Isles for waterfowl retrieving, today only three breeds remain. The American Water Spaniel and its close cousin, the Boykin, are joined by the Irish Water Spaniel as remnants of what was once a broad spectrum of water dogs. The origin of water spaniels can …
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The two little hounds are whining loudly and scratching at the metal kennel doors. We had just pulled off the road down an overgrown two-track on a mostly forgotten plot of public land. It’s early December and most of the deer hunters have ended their season, so this little piece of paradise is all ours. Struggling to strap the GPS collars on the s…
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The long-awaited Pointing Dogs Volume Two: The English and Irish Breeds by Craig Koshyk has finally hit shelves. Inside, readers can explore in-depth information about Pointers, setters, and the overall development of bird dogs across the pond. Koshyk features an entire chapter about Irish Red Setters alone; let’s take a peek inside. It’s believed …
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“Why on earth would anyone want to hunt crows?” I often get asked that question when people learn that I am an avid crow hunter during the whitetail off-season. Many hunters wonder whether or not American crow hunting is worth their time and if there is any benefit to it. My short answer to that is “Yes, absolutely!” But why? How is crow hunting be…
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Sprinkled here and there throughout the sporting literature of the 19th century are references to Russian Setters. Despite the references and the fact that there were a number of dogs listed as Russian Setters entered into studbooks in England and the U.S., such a breed never actually existed. Be that as it may, for a while, sportsmen did breed and…
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For many of us in the northern snow-covered hills of the United States, hunting season is shortly coming to an end—if not already. Green rolling pastures have now been replaced by a tundra; the woodcock have all traveled down to warmer, worm-filled bayous; and the grouse are retreating to the treetops. Now entering your home, you will likely be met…
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As dog owners, we have all heard of bloat, twisted stomach, or, as your veterinarian would say, GDV. GDV stands for gastric dilatation-volvulus. This urgent medical condition occurs when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, food, or fluid and twists. This condition develops with almost no warning, can progress rapidly, and is always an emergency. Rememb…
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The Florida Everglades represents a unique ecosystem not presently found anywhere else in the world. The subtropical wetland is the largest ecosystem in North America, a natural habitat for a diversity of species you won’t see anywhere else: countless aquatic birds; numerous endangered species such as the manatee, Florida panther, and American croc…
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The process of fitting a gun to a person and its underlying principles have, at times, been made to seem mysterious and even alchemic. As a custom stock maker and gunsmith, gunfitting is rather simple. Gunfitting is a necessary and integral part of making a custom stock for a client. It also provides the required stock dimensions for altering a cli…
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Kids and dogs. It’s a timeless combination. Humans have had an inexplicable connection to “man’s best friend” dating back as far as 20,000 years, according to scientific evidence revealing when domestication of wild canids began. Social media, online games, cell phones, and whatever comes next will not break that bond, though it may lie dormant at …
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