Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Brushland and forest bird habitat workshop May 3 - Aitkin MN

A habitat workshop to assist private landowners in maintaining, enhancing and restoring habitat for sharp-tailed grouse, woodcock, golden-winged warblers and ruffed grouse will be held on Saturday, May 3, at Long Lake Conservation Center southeast of Palisade.  

All of these bird species, except ruffed grouse, are listed as “species in greatest conservation need” by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This designation means their populations are rare, declining or vulnerable to decline and are below levels desirable to ensure their long term health and stability.

Sharp-tailed grouse are of particular concern due to their long term population decline in Minnesota. Aitkin County and western Carlton County are home to the remaining stronghold of this unique, native grouse in east central Minnesota. Landowners with dancing grounds (leks) on their land or within two miles of them are especially encouraged to attend. Their land can provide the habitat necessary for sharp-tailed grouse breeding, nesting and brood rearing habitat.    
The workshop runs from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and includes information on the biology and habitat requirements of sharp-tailed grouse, woodcock, golden-winged warblers and ruffed grouse, and technical and financial assistance programs for assisting implementation of habitat projects. Each registrant will receive an aerial photo of their land for a work period during which they will get assistance in developing habitat project ideas. Coffee, fruit and muffins will be served at morning break, as well as a sack lunch. The early afternoon will consist of a habitat tour. An optional, evening, woodcock “sky dance” program will occur at 8:30 pm.

This event is made possible and free to attendees thanks to sponsors that include the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Aitkin & Carlton County Soil & Water Conservation Districts, DNR, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Pheasants Forever, Minnesota Sharp-tailed Grouse Society, Woodcock Minnesota, American Bird Conservancy, Ruffed Grouse Society and Wildlife Management Institute.   

For more information and to register, contact Scott Kittleson at the Aitkin NRCS office at 218-927-2413 x101 by April 24, with your name, address, phone number, land location (twp., range, section, forty), sack lunch order, and interest in the evening sky dance program.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to Properly Range Your Gun Dog

by Chad Mason   

Retrievers are one of American pheasant hunters’ most popular companions. In pheasant country, I see more Labs than anything else, with goldens running third or fourth. For our beloved retrievers, it’s all about range. As long as a retriever is ranging just right, there isn’t much else he can do wrong.

Few things in upland bird hunting are more exasperating than a dog that flushes beyond your shotgun’s capabilities. But there’s nothing more useless than a dog that covers no more ground than his master. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of retrievers at both ends of that spectrum.

Ranging properly is not the same as the textbook description of quartering we read in training books, though some enthusiastic new retriever owners aspire to see their dogs hunt in this manner.
Retriever field trials and hunting tests have not (yet) put a heavy emphasis on upland bird hunting, so you’d have to watch a spaniel event to see what I mean. What you will see are dogs running back-and-forth before the gun like high-speed lawn mowers, cutting neat lines perpendicular to the hunter’s direction of travel. These lines extend perhaps 20-25 yards on each side of the gun, and 10 to 15 yards in front. One spaniel field trial judge told me this was “ideal” for hunting upland birds.
I think that’s crazy.

Ranging right is not a mindless, mechanical activity, and it is not a series of all-out sprints. It is a nuanced and intelligent quest that recognizes which areas are likely to hold birds, and which aren’t. It means effectively covering as much likely bird-holding cover as possible at an endurance pace, in such a way all birds put to flight by the dog are reasonable targets.

Proper range begins with canvassing the wind for bird scent, and culminates with investigating the sources of scent. Ranging just right may even take a dog momentarily beyond the range of the gun in order to expose a bird to the gun. But ultimately, a dog that ranges just right understands the physical and ballistic limitations of his master and hunts within them, because he also understands his own need for the master as an indispensable teammate.

Friday, April 4, 2014

18 Worst Human Foods For Your Dog

It’s hard to not give a dog a scrap of human food from time to time. In fact, dog meals made from our food can be healthy and nutritious, not to mention delicious for your pup.

Though not every food that we eat is good for our canine friends and some are downright dangerous. So dangerous in fact, that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) had to issue an official statement, which you can find in this article.

To keep your dog healthy, avoid giving him the following snacks.

1. Chocolate

2. Grapes

3. Garlic and Onions

7. Bread Dough

This may seem obvious, but the yeast found in dough is dangerous for dogs.
This also means that you shouldn’t, under any circumstances give your dog bread dough, not even in small quantities.

The enzymes in the yeast convert the sugar in the dough to ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide.
The carbon dioxide is what makes the dough rise and if happens after the dough had been eaten by your pet, you know where and what will happen.

After eating, the yeast can multiply in your dog’s stomach causing pain or even as bad as destroying tissue.

The kitchen can be a dangerous place for a dog. However, by continuously expanding your knowledge and being aware of the hazards, your dog can live a long and healthy life!

Be careful with everything in kitchen and especially take good care of your garbage and make sure it’s properly sealed so that the dogs cannot rummage through it for food.

Read more on these 4 foods, all 18 foods, and the complete article