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2023-2024 Season Wrap Up

This was one of those rare years in Idaho when everything was perfect for breeding success so bird numbers were through the roof. Last time we saw it close to this good was in the early ’90s – we moved 14 coveys of Huns one day. By the end of the season everyone figured out there were tons of birds and it was getting hit pretty hard so the birds got really spooky and hard to approach. Rain and melting snow made most roads impassable so the pressure was concentrated along roads you could drive on. This combination made for difficult hunting – we didn’t kill many birds – but a great test of the dogs’ ability to handle very challenging birds.

We headed out in mid November and found excellent numbers of Huns. We had a couple days of good dog work on lots of coveys and big coveys. Then we woke up on Thanksgiving day to more than eight inches of fresh snow, enough to end our hunting in the area. So we packed up camp and moved to a different location to try for Chukars. We again found excellent numbers of birds, with some giant coveys numbering up to sixty birds.

One memorable hunt gave us a point from Heather in the head of a draw. We got ahead of her and watched wave after wave of Chukars flush 100 yards ahead. We didn’t get any birds out of that covey but it’s a sight we’ll remember for a long time.

After taking a break to let the snow melt we headed back out in mid December to get back after those Huns we found earlier. As a result of the pressure the birds were spookier than we’ve seen before. Despite it being hard to get shots we had some of the best hunting we’ve ever had and got lots of great dog work.

A highlight for us was seeing Lily and Talus perform as expected after we videoed their initial development last year. Both continue to look great and we’ll be adding them to our breeding program.

Lacy (Dusty x Buck) is another young dog just getting her first exposure to birds and she figured it out really fast, pointing all three coveys of Huns on her last hunt. They were spooky and didn’t give us any shots but she handled them nicely and it looks like she’ll be a lot like Dusty in speed, range, and bird handling.

Speaking of Dusty here’s a video of her doing her usual on a covey of Huns.

We’re also starting two males, Hunter and Birch, from an out cross we tried last summer (more on that at a later date). Right before taking another break we had a chance to take them out for their first hunts and Birch managed a point on a covey of Huns. It wasn’t a real find, he just ran into them and locked up but he learned what they smell like. He wasn’t quite six months old so we were pretty happy with his performance.

During the next month we took advantage of the one decent weather day and drove nine hours round trip to give the two young boys another shot at Huns. Hunter only had one chance on a covey he found and got too close, flushing them without a point. It was a nice find from a distance and he went straight to them with no messing around – a very nice job on his first find.

Birch hit the jackpot – within thirty minutes of leaving the truck, we’d moved four coveys. He made points on all four – these were legitimate finds from a long distance and he held on the last two until the birds flushed. Another covey flushed wild later in the hunt but you can’t complain about his performance. It would be a good outing for an experienced dog so coming from a six month old puppy on his second hunt it was outstanding. Here’s a clip of him on his fourth point.

The weather finally broke near the end of January so we could get out for the last week of the season. We were again snowed out of our Hun areas so we spent the entire time on Chukars. Access was limited and pressure was heavy so the birds were spooky but we managed to get some nice work out of the dogs.

Hunter finally got his chance on his third hunt with two coveys of Chukars and one of Huns, all of which he pointed. Birch’s third hunt gave him his introduction to Chukars, first a covey then a pair later in the hunt. He made solid points on both with the pair running ahead of him requiring a nice relocation. He also got to chase down a running cripple to make his first retrieve – all on his seven month birthday! We couldn’t be happier with a pair of dogs than we are with these two.


Birch On His Seven Month Birthday With His First Bird

We managed to get all the dogs out for one last hunt to end the season. Getting into so many birds really accelerated the learning curve for the young dogs and provided plenty of opportunities to appreciate watching the rest of them do their thing. Now we move on to puppy season.


  1. Robert L Dennee

    Thanks Lisa and Cliff. This makes my day!

    Very interesting and encouraging reports and photos/videos.

    When the timing is right, we want to come down and visit.

  2. Susan Ostby

    Congratulations on a great season and some very impressive bird work from your youngsters. I’ve witnessed big flocks of sharp-tails flush from a hillside. It’s thrilling to see that many birds. 🙂 Best of luck with your upcoming breedings.

  3. Brandon Hall

    Thanks for the season recap, pictures and video. I always enjoy seeing images on your dogs in their element.

    Eager to learn more about the two outcrosses in a later post.

    We are excited as always for puppy season.

    As always, thank you both to your hard work, commitment and passion for this breed.

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