Sunday, December 16, 2012


Irving Berlin, Ira Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Burt Bacharac, Oscar Hammerstein and Bob Marley are all great lyricists who have enriched our lives. Their songs play over and over on the soundtrack in our heads.

Randy Newman has never enriched a damn thing. Randy Newman sucks. I would love to take Randy Newman hunting on a -20 day with wind NNW at 30 with gusts to 50.  I am confident there would be a hunting accident. Randy Newman sucks.

Perhaps the greatest song of all time was written and performed by the Baha Men.

Who let the dogs out?
Who, who, who, who, who?
Who let the dogs out?
Who, who, who, who, who?

I apologize. I fear the lyrics are now permanently etched in the tiny space reserved for only your most cherished memories.

I can't promise this will be the last blog on my black lab, Molly.

If you have been following this blog, you know Molly's road to membership in the WyoBraska Waterfowl Retriever Club was not exactly on paved highways. Molly is now the lead dog. The many long hours of training over the past two years is paying huge dividends.

Danielle is now ten years old. She has earned the title of the Platte River Specialist. Dani is simply the ultimate retriever on the North Platte. I can't recall ever losing a downed bird with her. 400 yard blind retrieves on birds in the current or long blind retrieves on sailing birds into the woods are common place with her. She now hunts one day every two weeks.

Molly is well on her way to the same lofty status. She has been impeccable on her whistle commands and hand signals. I have not lost a bird with her this year. She is the steadiest dog I have ever had. She will sit outside all day and watch client dogs make the "easy" retrieves and never complain. But when the degree of difficulty is above the pay grade of the other dogs she is eager to show her stuff.

Molly still has a few little quirks. Large Canadas pose a problem for her. Being a small dog, her mouth is not big enough to wrap around a honker. You try lifting a 12 lb goose with your mouth. It ain't that easy.

Our apprentice retriever is 11 month old Tommie.  She has had a couple of ten plus duck days on the river and displays all the attributes I need in my retrievers.

Molly has big paws to fill. Her disposition and size remind everyone of the legendary Brooks. Brooks; Harvey; Ally; Zile; Danielle and AZ have set the bar high. By the end of the spring snow goose season, Molly will be reaching for the top rung.

Who let these dogs out? I believe only God.



November 2012 has been one of the driest and warmest ever recorded. Torrington received a meager 0.6 inches of precipitation during the month. The high temp for the month was 76 degrees on November 21st. The end of November should bring us high temps in the low 40's and night time temps around 15 degrees.The 30th of November the high was 67 and the low was 27.

Thank heavens Montana had one storm in the middle of the month that pushed some birds south. Truth is it caused one of the most dramatic migration days I have ever seen. Canada geese and mallards came down the river all day long. Flock after flock of five hundred to a thousand lesser Canadas raced by on their way to Colorado, Oklahoma and north Texas. Skeins of snow geese were accompanied by spirals of sandhill cranes as well the tail end migration of gadwall and blue wing teal.

There are two major things that move big Canadas and northern mallards; ice and snow. Their water must freeze and snow must cover their food. If they have open water and a food source, cold alone will not move them.

Now that my pity party is over, I have to confess that November was my best month ever for mallards! I am blessed to hunt in perhaps the finest location for consistent mallard hunting in the entire US. I hesitate to say exactly how many mallards my hunters have taken because I don't want area hunters to know how good I am doing. In November we bagged more mallards than we took all of last season. And I didn't start hunters until the 10th!

Suffice to say, Mother Nature took a swing, butt she missed!