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    Books and Articles Featuring Our Legendary Bird Dog Trainer Gary Ruppel and His Kiowa Creek Kennels

Books and Articles Featuring Our Legendary Bird Dog Trainer Gary Ruppel and His Kiowa Creek Kennels

Gary Ruppel of Kiowa, Colorado, has been helping me train my bird dogs for 20 years at his Kiowa Creek Kennels and before that at some local gun clubs.  I remember calling him when I got my first 8-week old Brittany puppy from a famous field trial lines, and the field trailer had asked to bring him back for summer camp when he was four months old.  I asked Gary, “When should I come out and start training with you, in two months?”  I’ll never forget Gary saying, “You are already four months late, I start training them in the womb, bring him out tomorrow.” 

Gary says that he starts training in the womb, like mother’s read to their unborn children.  He first bonds with the bitch, which is the foundation of all of his training.  “If the dog doesn’t do it because he loves you, you’ll never really get the full potential out of that dog.  You can do all the old methods of force breaking and whatever else you can think of, but a dog that it is doing something out of fear, rather than love, will never be performing at full potential.”  He says, “My pups already have heard all of the whistle commands when they are born, as they have head them in the womb.”
Books Featuring Gary Ruppel

Training the Versatile Retreiver to Hunt Upland Birds

By Bill Tarrant


Bill Tarrant has authored the first book designed to show the retriever enthusiast how to train his dog to hunt upland birds. Bill got together with the four top retriever trainers in America today: Mike Gould, shooting Labs; Gary Ruppel, pointing Labs; Butch Goodwin, Chesapeakes; and Jim Charlton, Golden Retrievers. Together they spent a week […]

By |February 22nd, 2014|Book Reviews, Dog Training|Comments Off on Books and Articles Featuring Our Legendary Bird Dog Trainer Gary Ruppel and His Kiowa Creek Kennels

Blue Grouse Hippies

Jeff and I started hunting for blue grouse together nearly twenty years ago, having met each other our rookie years in the courtroom.  In fact we met as I spied Jeff trying to hide an issue of Shooting Sportsman in his client’s file, as we sat next to one other on the barrister’s seats waiting for the judge to call the cases of the day.  We starting talking and I found out his father, Roger Hill, wrote one of my favorite books, Fly Fishing the South Platte.

Jeff went on to say this was a blessing and a curse, as his father was a retired nuclear physicist and that he never got to enjoy soccer and things like that on the weekends, as his father simply left every weekend day saying, “I am going fishing , do you want to come along?”  There being no alternative except staying home alone, Jeff obliged and became a serious fly-tier, angler, and shooter of his own.  We immediately started hunting together, a journey down the sporting road which lasted many years and which I hope will continue when he finds time away from his new family.  His dog at the time was a hard-headed English Setter pup, which matched well in the field with my Britanny of field-trial lines who was on his first year afield.

After many years of driving dirt roads and discovering dead ends on maps, we discovered the promised land of blue grouse together and promised to never divulge its location to any outsiders, or any other grouse covert we discovered together, for that matter, under threat of death or sending sultry clients to deal with such indiscretions.  After one of our first days on the mountain in the shadows of the mountain, we found […]

By |October 3rd, 2011|Colorado, Cuisine, Dog Training, Recipes, Wingshooting|Comments Off on Blue Grouse Hippies

Epanuel Breton

I was worried that in recent years America’s friendship the people of France had waned in light of U.S.’s war with Iraq.  This caused the boycott of French fries in France or the re-naming of them as “Freedom Fries,” among other headlines. 

But, my experiences in France, and even recent ones, have been evidence to the contrary.  My French friends are lasting allies and even the passing stranger remains happy to help an American tourist, especially in the countryside where we like to spend most of our time.
In addition to the French fries, which aren’t really French, the French also gave us the Statue of Liberty and the French Brittany, the Epagnuel Breton, or Epanuel Breton. 
My friend, Andy Wayment writes, “Before the French Revolution, France was an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges in the aristocracy. Under this regime, land in France was owned mainly by a privileged few. This meant that hunting and fishing could only be enjoyed by the noblemen and their fortunate guests. Generally, the common man was not allowed to enjoy these sports.  Legend has it that the Brittany was developed by the French peasants as the ideal poaching dog. As so aptly described by Michael McIntosh in A Feisty Little Pointing Dog, the Brittany was bred to be ‘compact andbidable, close-working and quiet, the perfect accomplice for clandestine sport and the companion of choice among those whose favorite game was someone else’s.’ The landed nobles, with their big running pointers and setters, did not recognize these shaggy, tailless mongrels for what they were, bona fide hunting machines. Of course, this was all part of the ruse. Brittanys are pointers with the natural instinct to retrieve. Because of its noble history, the French Brittany was destined to arrive […]

By |September 24th, 2011|Dog Training, Wingshooting|Comments Off on Epanuel Breton

New Posts

Please check out all my new posts…which are hidden under separate pages and therefore don’t show up here. 


Mardi Gras

La Buche de Noel


House Wine

Hungarian Partridge with Gin & Juniper Berries

Pheasant Confit

Four-legged Friends
Gary Ruppel
Rim Chung

Friends from the Sporting Road

Jim Fergus

By |September 22nd, 2011|Cuisine, Dog Training, Fishing, Fly Tying, Recipes, Uncategorized|Comments Off on New Posts

Summertime is the season for bird dog training and we are working on whoa and other yard commands with our bird dogs.  It’s also the season for grass seeds or grass awn infections.

In our early years with Brittanys, grass seeds were a constant plaque and after several thousand dollars spent at my bird dog doc’s office, I have become something of an expert in grass seed infections in bird dogs.  But now, we have learned several techniques for minimizing the risks of these infections. 

First, carry saline solution in your bird hunting kit.  We buy big bottles from Costco, which you can find near the contact lens solutions.  Every time the dogs return to the truck, rinse their eyes vigorously with the solution, by spraying it forcefully in the eye, while holding the lids open.  You’ll be surprised at all the junk that comes out after a day in the field.  Your hunting buddies will learn to tolerate this after a couple of times and most don’t put up any fuss.  It works best if one person holds the lids open while the other sprays. 

Second, check the dogs over, especially between the paws, each night after hunting for seeds, ticks, and sores.  Inspect the legs closely and remove all burrs and seeds, from anywhere they can be found.  If these become embedded in the paw, they can migrate elsewhere and cause lots of problems.  My bird dog doc has surgically removed them far from the sites of insertion, often migrating many inches away, just within days.  Seek immediate veterinary assistance if you believe a seed is embedded and cannot be fully removed. 

Third, inspect the nose for seeds and if your dog is sneezing or coughing after […]

By |August 2nd, 2011|Dog Training|Comments Off on

Check Cords

Check cords should be made of 3/8″ nylon and 20′ in length with a bowline knot and a brass snap. They used to be available from only one gun dog supplier in the south and now this is the closest you will find to the correct stiffness from Cabella’s.

Gary Ruppel demonstrates his famous half-hitch, which is a trick used to acquaint foals with saddling, and it works great on bird dogs to change the point of contact from the collar to the flank.  Gary uses it frequently in teaching heel, whoa, and other commands.  I am always surprised at its effectiveness and the simple fact that few other trainers have learned this technique.

By |July 16th, 2011|Dog Training, Wingshooting|Comments Off on Check Cords

Breeding the Hunting Retreiver by Bill Tarrant Featuring Mike Gould

Here is great magazine article by Bill Tarrant featuring Mike Gould entitled, “Breeding the Hunting Retriever.”

By |July 16th, 2011|Dog Training, Wingshooting|Comments Off on Breeding the Hunting Retreiver by Bill Tarrant Featuring Mike Gould