• Jim Nicolai

    October 2014 opener Jim and James roosters2 Garrison 2014

    Hi Kenny.

    Interesting that I hear from you, because I have been thinking about contacting you.

    Belle is quickly becoming the best pheasant dog I have ever hunted behind. 
    Now just a little over 2 1/2 years old and a month into her third hunting season,
    she is unbelievably good and yet still improving.

    Belle loves to hunt.  She lives to hunt.  She works heavy cover harder than any bird dog I have ever seen. 
    If she smells scent, she doesn’t care what the cover is, she works it, heavy cattails, thorn thickets, you name it. 
    She pops up and down in the cattails like a jack in the box.
    If the weather is cool enough, her energy level stays high all day long, no matter how hard she is working.

    Belle is very intelligent.  She puts her head up and surveys the lay of the land  before we start each new hunt. 
    She automatically works the down wind side of cover. 
    She remembers where birds were on past hunts if we return to a spot she has previously hunted. 
    When I am out with her by myself, I simply follow her and let her lead me to the birds.

    On a December hunt last season, one of my hunting buddies invited a friend who has
    done a lot of pheasant and quail hunting.  I don’t know if he was just blowing smoke,
    but after watching Belle work for three days (only dog working for four hunters),
    he told me I would be able to take her down to Texas and sell her to quail hunters
    for $20,000.

    As good as she was at the end of last year, her additional year of maturity is
    showing this year.  I had a three and a half day combination waterfowl/pheasant hunt west of Harvey
    this October 14-17.  Five hunters, four dogs.  The other three dogs were labs (two black, one chocolate).
    We hunted waterfowl morning, pheasant afternoons.  With at least three dogs working at all times while pheasant hunting,
    and sometimes four, Belle still pointed 90% of the roosters for us (we got a total of thirty roosters hunting half days). 
    She covers so much more territory than a lab, and has an unbelievable nose.

    October 24, I was hunting with two buddies near Alice, ND (not prime pheasant territory).  Belle was the only dog
    working for us.  We put 9 roosters on the ground, 7 in the pouch. Belle pointed 8 of them.  Of the two we lost, one landed in
    heavy cattails, and the other dropped across a river where we had no access.  Belle swam across, but did not
    see where the bird went down (in rushes short of the opposite bank), and could not find it.

    The quality of her nose, her range, and her willingness to hunt heavy cover, is reflected in how many varmints she finds in addition to pheasants. 
    I have been pheasant hunting for about 15 years now, and Belle’s totals for raccoons (4) and porcupines (5) in just over two years,
    equals or exceeds the total number of those critters I had seen dogs find in all my previous years of hunting (she has also pointed three skunks).

    Finding down birds is the area where she can improve with more maturity.  She still gets so excited she can’t focus and
    we lose some down birds.  She is much better in situations where a poster drops a bird and it is on the ground for several minutes
    before we reach the posters.  She is calm in those situations, and usually finds the bird (one time working through over 100 yards
    of cattails and coming out with a bird down for several minutes before we got her on the scent).  When I get a bird with
    her on point, though, she is more excited and seems to have more trouble focusing on locating the down bird.  She’s getting better with
    each hunt, though.

    I invariably get compliments on Belle when I hunt with someone new. 
    When asked where I got her, I always recommend Dakota Rose Kennels.

    I look forward to several more years of excellent hunting with Belle.  I hope to be
    in good enough health to get one more dog after her, and you can be
    sure I will be returning to Dakota Rose Kennels!

    I’ve attached a couple pictures of her.

    Jim Nicolai Garrison 2014 Jim and James roosters2 October 2014 opener

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