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Print

Hunting with a field champ

November 11, 2007 at 05:00 AM
Click here to learn more about Remmer's kennel.

Illinois Outdoors

The first pheasant flushed before we were ready. But as we approached the grassy ditch, another hen emerged. Then three more hens followed her into the air.

Through the chaos Dubb held steady, docked tail at attention and a serious look on his face.

The Brittany’s solid point was the type that makes field trial judges and pheasant hunters equally happy. Some folks believe there is little in common between hunting dogs and field trial dogs. Kevin Remmers of Roanoke (pictured below) is one trainer who proves that isn’t always true.

Illinois Outdoors

Two weeks ago Dubb won his second National Amateur Gun Dog Championship during a trial in Ionia, Mich. In another week Dubb—or FC Clyde’s Double Trouble as he is formally known—will be primped and primed for a dog show. Yet last Thursday Dubb kept busy pointing pheasants in a grassy Woodford County ditch during the first week of upland game season.

“This is kind of like vacation for him,” Remmers said.

A working vacation, at that. During our hunt Dubb never stopped plowing through thick grass. When he located a bird, he locked up in a point and would not move until released by Remmers. Those are manners you’d expect from a dog that has twice won the National Amateur Gun Dog Championship and is just one point away from a show title.

“From the start I told everybody, ‘If I don’t screw up this dog he has a good chance to be real nice,’ ” said Remmers, who hunts and trials in between dog training, farming and transporting MRI machines to hospitals.

No problem there. Remmers has evidently developed a knack for training since attending his first field trial at Moraine View in the fall of 1994.

“Seeing dogs point and back and the range they were hunting at and still having manners—man it was cool,” Remmers said of that first trial.

Over the past 13 years field trialing has steadily become a larger part of life for Remmers, his wife, Sandra, and their children, Ilene and Charlie.

“Our big thing is that the dogs have a fun time, and with field trialing they get to have fun the majority of the year,” Sandra said.

Dubb scored his latest victory against 50 Brittanies by pointing quail four times in one hour. In so doing he followed up on a 2005 victory at the national amateur (Remmers is pictured below with both those impressive trophies). Last year Dubb was slowed by Lyme disease.

Illinois Outdoors

The top dog in Remmers’ Clyde’s Creek Brittanys kennel showed no ill effects Thursday when we toured two wonderfully unkempt Woodford County ditches. The day’s warm, windy conditions were not ideal for hunting, and birds flushed wild time after time.

But seeing more than 50 wild pheasants in a few hours—even at a distance—is very encouraging. It also proves the value of habitat. Remmers encourages landowners to enroll erodible ground in government programs and plants native grasses and forbs wherever possible.

Birds follow grass, as you could tell by the numerous points we witnessed last week—including one at an unexpected covey of wild quail that my little setter Hawk discovered. That came late in the hunt with Dubb pointing 100 yards away on another grassy field terrace.

Neither find produced a bird, as I opted not to shoot No. 2 steel loads at quail and Remmers let two roosters escape unscathed. Not that it mattered much. Good dog work is usually reward enough.

Illinois Outdoors

Here’s a video of the day’s hunt.


 

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was published Nov. 11, 2007 in the Peoria Journal Star.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I really enjoyed the article on Kevin Remmers and Dubb.  Of course, I am prejudiced.  I field trial with Kevin and have a dog out of one of his breedings.  But, it is nice to see field trial dogs recognized as hunting dogs, too.  Thanks for doing the article

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/11 at 08:11 PM

I also enjoyed the article about my little buddy….Kevin Remmers.  I have known Kevin since we met back in the mid 80’s.  Taking the advantage of meeting a farmer, I thought I would dicker w/ him and see if he had any farmland we could hunt together.  He did, but didn’t think there were any birds on it.  I brought my friend and his Brittany and soon we were shooting birds left and right.

Fast forward another year and a beautiful Brittany that I had nicknamed “Clyde” after the Every which way but loose movie w/ Clint Eastwood, suddenly shows up in my front yard in East Peoria.  I wanted to keep “Clyde” right off the bat, however we needed to put an ad in the paper to see if anyone had lost him.  Gratefully, nobody responded to the ad.  I then thought of how much Kevin would like a dog.  Thankfully, he took the dog and it has started a lifelong love affair w/ the Brittany Spaniel.

After speaking w/ him the other evening, I realize that he has developed into one of the premiere trainers in the US, a great guide for other hunters wishing to “get on” the birds, and an all-around fine gentleman.  Along w/ our friend, Jay Sauder, we have had some remarkably great hunts throughout the last twenty years.  Although he does not have my rugged good looks and affable personality, I still let him hunt w/ me (On his property)and count my blessings that he and Sandra are my good friends and also, happen to be two of the finest people I have known.

Here’s to a great trainer of dogs, better judge of horse flesh, mediocre hunter and one of the finest men I know.  My friend.

Respectfully,

Steve Hutton
Peoria, IL.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/12 at 12:38 PM

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