Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois Outdoors

Day 1 of dog training nearly a disaster

August 01, 2008 at 09:00 AM

The start of August signaled a start of training for my little Llewellin setter, Hawkeye. And just in time. Since last season he’s grown quite a gut. Some might say he is starting to resemble his owner.

But there’s hope for him at least. And that came today in the form of the first of many training sessions between now and the start of upland game hunting (probably the Iowa opener, but we’ll see). My training regime is simple. Get him out, run him, toughen up his pads and put him on some wild birds so he starts using his nose again. I’m blessed with a dog who has good enough hunting instincts that so far I haven’t been able to mess him up.

Things were going fine this morning until Hawk locked up in a point partway down the strip-mine haul road on which we train. Usually he can find a covey of quail on this road, so it works well for training. But his point this morning was a little different, like he was uncertain what was in front of him. Illinois OutdoorsNot me. When I saw that little black and white rascal getting ready to turn tail toward Hawk I hollered and started whistling like a madman.

Fortunately, the wind was in his favor, so Hawk had set up his point a fair distance from the skunk. And fortunately he’s a pointer and not a Lab, or today would have changed dramatically. Just as fortunately, I was able to call him off point and he came right to me when I blasted the whistle. The skunk sauntered off, unconcerned. We turned back to the truck and called a halt to our training.

Now my only worry is whether the skunk is a regular in this area. If so, we might have to find a new training spot. Because when it comes to skunk encounters, you sure don’t want to push your luck.

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