September 2012 Newsletter

Click here for printable PDF version

President:  Pam Felgenhauer

1st VP:      Rick Greenwell

2nd VP:     Donald Flanagan

Treasurer: Wendy Greenwell

Secretary: Randy Domingos

Board Members:

Joe Artes
Mike Linville
Ed Marr
Trevor Niarchos

Training day, September 2012
A Caroline Fenton Photo


Calendar of Events

NAHRA Hunt Test, Hosted by IVRC
Saturday and Sunday, September 22-23
Prado dog training park
Chino Hills, CA

General Membership and Board Meeting
Wednesday, October 10, 7:00PM
Animal Medical Center
600 Broadway, El Cajon

October Training Day
Saturday, October 13, 8:00AM
Location to be announced.

News and Notes

SDSDC Board of Directors Election

The San Diego Sporting Dog Club will hold our yearly election for the Board of Directors at the November meeting. If you're interested in running for a position, please contact Randy Domingos or Donald Flanagan through the club Gmail and let us know what position you're interested in running for. If you're an active member, you're eligible to run for a position. The club is run completely by volunteers, so anyone interested is encouraged to run. The slate of candidates will be presented at the October meeting, and the election will be conducted by email. If you wish, you may also vote in person at the November meeting.


Our club bylaws were recently revised, and the changes have been approved by vote of the club. They can be viewed on the club website at, in the Members Area.

Shotgun Raffle

Most of you know that the club is raffling a shotgun as a fundraiser. If you've not yet received any tickets to sell, please contact Pam. The shotgun is a Beretta 3901, and it's very nice! Click here for a flyer with more information. Feel free to print it out, or distribute it via email!

SDSDC Picnic

Our thanks to the Greenwells and Pam for all the work they put into making the picnic a success! With tortillas hand-made on the spot, the tacos and all the fixin's were delicious. Thanks also to everyone who brought food to share! Photos by Randy Domingos.

September Training Day

Thank you, Pam and Randy, for organizing the event. Here are some fantastic shots from Saturday's training, courtesy of Caroline Fenton.

The Board of Directors and General Meeting Report

SDSDC August 8, 2012 Minutes

Board members Present were Pam Felgenhauer, Rick Greenwell, Donald Flanagan, Randy Domingos, Wendy Greenwell, Ed Marr, Mike Linville, Trevor Niarchos. Also present were Mary Sarmiento, and Mike Moran.

Old Business

Bird Boxes
No boxes sold as of yet. Trevor to re-list on Craig’s List.

Ed to email Randy a copy for the club records. Donald to publish in the newsletter.

Gun Raffle
After the issues with Fine Firearms We were able to purchase a black Beretta 3901 12 Ga. for $587.24 at P2K. P2K will hold the gun for the winner. The winner will be responsible for the DROS fees. We are allowed to post a flier at P2K for the raffle but they will not sell tickets. We have been offered a booth space for their expo the first weekend of December and can sell tickets there. 10,000 to 15,000 people expected through the weekend. Mary Sarmiento is to order the tickets.
A consensus could not be reached for the club gun. Club gun was tabled until 2013.

By Laws
The bylaws page has been updated on the website. A notice should be put in the newsletter.

Garage Sale
Ed. Marr, Mary Sarmiento and Randy Domingos volunteered at the garage sale. It was fun and we made $143.75. Mike Moran donated reloading gear. Mary is to send out email to sell to club members.

Has been moved to August 18th.
Ernesto from Tacos El Panson has been chosen for the catering. They can furnish 3 kinds of tacos, rice, beans, and 3 kinds of salsa, will make the tortillas right on the spot. Will also bring condiments for tacos, lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro. Also will furnish plates, napkins and utensils. All for $9.00 per person. No minimum number of people. He will set up and cook at Dos Picos Park.
Randy Send email for RSVP by this weekend.

Randy to is working on pictures for albums. Events page and By Laws pages are up to date.

No new members.

New Business

September Training Day?
Scheduled for Sep. 15th. Pheasants are available at $10 ea. Randy is to send an Email for interest for members.

SDSDC Election
Randy and Donald to run the election committee.

Fall Classic
Possible date of October 27th and 28th.

Ed Marr has volunteered to chair the event and Randy Domingos and Joe Artes are to assist.

Snake Clinics
County Supervisors Meeting is scheduled for September the 11th.

DFG Junior Hunts
The dates are as follows:
11/17/12 – AM Family - Quota of Hunters - 18
11/17/12 - PM Junior - Quota of Hunters - 12
12/15/12 – AM Family - Quota of Hunters - 18
12/15/12 – PM Junior - Quota of Hunters - 12
01/05/13 – AM Family - Quota of Hunters - 18
01/05/13 – PM Junior - Quota of Hunters - 12
Joe Artes to coordinate the dog handlers.

SDCWF Report
Working with Diane Jacobs on snake issues. Title 14 changes use fees have been dropped. Honey Springs foxtail eradication program for the future.

Treasures Report
$5644.26 in the bank.

In the Field

California Sage Grouse Hunting
By Randy Domingos

Wyatt working the sage

For several years I’ve been interested in entering California’s Sage Grouse hunt draw. I always seemed to miss the entry date. I’d check the DFG website and it would either be too early or too late. This August I got a call from my hunting partner Verland Nolta and he said the entry period was open. The DFG is now using their online computerized system for everything, so we decided we’d give it a try.

The first choice was the hunt zone. There were four available with the northern two having a two-bird limit and the southern zones having a one-bird limit. I chose the most southern zone, the South Mono Lake zone. Even though it was a one-bird limit I picked it for cost reasons, as it was the closest to San Diego at 400 miles away. It turned out to be a good choice as the fires in Lassen County delayed the draw until 10 days before the 2 day September 8th and 9th hunt. Those choosing the Lassen zone where aced out, as the DFG issued no permits for that region.

The next issue was to enter as a team or individually. Entering as a team required that both Verland and myself would have to be drawn for either of us to go. We decided to try as a team regardless. Trying to navigate the DFG system was frustrating. You need a team ID for your partner to enter and at no time in the process are you given that information except on your PDF receipt at the end of the process. It took a couple hours to figure all this out but we finally got entered. Verland talked to the DFG the next day and they said not too many people were entering which was not that surprising considering the process.

August 30th I got a call from the DFG saying we’d been selected. I told Wyatt and he was very excited to be going. The DFG suggested we hunt the north section of Lake Crowley. “Lots of birds there” he said.

We left very early Friday the 7th. Using Google Earth we’d recorded several GPS waypoints for north Lake Crowley and several around Hot Creek as John Segoria had said there were birds in that area. We arrived just before noon and immediately started scouting around the lake. The sage was very dry there. We saw no birds but that wasn’t surprising as they could be 15 feet off the road and you’d never see them, as the bush was thick. We then scouted around the Hot Creek area. The sage was much greener over there and even thicker, we still saw no birds. We decided we’d hunt between Antelope Springs Road and Hot Creek the first morning.

The next issue was a campsite. Down in the sage was way too hot. The temperature was in the mid 80’s and no shade. The terrain transitions from sage to pine covered mountains to the west with several old mine sites in the hills so we found a great site surrounded by pine trees atop a mountain overlooking the sage covered valley below.

We were up at dawn and in the sage. It wasn’t ten minutes before Wyatt went on point. It turned out to be a bedding spot for a deer. We saw so many deer I lost count. Does and fawns. W finally clued in we weren’t deer hunting and we got down to business. Immediately it became clear that this was going to be a grueling hunt. The sage was difficult to move through and a tumble lurked with each step. We hunted 4 hours like this without seeing a bird.

We were all pretty tired at this point and jumped in the Jeep to scout around. I only saw one other hunter working the sage with a dog. Everyone else was driving around waiting for a bird to jump out in front of their car. That never worked.

We came across a hunter and his wife parked next to Hot Creek. They were very nice and when asked if he’d seen any birds he said he had early in the morning coming in for water at the creek. He’d got 3 shots off but missed. He said he’d been entering the draw for 25 years and this year was the first time he’d been selected. It was a bit embarrassing to tell him we got in on our first try. He was great in offering us some pointers. He told us the birds liked flatter country with a water source. We’d been hunting hilly terrain all morning with a cliff dropping down to the water in Hot Creek. He didn’t have a dog so he was waiting near the creek for the birds to hopefully return.

Hot Creek just downstream from the geyser

Hot Creek looking east

We were elated that at least someone had seen birds so we went to camp for lunch and planned out afternoon hunt. We got in the Jeep and headed north along Owens River Road scouting the many Jeep trails through the sage. All we saw was deer and lots of them. I almost got the Jeep stuck backing down a sandy hill but it managed to claw its way out of there.

Wyatt was pretty gassed after the morning hunt but his feet were still in good shape so I didn’t boot him up. That was a mistake, one I keep making. He was good to go after a 3-hour rest and we hit it again.

The area has several hot springs. The biggest being in Hot Creek. The creek flows cold from Convict Lake and the geyser at Hot Creek heats the water up. A half-mile down the creek the water is still in the 90’s. To the north of hot creek is Little Hot Creek. It’s a natural spring that comes out of the mountain below our camp. There’s a cement hot tub there that the nudists love. (more on that later) The creek flows through a dry lake area with flat lands and sage extending up into the hills. This would be our afternoon hunt.

We parked the Jeep and worked east along the road then swung south across the lakebed. The lakebed was very alkaline with a sharp crusty surface. W’s feet began to bother him but he hunted away. He started to get birdie around the little islands of sage along the south side but still no birds. We worked west making a circle around the lake. Verland separated a bit from us working different outcroppings of sage. I stayed with the hunter with the biggest nose. We’d been out 2 hours with not a sign of a bird when Wyatt turned west toward a small hill and froze up. I turned to him and asked him if this was a Sage Grouse and he told me he had no idea what a Sage Grouse was. We had a good laugh over that one. We followed his nose for 15 yards when it happened. Three birds exploded out of the sage 10 yards in front of us and accelerated low and fast straight out in front. I shouldered my vintage Wingmaster and fired 3 shots (#5 high brass Federals) as fast as I could cycle the gun. The bird on the left separated a bit from the other two so I targeted that one, not wanting to be over limit. The first missed, the second got some feathers and the third nailed it, falling out of the sky 40 yards out. After my third shot three more birds popped up and flew the same direction over a small hill. I told W to fetch it up and off he went. He picked it up but was too beat to drag it back and just waited for me.

Our bird

Hen Sage Grouse

After 6 hours of hunting in 80 plus degree heat I had no problem with that. Verland came over, and after I cleaned my bird, we went looking for the other 5, trying to get a bird for Verland. I understand it’s important to clean Sage Grouse immediately as what they feed on can permeate the meat. We hunted another hour and a half for those birds with no luck.

We made our way back to the Jeep and after crossing the coarse lake bed again all four of Wyatt’s feet were bleeding from small cuts. We got him back to camp and fixed him up as best we could, but it was clear he didn’t have much left in the tank for getting Vee a bird on Sunday.

Wyatt relaxing after a hard day's hunt

Sage Grouse poop

Sunday we got up at dawn. Wyatt still wanted to hunt so I fixed him up with EMT gel and booted him up. We hunted the same general area from the dry lake to Antelope Springs Road with no luck. I hunted with a camera and Vee stayed closer to the dog having learned his lesson. I did come across some Sage Grouse scat that matched the contents of my bird’s stomach and even though it was very fresh we never saw a bird. The sage was thick and W threw 2 boots, lost forever in the sage. Those two feet got even more torn up and he was truly done after 2 hours hunting.

Wyatt and I went back to camp while Verland spent the next 5 hours looking for his bird. We were in radio contact so I could come get him when he had finally had enough. I was pretty sore even though I’ve been working out. I decided to go down the hill to the hot tub and have a soak until I got the call from Vee. I slipped on my swim trunks and drove down the hill to the hot spring.

Most of these hot springs are clothing optional so when I arrived, the guy camping at the bottom of the hill was in there, buck naked. I was too sore for that to keep me out of that tub so I slipped on in. Ron was a friendly old hippie from O.B. it turned out and he and his Golden Lab Mikey were “full time RV’rs”. We had a nice chat for about an hour as I soaked my bones. Then two ladies showed up who were on vacation at Mammoth Lakes. They stripped down and jumped in the tub. We were all just getting acquainted when Vee radioed me to come pick him up. I tried to talk him into hiking to the tub but he’d have none of it, ruining his surprise. So I bid farewell to my new friends and drove off to pick him up. Wyatt and I laughed at who got luckier this weekend- us, or Ron back at the hot tub. I’m pretty sure it was us. I picked Vee up and as the sun set, ending our two days of hunting, we ran across the hunter and his wife that gave us the tips. He never got his bird.

It was an incredible experience. The country was very beautiful. Given the opportunity I’ll do it again. Vee never got his bird and as far as I know neither did anyone else. It just goes to show what a good dog can do for you. I know Wyatt had fun and in the end that’s all that mattered.

- Randy Domingos

Verland, Saturday morning

Thunderstorms, Saturday afternoon

A Backcountry Buck Hunt
What happens when you don't do anything right?
by Donald Flanagan

Continued from last month...

After a grueling hike for which I was poorly prepared, and getting a very late start the next morning, I stumbled upon a group of mule deer in a thicket about two hundred yards away. Surprisingly, they didn’t detect the noise and motion I made getting my pack off and moving to a place where I could get a clear shot through the knee-high brush. I saw movement behind the trees, heading to the right, and swung around, getting into my sitting position, and lining up the shot. I thought, "I'm going to shoot the first legal buck that comes out from behind that tree." A buck with a head full of antlers walked out! I put the crosshairs behind his shoulder, pulled the trigger, and... flinched! The safety was still on, and it's a good thing, because that flinch would have caused me to miss completely.

The buck turned again, and now, with the safety off, and my nerves going wild (one never realizes how bad it is until afterward), I focused, and with the safety off, took a better shot. After the recoil, I saw two deer take off to the right. "Only two ran!" I thought. "The third must be down!"

I waited a minute or so, then stood up and walked to the right, looking for a sign of the deer. I glanced to the left side of the thicket, and I saw a nice buck just standing there, its back hunched a bit, and its head low (level with its body). I suspected that it was the one I shot at, and wanted to shoot it again, but because it was on the opposite side of the thicket from where I thought my buck should be, I wanted to be sure I didn't shoot two deer! It just stood there for so long, I thought, "that has to be the one I shot at. He must be hit." After a while, he slowly turned, and I could see a large spot of blood on his side, behind the shoulder, but low, where the bullet had exited.

Having confirmed that this was the one I had shot, I dropped down to put another shot into him. I rushed it though, and he didn't give any evidence of having been hit. He just moved. I took another shot, and he moved behind a tree. Just then, three deer took off from behind the thicket, and ran up the hillside. I thought this was about to turn into a long and difficult tracking/trailing session. I could only hope he was leaving a good blood trail for me.

I moved up a little to watch them run away up the hill, disappointed. Then I saw that the buck was still standing there next to the thicket! By this point, I had seen five deer run out of that thicket, not including the one I shot! I don't know if the first two had circled back into it, but there were at minimum four deer in there (three plus the one I shot), possibly six. Incredible! I needed to put this deer on the ground. This time I took a nice rest on a rock, focused, and shot a fourth time. This round broke his back, and he went down instantly. YES!!!!!!!

I collected my pack, and made my way to the deer, which turned out to be a 4x3 with little eyeguards. I don't know how much he weighed, maybe one hundred fifty pounds, but he's the biggest-antlered, and biggest-bodied deer I've ever taken. As I snapped some quick photos, I thought, "now is when the real work begins."

While filling out the tag, I couldn't remember the date. The date I settled on was the sixteenth- but it was actually the seventeenth! Oops again. I tagged him, and then began to remove the meat from the carcass. Getting the meat off went much faster than I thought it would, so in about an hour I had it bagged and ready to go. I don't know how much my pack weighed, but it had to be eighty or ninety pounds. All I know is that it hurt. It felt like I was compressing discs in my upper back, my shoulders hurt, and I thought, "this is going to be a long seven-and-a-half mile hike”. Knowing that it was downhill all the way helped, but not much. I was trying to figure out how I could get one of the other parties to let me pay them a hundred dollars to have one of their mules carry my pack for me.

I took it very slowly, stopping frequently. I didn't want to get stuck out there for another night, having to set up camp again, etc., so I kept going, constantly recalculating in my mind how far I had left to go, how slow I was going, and wondering whether I would make it to the car before dark. I walked about a fourth of a mile at a time, stopping to sit down and relieve the load from my back whenever I could find a big log or rock. When I still had a couple miles to go, my left knee really started complaining when I had to step down a decline, and more so when there was even a slight incline. The smallest rise in the trail would cause my breathing and heartbeat to increase, but I felt so exhausted at this point, that even that little bit felt like too much, and I would stop for another rest.

I knew that the last stretch of trail included a short uphill climb to the trailhead, and was dreading it every step of the way, hoping (as happened in 2006), that someone would come along and offer me a ride. That did not happen. As I walked that road the last quarter mile, even though it was not steep at all, my knee was hurting, and I was at the end of myself. Then, an SUV came around the bend. But I had already arrived, and I had only sixty yards left to go!

As I drove out, I saw a ton of road hunters. Believe me, packing a deer on your back for seven and a half miles will sure make you look down your nose at a dozen or more guys driving quads and Polaris Rangers down the road, glassing the hillsides and valleys. I stayed in a hotel that night. The shower and air conditioning were wonderful, as was the hot meal at a local buffet. The next morning, as I drove through the Owens Valley, I got to see a small herd of elk, including a bull that looked pretty nice. Wow, what a trip it had been!

I knew that I had done almost everything wrong. I had trouble finding the trailhead. I wasn't in anywhere near the physical condition I should have been. I left my wilderness permit in the car. As I walked in on Friday afternoon, I was praying the whole way that I would make it safely...and I did. I slept in instead of hunting early the next morning. I was dressed "wrong", wasn't moving carefully, and really should have spooked the deer long before I even saw them. And between flinching on my first shot attempt, leaving the safety on, missing on the third and fourth attempts, and marking the wrong date on the tag, I didn't do anything "right", except go the distance. I honestly believe God put those deer right there for me, and all I had to do was not screw it up- and I almost did that too. He was very good to me that weekend, and I am so grateful!

- Donald Flanagan

Around the Fire Hydrant

Newsletter Submissions:
To submit an article, brag, recipe or want ad to the SDSDC Newsletter please send an E-Mail to Donald Flanagan.

Training Opportunities:
Pam and Mary are holding obedience classes in Alpine, North County and Lakeside. Basic obedience for puppies and adults, behavior issues, rescued dogs, AKC Canine Good Citizen classes and Puppy Star classes. Also available for private in home lessons. Call for details 619-339-4801 or 619-442-5354 or email

Dog Portraits and other Art
Have your best friend and hunting partner immortalized in a commissioned painting. Visit the website of SDSDC member Ron Dotson. His work is now in private collections both nationally and internationally. If you are interested in any of his works or commissioning a painting, please contact him by e-mail or by phone at (619) 925-2606. 

Denise Rich is also an accomplished artist and club member.  Denise is also known as "The Official Happy Cow" artist. In 2006 she was commissioned by the California Milk Advisory Board to paint their famous Happy Cows of the Real California Milk campaign. In addition to cows, Denise paints dogs, pets, or really anything.  If you are interested in any of her works or commissioning a painting, please contact her at her studio at 619- 933-5935.  Or send her an e-mail.  Please visit her website to see some of her work.

Health Supplements for You and Your Dog!
Donna Sarmiento has a new business endeavour called Nature's Tails, distributing quality health products for the care, comfort, and well being of both you and your pets! These include calming, healing, and joint products for humans and dogs, as well as other edibles for your pets. Visit for more information.

FOR SALE: Electronic training collar. Dogtra 2300 NCP Advance model, in good (or better) condition, $150.00. For more information, call James Reichstadt at 619-402-6755.

FOR SALE: Command Leads and Leather Collars – Call Steve Sarmiento for details: 619-701-2089.

FOR SALE: Bird Boxes - The club purchased several used bird boxes and we have some available for purchase by club members.  Cost is $20 per box.  These are the same orange transport boxes that we use for our events and sell new for over $70.  Contact Pam or Trevor for more info.

FREE TO A GOOD HOME: Dan Denhart has donated a very nice pair of leather boots in size 11 1/2D that don't fit him. If you can use them, please contact Donald Flanagan.


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