January 2015 Newsletter

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President:  Donald Flanagan

1st VP:      Rafael Aguilar

2nd VP:     Trevor Niarchos

Treasurer: Colleen Scruggs

Secretary: Steve Looser

Board Members:

Pam Felgenhauer
Ed Marr
Kenn Scruggs
Mary Sarmiento

Having fun at the Bird Dog Challenge!
Photo courtesy of Verland Nolta

Calendar of Events

Training Day
Saturday, February 7, 8:00 AM
Prado dog training area

General Membership and Board Meeting
Wednesday, February 11, 7:00 PM
Animal Medical Center
600 Broadway, El Cajon

Annual Banquet
Saturday, April 18
Crest Community Center

News and Notes


At our banquet in April, we will be raffling off a Cannon TS5926-AR Challenger Gun Safe. This safe holds up to 24 guns! Tickets are $5.00 each, or 5 tickets for $20.00, and will be available at the training day next Saturday.

Bird Dog Challenge Results
By Randy Domingos
Photos courtesy of Verland Nolta

Our first attempt at doing an event with BDC rules was a great success.  Other than watching it on TV none of us had ever entered, judged or staged this type of event.  Everyone worked together and through all of our efforts it turned out to be a wonderful day.

Biff and Misty

Brett and Cody

I want to thank all of you who attended for volunteering and for some of you learning to plant birds.  There are a few people who really helped me out to make this event happen. 
Ben Abatti Jr. and Baja Farms, for the use of their alfalfa field.  The location was excellent, away from roads, great parking and the alfalfa was tall.  Thanks so much.
Pat Harris, for putting us in touch with Baja Farms and checking the location before the event.

Ed and Abby

Joe and Gracie

My scorekeepers, Donald Flanagan, Pam Felgenhauer, Ed Marr and Verland Nolta.  All of them took the time to read the rules and do a walk through on the scorekeeping.  The event would not have happened without their efforts.  Donald and Verland came over to my house and for 2 hours and came up with scorekeeping scenarios that made my head spin.  That resulted in multiple changes to the score sheets and a further definition of the rules.  As in more work!  Thanks a lot guys!

Kirt and Jager

Mike and Kaia

Verland is a non-member who spent his day working for the club scorekeeping and taking pictures.  He even took one for the team, being run over by a GSP intent on its retrieve.  After we exchanged his broken stopwatch, he rubbed some dirt on his wounds and continued to keep score.  Thanks V.

Pam did not run her dogs and came down just to keep score.  She was the busiest of the judges and covered a lot of ground that day.  Thanks Pam.

Ed Marr really helped me out by picking up the birds, scorekeeping, helping set up the field, planting birds etc.  Thanks for all your help Ed.

Thanks to Rafael Aguilar and Biff Ellington who were there early and helped set up the field.  And Joel Vexler who planted birds all day.

I also want to thank James Rubin from Holtville.  James is a friend of Pat Harris and a member of the El Centro sporting dog club.  He stayed all day and planted birds for us.

Rafael and Remington

Randy and Wyatt

The BDC event has a high expectation of the dog and the shooter.  The shooter that hits his four birds and the dog that flushes or points the bird and completes the retrieve are rewarded.  Missed shots, the shooter moving during the retrieve, a poor point or incomplete retrieve are penalized harshly.  A fast time will help your score but timing is more used as a tie breaker.  The rules and scoring made for a very competitive event.  The teams were scored on four chukar.  Along with their bird score, spent shells collected by the scorekeeper and the unused shells of the 8 allowed were scored, and the remaining minutes if any from the 20 minute run were worth additional points.  The first tie breaker was the remaining number of seconds of the run, the lower being the winning time.  And lastly the first bagged bird time. 

Jess and Terra

Biff and Raven

First up were the flushers, all Labs this year. Ribbons were awarded to:

HandlerDogScoreSeconds1st Bagged Bird
1stBiff EllingtonMisty206:121:47
2ndDonald FlanaganBoomer180:0612:13
3rdBiff EllingtonRaven178:452:49

In the pointing dog stake.  Ribbons were awarded to:

HandlerDogScoreSeconds1st Bagged Bird
1stJoe ArtesPete (Brit)223:593:54
2ndKirt GillilandJager (GSP)205:501:26
3rdBrett DelongCody (GSP)198:501:00

Congratulations to our winning teams!

To illustrate how close the competition was here’s a few other scores.  Ed Marr and Abby edged out Mike Linville and Kaia.  Both teams scored 150.  In the first tie breaker Ed had 05 seconds on the clock while Mike had 50 seconds.  Rafael Aguilar and Remington edged out Joel Vexler’s Pointing Lab Rio.  They were both tied one point behind Ed and Mike at 149.  Rafael’s tie breaking time was 19 seconds.  Joel’s was 20 seconds.  Rafael took a step during one of Remington’s retrieves and it cost him 5 points.  If he hadn’t done that he would have leapfrogged Ed and Mike.

Sarah, Bill, and Duchess

Sean and Baron

 I was in the field with Joel and his Pointing Lab Rio.  Rio’s doing really well and has a nose for the birds with a nice point.  Good job Joel.  As for Wyatt and Me, Joe and Pete’s top score of 206 is but a lofty goal for next year.  We actually had a lot of fun but we both made errors which cost us heavily.

Joe and Pete

Ed and Bree

For the sanity of the scorekeepers we ran the flushers separately from the pointers.  We had the scores posted to the bulletin board so everyone could see how they did and what their target score should be for a win.  It made for some great smack talk.  Next year we’ll mix the stakes so both groups won’t be decided until the end of the day.  Won’t that be fun!  There were a few issues with the scoring that came up that we worked through, and with a tweak here and there, next year will be even better and easier to manage.
Hope to see you next year at the Bird Dog Challenge!

- Randy Domingos

In the Field

 Mearns' Quail

After Christmas, I had the opportunity to join former club member James Reichstadt on a hunt for Mearns' quail in Southeastern Arizona. I had never heard of them before he told me about them, but there is some information about hunting them available online at and other websites. These birds are beautiful. Well, maybe some people think they look comical, as they are sometimes called clown quail!

What makes these birds stand out among quail is that they are slightly larger than other quail, and their coveys are smaller. Most significantly, however, is how tight they hold to cover! Because they hold so tightly, pointers are particularly well-suited for hunting them. Some say that pointers are the only way to hunt them, but we did ok with retrievers. James' Ember is a machine, with an excellent nose! She ended up putting up every covey that we encountered. Many times, the birds would not flush until she put her nose on them!

The terrain these birds seem to prefer consists of rolling hills with a fifty/fifty mixture of oak and grassland. We usually tend to think of Arizona as the land of desert and cacti, but this area of the state is beautiful! The summer monsoons (which the Mearns' depend on) bring lots of grass, and when it's not over-grazed, it makes for fantastic hunting habitat. The season length is generous, as are the bag limits (currently eight per day).

We tent camped, and boy, was it cold! Temperatures at night were in the mid-twenties. As soon as the sun dipped behind the hills, our fingers got numb. Propane tanks didn't seem to want to work reliably, but we had some good meals of steaks and potatoes, or hot sausage sandwiches.

Make sure that you bring a good pair of boots, and maybe a backup pair of footwear. In our first day of hunting, the sole fell off my boot! Neither of us had brought any duct tape (note to self- bring duct tape next time!), so we had to make do with vet wrap and surgical tape from the first aid kit!

It was a fantastic trip, and I can't wait to go again!

- Donald Flanagan

Waterfowl Success at Wister

I was able to make a few trips out to the Wister unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area in January, and was blessed to experience some firsts (for me): a buddy and I both shot limits one day, for my first California limit. It took all day (I wasn't shooting well in the morning), but we were able to scratch them out by 4:00.

The next time I went, I shot 4 ducks and a canada goose, my first in CA. I could only stay half a day though, so I wasn't able to fill a limit.

My final trip was a mid-week hunt, but it was sloooooooooowwwwww. I only got three ducks (again, shooting poorly in the morning), but one of them was a beautiful gadwall drake, my first ever. I didn't get any pictures, though. It was a good month, and it was nice to put Boomer in the water.

- Donald Flanagan

The Board of Directors and General Meeting Reports

Click here to view the minutes of the December meeting.

From the Kitchen

Here's a delicious-looking recipe submitted by Randy Domingos. Thanks Randy- I can't wait to try it!

Raspberry Chukar
1 Chukar
Salt & Pepper
Girard’s Raspberry Vinaigrette salad dressing
Fillet the two portions of breast meat from a chukar.  Separate the thighs and legs from the back.  Cleanse the meat and pat dry.  Salt and pepper as you like.
Preheat a skillet or grilling pan.  Add ½ cup of salad dressing and allow it to heat up for a few moments.  Add the chukar add cook for about 2 minutes per side.  Both sides should be white but the interior will be uncooked.  As you cook pick up the pan and pool the juices and dressing so you can spoon it up and baste the meat.  Continue to cook and flip the meat until both sides are starting to brown and the meat is cooked thoroughly, about 7 – 9 minutes total time.

At the same time in a small saucepan combine ¼ cup of dressing with a few mashed raspberries and simmer until your sauce is has reduced to the desired consistency.

Plate your chukar and drizzle with the basting sauce and your raspberry sauce.  Excellent with wild rice, a veggie and bread.

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.

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 endeavor 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.

Training Opportunities:
Pam is holding basic obedience classes for puppies and adults, behavior issues, rescued dogs, AKC Canine Good Citizen classes and Puppy Star classes. Also available for private in home lessons. Email Pam for details.

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