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Keep up with all things "Big Billy Kinder Outdoors"


As we move from school days to pool days, and cool mornings to hot days, it’s not too early to start thinking about fall. For bow hunters, you could be in the stand and packing meat out of the field in just 19 weeks. Dove hunters will be trying to down those fast darting doves in less time than that. Field trailers will start campaigning again in September too. It’s easy to hit the AC and not depart from it ‘til summers in the rear view, but if you use your time wisely and take advantage of the cooler parts of the morning and evening, you can keep your edge.

My friend and pro dog trainer Ronnie Smith and his training partner/wife Susanna Love, will start their day about 3am during the dog days of summer, and finish roading (exercising) dogs by 9am or so. By 9am in Big Cabin, Oklahoma in July, it’s HOT! Tom Dokken’s Kennel is in Minnesota, and he does the same thing. That kind of effort is what sets trainers like Tom and Ronnie apart from many others without that kind of drive.

A round of sporting clays once a week is a great way to keep your dove shooting on par. Keep plenty of water handy and walk the course for your legs, heart and lungs. The same goes for outdoor 3-D archery courses. My friend Joe Mussachio at Cinnamon Creek Archery in Ft Worth, Texas has several outdoor courses to keep you on your toes and ensuring the best shot that you can be in September. Swimming is great hot weather aerobics too. Take your dog along. He can’t sweat and any outdoor activity in the summertime requires that you at least keep his head wet and cool as possible.

Here’s to a great summer, and like the old song says…See You in September!

Fondly,
Billy Kinder
BBKOradio.com

May 18, 2017


I may lose a few friends over this one. It’s a hot topic with many folks. Fences. High fences, low fences no fences. Hunting within the confines of a fenced area. Is it ethical? Depends on who you visit with. Many hard core public land (d.i.y.) hunters will tell you absolutely not! True free range is the ONLY pursuit that’s fair and ethical. The deer farmer will tell you that there is no disgrace in hunting an animal behind an 8 foot fence. The low fence guy, well, he’s proud of the fact that his herd can slip over to the neighbor and back again as they please.

I have hunted on occasion all three areas but not before some careful thought and reasoning. Back in 2010, I suffered an injury that would keep me on crutches and a walker for a year and a half...7 surgeries and 42 skin grafts...locked up in the house, with the exception of hospital and doctor visits for well over a year. I didn’t care who thought what of me when I finally had an opportunity to climb back in a stand, even tho it was on a high fence place. I had a ton of medical apparatuses in tow but made it up the ladder and into the blind on that cold December morning.

The fine, tall 8 point that I put down that day hangs on my wall, and I am as proud of him as any spot and stalk, low fence/no fence big country critter that I’ve ever hunted. Even though I had a clear medical reason for hunting behind a fence, I still needed more before feeling totally comfortable with it. God gave me the answer, as He always does, in the book of Genesis. He was speaking to Noah, and laying out how things would be after the great flood.

God told Noah in Chapter 9 Verses 2 and 3:

2 “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; and into your hand are they delivered.”

3 “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” Notice the Lord never said “except those behind a fence” or “no fish from a small farm pond” or under any other conditions. That is good enough for me. If it's okay with God, then it's good with me.

Ethics do come in to play. He also gave us a conscience, and when He placed us above the animals, fowl and fish, as He showed Noah when he cared for the critters 2 X 2 on the ark, we are to care for them. America has been the worldwide leader in that conservation effort for the past 100 years. It is that God given ability to think, that allows us to make our own decisions. Problem is, after we have sorted it out and decided what is ethical hunting for ourselves, we often want to frown upon other methods and the folks that take part in them. Example: We've all heard the age old arguments between bow hunters and rifle hunters.

Figure it out for yourself.
Is it legal?
Will it bother me to harvest an animal on fenced property, be it 300 acres or 300,000?
Do I believe that God exists?
Do I believe what He said in His word?
Once you work it out, get out. Go and be in the woods. If you have to stop and unlock the gate on the way in, more power to you!
If you pack your way into the National Forest for a day and a half, excellent! Ya’ll grill your backstraps up side by side. They're gonna taste the same cause God Himself made them each and said put them on the dinner table.

Fondly,
Billy Kinder
BBKOradio.com

FEBRUARY 17, 2017


My childhood was so wonderful! I didn’t know it then, but I do now. I guess that happens to lots of folks after they melt a b’day cake with fifty plus candles. I grew up in a house that faced a pasture. That pasture was called “Jones” pasture. In that pasture was a pond. Yep, “Jones" pond. I can't tell you how many meetings I scheduled with childhood buddies at Jones pond.

It was full of bluegill and bass. If you caught a 2 pound bass, you were king of the pond. That pasture held deer and quail, and I had a single shot Stevens in 12 gauge. Quail were so plentiful in Jones pasture that at 10 years of age I could take that Stevens, walk up to whistling birds and kill a mess for the family without the luxury of a pointing dog. Most days I spent daylight to dark in Jones pasture, and most times alone. I couldn’t understand why other kids preferred the bowling alley, city swimming pool or whatever was showing at the Grand Theater.

There was always adventure in Jones pasture, and I wasn’t going to miss it. In my high school years I actually tried to mow a football field for the guys in the middle of it. The rock and cactus made it impossible, but a young man can dream. Dad wasn’t pleased with my decision to take his push mower out there and I don’t blame him. I forever changed that mower. Intense drama played out in Jones pasture. We were all about 7 or 8 when Joe Canterberry got too close to some kid casting a cane pole and took a hook clean thru the eyebrow…smooth thru from bottom to top…just below his flat top haircut…worm intact. He squalled like an alley cat. After we held him still for a few minutes so that we could all get a good look at that eyebrow, #2 eagle claw hook, red wiggler combo, Joe thought it was best to go see his momma. We agreed, but weren’t smart enough to clip the line to the hook, so some kid, cane pole in hand led Joe through Jones pasture like a dog on a leash, all the way home. That leaves an impression on a fella. It did me anyway.

Another time as I made my dash from the house to the magical pasture I stabbed myself. It was when I threw myself between the 2nd and 3rd wires on that old rusty barbed wire fence. I had run the knife thru my belt loop and when I lifted my leg to jump thru the fence, it entered my upper thigh in one spot and exited another. I just kept on going and know now that it was God that protected me from infection.

The worst episode is when I deceived my mom. It was pouring rain and I was told to stay in the house…but I couldn’t stand it. I was in Jones pasture when out of nowhere mom appeared, and she appeared mad. Stomping thru the mud, high heels in hand, blue dress soaked, and her hair that she made weekly appointments to keep perfectly puffed up was now hanging down like I’d never seen. I was scared, so scared that all I knew to do was run, she chased, she caught me…It was the only time that I ever ran from mom and I never lied to her again. I never met Mr. Jones, and I’m quite sure that he has passed now, but I’d like to run into him in Heaven and tell him thanks. His pasture, his pond, his willingness to allow an ol' Palo Pinto county kid to grow up within his cedar fence posts absolutely changed my life.

Fondly,
Billy Kinder
BBKOradio.com

FEBRUARY 3, 2017


Your wife shoots better that you…just the facts.

Robin and I just returned from another Dallas Safari Club S.A.F.E.T.Y event.

S-Shooting

A-Archery

F-Field

E-Excellency

T-Trials for

Y-Youth

DSC along with the Dallas Ecological Foundation host these events twice per year and have for a long long time.

Ingredients are:

6 stations including bow, rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, pistol and shotgun.

4 mega bus loads of Jr High and Sr High school students

4 mega bus loads of Jr High and Sr High school parents

0 cell phone activity allowed during the day

150 or so DSC/DEF volunteers

1 really, really, REALLY nice west Texas ranch

The kids, most of whom have never touched a bow or a gun receive one on one instruction at each station and have the time of their lives.

The parents, most of which have never touched a bow or a gun receive the same treatment…if time allows after each student takes his/her turn.

I have been blessed to work several S.A.F.E.T.Y. events thru the years and have observed enough to know that your wife shoots better than you.

I teach shotgun at these events and no matter the experience, I teach each student/parent the same thing. Four simple steps…

1-mount the gun properly…

2-lay your cheek on the stock…

3-weight forward…(on the left foot if right-handed shooter/right foot if left-handed shooter)

4-shoot the nose, or leading edge of the target as it flies

You would be amazed how many first-timers break all 6 targets that we throw for them. The students listen and take instruction pretty well. The moms listen and take instruction better. We men…uhh…miss.  I will take the first time lady shooter over the first time male shooter every time in a friendly wager.

Women step up to me on the range and eagerly listen. Men step up and, many times, ask me how far to lead the target. I have learned to just say fifty yards and let ‘em have a whack at it. They’re not listening anyway. The women break 4-5-6 targets. The men 2-3-4.  Averages.  The bottom line?  Students, moms, dads, instructor’s all have an incredible day together.

New target shooters and hunters are born at this event, right before our eyes!

Bad thoughts and beliefs about guns disappear right before our eyes!

Hurting family relationships are HEALED right before our eyes!

Meek and mild ladies become sharpshooters right before our eyes!

Male ego’s are in need of a 911 call as they wilt right before our eyes!

I am a hard headed male, so I know of these things.  My wife tries to tell me things but she just doesn’t understand.  I already know!  I’m way ahead of you honey…I’ve got this!  Of course I miss the target about 100% of the time when I do that.  So the S.A.F.E.T.Y. event is a good reminder to me that my male ego needs to calm some too.  It’s a good event, and it’s good for all of us involved.

Please consider volunteering at next Spring’s DSC S.A.F.E.T.Y. event and look into starting an Outdoor Adventures Program in your local schools. The DEF has already written the curriculum, and it is a huge plus in the lives of every kid that participates.  It actually replaces P.E. for those that are not involved in athletics and for those who just don’t like P.E…they love the OA class!

Til next time, keep your weight forward and your eye on the beak of the bird…and I can STILL outshoot my wife!

Fondly,
Billy Kinder
BBKOradio.com

OCTOBER 5, 2016


roaming the drainages and deep coverI’m not referring to the college football conference that produces high scoring offenses and exciting fall gridiron action. The big 12 in my book will forever be roaming the drainages and deep cover of Baylor county Texas.

I have hunted quail primarily on my friend’s ranch outside of Seymour, Texas for the past 20 years. Ken has been so kind to me all of these years with gate and barn keys, and a hearty welcome to hunt his ranch. In the beginning I rarely saw a deer at all while walking miles each day behind the bird dogs, but through the years that began to change. I started seeing a doe here and there, then a basket rack buck, then a spike, then a group of 4 or 5 does, then some better bucks. It was obvious that the deer were moving into Ken’s country over time. It was also obvious that the quality of the deer in both body and antler size were improving.  I guesstimate several reasons for the increase.

* habitat improvement-the mesquite bottoms and brushy cactus country on Ken’s ranch has grown taller and thicker through the years. Perfect cover.

* plenty of feed available-annual winter wheat, sufficient spring rains.

* a thick, thick, thick deep bottom-about 40 or 50 acres that seldom sees a human and is ideal for loafing/bedding deer

Here’s the bigun though…

* Educated hunters have been hunting more selectively over the past twenty years. Once upon a time, that little basket rack 6 would have been a prize in most hunting circles…draped across the hood of the car, or on display with a lowered tailgate and driven thru town a time or two, with a stop at the café thrown in just to make sure the local boys knew that you had bagged a buck, any buck. Thinking has changed drastically. That basket buck would still be taken today, and still with great pride. The difference would be properly placed enthusiasm. Once the pride was placed on the antlers, it is now placed on herd improvement. You don’t want that buck to pass along his genes to future generations of 5 and 6 year old 6 points with a 13 inch inside spread. Take him out of the reproduction cycle, enjoy his delicious venison and watch offspring from better bucks grow up. Another benefit from educated hunters, and this one is a bit more difficult for many, is properly aging deer before pulling, or not pulling the trigger. There he is, a tall 8! Looks like a 20 inch inside spread! Beautiful!! WAIT!! While he’s giving you a good luck, try and age him. If this great deer is 3 ½ years old, let’s give him another year or three to develop. If he’s 6 ½  or older, he’s reached his peak, should have plenty of offspring nearby and will start to decline so let’s go ahead and harvest this animal. That mindset has helped grow and improve our deer herds across America the past couple of decades, and I surmise that these are the reasons for the big 12 showing up.

I’d never seen him before, as far as I know nobody had. There was no camp talk of him, no game cam pics hanging in the barn. He showed up mid rut at about 7:30am. I saw him coming from a distance and when he hopped the fence and the sun gave me a good look at his crown, I knew immediately that in all of my years on this ranch, I’d never seen anything close to him in comparison. I was in a blind overlooking a feeder that the girls enjoyed on a regular basis. He was on a dead run to see if the girls were at the buffet…they were not. He ran to within 100 yards of me, never stopped. Took a look, no does, and on he went disappearing into the thick cover.

I sat back and exhaled for the first time in about two minutes. Wow…what a deer. Through my binocular, I saw him again at about 9:30am. On the neighbor’s wheat, and he was a good mile from me. He wasn’t far from cover, and didn’t stay exposed very long. I like to crawl in the blind an hour before legal shooting time, and stay all day, or until I make harvest. I did pull the trigger that day just before dark, on what I believe was one of the big 12’s kinfolk. Perfectly symmetrical like the 12, 8 tall and wide points. I went ahead and filled my tag and freezer with the best buck that I’d ever taken on this property, and one of the best I’d ever seen in Baylor County Texas. I still wanted more meat in the freezer and I will never in my days on earth get enough time in God’s perfect creation, so back to the woods I went day after day, studying the deer and with a keen eye out for the 12.

I didn’t see him again for a couple of weeks, but I did see him again, three times more in fact. Baylor is a two buck county, but only the 12 would satisfy my second buck tag, nothing less. On a muddy morning, after an all-night rain I stepped out of the barn/apartment with my coffee just before sunrise. I could see deer feeding in the wheat. Thru my binocular I could see 5 does and one really big buck. Each minute brought better light, and before long I knew that I was looking at the big 12. The rut was full swing and he’d lost control of his protective senses. He had now exposed himself in an open wheat field, ours by the way, and made himself vulnerable. A lot of humans do that too.  I ranged him at 276 yards, I’m comfortable with that shot. I was not comfortable with the man standing beside his pickup a half mile behind the deer. I guess his ol’ truck had broken down, or he found the one spot that had cell service…whatever his reason for stopping in the middle of nowhere, I couldn’t shoot. I waited and waited and waited. The pickup didn’t move, but the deer did. The does were moving east and back toward heavy cover, the big 12 travelled with them. I had studied their movement enough to know where they were going.

I immediately moved west and took the long way around to the trail that I knew they were going to use. My plan was perfect, my execution of it was not. I should have stopped 100 yards shy of the trail but I pushed it. I wanted to cross the trail before they got there and catch a better wind. As I popped out of the brush 10 feet from the trail, so did HE! We were face to face for about .0003 of a second and then of course he was gone. I knew I had blown a golden opportunity. I saw him once more on the very last day of the season, a cold windy January day. He was across the fence on the neighbor, about 500 yards away, and all alone, the way he spends most of his year I recon. I watched him for half an hour before he slipped into a depression and disappeared…again. That was two seasons ago and far as I know, he’s still there.

I didn’t harvest the 12, but the chase, the strategy, the hunt and the time is just as big in my memory. Special memory. I’ll carve out a little time to look for him some more this year and share great tales of great adventure with campmates. We’ll eat store bought beans with unfulfilled tags, and backstrap fillets when our shot finds its mark. Happy bow opener to you! Make memories and send me YOUR story and pics along the way. I look forward to that!

Fondly,
Billy Kinder
BBKOradio.com

SEPTEMBER 30, 2016


Dove SeasonDove season is upon us! The first domino to fall in a chain of fall splendor! Are you ready? Let’s visit about how to be prepared for those 55 mph gray rockets.

First and foremost is not practice, it starts at your favorite sporting goods store. You will see a LOT of shells on sale at unbelievably low prices right now. Be careful! Don’t buy junk. The best shot in the bird field will drop big time in consistency when under-shelled. I like a one ounce load at least, in 7’s or 8’s. Dependable names are good, American made a must. *12/20/410? I'm a 12. I carry a little lightweight 20 o/u while hunting quail and most other upland birds, so why a 12 when dove shooting? Several thoughts...

-I'm usually closer to a covey rise of quail than I am a high flying dove

-The quail shot, 95% of the time, is a straight away shot about 6-12 feet off the ground-dove are at all angles, heights and speeds

-I'm standing still in a single spot most of the time while dove hunting as opposed to walking many miles chasing quail, the lighter 20 is a must for the hike-the added weight of my 12 doesn’t bother me in a still hunting situation-I do have a sling on my 12, allowing my shoulder to bear the weight during lulls

ALSO...

-Camo...don’t go overboard. Camo has become big business and the birds don’t care how stylish you are...find something that matches your terrain as much as possible...that might be a gray t-shirt and shorts...cover up any shiny jewelry...check your local army surplus store for a bargain.

-decoys...again, you really don’t have to buy the most expensive latest and greatest to get a doves attention...an old-time method of mine that works VERY well is inexpensive and effective...a cheap piece of rebar from your local hardware store bent into a U shape...push the ends down into the ground and use cheap clip on dove decoys...I’ve seen birds perch on the rebar with the decoys...that said...I DO LOVE the Mojo motion decoys. I've also seen birds try to land on top of them, while in motion, many times.

There are the basics, now take your GOOD shells to the sporting clays range and shoot a few rounds before the opener. You’ll amaze your under-shelled, under-gunned under-prepared buddies when the real thing rolls around.

If you pick up your empty hulls and discard them, you're much more likely to be invited back to a dove field again. While you're at the hardware store pick up a roofer’s magnet. It’s a magnet on a stick that will collect your hulls without you having to bend over!

Fondly,
Billy Kinder
BBKOradio.com

AUGUST 5, 2016


/Morani River Ranch Turkey Hunt 2014Turkeys are one of my absolute favorite hunts. They are unpredictable, tough as a rhino, and nervous nelly when it comes to anything that looks or especially moves out of the ordinary. Just when you think you’ve got 'em figured out, they surprise you with a totally different game plan for the day. I hunted turkeys on a ranch near Junction, Texas a few years back. Broke traffic laws for 400 miles to get to the ranch before dark. My goal was to try and locate birds and roost them for the night, giving me a distinct advantage over them the next morning. “Roosting” your birds is simply watching the flock and which tree or trees they choose to sleep in. This happens as the last drops of daylight slip through the hourglass, just before dark. More times than not, they will fly down the next morning in the same direction that they flew up. Slip in pre-dawn and get set up right, and you're in good shape for a wonderful turkey dinner.

Well, I made it in time and stood in wonder, mouth breathing and wide-eyed as I watched the biggest flock of turkeys that I’ll probably ever see go to roost. I estimate 400 to 500 birds. Believe it or not, they flew across a shallow creek that ran along the base of a cliff and filled up the live oak trees halfway up that cliff! It was wonderfully amazing to see. They HAD to fly down to the same open area that they had used as a launching pad. They weren’t going to fly up. They were mine! No escape! Next morning I make the 8-10 mile drive in the dark over rough ranch roads for my rio roundup. I parked a half mile away, an hour and a half before sunrise. I was taking no chances. This was a slam dunk and I didn’t want to mess it up. I walked in by moonlight and settled under a small live oak. The scrub brush around the base of the tree provided a great natural blind. After settling in, I blew the owl hooter to reassure myself that they were still high above me on the cliff. They were. It sounded like hundreds of gobblers answering the locator call. It was a long wait, like the days leading up to Christmas morning for a youngster. Finally I heard soft yelps on this cool clear morning. I mimicked what I heard with my mouth call. Decoys set up and ready at 15-20 yards. Finally! One, two, four and eight at a time they started to fly down. It took twenty minutes for the trees to unload all of those birds. Problem…they chose to fly further than the launch pad to a rough, rocky, boulder riddled area that you’d NEVER suspect they’d use...except for two little hens that did exactly what I wanted the masses to do. These two came down to the soft open launching area and started slowly feeding over towards my decoys while the other 498 birds hit the rocks and headed in the opposite direction. The little hens came within 8 feet of me, circled me and my decoys twice and pinned me down, keeping me from plan B...moving along the creek bottom to get past the birds that were now headed in the wrong direction. Heckle and Jeckle hung around until the flock was gone and then took off trailing behind. Everything was perfect...I had done my work...I had the fool proof plan...then, the unimaginable happened, and I never fired a shot.

Life is that way. We make family, retirement, short term and long term plans, fool proof, every base covered and it's gonna be great. Then life changing news comes our way. That’s when we see how small and insignificant we, and our plans are. In the Bible, Proverbs 23:4 tells us not to trust our own cleverness. The one thing that stands through it all is a never changing God. The same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Full of love and grace for you and me. If you know Him as Lord and Savior, and He is your all in all, life’s curveballs and hard knocks are not nearly as devastating, and hope becomes your most prized possession! He is the only source of true hope!

Fondly,
Billy Kinder
BBKOradio.com

APRIL 15, 2016


Tube Fishing Ray RobertsTake me to the woods without a trigger to pull, and I’m just fine, as long as someone else is in charge of the trigger. Same story with a fishing pole...Preferably that someone else is a youngster just beginning their outdoor journey, or maybe a fella that loved hunting and fishing as a kid but career and commitment kept him on concrete for several decades. I love the hunt. Doesn’t matter if I’m hunting deer, turkeys, quail, doves, walleye, smallies...you get the picture. It’s the chase, the hunt, the research, the piecing together of the puzzle, and the smiles and stories that come from fresh eyes and ears.

What a glorious time spring is! It's just February, but it's all about to unfold for antoher trip around the outdoors' calendar. I’ll be in Florida chasing big green bass in a couple of weeks, then on our fertile Texas crappie waters. Turkey hunting with the world in springtime bloom is near and dear to my heart and so is a cool spring night of predator calling. It’ll be time for a South Dakota walley trip before long and then a fall full of axis, elk and whitetails. It's all on the way, and I look forward to every experience, but the 2016 trip that I’m most excited about won't put me behind the gun or flipping a jig into heavy shallow spring cover.

You’ll hopefully hear the show in early April after I venture into the woods with my pastor, his dad and 3 little boys. We plan to shoot a couple of pigs, but we're hunting for something bigger. Real big smiles and lifelong memories for the young’uns is the goal of this hunt. Thanks to my friends, Keith and Barbara at Northern Sky Outfitters for making this trip a possibility complete with cabin, cooking and care while we're on their ranch. They can do this for you too, I recommend it! I’ll take the 22, and the boys can take turns tearing up a target or two, dad and grandpa will do the pig shooting with the boys as witnesses. If the stories start to stretch, maybe the shot gets longer or the pigs grow after death, the boys can straighten that right up.

This is a turn key, comfortable way to persue our now legendary wild pigs in Texas. If you’ve been thinking about it...book it. Spring is a perfect time weather wise to hunt 'em under the stars with hog lights, or spot and stalk em during the daylight...Or both. The ranch will hunt you both ways if you prefer. Take the kids, put the sausage in the freezer, make a lasting memory with a newbie, or maybe with a long time absentee from the hunting environment.

Fondly,
Billy Kinder

FEBRUARY 5, 2016


South Dakota Montana ShowsI was blessed two and a half decades ago to be exposed to some very talented bird dog men. I was flabbergasted with what God instilled in a bird dog and wanted to sponge up all I could learn. So I asked a lot of questions and listened intently to men like Charlie Henry out of Arkansas, Lester Arnold from east Texas, and the whole lot of trainers that gathered at field trials all across the country. The information was never ending. Tricks of the trade, training aides that actually worked, how to use those aides properly, scenting conditions, young dogs, old dogs, problem dogs, exposing talent...and on and on and on. But what stood out to me as the golden rule was quite simple. I heard it again and again from learned bird dog men all across the country...”Birds make bird dogs.” That will always hold true.

Bear will be fourteen if he makes it to spring. He lays beside me as I write this and travels with a limp in his gate nearly every step that I take. We've been side by side since he was five weeks old. At one year of age when I normally begin formal training with my bird dogs he wasn’t ready to start. I read my dog and was patient. That patience would pay off. By the time he was three, when most dogs are “finished”, he was well into what the others had learned a year ago, but way behind. He did his yard work fine, but transitioning that into the bird field was not a connection that he could make. He insisted on making an effort to do it all by himself. He’d point, then break and flush, then chase. Trying desperately to get that bird in his mouth. That would be his reward. Several folks were asking me if I was ready to give up on him...they thought that he just didn’t have what it takes to be a solid bird dog. But ol' Bear and I trudged on. Then one day, the light came on!

When the “light comes on” with a bird dog, it’s a remarkable thing to watch. It's an "OHHHHH O.K." moment for a young dog when they couple what you have hand taught them with what God instilled in them. For Bear, it was the old windmill pasture down by the river. A small pasture that typically holds lots of birds, and they were in there on this morning. I first turned ol' Joker loose. An older white pointer that was as reliable as grandpa’s watch and had true talent in his nose. Joker pointed, and I scooted up in front of him to flush. Birds kept coming up...and kept coming up...and kept coming up. There were singles scattered all over that 250 acre pasture. I put Joker back in the trailer and pulled Bear out.

We were alone. No other bird dogs in the field with us that morning and these birds were now his to either put it together or blow it completely. Bear was one of the hardest running dogs that I’ve ever witnessed. He totally blew up the “Brittanys are shoe polishers” theory. Destroyed it in fact! After a few minutes of hard running to “blow out”, he started paying attention to his nose. A few short seconds later he slammed to a stop...then flushed and chased...again. After another fruitless effort like that, the light came on. He pointed and didn’t move this time. I didn’t say a word to him. I just stepped in front, flushed the single and shot it. He delivered what would be the first of I don’t know how many wild birds to come to my hand. We did that 14 more times within an hour and a half. When we were finished Bear was a bird dog. I witnessed after only a couple of birds his light coming on. It was like flipping a switch. Bear realized that if he was ever going to get that bird in his mouth, his reward, that he must stand dead still...not disturb the bird...and allow my old over and under to bring the bird to the ground.

I have been blessed to own some mighty talented bird dogs in my life. Dogs that any man would absolutely love to hunt behind for a day and love much more to partner with for life. Bear would become the best hands down that’s ever shared my kennel, and later my home. He won the Lone Star Region N.S.T.R.A. Championship in 2010, defeating a 25 time N.S.T.R.A. and 4 time National Champion in the final hour of the grueling two day endurance format. He won his way into National Championship field trials from coast to coast, but my most precious memories with him will always be in the wild bird field where he was just simply amazing.

A lot of us are just like ol Bear. Hard headed and single minded with no room for God in our day to day lives. For many, entire lifetimes pass by without coming to the saving knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ. But oh how sweet is the journey if we do hear the Word, realize that we are sinners in need of a Savior, and believe in our hearts that Jesus died for our sins, rose again and lives at the right hand of God His Father. Thank You Lord, thank You for Your patience with me, Your slow and steady correction in my life, for never giving up on me and for that precious moment when my light came on.

Fondly,
Billy Kinder

DECEMBER 15, 2015


Spring Creek Pheasant 2015We are so blessed to have good friends in South Dakota that enjoy our company in the pheasant field. What a week we have had...again! Pheasant numbers are up 40 to 44%in the central region of SD this year. By the time this writing is finished, you will want to book a trip, so I will pause now and give you David Healan’s phone number. 605-224-8336...go ahead and call...I’ll wait………………………………………………………………Let me know how you do. You WON'T be disappointed.

37 hunters scattered over three days killed 111 roosters. Do the math. That’s limits for all, each day. The dog work was impeccable, and this is the statistic that I’m most tickled with: We recovered every single bird that was shot. One wounded rooster hit the ground running the other day and slipped away from us. We took the dogs back to that same field the next day, and the dogs picked up the bird, still kickin, and retrieved to hand. We were hunting north of Pierre, the SD state capitol, but any country that you choose from Winner to the south up North to Mobridge will be in the ditch chicken wheelhouse. By the way when you mention it to your friends and want to sound like you know what your speaking of, its pronounced PEER, not Piere’ like some fancy French dude. The crops are all in for the year now, and the leftover stubble, weedy corners and strips are holding lots of birds.

Pheasants are not as big as they look. The bird itself is about the same size as a sharptail grouse. The difference is the thick coat of feathers capable of deflecting shot. My advice is 3 fold when it comes to shooting pheasants.

A-take the 12, not the 20, and certainly not the 410. B-buy GOOD shells. They may run as much as $25 a box, but that’s okay. I prefer 3”, ounce and 3/8ths, 1450 fps loads. KABOOM! C-Shoot for the head.

It's easy to look at that big ball of feathers and just throw lead at them. He’s gonna fly away if you do that...most times anyway. He could be crippled instead of killed and fly up to half a mile before falling dead and never recovered. Like the old saying goes, "Aim small...hit small." Focus and try to see the beak of that bird...shoot him...brag to other nearby hunters.

The tradition of a South Dakota pheasant field, late in the fall with good company is so special. It’s a relaxed hunt. The state says that we can't shoot a pheasant before 10am. That means time for coffee, a good breakfast and a leisurely morning before the big pheasant push. It’s a time honored tradition and the numbers are really healthy. There are close to 7 million pheasants in SD this year. Hunters will harvest a million or more. Take a trip, shoot a few, soak 'em in pineapple juice for at least 24 hours and then deep fry, smoke or bake 'em. And meet me at David's place next year for a “do er again”!

Fondly,
Billy Kinder

NOVEMBER 12, 2015