Prairie ~ Then and Now!
For well over a hundred years, trainers have ventured to the prairie to train and condition their dogs and compete on wild birds. They traveled to the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta and state-side, the Dakotas as well as western Wisconsin and Minnesota. They journeyed by train, then by motorized vehicle often taking a week or more to get to their destinations from the deep south and elsewhere. Today, their primary training destinations are Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North and South Dakota.
You can sense the excitement as mid-summer rolls around. Messages accompanied by photos on the internet announce the trainers’ departure, then arrival at their camps and, as weeks go by, progress reports on the dogs in training and finally, results of the prairie championships.
Life at camp hasn’t changed significantly…and maybe that accounts for much of the draw for trainers who still venture to the prairie each summer. The sun rising and setting in that big sky country, beams of sunlight touching golden fields of wheat and indigo skies foretelling a coming storm are as breathtaking as ever. The work day is long but life is simple and good and the chickens, huns, and pheasants still work their magic!
The 1961 Chrismas Edition of the American Field featured a Prairie Pictorial by Kyle M. Walker. Here are his and other photos alongside the modern equivalents:
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