Most Western New York outdoors folks recall Paul Fuller as organizer of the annual outdoors show held each spring in downtown Buffalo some years ago.
Fuller, an outdoors guy since early childhood in New England, did sport shows from the early ’80s to 2005. The Buffalo show under Fuller’s direction drew anglers, hunters, shooters and anyone with outdoors interests from 1981 to 1993.
“The shows kept me busy and I had a love affair with trout fishing for about 25 years of trips and outings, but for the past 10 years I’ve gotten back into bird dogs and hunting,” Fuller said of his involvement in all kinds of bird hunts and training hunting-dog species.
He has hunted over German shorthaired pointers and other pointer and setter species, but he has a special attraction to English setters.
“My father had English setters, and I was raised in New England bird country as a kid,” he said.
Those years spent afield as a youth and mingling with some of the best names in bird-dog training at sport shows and conferences resulted in an increased focus on gathering and sharing information about the dogs, grouse dogs in particular, the hunt for upland birds, especially grouse, and the best guns to have afield during these hunts.
Those involvements resulted in video material Fuller amassed, edited, reproduced and edited again over a period of two and a half years. Video footage takes him first to Ontario and Maine and later to stints with Lloyd Murray’s famed English setters, including Long Gone Madison, a dog Fuller considered to be “one of the finest grouse dogs that ever lived.”
Fuller’s work resulted in a two-disc DVD set titled “Grouse, Guns & Dogs.” The DVDs give interesting background history on the birds, the hunts and the dogs. Topics range from commercial harvesting long ago to modern training of top dogs entered in field trials and entering the field to hunt.
Each video segment is set so that the aura of the dog and hunt are foremost. From preparing for the hunt to traveling and at camp, each step is illustrated with specifics for the dog, setter or pointer, the place, camp, field, and finally the work afield.
Advice comes from experts such as Dr. Tom Flanagan of Grouse Ridge Kennels. At 95, Flanagan has trained grouse dogs for seven decades and brings to the viewer common-sense suggestions throughout all contact time with a dog.
Most hunters think about fall hunts and the fun of grouse busting from cover, but Fuller focuses on all four seasons of the year for both the birds and the dogs. For example, he noted this year, “The pheasant numbers in the Dakotas remain solid and both pheasant and quail look good in Minnesota and Wisconsin.”
Chapter jumping on this DVD is useful, but a thorough first viewing of the 3.5 hours gives a good perspective before keying on a hunter/dog owner’s specific interests and needs.