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Man from Bismarck combines his love of dogs and hunting



Bismarck, North Dakota – Enthusiastic pheasant hunters are aware that practically a necessary tool for removing birds from the underbrush is man’s best buddy. Season-ending training takes place all year long, even though the season closes on Sunday.

Justin Ledger is pursuing two of his interests, hunting and dogs, in these cattails.

“I love seeing a dog work pheasants, it’s something natural that you can’t explain to some people. They go out and they do it and it’s not anything about how you train them to do certain things, they just do it,” said Ledger.

For his entire life, Ledger has been hunting in fields similar to this one. He has spent a significant amount of time training dogs. It made sense that he would combine them to produce Redwater Retrievers.

“It’s work but it doesn’t feel like work because you love to do it so much,” said Ledger.

Even though this is the last hunt of the season, he claims to train the dogs all year round.

“It’s always kind of a sad day because it’s over. You look forward to that opening day, you don’t sleep. It’s like opening pheasant is already here, let’s go, and then it’s already the last day of the season,” said Ledger.

He claims that compared to last year, this pheasant season is much better. There is a healthy number of birds, and unlike the previous year, hunters do not have to hike through several feet of snow.

“We didn’t do very well, we tried very hard,” said Ledger.

RJ Gross, an upland biologist with North Dakota Game and Fish, stated that the current warmth is beneficial for hunters as it will carry over into the upcoming hunting season.

“With it being nice out and food is pretty readily available. They don’t have to peck through two feet of snow just to get to it. They are just going to be in that much better condition coming into next year. There is plenty of moisture that we still had,” said Gross.

But Ledger warns that the late season is not for the weak of heart when the cold sets in. But what keeps him warm amid the icy fields is his desire to assist others in sharing his passions.

“We breed to give these people what we’ve had all our whole lives, a loving companion. A dog that’s going to be there,” said Ledger.

Once the hunt is over, it’s time to retire until the following year.

Although Ledger has been training dogs for a while, Redwater Retrievers had a particularly memorable year this year. The first litter of hunting puppies was born into the kennel.