Explore the Future of Gun Dog Magazine Content and Bird Dog Training with New Editor-in-Chief Kali Parmley
What does a magazine look like in 2019 when so much of the landscape of gun dog training is changing? How do we expound on the culture of bird dogs and wingshooting without understanding the synchronicity of dog training and the lifestyle that we must embody in order to be successful? We must consider that this generation of dog handlers is changing and becoming much more diverse. Novice hunters need newer and fresher stories and introductions to the gun dog community.
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We discuss these questions and more with Kali Parmley, the new Editor-in-Chief of Gun Dog Magazine. While Kali has developed a long and deep appreciation for the English Setters of her grandfather’s time, these days she shares her adventures with her Labrador, Lincoln, chasing white-tailed Ptarmigan to 12,400 feet, burning boot leather through Hell’s Canyon chasing chukar, and putting her novice pup to the test in the Badlands of North Dakota. All of this has been written in Kali’s former articles and we get down to the specific details of each adventure, including some pitfalls and revelations gained along the way.
Kali is definitely one who jumped headfirst into hunting wild birds ever since she received an unexpected invite from a friend. To date, she hasn’t backed down from a challenge to cover the toughest terrain for birds.
Gun Dog Magazine has always been your comprehensive guide to all things gun dogs, exploring the palette of different dog breeds, gear testing, dog health and nutrition, stories in the field. Kali was brought on to Gun Dog Mag with a hunger to improve the magazine and add new content to a very successful dog training editorial.
While staying true to the subject of dog training, Kali seeks to bring new adventure narratives to the magazine that put the articles on dog training into real time scenarios; these help illustrate the practical applications of the training, all the while giving the magazine a new look in print and on social media. What we can expect is an appeal to a younger generation of bird hunters, directing content to the DIY hunter, sharing where to go, how to hunt various game species, and even a new column on wild game cooking.
Kali observed that the new wave of bird hunters is looking for hands-on content, creative strategies, and innovative hunting tactics that help the handler become much more successful in the field and proud do do it with a dog they’ve trained by their own hand. Stay tuned to the podcast and look forward to new issues of Gun Dog Magazine being published in the Fall.
Kali Parmley on Instagram: @kaliparmley
Gun Dog Mag on Instagram: @gundogmag
Gun Dog Magazine Podcast Trascript
Durrell Smith: Okay guys, this is another episode of the Gun Dog Notebook Podcast. It’s a very, very, very special episode, because, quite frankly, I’ve spent a lot of money with Gun Dog Magazine, and now we have the new editor on, so if I can go ahead and welcome Miss Kali Parmley. How are you?
Kali Parmley: I’m good. How are you? Thanks for having me.
Durrell Smith: Well, thank you very much. I am just fine. I’m really excited. Like I said, I’ve definitely given you guys a lot of my business, over the time that I’ve been hunting, so …
Kali Parmley: Well, we definitely appreciate that, that’s for sure.
Durrell Smith: Yeah, and I’m sure a lot of listeners have done the same, so just to put it out there, I think you guys are, typically, one of the first resources that people go to when they’re getting into bird dogs. Do you think I’m correct in that one?
Kali Parmley: I agree. Our title is Gun Dog Magazine, and Gun Dog is the premier sporting dog magazine, that really focuses on training, and how to train your bird dog, so I would hope that we’re the first magazine that people venture towards on the newsstands, or as subscribers, and that’s what we want to stick to being.
Durrell Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s very obvious, you guys are pretty much everywhere, as long as you can get magazines. Of course, you should subscribe, but that’s one of the things that I really liked when I got in there, and just to open up, my buddy, Jerry Imprevento, who’s actually had a few covers for Gun Dog, he was the one that introduced me, so not only am I saying thank you to him, but he’s definitely been influential in, I guess the image, my image of what Gun Dog is. I’ve had a couple of his images used on my social media, but I just like it when I see his stuff on the front cover, so-
Kali Parmley: Yeah, he’s a good contributor, he’s a good friend, and he helps out when needed. He’s a good freelancer, good writer. We really appreciate Jerry, and he’s definitely one heck of a photographer.
Durrell Smith: Yes, so I actually met Jerry face to face for the first time at the Super Retriever Series, and he was doing some work for them, and that dude is just … He always says that I’m the most inspired person, as far as Gun Dog stuff, but I really think Jerry takes the cake on that one.
Kali Parmley: He is. A little bit of a selfish plug for Jerry here. He’s an avid owner of Irish Red and White Setters, in our August issue, which I’m actually putting to bed this week. Our breed profile is on the Irish Red and White Setter, so bunch of Jerry’s dogs, Finn, is going to be featured, and so I know he’s happy to see that, that’s for sure.
Durrell Smith: Of course. I’m actually glad that y’all are doing that, because that’s a pretty dog.
Kali Parmley: It’s a beautiful dog. Hardworking dog too.
Durrell Smith: Yes. I remember when Jerry got him, but I’m excited that you guys are doing work with him. He’s definitely a good friend of mine, but I want to talk a little bit about you, so let’s just start off with how you even got into this whole thing. Of course, we’ve got to open up with a background, and how you transitioned from Lab, or into Labs.
Kali Parmley: Sure, so my background is a different one, I would like to say, as I didn’t grow up hunting, but I did grow up in a very rural community. I grew up in Ohio, in a small town called Bellefontaine, Ohio, and I was used to the country lifestyle. I grew up horseback riding, and trail riding, and camping with my grandmother, and then my grandpa, he was an attorney, but also, a cattle farmer, and when he retired from both of those things he started training English Setters, and that became his little hobby, his little pastime, and so in the summertime I would actually …
Kali Parmley: He’d actually pay me to ride his horses, because, as he got older, he got into his late 70s, he stopped hunting so much, but he was doing mostly field trials, and so he needed someone to ride his horses every day, so he’d pay me to come out two or three times a week, to ride his horses, and I got to be around when he was breeding, and training his setters, and I still remember him pulling up on his four-wheeler, with his setters after working them all day, so it became a really special thing to me.
Kali Parmley: That’s where I really got introduced to the breed of English Setters, and bird dogs, and things of that sort, and I’d help him out. I even got caught in the pigeon house one time. That’s a whole different story. Everyone’s worst nightmare is getting locked in a small, small enclosure, right?
Durrell Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kali Parmley: I didn’t start out hunting. That’s something I came into later in life, and it actually fell into my lap in a very random way. I went to college. I played basketball in college, and when I graduated I knew … I went to college for photojournalism, and I knew that I wanted to be an editor of a magazine. Did I know I wanted to be an editor of a hunting magazine? No, not at all, so I got a random, I got the first job out of college that I could get.
Kali Parmley: It was actually with an organization located in Columbus, Ohio, called the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance. They go by the Sportsmen’s Alliance now, and I started out in their youth program, and I remember one of the first questions during the interview process was do you have a problem with hunting? I remember saying to them, “Well, no, because I grew up in a community where the kids left school to go hunting every day,” so hunting was not strange to me. I did not frown upon it. I just didn’t have anyone who took me hunting, but I had a general understanding of shooting, and things of that sort, so I started out at the Sportsmen’s Alliance, and I taught youth shooting sports, and things of that sort, and I slowly developed a love for the sport of hunting.
Kali Parmley: I actually had one of my coworkers, took me turkey hunting, and I remember it was just this very exciting … I remember we were and it was so … I loved it so much. That really is what I attribute to me falling in love with hunting, and so I ended up moving over to the marketing department in the Sportsmen’s Alliance, and I helped revitalize their whole marketing, and their magazine, and things of that sort. I made my contacts in the industry, and I was able to land a job as the associate editor of Petersen’s Hunting Magazine, and so I picked up, and I moved to Illinois, and that’s where I fell in love with big game hunting.
Kali Parmley: Well, right prior before I moved I actually got a dog, and that dog was just going to be a family dog. Not a hunting dog, nothing of that sort. Well, couple months prior to me getting the dog I actually met some friends who were really into bird hunting, and I got Lincoln, my Lab. I remember it was about a year later, and my friend said to me, “Hey, I’m going out to just do some dog training at this local game farm. Bring Lincoln,” and I remember laughing, and I said, “No. My dog is never … “
Kali Parmley: He knew basic obedience, because in college I had actually trained a service dog, so he was well trained. He knew basic things. He knew retrieving, he knew all that stuff, and I remember saying, “No. I don’t want to mess up your hunt. He’s not going to come.” They insisted. “Bring Lincoln,” so I went out with him. I said okay, and I remember being so nervous. I’m going to mess up these guys’ hunt. I don’t think they realize, my dog has never even smelled a bird, and I took him out.
Kali Parmley: We probably started at about 8:00 AM, and by noon that day Lincoln was flushing birds, and retrieving them almost all the way to hand, and I remember just tears of pride, and joy. Everyone, I’m sure, can remember when their dog brings them their first dog.
Durrell Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.
Kali Parmley: We filmed it. It was just something that I remember to this day. Just wow! My dog has never done this before, and in four hours, after watching these other dogs, and just getting an idea, he figured out what he was supposed to do, and so that day is when I decided it would be just awful if I didn’t train this dog to hunt birds, and so picked up some books, watched some YouTube videos, and Lincoln and I figured out how to flush and retrieve birds, and we have been hunting together ever since.
Durrell Smith: Nice. First of all, that is a very beautiful story. It really is, and just the matriculation of your experience, do you think though, being around all of that, do you think it was, was that a coincidence, or do you think he just woke up one day? I’m not the type of person to believe in coincidence, so I just want to know what your thoughts are on that.
Kali Parmley: Well, I think Lincoln had a lot of natural hunting instinct. I talked to his breeder … She had told me his dad was a hunter, blah-blah, but when I was getting him, at the time, I wasn’t worried about that, so I think it was a lot of natural for Lincoln, and I will say I’ve been very fortunate that he is a very smart dog, and he picks up on things very easily. He already knew how to retrieve, and bring things directly back to me, so I think it was just some natural instincts kicking in. That hey, this feather covered thing is just like a ball I normally retrieve, and she gets excited if I bring it back to her, so …
Durrell Smith: One plus one must be two.
Kali Parmley: Yeah. Exactly, and most people would frown on the fact that I just stuck my dog in the field, and did that, and, now that I look back, I’m like you know, but hey, it brought me to where I am with Lincoln today, and I’m forever grateful for it. Will I do that with my next bird dog? Probably not. I’m going to make sure that I’ve done training on birds, before I hit the field, but it ended up working out to the best, and it has created two new bird hunters, that’s for sure.
Durrell Smith: Well, even acknowledge that your path is very unconventional to most people. I think we can both agree on that. Your dog is more unconventional, your path, the way you got there, so I think it’s okay to defy the rules a little bit, if there are rules per se. As long as your dog has the genetics. I think we get caught up on so many, I guess very trivial things about the way that people get into bird dogs, and gun dogs, and what the dog looks like, where the dog comes from. I think we really get caught up into that, but, to be honest, I’ve read a lot of stories with people with dogs that aren’t even ‘bird dogs’.
Kali Parmley: Absolutely!
Durrell Smith: Do you see what I’m saying?
Kali Parmley: Absolutely! There is, it’s we get caught up on the genetics, and where this dog came from, and a lot of people I know pick up dogs from the pound, and they end up being great bird dogs. If you have a connection with your dog, and I would never, ever encourage bad breeding, or anything of that sort. I think it’s very important to know your breed, or go to their house, watch them go, maybe even hunt over one of their dogs. Highly encourage that, but, do you know what? I think a bird dog can be unconditional, or a dog of a different color, but if it hunts for you, then all power to it.
Durrell Smith: I think that’s the most, and again, that is your perspective and outlook is exactly why I was so interested in having you on the podcast. I think you are going to be, just even from what I’ve read, I think you’re going to be a very, very, very powerful voice in this particular community, and especially given the fact that the new generation of bird hunters, let’s say the millennial generation, everybody that comes after us. We’ve got so much media exposure, and social media, and video, and film. We’ve got YouTube, and stuff like that.
Durrell Smith: I think it’s okay if somebody says I want to get out and hunt, but my dog has this drive. He wants to chase birds, and squirrels, and stuff in the backyard, but I don’t want to deter that person, just because they don’t have some dog from some extremely well known kennel, or anything like that. If they’ve noticed certain characteristics and traits, I think it’s okay to say come on out, and hunt with me.
Kali Parmley: Absolutely! I encourage everybody, bird hunting is a passion. It’s something I love to do, and is an extreme hobby of mine. You can’t take it away from me, and so I love to spread that to different people, and share that with them. I was fortunate enough to have people share it with me, and I’m so lucky that happened, and I would never want anyone to say why I don’t have a traditional bird dog, you know?
Durrell Smith: Right.
Kali Parmley: If you have a dog that hunts … Now, I do encourage everyone, if your dog doesn’t listen, or you’re screaming at the top of your lungs to get them to come back, I don’t really encourage you to hit the field, as you’ll scare a lot of the birds away, but-
Durrell Smith: Right. We need manners.
Kali Parmley: Yeah, we need manners. We need your dog to-
Durrell Smith: We do.
Kali Parmley: Respect the other dogs, but I encourage everyone to get into bird hunting. I encourage people to do their research, decide what breed they want, what breed fits best for them, because each bird dog is different. Even if you pick up a mutt, and he is natural at what he does, then I encourage you to hunt with them.
Durrell Smith: Now, and I’ve always got to tackle this topic, again, back on the media aspect of it. To me, I’ve always been the type of person that says I rule books over the internet, and it’s funny, because I have a social media and internet presence, and stuff like that. That’s fine, but I’m always the one to tell people to go pick up a magazine, or go pick up a book. Now, what is it, where’s the value in the YouTube dog trainer? Especially for someone that doesn’t know where to start.
Kali Parmley: Well, what’s funny about that is I’m the editor of a print publication, and I highly encourage people to subscribe to the magazine, because we do provide the how-tos. Here’s what your dog needs to know, here’s how to do it. I’ve got a whole column coming up in the September issue, about marking, and how you should set up the drill to do it, and things of that sort, but I’m also a very visual person as well, and I do surf YouTube for just general …
Kali Parmley: I remember I did that before I got Lincoln. Was like okay, how do I do this command? How do I do this command? It’s good to see it visually, which is good, and that’s why Gun Dog is a two part series print publication, where you can keep this magazine on hand, rip out an article, and read it over again and again, but we also have training DVDs. We’re republishing those now, and getting those up-to-date, and back on the internet, where you can get these how-to videos, and that’s the thing about Gun Dog.
Kali Parmley: Is that Gun Dog is your go-to source for training, and it will always be that. We have top of the line columnists, who are professional trainers, who can also write for us, and so they give you that perspective, and that’s what Gun Dog will always be. We’ll never venture away from that, and we are the publication that’s going to tell you how to train your dog for the field.
Durrell Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative), and I think it’s necessary to put that out there, but I’m always going to tell people to go pick up a Gun Dog Magazine. It’s something, to me, about the printed word. It just is. Even a little bit of imagination that goes in there. When we talk about unconventional training, or not necessarily unconventional, but the DIY dog trainer.
Kali Parmley: Yeah, and I was just going to say that. A lot of people can’t afford a trainer, and if you … There is something personal, that I wanted to have that connection with my dog, where I trained him, and could say I trained him. Something prideful about that, but a lot of people don’t have time to do that. Sometimes it’s like hey, I’ve got kids, and I’ve got a job. I’ve got to send them off, and that is perfectly fine. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there is something to say for those guys, there’s a whole generation of people out there who just want to train their dogs themselves, and that’s why you need a go-to source.
Kali Parmley: Gun Dog is that, and there are a lot of information YouTube videos out there. I encourage, Jeremy Moore puts out good videos, Tom Dokken does a bunch of how-to videos, Bob West does a bunch of how-to videos. There are resources, if you’d like to train your dog yourself.
Durrell Smith: Right, and it’s definitely important to know where to get those resources. Half the reason why I do this particular podcast, to talk to good folks like you, just to really give folks some hope, I guess, some direction. You don’t need to be a pro trainer to train a dog, but you do need to be knowledgeable, and even more so, I’m a big history buff too. I like knowing what came beforehand, and it’s definitely important to know, as a DIY dog trainer, all right. Well, this is what guys were doing beforehand. This is what guys are doing now. What are the patterns, and what are the similarities? I just appreciate you bringing that in.
Kali Parmley: Well, what’s funny is I’m looking, so I have a Lab right now. I’m looking to add to my bird dog arsenal, as I like to call it. I want a pointing breed by next season. I’m looking to get an English Setter, and I’m looking to train the dog myself, because I would like the knowledge of how to train a pointing breed, and so just the other day I started googling best books to train a pointing dog, how-to books to do this, and some people, they turn their nose up at that, but it’s this is what I want to do. I would like that connection with my dog. I would like to learn how to do it. I would like to work with my dog every single day, to make him the best he can be, but I’m also going to lean on professional trainers as well, so I will pick up those how-to DVDs.
Durrell Smith: Yeah, absolutely.
Kali Parmley: I will read Gun Dog Magazine, and I will reach out to trainers, and get their ideas, so it’s just there is a market for those DIY guys, and I highly encourage it, but I also encourage you to look into professionals as well.
Durrell Smith: All right, so now you’ve stepped into my shoes, so I just got my pointer, and I’m training himself, doing as much as I can, all day every day. When I’m not at work I’m getting up in the morning, or training in the evening, and the books that I’m using, number one, as far as the DVDs, I’m using Bud Moore’s DVD. I’m combining techniques, which I think is definitely something people should look into. Delmar Smith’s Best Way to Train Your Gun Dog, Mo Lindley, Training with Mo, and also, a personal friend of mine, Neal Carter, down in Thomasville, Georgia, who I just go see, and watch him. I think it’s cool to combine all of those techniques. Find out what works, and what doesn’t work for your dog, of course, but what books are you interested in?
Kali Parmley: Well, honestly, there is one book that I have to … I can’t remember what book it is exactly. I think it was Wolters Gun Dog Book-
Durrell Smith: Yeah, definitely a good one.
Kali Parmley: Yeah, someone handed me, when I went to train, when I told my friend that I was going to train Lincoln, he brought it into work, and he said, “Here, use this book. It’s great,” and it was by Richard Wolters, and it was how to train your gun dog, and it was very basic, and that’s what I really appreciate about it. Was like do this step, do this step, do this step, and so I was able to combine what I read in that book with what I found online, and things of that sort. I remember I just taught direct, I was able to choose directions.
Kali Parmley: I was training a flusher retriever, not a setter, so that’s why I’m trying to, now, okay, I’ve got that experience in training a flusher retriever. Now I want to train a setter, so now I have to go completely in a different direction, to something that’s out of my comfort zone, and learn that, but I welcome learning new things, and trying new things, but before I make that commitment you best believe I’m going to be reading about every book that I can, you know?
Durrell Smith: Yeah, for sure. Training a Lab, and a pointing, you are talking about east and west.
Kali Parmley: Yes, it’s two different things, but I think that experience is something that I want to learn. I need to have the knowledge of, and so I’ve hunted over plenty of pointing breeds, and so I’ve seen them work in the field. I’m like yeah, I want to do that.
Durrell Smith: Yeah, and in one of your stories, I don’t want to spoil it too much, before we get there, but you do have a setter that you talk about in those stories, too.
Kali Parmley: I do. I have my friend Brian. He owns a little Setter, and then my friend, Steve, has two GSPs, and I’ve hunted over them plenty of times. I’ve hunted over a Griffon. I’ve hunted over plenty of GSPs. Everyone seems to learn towards the GSPs. I was wavering between did I want an English Setter, or did I want a Griffon? I think I’m going with the English Setter, because-
Durrell Smith: Go with the setter. Go setter.
Kali Parmley: Yeah, I know. It’s just such a classic bird dog. My grandma raised them, so it’s something for him a little bit.
Durrell Smith: Well, look, as you know, I’m breed biased.
Kali Parmley: Yes. You’re one of those English Pointer guys.
Durrell Smith: I am, right, and-
Kali Parmley: They are their own right there.
Durrell Smith: I gladly accept it, okay?
Kali Parmley: Yeah, so I remember my grandpa had an English Pointer named Bud, and he was just the nicest dog. Champion bloodline dog, and so I’m with you on that there, but I think I want a setter.
Durrell Smith: Hey, look, I will say, now, I give short hairs a hard time on this podcast, only because for a quick second, everybody knows this, I thought about getting one. Glad I never did, just because … No, and no shade on the breed, but I am, like I said, a history buff, and, much like you, you are giving your grandpa the tribute to the setters. Well, for me, especially black folks down here in the South, and just your traditional Southern bird hunter, the guys that I’m learning from in person, they’re running, they are … The African American plantation field trials, they’re running pointers and setters.
Kali Parmley: Yeah, that’s huge down there, and Cockers too.
Durrell Smith: Yes, and Cockers. Yes, and I would probably have a Cocker in my arsenal, if I didn’t have a Lab.
Kali Parmley: Sure. You can always have three dogs. You can never have too many, I would like to say.
Durrell Smith: Well, hey, guess what? You can tell that to my wife, so we’ve got a baby coming on the way. Just I’m going to hold you to that. We can always have three dogs.
Durrell Smith: I am humorously breed biased. I give people a hard time, if you don’t have a setter or a pointer, but I honestly love all breeds. I do, and I like to learn about why the breeds are here. What, how various cultures developed those breeds, and what they were bred for. German dogs, as much crap as I’ll give them, the Germans did a phenomenal job at breeding that dog.
Kali Parmley: I did look at I forgot about that.
Durrell Smith: You’re talking about a machine.
Kali Parmley: Yeah, they really are. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with those breeds. They are hard charging bird dogs, and I just, really, think the setter thing comes back just to my family history. That’s all.
Durrell Smith: Yeah. Well, look, I can appreciate. I’m rooting for team setter over here, so, all right. Let’s talk about, and I’d like to get into your articles, and then I want to swing it back into what we should expect from Gun Dog Magazine coming up, but I really want to touch on your articles that you sent me, because I dove right in when I was reading them. I did.
Kali Parmley: Thanks. That’s what I like to hear.
Durrell Smith: Your first article, I think it makes sense to start with this one. The Novice, the Pup, and the Badlands. Now, you seem to have some light bulb moments in that article. Talk about that a bit.
Kali Parmley: Well, I did, so that was an article that I wrote probably three or four years ago, about my first wild bird hunt, and that was soon after Lincoln had his first day of field. I spent the summer training him, and then that fall we went on our first wild bird hunt. We went to North Dakota, and we were hunting, the Badlands, which a lot of people forget that the Badlands spread into North Dakota, but we were hunting outside of Medora, which is where Teddy Roosevelt set up his first ranch, and that’s where he came to love big game hunting, and things of that sort.
Kali Parmley: It was really neat to hunt that land, where had once lived, and really found the true love, hunting sport, but the thing about hunting there is we were hunting sharpies, and as many of you bird hunters know, sharpies are a tough game species to hunt. It was definitely cutting my teeth on a very hard species, on my first wild bird hunt, and so we just hiked for miles, and miles, and miles. Lincoln was, I think a year and a half old by then, and so he was still young he could just go and go. I remember, I think we ended up covering 40 miles in three days, and that’s welcome to wild bird hunting
Durrell Smith: Yeah, wow!
Kali Parmley: Then we camped, and then we were doing all public land stuff, we were camping, and so you come home, and you’re sleeping on the hard ground, but that’s the way I prefer to hunt, and that’s how I continue to do it, and that hunt was memorable enough, that four years later I’m still doing it.
Durrell Smith: Now, I’m totally here for the camping out. My first wild bird hunt out in Kansas, it was at the highest 30 degrees, which, folks here in Georgia, that’s cold.
Kali Parmley: Yeah, that’s cold for anybody.
Durrell Smith: Yeah, it’s cold for anybody, and it dropped. Now, that was the highest it ever got. It dropped significantly throughout the day, and throughout the night, on top of the wind, but if you’re going to go wild bird hunting, go ahead and pitch a tent. I’m here for it.
Kali Parmley: Yeah.
Durrell Smith: If you’re going to do it, wake up with the sun, but, first of all, you talk about putting in miles, right?
Kali Parmley: Yeah.
Durrell Smith: I think it should be known that if you’re going to do that, and it may be due to population numbers, it may be due to the availability of the land that you hunt, but whatever it is. I don’t want anybody that’s new, especially the folks coming new into it, whatever bird you hunt wild, you need to expect to put in miles, and I’m so glad that you said that.
Kali Parmley: That’s the thing about wild birds, is you have to come to an appreciation that wild birds are wild, and so they’re genuinely smarter than you, normally, and so wild bird hunting is a lot of miles trekked behind your bird dog, a lot of miles where you don’t see any coveys, a lot of miles where you see birds flushing wild in front of you, but the love of the hunt is what keeps you going, and that one bird that you’re able to bring down is what keeps you coming back for more, you know?
Durrell Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I agree.
Kali Parmley: That’s just how it is, and really, to me, it’s about the experience. It’s about being out there with your dog, and with your friends, and camping, and laughing at night about the stupid things you did, or when you fell down here, or things of that sort. I’ve truly had some of the best moments of my life hunting with my bird hunting buddies, and doing what we call bird camp every year, and so I do encourage everyone to try it.
Kali Parmley: What I will say is if you’re taking a first time bird hunter, wild bird hunter, I do encourage you to try to take them to a spot where they are going to see … I say that for any big game hunting, everything. If you really want to get somebody hooked, you really need to take them to a spot where they’re actually going to see things, because then they’ll want to come back for more.
Durrell Smith: Right. You’ve got to sell it a little bit. You’ve got to give them the bird drug, like you do, but I think what’s so captivating about that is the dog work. Now, on your first bird hunt, your dog is a novice, you’re a novice. At what point, in between all of those 40 miles, do you start to say am I doing something wrong? Is the dog doing something wrong? What clues did you pick up? You’re still, for the most part, by yourself. To a degree. What-
Kali Parmley: We tend to spread out when we’re hunting. What’s funny about that is we’ve gotten to plenty of birds in North Dakota. That was sharpies, I shot my first hun in North Dakota, I shot my first wild pheasant in North Dakota. We’ve gotten to birds, but I remember thinking on the last day, it was the last day, and it was we had been hunting three or four days. I was tired. In the last field, or making the last trek, and Lincoln’s just …
Kali Parmley: He’s not too far in front of me, but he’s got his nose hard to the ground, and almost making a beeline straight for, and I remember thinking what are you doing that for? No way is he on a bird, and my buddy yelled to me, he said, “If he’s running like that, he’s chasing a running rooster right now,” and I remember thinking no, and I chased him, but I was like all right, and I chased him for at least 70 yards.
Kali Parmley: Finally, when I’m tired, you’ve literally been jogging, because he’s got his nose hard to the ground, he turned, and he looked at me. Lincoln turned, and he looked at me from about 40 yards away, and I directed him over. I said, “Lincoln, over,” and I did the over command. “You’re not on anything. Come on, we’re walking this way,” and he looked at me. He tilted his head, and I said it again, and he lifted up on his paws, and he jumped, and a bird flushed from underneath him.
Kali Parmley: I remember thinking always trust your bird dog, because he had been on that rooster. He was looking at me, going why is she telling me to go over, when I’ve got a bird right here pinned down for her? That was the moment that I realized always trust your bird dog, and, believe me, there have been moments since then that I’ve also been like no. Lincoln, come on, let’s go this way, and same thing, bird flushes. Always trust your bird dog.
Durrell Smith: I can agree with that. For some odd reason, every Lab person that I talk to, myself included, we all have those moments with Labs, and they just look at you, and they’re like okay stupid.
Kali Parmley: Okay. I’ll never forget, I’ve got it engraved in my head, that look he gave me. He tilted his head, like why is she telling me to go over there? There’s a bird right here, and he jumped up on his paws, like he was flushing. He jumped up, and sat, and pushing down, and a bird flew up right in front of him.
Durrell Smith: Yeah, and that’ll do it. Now, and so, at that point, for the rest of the hunt you start to feel bad.
Kali Parmley: Yeah, that was my aha moment for North Dakota. My first wild bird hunt, that’s what I took away from that, so always trust your bird dog.
Durrell Smith: Now, all right, so we’re hunting sharptails, and stuff like that. Now, I’ve never seen a sharp-tailed grouse to save my life. I live nowhere near there. What did you learn about the habitat, and the ways in which your dog hunts those birds? Every dog has its own unique quirks, I do believe that.
Kali Parmley: Sure. They’re in the same habitat as any other upland bird, but the thing about sharpies is they’re fast, and so I really like hunting them. I haven’t hunted them in a while though, now I think about it, but same habitat, and what’s funny about sharpies is they cackle at you as they flush, almost as if to say ha-ha, I’m too fast for you, and same thing. They’re going to be in the tall grass, they’re going to run out in front of you a little bit, and one thing that I have learned from my buddy is that there’s always one bird that thinks they’re smarter than you. I tell people this now when I’m taking them out.
Kali Parmley: I’m like you see that covey that just flushed, or covey, or couple of roosters just flushed? There’s one bird still sitting there somewhere near. He thinks he’s smarter than you, so go walk over there. That’s one thing I say about sharpies, or, really, any birds. There’s going to be a bird there, and you should definitely go and check it, because he’s sitting in that grass, thinking he’s hiding from you right now.
Durrell Smith: Right. I had that same experience in Kansas. I took my first wild bobwhite in Kansas. It wasn’t here, in Georgia, and when I tell you it was the most textbook flush, so we’d gone, and I wasn’t expecting it. My dog, , busted a covey of bobs, and I was like man! I left it. Okay, I missed it. Missed the opportunity. Well, he kept sitting. He kept searching. I was like what are you doing man? The covey is gone. That one last bird sat in there, and he popped up, and went around me. I knocked him down, and when I tell you that textbook flush and retrieve was … I will never forget that moment.
Kali Parmley: You know.
Durrell Smith: Yeah, and birds are funny. You always have, I guess that recall bird, that either thinks he’s too smart, or when you leave they’ll all come back. I almost wonder, if I flush a bird, and then just walk off, to a degree, walk off far enough, and wait for an hour. See if they would even-
Kali Parmley: That’s definitely how quail hunting is, for sure. They’re going to come back together. Now, other birds, you can generally … Roosters, I’ve seen them. I’ve seen them where you flush them, and you’re never going to get back on them, and then I’ve seen them where watch where they land, and you can walk over, and possibly re-flush them again, so just depends on where you’re at, honestly, whether it’s private, or public land, whether they’re educated birds, whether it’s early season, late season. It’s not just by trial and error, it’s hunting. That’s the only way I can explain it. I’m a big game hunter, I’m a bird hunter. It’s hunting. These animals, they are bred to be smarter than you. They’re bred to survive, and that’s what they’re going to do.
Durrell Smith: Now, humor me for a quick second, on a random short note. I’ve never big game hunted. When I got into bird hunting I quit everything else, but with big game hunting and bird hunting, are there starkly different, or are there any lessons that are similar in that?
Kali Parmley: Well, you know what’s funny to me? Is that a lot of times big game hunters will turn their nose up at bird hunting, because they’re like that’s nothing, compared to what I do, and I laugh, because I’m like did you hike 40 miles in three days? I am a spot-and-stalk big game hunter. I’m a backpacker nerd, and I think a lot of times people forget that these upland birds are wild, just as wild as any other animal, and it takes a lot to get to them. It takes a lot of hiking, it takes a lot of endurance. I killed a ptarmigan at 12,000 feet. Do you think that was something easy to do? Guys are out there hunting Himalayan Snowcocks. That is badass to a T.
Durrell Smith: Yeah, it really is.
Kali Parmley: It’s just funny. I think there’s definitely a different, there’s just something about hunting behind a dog. It really is, and it really draws people in, and I’ll take any big game hunter bird hunting, and I think they’ll fall in love with it, so-
Durrell Smith: Right. Now, on the subject of hunting at 12,000 feet, okay?
Kali Parmley: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Durrell Smith: You sent me that article too, the Ptarmigan Summit. Now, you weren’t worried about your dog running over a cliff edge, or anything, at 12,000-
Kali Parmley: Absolutely! When we got up there, it was me and my buddies, and we looked at that cliff, and I remember thinking I don’t think we should go out there, and I remember I FaceTime my mom from up there, and I said, “You’re not going to be happy about where I’m about to hike right now,” and, long story short, you had to be very cautious. It was very slow, it was very methodical, watching your every step. That is where training really comes in, and make sure that you have the dog that absolutely obeys every command that you give him or her, because you’re going in places that are seriously dangerous.
Kali Parmley: We were at 12,000 feet. Ptarmigan like that rocky, treacherous stuff, and so it was more there weren’t really any cliff faces that they could go off of, but it was steep mountainside, and when we got up there I was, Lincoln, he stayed within 10 yards out in front of me, and the other GSPs were hunting behind me, because my buddy was a little ways behind me, but it was definitely when those birds flushed. We made sure before we went out there, it was like if these birds flush where are they going to go? Is it safe to take the dogs out there? We didn’t want … Again, when those birds flush, what are the dogs going to do? They’re going to-
Durrell Smith: They’re going to chase.
Kali Parmley: They’re going to do what we have trained them to do, so we made, definitely, before we got up there, we were checking out the terrain. Okay, what’s the consequences here? Blah-blah, so it was cold, and it was windy, and it was rocky, and so it was definitely a watch your every step type move, but the dogs were fine. We had been hunting for two days prior to that, so all their paws were pretty roughed up, because that’s a pretty tough terrain on the paws. The next day though, Lincoln was pretty spent. He had to sit out. I was pretty spent the next day. I had to sit out.
Durrell Smith: Right. Now, what does the preparation for that look like? I’m really interested in, the next few stories, I just want to go through the whole point A to finish thing, because you started, for the ptarmigan hunt, you started at 10,000 feet. You worked your way up, so what’s that whole situation looking like?
Kali Parmley: Well, so I get a lot of backpack hunting, and Lincoln does it with me, to get to terrain that we don’t think that other people have covered, to get the birds that haven’t been touched yet, and so I’ve done backpacking. I started out just backpacking. Just camping, backpacking, and then I moved out to the hunting world, so I have a general knowledge of how to pack my pack, how to keep things light, what gear I need, what gear I don’t. Then for Lincoln, a dog can carry about 25% of their weight, and my dog is 100 pound Lab, and so thank goodness he can carry that, because I can’t carry all the food, and stuff that he requires, and so he has his own pack.
Kali Parmley: In the weeks leading up to that, I generally try to plan out my hunt schedule pretty far into the summer, spring, so I know what’s coming up, and so we will train all summer for that, and that I generally do the gym in the morning, and then in the evening I load up a pack with weight. Generally, 25 pounds to 30 pounds, and then I put a pack on Lincoln. I try to put some weight in there for him, and we hit the trail every night, and try to do one or two miles every night, of just weight training, and we do that all summer long, and then, by the time fall come, we’re, I don’t want to say …
Kali Parmley: Nothing can ever prepare you to climb steep mountains to 12,000 feet, without you just doing it every day, but we are definitely more prepared for it, if that makes sense.
Durrell Smith: Right. You’re not going to train, ‘dog train’ all season, all summer, without doing any kind of personal work, and then just get … No, you’re not going to do that.
Kali Parmley: I would never encourage anyone to just one day say I’m going to go backpack hunting, and do five mile, or 10 miles in a day. It’s a lot tougher than people think, and just for general safety reasons. You need to train for that, you need to prepare yourself, even if it’s a month before you’re going on your hunt. Start hiking every day. Hike two miles. Put a little bit of weight in your bird vest, and hike two miles every night. Take the dog on a walk.
Kali Parmley: It’s especially important for your dog. Over the summertime it gets super hot, and you may not be able to train them as long, or really get them into shape. Well, if you hit that mountain without, or even if you just hit the field without your dog having exercised at all, that’s a safety hazard to them. We could end up with some serious issues, and no one wants a trip to the vet.
Durrell Smith: Absolutely. Now, you’re also on cliff edges, and things like that too. Now, what about … Let’s talk about dog safety. How are you coping with that? There are no vets near you.
Kali Parmley: No, there aren’t, and you have to be very, very careful. We had an accident this fall. Actually, we were hunting Chukar out in Idaho, and my buddy’s dog, we reached the peak of the mountain, and over the other side was this very steep, grassy, there was nothing to cling on to. We happened to flush a bunch of Chukar right up there, and the dog was doing what she did, and she lost her footing, and rolled down the hill, and it was a very scary moment for all of us, because we’re, it took us …
Kali Parmley: We thought she had punctured a lung, but she ended up being fine, but it took us three hours to get down the mountain, so it’s just you have to be careful. You have to come prepared. You have to have a general first aid field knowledge, which, selfish plug here, that’s going in the August issue of Gun Dog Magazine. Check it out.
Durrell Smith: Go for it.
Kali Parmley: I carry a first aid kit on my bird vest. I have an understanding of what happens if I get a cut, if the dog gets a cut, or rips a paw, or rips a nail, gets punctured. Things of that sort. You just have to go in with the knowledge, it’s not wise to hit the field without a first aid kit. Before I go on any trip I research veterinarians in the vicinity, with their numbers, and address. I carry records of my dog’s health records, shot records, things of that sort, just like you would with your kid. Your dog is your child, essentially. It is a family member, so just the way you would go prepared for a trip with your child, is the same thing you should do for your dog.
Durrell Smith: Right. Now, I’m here for it. I really want to go chukar hunting, but there’s so much prep work, that I’ve always been like how am I going chukar hunting, when I’m from Georgia? There’s nothing about the terrain that’s even remotely similar, so I’ve always wondered how do you transition from that to out west?
Kali Parmley: Well, chukar country is straight, it’s steep, and rocky, and hilly, and, for someone like you, who lives in Georgia, what I would encourage you to do is to get on the elliptical and treadmill during the day, and do cardio work, and then get on the Stair Stepper. Try to carry a pack with some weight, because you’re going to have weight on your back. You’ve got your bird vest., start filling it with birds, with water, and then at night just put on a pack, and hike two or three miles with your dog. That’s the best thing you can do, and it’s better than nothing. Honestly.
Durrell Smith: Okay. I’m going to take that, and that’s probably another reason for my wife to bug me, get on an elliptical too. That’s her thing, so I guess we’ll be doing that again.
Kali Parmley: Yeah, for sure.
Durrell Smith: All right. We’ve got ptarmigan hunting, we’ve got hunting in the Badlands, and then, I’m probably going to say my personal favorite article that you wrote, was the Hell’s Canyon article. Hunting through Hell’s Canyon. Now, I don’t know … I know you, and one more person that have hunted through Hell’s Canyon, and the stories are just amazing. I feel like, for the name to be what it is, it’s almost like bird hunting Mecca. If you’re going to do it, you’ve got to go through Hell’s Canyon for the ultimate experience.
Kali Parmley: Well, what’s funny about that, what happened was I was hunting. I had my best friend, Natalie, with me, and she was hunting deer, and then I had my bird hunting buddies, and a new hunter. Well, she wasn’t hunting. She was just joining us for the hunt-
Durrell Smith: Which is still crazy to me, you brought somebody.
Kali Parmley: Yeah, she just wanted to come along for the adventure, and so I had a predicament, where I had to keep Natalie in her hunting unit, and then, also, have bird territory for us, Chukar territory, so what we were going to do, plan A was to drive up this mountain road, leave the cars, and backpack over this mountian to get into Hell’s, because that would keep Natalie in her unit, and that would keep us in bird country.
Kali Parmley: Well, you can plan something. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work. I spent months looking at maps, and here’s water. The thing about backpacking is you have to know where your water source is, you have to know is it even feasible? Sometimes you can’t climb a mountain, so-
Durrell Smith: Well, and then, in that article, you mentioned the terrain completely changed.
Kali Parmley: It did, so, again, I looked at the map. I said I know this trail will take us here, and it’ll take us up over here. We can camp next to this lake, and there’s supposed to be a stream running here, so we get up there, and we start to drive the mountain road that I first mentioned, because we were going to get to a certain height, and then backpack from there. We hit that mountain road, and they’d just had snow, and the road was icy, and I start driving it, and my car starts heading towards the edge of the mountain, slipping, so there goes that idea.
Kali Parmley: Reverse the car, which almost got stuck there too, on top of the mountain … No. We’re abandoning that plan. We’re going to plan B. I know that this trail, that we’re trying to just get higher up on, starts at the bottom. We can hike up from there, blah-blah-blah, so Natalie is like, “I’m just going to start hunting.” We leave her. She’s got all her backpacking gear, and me, Brian, and Kim go back down the mountain in the cars. We ditch the cars, pack up our gear, and we start hitting this trail.
Kali Parmley: Well, for about the first, I’d say 100 yards, the trail was there. Then the trail disappeared, because what the map didn’t tell me was that there was a bunch of deadfall. That they had a fire, and there was deadfall all over the trail. The trail was no longer recognizable. The stream that was supposed to be running next to the trail had looked like it’d been dried up for 10 plus years. There was no water there, so we’re trying to hike over deadfall, and I don’t know if you’ve ever seen deadfall, but when you’ve got giant trees laying crisscross on top of each other, and you’re trying to climb over them/get your dog, who has his pack, and you’ve got a giant pack, it just doesn’t work.
Durrell Smith: The worst that we had was Hurricane Michael down in South Georgia. Now, that flipped over quite a few trees, but I don’t think it was still anything remotely like what you’re talking about.
Kali Parmley: Correct, so I only had a walkie-talkie. I couldn’t get her on the walkie-talkie, because we’re too far down in this valley. When I finally get to the top of the ridge I was able to get her. Turns out, she’s like, “There’s really not enough water up here,” because we were running out of water, because the stream that I had counted on was not working, and I’m like, “Natalie, we’ll never make it to you by nightfall, unless we go back down and walk the road up, is essentially what … “
Kali Parmley: When I say road, if you’ve ever seen road, they’re questionable, so she’s like do you know what? There’s not enough water up here, because it was all frozen up there, because it’s higher elevation. It was around 6,000, 7,000 feet, so she’s like, “There’s not enough water up here for the dogs. There’s enough water for me, but not enough for you guys,” so we had to go to plan C, and so I said okay. Well, we’re not going to Hell’s then. We’re going over to the Salmon River, which runs very near Hell’s and the Snake. It’s all in Riggins, and so we ended up hunting over on the Salmon River, which same terrain as Hell’s Canyon.
Kali Parmley: It’s just not the iconic Hell’s Canyon, and so that’s the perfect example there, of plan A didn’t work, plan B didn’t work. Had to go to plan C. Just had to roll with the punches, and go with it, because put yourself in a dangerous situation, where if you have no water, and you’ve got to think about your dogs, you have to think about you, and your survival, and things of that sort, but we ended up having a great time. Went over to the Salmon, got into a bunch of birds.
Durrell Smith: Nice. Now, shooting at Chukar, okay? Again, something I’ve never done. What is that like? Are they as quick as sharptails, or what you got going on there?
Kali Parmley: Well, out of my past two trips, Chukar, imagine climbing a mountain, and having one knee against the ground, while you’re trying to lift yourself up, trying to climb a rock, and then a Chukar flushes, so you’re trying to swing your gun in a very strange downward angle, while also trying not to roll down the mountain. Imagine that, and that’s what it’s like hunting Chukar.
Durrell Smith: Okay. All right. Well-
Kali Parmley: They’re in very steep terrain. They like rocky terrain. They like higher elevations. I still have not mastered Chukar hunting, and so I think I’m going out there again this year, and, hopefully, the third time is a charm.
Durrell Smith: Okay, so, now, all right, and you’re bold, because, again, I think the narrative of Chukar hunting is that you hate it after the first go, so, clearly, you haven’t found a reason to hate it yet. What would you do different this go, round, as you’ve done previously?
Kali Parmley: Honestly, part of Chukar hunting is the experience of climbing way up there, and just being in that terrain. You get up there, and you see this breathtaking view of just where you are, what you’ve done, and that is really the soul of Chukar hunting, but what I would do differently is I’m going to find the steepest, nastiest terrain, and that’s where they’re going to be, and if they’re not there, then they are coming down to water too. Just like you are, they’re going to come down to water, and so my second plan is to hunt, rather than vertically straight up, I’m going to hunt horizontal later in the evening, and hope that I catch them coming up from the water, or coming down to the water.
Durrell Smith: Gotcha. Now, you are also, we’re talking about the setters, GSPs, the Lab. You’re hunting a lot of dogs together. What’s the strategy? Are y’all just splitting up, and so the dogs never have to interact, or are you letting pointing dogs point, letting retrievers … What’s the strategy?
Kali Parmley: Well, honestly, our dogs know each other very well, and we do a little bit of both. We do I’ll see you later in the day, and we head out on our own, and then we also do, if we’re hunting more prairie stuff, hunt the pointers with the flushers, but we generally are all hunters, so it’s like I’m going this way, you go that way, you go that way, but I have hunted, I was hunting in Iowa this year with my buddy Mike, and his Griffon, and Lincoln, and they hunted well together.
Kali Parmley: Gypsy, the Griffon, went on point, and Lincoln hadn’t found any birds yet. I direct him over there for Mike. Lincoln, get in there and flush. Lincoln, there’s bird over here. Get in there, get in there, and I’ve had no problems with that. I hunted with a GSP, another GSP this year, and he’d go on point, and I’d direct Lincoln. Hey, get over here and flush this bird, and from hunting Lincoln has figured out when another dog is on point, and he knows what that means, when he’s not trying to find his own birds, and I’d get his attention, and say, “Hey, get over here.”
Kali Parmley: He understands what that means, but some people do different things, but I have never had problems with a flusher and a pointer hunting together, which is why I’m like I really want a setter, so Lincoln and them can make a dynamic duo together.
Durrell Smith: I have that same experience. My buddy, Shane, I hunt with him down at South Georgia, and we actually … Matter of fact, some of the photos I want to send you, we hunted his GSP with my Lab. I didn’t have my pointer at the time, and it took about 30 minutes for … No, I’m sorry. It took about an hour for my dog to figure out when he heard Shane’s GSP’s beeper collar go off, that the dog was up on, and so he would start to go in. Now, a couple, we had maybe or something. Maybe a false point, or two, and it still worked out, but it’s like the light bulb for those two dogs clicked, and, again, like you said, they know each other very well.
Kali Parmley: The figure it out. It’s very strange how they figure it out, and I’m always amazed by it, but they figure it out.
Durrell Smith: Right. Now, I’m nervous about hunting my pointer with my Lab. I think it might be a couple years, before I do it though. I think so.
Kali Parmley: I agree with you. I’m nervous about it too, because, on one hand, you’ve got your Lab, who already hunts. He’s thinking, “This is just a regular hunt for me, and I’m going to go hard charging, trying to find you a bird,” and then you bring this whole other dynamic into it, and he’s like, “Why am I having to wait? Why am I … ” I imagine, in my head, that this is what it’s going to be like for me, Lincoln’s going to be like, “Why do I have to slow down?” I’m thinking along the same lines as you, is that I might have to hunt them separately, one field hunt Lincoln, one field hunt the setter, and then slowly bring them together.
Durrell Smith: Right. Exactly, and I just don’t want to create a tense situation of competition, because you catch yourself two dogs that live together. They play, and do all of this together, but there are no birds involved, and you put birds in a situation. Now you’ve got yourself a dogfight, and I don’t want to do that, so I think it’s going to take some time, and Ruger, he’s my first dog. I’ve had a lot of really good experiences with him, and around that third or fourth season dogs pretty much start to figure it out. They’re like, “All right. I’ve got my groove. I’m doing my thing.” I don’t want to take that away from my Lab. I don’t.
Kali Parmley: I’m with you on that one, for sure.
Durrell Smith: Look, you have to tread lightly with these guys. You really do, and then the training that goes into it, and then once you get that setter, you’re probably not going … If you’re anything like me, you’re probably not going to want to interrupt that setter’s job. I don’t think … I would be hard pressed to say I’m actually going to kill any birds over my pointer this year. If I can get him pointing wild birds, I’m going to just take my blank gun, and pop it, do you see what I’m saying? Still maintain that training aspect of it.
Kali Parmley: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.
Durrell Smith: I don’t think I’m going to kill no birds over him, and if I do it’ll be next spring, because I hope that by next spring I can put him maybe in or something.
Kali Parmley: Right. I don’t think you should rush the process at all.
Durrell Smith: Uh-uh (negative). Pointers is slow. Now, Labs I will say once you get the casting, once you get the steadiness aspect of it, you’re pretty much ready to rock and roll.
Kali Parmley: Yeah, I agree with you. I definitely watch your posts
Durrell Smith: Well, look, all I’m saying, I’m trying to figure it out. I really am. I appreciate you watching the posts.
Kali Parmley: Yeah, for sure.
Durrell Smith: I’m trying to figure it out, and he seems to do well, but that’s where you have natural ability coming in, and that’s where the dogs driving, if you do the introductions. I think I did well with one of the guys Bud Moore, everybody knows I love him to death. He talks about a window of opportunity that you have with pups, and I think I was hellbent on getting that window of opportunity, and getting him trained within that space, so now I have this opportunity, where my dog is, for four months old, surprisingly very steady.
Durrell Smith: The last thing that I actually really worry about is his tail pointing, because on birds, when he’s actually going, going, going, the tail is 12 o’clock, but he knows that we’re out training, and so there’s a difference in his mentality, but he’s always amped up to get on top of that barrel, and now, matter of fact, today, we started to transition off the barrel onto the ground, and take those same things that we learned on that barrel, and say all right. I need you to do the same thing, just on the ground, and so it’s … I always tell people it’s like fine tuning a Porsche, or something. You’ve got these little bitty quirks, and you don’t move near as fast as you do with a Lab. I moved 100 miles an hour with my Lab, and-
Kali Parmley: It’s just a different training. Whole different training segments, whole different breed, whole different style. It takes time.
Durrell Smith: It takes a whole lot of time, but this ain’t about me. This is about you. Now, all right. Do you plan on hunting Hell’s Canyon again, and if so, what do you think, could you see the light bulb click for him in that setting? That’s a challenging scenario.
Kali Parmley: Yeah, I do. I think I’m going to go out there again this fall, because I’m actually going to be doing DIY elk out there first, so I’m going to take Lincoln with me, drop him off at a friends, hunt elk, and then pick up Lincoln, go meet another friend, to go bird hunting, and so he recognized, it’s so funny. Just even this year, driving in, he recognizes it. I think dogs recognize where they’ve been, and you can tell he knows when he’s in bird country.
Kali Parmley: He knows what we’re about to do, and so I’m going to do it again, and the thing about Lincoln, and this is probably the reason why I want another dog, is Lincoln, that terrain is serious terrain. Especially for a big Lab, and so he can hunt one day, and then he normally has to rest the next day, and so this is the other reason why it’d be good for me to have another dog, is because let Lincoln rest, and get the other bird dog out, you know?
Durrell Smith: Yeah.
Kali Parmley: I do plan on hunting out there again. Hope to meet up with some other trucker hunters, and maybe they can teach me thing, or two.
Durrell Smith: Well, you have, this is another podcast, the Upchukar Podcast. You have Travis Warren, very good guy. If you-
Kali Parmley: Yeah, I’ve talked to Travis, and, hopefully, he’s going to write for us here soon.
Durrell Smith: Really?
Kali Parmley: Yeah, and I’ve got him onboard with us, and I want him to tell the tale of how to be a Chukar hunter, and he’s going to do that for us.
Durrell Smith: Okay.
Kali Parmley: That goes into the new wave of Gun Dog Magazine, and the direction we’re going to be going.
Durrell Smith: Nice. Okay, so now I’m excited. Travis is a really good dude, so let’s talk about the new wave of Gun Dog Magazine. What are we looking for? For new folks, for folks like myself, that have been reading since we started. You’ve got Travis Warren coming up, you’ve got Jerry Imprevento coming up. He’s been there, but it’s a whole new body of Gun Dog Magazine. What are we to look for?
Kali Parmley: The thing about Gun Dog Magazine is, like I said before, it has always been the premier sporting dog publication, and it will forever remain that, but with everything else times are changing, and we need to keep up with the new demographic, and, with that, we need to appeal to the younger generation of bird dog hunters. I think upland hunting is very iconic, and it’s a lifestyle, and so Gun Dog will never, ever go away from the training aspect, and how to train your dog.
Kali Parmley: We will forever be that brand, that will tell you how to do that, but what we’re also going to add in there is the lifestyle aspect of upland hunting, and that is the DIY public land hunter, where to go, when to go, how to go, where to do it at, and also, different columns on here’s how to cook up what you just shot, you know?
Durrell Smith: Right.
Kali Parmley: I know I find myself all the time looking for new pheasant recipes, sharpie recipes, things of that sort. Did you realize that sharptail are red meat, and if you ever cook them they taste like a rock? A lot of people don’t know that, and so here’s a whole column on how to cook up your game. Also, just general columns on how-to. Here’s how to be a DIY hunter, and then, also, things, just awesome hunt stories. Badass hunt stories, with people telling us what they’ve done, where they’ve gone, and that can give you an idea of what you want to do, and things to add to your bucket list.
Kali Parmley: I know just from reading some stuff in Gun Dog, and other magazines, I’m like wow! I want to do that. That’s what I want to do, and those stories are going to tell you how to do it, and they’re going to tell you the best advice, and give you good ideas on the gear that you need. We’re going to do a lot more extensive gear testing, shotgun testing. I always get people asking me, “What bird pants do you have on?”
Kali Parmley: We’re going to find the stuff that you need, and we’re going to make sure that we review it well, and make sure that it works, and we’re going to tell you about it, and then we’re just going to do general awesome dog stories. Upland hunting, more power to those people who hunt without dogs, and I think that’s great, but we also know how much we all love dogs, and we all have stories, tearjerker stories, and just happy dog moments, and I want people to pick up Gun Dog, and just have those stories to read about, and be like did you read that awesome story about that pointer the other day, in Gun Dog?
Kali Parmley: That’s what I want. That’s what I want people to do, and that’s what Gun Dog is going to do, and so starting the fall, the December-January issue of Gun Dog, we’re going to give it a new look. It’s time. It’s a little bit outdated, and so we’re working all summer to design it with new, updated looks, new fonts, new design, new photography. Just make it more appealing, to pick up off the newsstand, make it a little bit easier to read, and then we’re going to add in these new columns.
Kali Parmley: It’s going to be something that, it’s going to be a magazine that you’re going to want. Younger generation is going to want to subscribe to, they’re going to want to tell their friends about, and they’re going to want to pick up off the newsstand, and we’re going to do a big push on social media. Also giving people information on there, and it’s nothing different. It will forever be the premier sporting dog publication, but it’s going to get new, updated columns, and features, and people are going to want to read about them.
Durrell Smith: Awesome! I’m excited. Lord, I can sit here, hold your time up, but I ain’t going to hold too much more of your time, so I want to encourage any and everybody, all of my listeners, to go and subscribe to Gun Dog Magazine. Now, my last, last, last two questions I’ve got for you. Are there any writers, past or present, that stand out to you, and have you noticed any kind of a change in the literary interests of subscribers or listeners? What are folks looking for nowadays? You’ve always been into dog training, but have you noticed any kind of change?
Kali Parmley: Well, honestly, with the whole wave, I’m seeing it on social media, I’m seeing it on the website. People are looking for this how-to. They’re looking for knowledge, they’re looking for a bunch of how-to. How to be a DIY hunter, and so that’s what we’re trying to push towards, but we’re also not going to eliminate, or alienate everybody else. That’s not what everyone wants, and so the best advice I’ve ever …
Kali Parmley: I’ve worked in the magazine industry for five years now, and the best advice I’ve ever been given is give your readers what they want. Don’t give them what you like, give them what they like, and so I encourage everyone to send me an email. What do you want to see in this magazine? What are you passionate about? What do you want to read about in Gun Dog Magazine? You can email us at email@example.com, and tell us what you want to see.
Kali Parmley: What I’m seeing is that where to hunt, when to hunt, and how to hunt, and so with the new wave of public lands, and there are millions of acres of public land that are open to hunting, and that’s what people want to know, how to hunt, and want to know how to chase birds on, and so that’s what we’re going to give them.
Durrell Smith: Excellent! Well, you’ve just definitely blown my mind with this whole new change, and this new wave of Gun Dog Magazine, so I will be the first to say I’ll be looking for this fall.
Kali Parmley: Honestly, Gun Dog is Gun Dog, and it will be forever dedicated to the sporting dog breed, and we will continue to push breeders, and where to get the best tactics for your dog, the best training for your dog, but we’re also going to push the lifestyle, and, all in all, Gun Dog is going to be your go-to source for how to be an upland and honestly. Here’s what type of dog you want, and here’s how to train them, and here’s where to hunt with them. That’s what it’s going to be, and it’s just going to continue grow, and getting bigger, and better.
Durrell Smith: Absolutely! Well, I don’t know if I’ve got anything left, crazy enough, you answered all of my questions within the context of what, everything that you were saying, so Kali, I can’t thank you enough, and I’m honored.
Kali Parmley: Really do, and tell everyone gundogmag.com is where they can subscribe, and seven issues a year of, that’s filled with excellent dog training tips, and-
Durrell Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative), but we want to find you too, now. Where can we find you?
Kali Parmley: Sure, so you can find me on Instagram, at @kaliparmley. That’s K-A-L-I P-A-R-M-L-E-Y, and I like to post my adventure stories, and my photos, and my dog, of course. I’m sure he takes up about 90% of that feed, so feel free to follow along.
Durrell Smith: Yeah. Well, if you see yourself, later on, you want to say anything else about Gun Dog Magazine, you know you have a platform with me. I’m just really excited about this new update, so guys, before I talk anymore, and I can talk dogs all day, guys, that is another episode of the Gun Dog Notebook Podcast. This is the amazing, can I call you amazing, Kali?
Kali Parmley: I guess.
Durrell Smith: This is the amazing Kali Parmley, of Gun Dog Magazine, the new editor-in-chief.
Durrell Smith is a 28 year old Georgia native, visual artist, wing shooter, and dog handler. While creating compelling ink and watercolor illustrations based on his field experiences and hunting dogs, he also runs a podcast called The Gun Dog Notebook, which can be found on iTunes and Soundcloud. Aside from hunting upland game and waterfowl, he participates in Hunt Tests with his Labrador Retriever. As a first generation hunter, Durrell seeks to learn and contribute to the community by connecting with visionaries and veterans within the bird dog community who are willing to share stories and knowledge about the various breeds, creating a bridge to welcome new and novice dog handlers to the gun dog community.