We began in 2002; our start with the Bourbonnais was a rocky one to say the least. But we stuck with it learned and grew.
2007 after the decision was made to breed KC (Elk Run Kandy Corn) and Bear (Elk Run Quiggly), I started corresponding with Michael Comte about an import. In March of 2008 Michael told me of a litter by Mr. Alexis Joly (breeder of Sherrif des Bois de la Mariniere “Shorty” at Elk Run). In 2 weeks I had a passport, flight and flew to Nantes to pick up Duff des Bois de la Mariniere “Jack”.
In 2008 we bred KC and Bear, the litter produced 8 pups 4 males 4 females. 3 of the females went to home to be evaluated for the future. Aspen Ridge Annette “Katie” went to Lonn Kuck at Elk Run Kennels, Abella went to our brother and sister in-law and we kept Abbey.
We also had a second litter with Bear, we bred him to Elk Run Lemhi Lilly (Medy des Plaines de la Forteer “Buzzy” x Savane du Pontelle de Maicou “Izzy”). This union produce another litter of 8; 5 males and 3 females. This litter was produce because “Izzy” could no longer produce pups and I felt that her pedigree should be saved. One female was placed in a home for evaluation Aspen Ridge Blossom.
2009 we acquired Emy du Paz de la Lauze from Mr. Franck Chenal and in 2010 Faye du Marais Becassier, was added to our family, from Mr. Brice Besineaud.
All 3 of our imports have proven to be excellent hunters, with a great desire and drive to find wild birds. They are biddable, eager to please, and are a pleasure to hunt behind. We are proud to have them as members of our family.
We have also helped 3 other family’s import puppies; Flynn de la Benigousse “Buddy” lives on Brays Island, NC; First de la Benigousse “Fritz” who lives in Star, Idaho they came from Mr. Jean-Paul Buot who is one of the top breeders in France with many field championships. Hiver de la Pierre d’Or “Evie” she lives in Davisburg, MI and was bred by Mr. Jean-Marc Baretta.
On a sad note, during this time period we lost a true Bourbonnais Supporter, Dan LaRose. Dan owned Shardann Kennels and was one of the first 3 kennels to breed Bourbonnais in this country, the others were Beth Cepil; Phantom Kennels and Lonn Kuck; Elk Run Kennels. Dan was living at a hunting resort out east and had a kennel of Bourbonnais, 2 of those dogs were imported from Brice. Through a chain of events and help from some wonderful people, all the dogs were place in new homes. I was able to find information and send pictures to Brice on his 2 dogs. It was through this sad event that my friendship with Brice developed. So in a way Dan continued his efforts to build the breed even after he left us.
In the beginning we were fortunate to find Lonn and since then we’ve developed wonderful friendships in France with Michael Comte who has helped us find litters produced by true hunters: Mr. Alexis Joly, Mr. Franck Chenal. Mr. Brice Besineaud, Mr. Jean-Paul Buot and Mr. Jean-Marc Baretta
As our friendships in France grew it became apparent the real passion between our program and our new friends would be the Becasse, European Woodcock & the American Woodcock.
As our conversations increased it brought about a change in our passion for the breed. Understanding the challenges in the development of a true passionate hunting line of Bourbonnais became clear, not only in the US but in France. To understand the difficulty they have in France you must understand:
1.) In France the Bourbonnais is still considered very rare.
2.) The opportunities to hunt in France are limited. With hunting on private land, and less demanding conditions then we have here.
These friendships, have taught us that this small group of hunters have a great deal of passion for these dogs, pride in their breeding programs, and the love for Becasse/Woodcock hunting. Any language barrier we have disappears when we are talking dogs or hunting. We are thousands of miles apart, but have a love and respect for these common interests.
It is not our intent simply to increase the numbers of Bourbonnais. Our intentions are too selectively, honestly breed litters only when our criteria are met.
We are not looking to change the Bourbonnais in any way or make it more like another breed. It is our opinion through careful breeding practices the Bourbonnais has the chance to stand on its own as a true, honest, passionate hunting breed.
This can only be accomplished through very high standards that follow an unbiased, selective program.
However, with a rare breed, and numbers so small, there may have to be certain compromises. But any compromise must be honestly evaluated and measured in an unbiased manor.