Rymansetters.com Michigan Get Together

Rymansetters.com Michigan Get Together

The setting was the Historic North Branch Outing Club on the banks of the North Branch of the AuSable River in Lovells, Michigan. What started out as a thought of getting together with some out of state breeders coming to Michigan this fall for a small meeting turned into an event that exceeded all expectations. The last weekend of October brought out over 40 breeders, owners, acquaintances and 37 Ryman type setters. The ages ran from in the 80’s for Hugh Macmaster, who I call the Dean of Michigan Setters, to puppies just 3 months old.


John Nagel, who works at the Lodge in the Fly Shop and is a setter owner recommended that the lodge would be an appropriate place to hold the Get Together. What a perfect setting! Woodrow was the perfect greeter.

The activities started Friday evening with a few early arrivals who checked in at the Lodge and met up to have Setter Talk time and the Fish Fry at the Riverside Tavern. The local area has numerous tracts of public land open to hunting and a few of the attendees hit the woods Saturday morning in pursuit of grouse and woodcock despite the rainy conditions. The rain subsided in the afternoon as other breeders and owners began to arrive at the Lodge. Proprietor, Judy Fuller, welcomed all the attendees and allowed the dogs to make themselves at home.


As people arrived with their special setters, the magic began to unfold. There were no strangers, only new acquaintances, both human and canine species. By the time late afternoon rolled in there were people from Kansas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and both peninsulas of Michigan. Rymansetters.com members in attendance included Lynn Dee Galey, Chuck Robinson, Maureen Van Norman, Paul Nensewitz and Mark Altemann.

The connections that were renewed and created by these related setters made for unending conversations. The dogs were the common bond that touched all the attendees of all ages.

These Setters with their historic Ryman backgrounds moved some of the owners to bring fitting pictures from years gone by including Ribbons won by George Ryman in the early 1900’s and a cup won by Sir Roger DeCoverly that belong to John Nagel. Maureen Van Norman also brought a collage picture showing the late Joan Mizer with setters owned by her parents and herself in years past. Joan lived in Baldwin, Michigan and was a great resource for breeders as she knew the breeders and setters around the country. She bred one of her dogs to Chance from George Bird Evans Old Hemlock kennel that resulted in her favorite, Incredible Luck. She also was on a first name basis with Warren Scheckels from Pinecoble Setters. Without the efforts of these forerunners breeding efforts, we would not have had the opportunity to have this memorable event or enjoy our Setters today.

After a full afternoon of interactions with breeders, owners and canine companions, Judy served an outstanding sit-down chicken dinner in the dining area to the satisfaction of everyone.

In conclusion, this was the first attempt to convene a group like this, the turnout and response was indicative of the passion and dedication that this group has for their Ryman type setters. Hopefully it has sparked new relationships and thoughts that will provide continued energy to keep these lines of hunters and companions going strong into the future.

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the weekend festivities and to those who forwarded their pictures that were used in this article.

Sorry, the all of the pictures didn’t copy over, I will try to post them sepa

Beautiful Litter Of Ryman Type Setter Pups

Round River Outlaw Cole & Round River Bold Gem have produced a very nice, litter of puppies whelped 9-17-18  5M & 5F

Cole  (OFA Good) is a great dog, who loves to hunt. He is rock solid on his points , and is a natural in the field like his father was.

Cole’s sire is Heartland Outlaw “Jesse”

Cole’s Dam is Setter Hills “Rayne”

Gemma (OFA Excellent) is still a work in progress. Gemma is learning how much fun it is to hunt the fields. She has a strong prey drive, and wants to learn, and please you.  Both Sire & Dam should finish out this year.

Gemma’s Sire is Setter Hills “Remington”

Gemma’s Dam is Stevens Round River Babe

For more info on our dogs or puppies, please feel free to contact us at RndRiverSetters@aol.com

Meet Breeder Member: Parker Hollow English Setters, Chuck Robinson

Interview September 21, 2018 with:

Chuck Robinson, Parker Hollow English Setters, NJ

Thank you Chuck for doing this interview.  Can you tell us a little about your occupation and interests/hobbies?

I am an IT solutions architect.  I work as a consultant where I design, implement and migrate complex corporate directory and email systems.  For my work I travel about 40% of the time, traveling nationwide to our customer’s locations. My interests and hobbies are my family and kids, their sports, camping and outdoors as well as riding ATVs and occasional skiing, snowmobiling and fresh water fishing.  Recently we acquired 25 acres on a small lake in upstate NY with grouse and woodcock covers nearby. We are in the preliminary stages of designing a small cabin and a large garage where we will initially spend weekends and vacations but at some point we will live there for about half the year.  The property will be the future home of Parker Hollow English Setters, we will be building with the dogs in mind, with yards and a training area and we look forward to being close to grouse covers.

How did you come to have Ryman’s and how long have you had them? 

I started hunting as a kid, getting my license at age 10.  I spent nearly every weekend at our camp along the Delaware River with my uncle, who introduced me to the outdoors. I was always out in the woods looking for small game during the fall and winter.  At that time NJ had a decent grouse population and we would stumble across grouse and they got into my blood at that early age. Later we moved to the Catskills in upstate NY and there were grouse all around the property.  I hunted without a dog but developed a passion for grouse. I didn’t hunt much after college, but shortly after Larissa and I were married we got our first dog, a Cocker Spaniel named Dryefus. I was just getting back into hunting and tried him on birds.  Although he was not from hunting lines he worked out well and a few buddies and I decided to take a trip to NH since the grouse numbers in NJ were dwindling. After about 10 yrs. of hunting, Dryefus became a very good flushing dog and I was spending at least a week every year in NH to hunt grouse and woodcock.  During this time I started hunting with friends who had pointing breeds and I decided that my next dog was going to be one of the pointing breeds. After being around quite a few dogs of various breeds, I knew that I did not want a larger, high strung dog, instead I wanted a calmer dog that would also be good in the house. While at a local outdoors show, I happened to come across a Ryman breeder and I was immediately drawn to the Ryman type of dog.  A few years later after Dryefus passed I got my first setter Addie, who is now 11 years old, from that same breeder.   

How many dogs do you own and what is your average number of litters a year?

I have 3 dogs. When Addie was 4 years old we acquired our Belle, another Ryman-Type setter.  I also have Jersey, a 2 yr old female from Belle’s first litter. I have bred one litter so far and hope to breed a litter every 2 -3 years until I retire when I hope to breed more often.  

If you were to write a mission statement for your breeding program, what would it include?

To produce healthy, well conformed dogs that point naturally.  Dogs that can handle wild birds, especially grouse and that will hunt all day at a good pace.  I also want dogs that have temperaments that are a pleasure to have around the home and are easy to train.  I typically am able to hunt only 10-15 days/year due to work and family obligations so I want a dog that can become proficient on wild birds with that limited bird exposure.  With respect to the Ryman community we hope to gain from other breeders as well as to contribute when possible.

Where do you hunt and what is your favorite bird species to hunt?

I hunt NJ, NY, NH and recently MI. I also hunt KS when at the Ryman Breeders Gathering.  My favorite species to hunt is grouse and woodcock.

Of the species you hunt, which one do you feel is the most valuable for evaluating your dogs’ abilities, and why? 

Grouse, because they are challenging and leave little room for dogs to make mistakes such as getting too close.  I believe that birds that run and stop, over and over, are the ultimate challenge for the dog and require a dog to move cautiously without getting too close while at the same time not losing the bird.  In my eyes, to watch a dog effectively work and eventually hold a running grouse is as good as it gets.

Do you keep a journal or log of your hunts?

At times but I am not consistent, I’m certainly not as much as I would like to be.  I admire people who consistently keep a journal and hope to one day be better at keeping a journal myself.

Tell us about your training philosophy and approach to dog work on birds when hunting

I recently wrote an article for the RymanSetters.com blog which gives some insight into my abilities, methods and philosophy.  Overall, I believe less training is more with these dogs. I am a relatively inexperienced trainer. I have limited time and I also have to travel to where I can train. Because of that I believe in just teaching basic field commands, both verbal and whistle.  I teach come and a turning signal with a whistle. I introduce a dog to the gun as well as a limited number of training birds, after that I like to just take the dog hunting. I typically don’t start my dogs too young, right around 8 months old, although recently due to an upcoming trip we started Jersey and her littermate Sampson (owned by my hunting buddy) at 4 months so they would be at the point where we could take them hunting at 5 months on the trip.  At 5 months they handled fairly well in Kansas on wild quail. I believe in shooting only birds that are properly pointed and that by doing so, the dogs will learn that they cannot bust birds if they want to be rewarded.

I expect a dog to have some points during their first season but allow them to make mistakes with little to no correction.  By the second season they should start getting more reliable and I should start seeing them figuring things out and producing nice points.  By the third season and beyond they should be proficient and continue learning to handle tricky birds. From a training perspective, after the second season I am just tweaking things, but for the most part I believe that experience will teach them what they need to know.  I have yet to train a dog to be steady to wing or shot however that is my next goal with Belle and Jersey is to teach them steady to wing. The reason I feel that it is becoming a necessity is that later in the yr if I hunt a preserve or with less experienced/beginning hunters I feel that it would be safer and provide more shooting opportunity if the dog stays where they are and doesn’t chase the bird when it flushes.  

Thank you to Chuck for taking the time to do this interview.  Happy Hunting!

Meet Breeder Member: Rum Creek Setters, Mark Altemann


Interview August 17, 2018 with:

Mark Altemann of Rum Creek Setters in Michigan

Thank you Mark for doing this interview.  Can you tell us a little about your occupation and any other hobbies or interests?

My first career was to work for GM as an industrial engineer in their manufacturing plants in Pontiac, Flint and Coopersville and later I served as an engineer manager.  One highlight of my career was that I was engineer on the Pontiac Fiero which was a revolutionary car and we had to gut the whole plant and do it from scratch.  It went gangbusters for about 5 yrs until the model ended.  The new technology and product made things very interesting for me.   I retired from GM and was then a sales rep for the local NAPA auto parts store for 16 yrs.  In Sept 2017 I retired from NAPA and said I’m going to take time to raise puppies.   I have 160 acres up north (MI) for hunting, mostly deer, but I am working on habitat for grouse and wc.  I spend a lot of time up there putting in food plots, cutting trees, etc.  I also golf in the summer and do a little fishing.  Now that the dogs are a bigger part of my life I belong to a couple of hunt clubs that give me opportunities to run the dogs and do some shooting.

How did you come to have rymans and how long have you had them?

I got my first setter 1988.  There was an article in the paper in the Outdoors column of the newspaper that talked about English Setters and what great bird dogs they were.  There was a kennel near me called Yeagerlust Setters so I contacted them and got my first setter there.  She had some OH bloodline in her and that was my first introduction to this type of dog.  She was fabulous, orange/whte, 50 lbs and was a great dog.  I was interested in breeding but she had some health issues so my vet recommended not doing so.  I didn’t know enough back then so it probably was a good thing.  I bought George Bird Evans books and learned more about the type of setter.  Then I was in the UP one year and met up with a guy who had two beautiful blue beltons from Pinecoble so when I was looking for another dog I ended up being connected with Keith Rich, Sundog Setters (now retired), who let me get the pick of the litter he had.  Her name was Aspen.  I had a litter with her and kept Autumn whom I still have.  My second litter with Aspen had only one puppy whom I sold to Dick Krackow who used him as a stud dog to establish Dick’s own line. Dick is now buying a tri male from my current litter.  The only way I had a succesful breeding program was through talking with (the late) Joan Mizer  who gave me advice on who to use for stud dogs.  I used Mike McDonalds “Reid” and then a Pinecoble dog who lived here in MI.  For my last litter I used a stud here in MI whose owner I met at a RGS event.

How many dogs do you own and what is your average number of litters a year?

I have two dogs now but in the past I have had 3 others. I have had 6 litters in the past 10 years and am now hoping to have a litter a year.

If you were to write a mission statement for your breeding program, what would it include?

When I look at my customers, what I ask them is “what do you want in a dog” and I hope that they are saying that a dog that is a good hunter, easily trained, good disposition, and a nice house dog.  The hips and health of the dog is primary to make sure I am producing quality dogs and not just popping them out there so that when they want another dog they will come back to me.  I’m not big on specific color combinations, I like to have a variety of colors in a litter.  I like to have good markings because people notice and like nice looking markings.

Where do you hunt and what is your favorite bird species to hunt?

I do a lot of my hunting in the western side of the LP because it is within driving range of my house and cabin.  In an hour to hour&half drive I can get into good covers for grouse and woodock.  I also go to the UP for a week each fall to the Crystal Falls area.  I also now go to Kansas each winter for the Ryman Breeders Gathering and hunt quail and pheasant.  I will sometimes go to a preserve for some training etc.  My favorite is primarily grouse and woodcock, there is not much for wild phez in MI.  I enjoy the quail and phez in KS.  I like a variety of species.

Of the species you hunt, which one do you feel is the valuable for evaluating your dogs abilities and why?

It’s nice to hunt  variety because depending on the dog’s experience and age, the different birds can be great for different reasons.  For a young dog a woodcock sitting tight is a good thing.  Pheasant teach them how to ground scent when they run.  My Aspen was excellent as a ground trailer.  Grouse and woodcock are my favorite for the dogs but I also like the others.

Do you keep a journal or log of your hunts?

Yes I do.  I have two –  3 ring binders of pages that go back to 1988 of trips to the UP and other hunts.  I will put in there the day, weather, people, dogs, points, contacts, kills, etc.  It is fun to look back and read, even if it was not a good day.  It’s good to look back and remember a place that was good to hunt that you might have forgotten about.  It is a discipline. I try to keep up with it and see what works or doesn’t and where I have gone hunting.  I don’t remember who told me to keep a journal but I’m glad I did.  I have changed format a little but it is still something I like to do.  I do it after every hunt.  The sheet that I have now allows me to log each spot/cover different.  It is the discipline that is difficult to keep up.

Tell us a little about your training philosophy and approach to dog work on birds when hunting.

I don’t like a young dog to be pressured the first year.  I think the first year is a year for the dog to just go out explore and have fun.  If I don’t shoot any birds over it the first year it’s no big deal.  The second year I expect to start shooting over it and see the dog learn a lot.  The third year is when things really show up and you know what you have.  The first year I run dogs by themselves, I do not believe that dogs learn from others, they learn from the birds and they will teach themselves.  If the bird flushes because of what it did, it learns that.  The Rick Smith course helped me to learn, I don’t say whoa or anything, just be there and get the dog out and let the dog hunt.  No yelling or blowing whistles, just let the dog work.  People make it not fun to hunt with if they are yelling.  But you have to put the time in, you can’t just go two weekends a year and expect the dog to do it, you have to give them the time to learn and the experiences on wild birds.  Half the fun is just watching the dogs, killing isn’t a big deal.  I sometimes run two dogs at once but usually one.  I am hands off, the dogs knows what to do and I let them do it.

Thanks to Mark for doing the interview and particularly for being the first one!

Meet our Breeder Members: Interviews


Since our beginning in 2015, the group RymanSetters.com has had an amazing and supportive response from hunters who love the ryman-type setter and also the bird dog community in general.  Our group has grown from just 6 Founding kennels to nearly 20 Breeder Members.  Each Breeder Member has joined because they are wild bird hunters who are passionate about ryman-type setters as hunting dogs and we have a great group of quality, ethical breeders.

This month we are starting a new feature here on RymanSetters.com that will help all of us get to better know each of the Members.  Each month we will be posting an interview with one of our Breeder Members.  Through the interviews we will learn about the person behind the kennel name as well as their breeding goals and hunting experiences.  The interviews are being done in random order so be sure to check in each month to learn about different members.  A folder will be created on the front page of this site to hold past interviews so it will be easy to look up and learn more about each member once they have done an interview.  The first interview will be posted later today, 8/19/2018.