Gracie Morrell's brothers & sistersGracies BrothersI am getting an English Setter - German Shorthair mix turkey dog puppy in a few weeks from good turkey hunting bloodlines. The parents are turkey dogs intentionally bred for this. It was a planned breeding and this is her second litter. Attached are a few from age 4 weeks (of the entire litter). There are 6 males and 1 female. I'm getting a male but my buddy who has the parents is keeping the female. She seems to be one of the most energetic of the bunch. 6/1/2005
Coyote attack near the bottom (scroll down).
Here she's about 8 1/2 weeks old. I made a last minute change to get the female instead of one of the males. I had the opportunity to spend time with the pups while puppy sitting this week while my friend is on vacation. After one-on-ones with each pup, she was clearly the choice for me. Her name is Gracie. She has a good set of lungs. She is very easy to handle and appears to have a good nose and hunting instincts. 7/6/2005
Gracie at 8 weeksTurkey dog GracieSmart dog stays coolGood looking pupPuppy in the Summer
Gracie is doing well. The bag is getting better. I'm letting here play in it, and she will lay in it covered to her head and chew on the straps. She loves her bag. I've backed off in training intensity a little. She starts obedience training at PetSmart 8/11 for 8 weeks. That should help shore up her basic skills. She is coming to the .22 training pistol beautiful. I'll have my wife hold her, then I go far down into the woods and shoot it and she beelines to me. I then let her play with the dummy stuffed with turkey feathers when she arrives. She loves the turkey feathers - I've been following your advice and putting some in her kennel to play with and chew on. Loves to ride in the back seat of the truck. She is using her nose more, but at 11 weeks, her olfactory still has some developing to do. I think she'll be fine. Thanks for the tips. 7/27/05
Turkey dog bag trainingbag train turkey dogSome pics from last night's bag training session. Worked out that one of my cats got in a tree above us and she was fixated on it. She did good. I had her pretty pooped before we started. I was yelping while she was in the bag. Two nights ago, I took her to some land I own to do some mowing and a hen went up the ridge when we pulled up. She didn't see her, but when she got to the area where the turkey had been, she really sniffed it up and trailed a little. It was encouraging. 7/29/2005
 Some pics from last night when I introduced Gracie to the entire frozen turkey I have been stealing feathers from this summer. She barked good at it in the tree, and went bananas (as you can see) once it thawed out a bit and scented up good. I put it back in the freezer for later sessions. I think she has the bug now. This was encouraging. I am taking her with two of her brothers on a pre-season "hunt" Saturday. We have some good recon on a gang using a cow pasture. I'll keep you posted. 10/12/05
training turkey dogturkey dog trainingturkey dog trainingturkey training dog
Had a little luck yesterday. We flushed two gangs (I did most of the flushing), but Gracie sat in the blind with me and did really good. She was with me when I called this one in and shot it. She didn't quite know what to do when she ran up on the flopping bird, but in short order started barking at it then grabbed it and had a ball. I was happy. I'm taking off the rest of this week and some of next - hopefully we will have some more luck. I think once she matures some more and gets out a little more in the woods, she'll be A-OK. She is getting some good experience. She saw birds run, fly, and die, plus got to hear them yelping and walking in the woods while in the blind - not all bad. She got a little ansty when they got close and she could hear them walking - she sat up in the blind but it worked out.11/1/2005
Gracie gets a birdturkey dog gets the birdturkey dog's turkeytired turkey dogProud Gracie
It's been a nice week, got really dry though. Gracie did well and we found some more birds. My buddy killed another one for her on a joint flush with us and her, and she got to it while it was flopping and didn't hesitate. Going again Saturday. 11/9/2005
Finished up the fall season the week after Christmas. Got to hunt Gracie with her two brothers four days straight. Had a hard time finding birds - it is like they went in a hole. The dogs did however have two flushes. We only saw one bird at a distance from the second flush, but Gracie barked like crazy when they flushed. I think it was a small group of old birds - we did not try to call them back and they flushed downhill away from us. But, it was encouraging to see how she reacted. I am going to keep practicing blind setups and call backs. She also has flushed and chased several covies of quail this fall - no barking on these - but jumping and chasing out of sight - once again - encouraging. Really doing good on commands and her training. As she matures a bit, all the work I put in last summer is paying off. We have a ball together. I am scheduled to be off the entire first two weeks of our early fall season here this fall. Can't wait to hunt her every day. 1/13/2006
Took Gracie out for a romp Saturday based on some good recon from some deer hunting buddies on where they had seen turkeys the last part of deer season. There were two jakes walking in the woods from a logging road when I pulled up. It was raining and she hit the trail strong, but I think the birds had flown before - it was like she ran out of scent - she went about 200 yards, then came back. But later on another ridge, she disappeared then I heard her frantic barking. About 150 yds in front of me, I saw a big gobbler fly, then I saw a bird running toward me in the woods with Gracie hot on the trail barking - the bird flew - would have been a decent shot - sure wish season had been open - would have liked to kill it for her. Bottom line - she did great and it was a textbook flush. I think it was a small group of old birds based on their size and the amount of scratching. I went to the truck and got the blind and bag and we sat up for an hour or so, but they didn't yelp - not unusual for old birds - plus it was very windy (not good yelping conditions). She did great in the blind. I think once a bird gets in sight I may have to manage her a bit now that she is getting tuned in on flushing them. All in all, I was very happy and encouraged. Not too bad for an 8 month old dog. I plan to take her out as much as I can. Can't have too much practice. 1/23/2006 
Gracie is still doing really good. Over the spring and early summer, she has flushed several gangs of birds when we are out on our nature walks for exercise. Barks every time. I think she has chased a deer or two (totally different bark), but doesn't chase them far, and comes to the whistle. I'll work on that. I am really looking forward to this fall. 7/24/2006
Turkey dog camoturkey dog ready for calling birds------------------------------------------------
A couple of pics from a training session Saturday AM. Gracie does great in the blind. The 12 foot one I bought gives us both a lot of room. We sat here for way over an hour - she got up once and stretched then laid right back down. I did a lot of calling too.  Just waiting on opening day. 9/9/06
Gracie turkey hunt fall 2006 VirginiaGravie fall turkey Tennessee 2006Gracie and I have had a good year so far (it opens back up here 12/11). She had four birds killed for her (2 in VA and 2 in TN - 3 of these were taken with her in the blind). I got one nice longbeard for her. She barked good on all the flushes and did pretty good in the blind. She was tested several times and jumped out a few times. She learned a lot. Biggest thing that made her antsy in the blind was turkeys passing within 20 yards behind us and birds flying in - I was holding her tight on those. Overall not bad for an 18 month old dog. I also got a 10 pt. buck with forked brows with a muzzleloader last week, my best deer ever. Just put the two turkey pics on the page though - I don't wanna jinx anything. That is my Dad (pic from TN). He is 77 and every day I can spend with him in the field is a blessing. He really enjoyed hunting with Gracie. He does fantastic for his age - hangs with me on every hill climb. Click on the pictures to enlarge. Mike 11/22/06
Virginia turkey dog huntTN turkey dog with wild turkeyTN turkey dogFirst one is the VA bird. Second two are the bird I got in TN. I have had a decent year, but nothing like last year as far as finding birds. Hunted here in VA the week of 10/29 – finally got a bird mid-week. Went to WV the following weekend and hunted a lot of beautiful country but we did not find birds. Was in TN with my Dad last weekend. We found birds 3 out of 4 days, but only got two out of the four of us hunting. Gracie has really come into her own – she has done great! I got two flushes on video in TN with turkeys running and flying past us. On two occasions she has had birds within 10 yards of the blind yelping and she did not move. The day I got mine in VA, there were four that silently came up behind us and I finally just turned around (I could hear them in the leaves) and she was peeking over the blind eye-to-eye with four birds and did not move until I shot and missed one running off. She then re-flushed some more and one came strolling past – it was not so lucky. It opens back up here in VA 12/10. I have hunted several days and logged lots of miles with no birds. Mast is scattered here – you find acorns, you find turkeys. They are also hitting dogwoods too. Yes, I'm very proud, she has mellowed out a lot in the past year. Mike - November 2007
turkey dog feverI hunted WA, TN, and VA and struggled. Ended up with two VA birds (one really nice one with 1 5/16” spurs) – but overall the birds were tough everywhere this year and just did not do right. I felt fortunate to get what I got. I think just about every thing that could go wrong with me did this year – makes you appreciate when all that stuff doesn’t happen. I have attached a picture of Gracie after she demolished the tail off one of my birds – the picture speaks volumes about her passion for the crazy birds that drive us all crazy. Can’t wait until fall. Mike. May 19, 2008.
virginia turkey dogwest virginia turkey dogtennessee turkey hunting dogtennessee turkey dogGood fall so far, Gracie has done great! We got a bird in VA, TN, and WV (note terrain). The TN bird was my best fall gobbler ever – 18 lb, 1 ¼” spurs, 10 ¼” beard, with my 79 year old Dad  – I'm so blessed to still be able to spend days in the field with him. Amazingly, he goes anywhere I go, and we hunted some rough and steep terrain in the hills of Eastern TN. I could not have asked anything else from Gracie – at 3 ½ yrs, she has matured into the ultimate turkey dog. In TN, she trailed a gang over 300 yards in the snow then executed a textbook flush of over 30 birds – fun stuff! Season opens up here again 12/1 – hope to get back on them. After the deer hounds start running, the birds get pretty spooky, much more difficult to call back. Mike. November 21, 2008
turkey dog pins the wild turkeysuper doggiant wild turkeyThis hunt was a classic – one of those days you never forget. I know I brag a lot on my little turkey hound, but I have good reason – if you could have just seen her riding this big bird (partially in the air) to the ground and pinning him down then waiting on me to get him it would have made any daddy proud. From flush to blind to catching the kill she did it all. Both her and I had to watch this one walk by at 25 yd in the blind until he presented a shot opportunity.  He was hit hard but as we all know if head is up and wings and legs are working they can escape quick – Gracie nixed that. Good day!! This was my best bird ever! 20 lbs. 2 beards 10 ¾” and 5 ¾”, 1 ½” spurs. Score 85. Mike. December 30, 2008
Gracie the turkey dog with her 2009 Virginia gobblerVirginia turkey dog got his gobblerGot this gobbler today. 16 lb  9" beard 3/4 " spurs. Gracie has done good this week. My Garmin Astro says she has traveled over 100 miles since Saturday - whew! Weather has been dicey (windy) and birds are scattered due to lack of mast. I killed this bird at 4:00 PM (3 hours after the flush of a gang of gobblers) on the callback and he had nothing in his craw. Not a good sign. Anyway, had a blast! It was funny - Gracie worried the bird then went straight back to the blind and laid down on the bag. Guess if I ran like her, I would do the same. PS - got a doe with the bow last night - good 24 hrs. October 31, 2009
Friday, December 10, 2010 - Made a beautiful catch and release on a big longbeard last Saturday. Got a dirty look from Gracie. After the flush and 2 hours of calling in the pouring snow, the bird finally came up to my right, impatience kicked in, and I shot too far. Never touched him – he sailed directly toward me and almost hit Gracie head on as she exited the blind looking for a “dead” bird – she grabbed a mouthful of him and he literally flew out of her mouth – pretty cool. Would have been a sight if she could have got a good grip on him. Heading to TN tonight with Gracie to hunt tomorrow and Sunday. Weather’s gonna be a bit dicey – but we’ll hunt all the same. Mike
We got six birds on our trip to Nebraska last week, but it was cold and snowy. Dad got 2 three bearded birds. One of mine had two beards. I highly recommend our outfitter Mike Moody, been with him for two years straight. On Wednesday, there were (for some weird reason) 11 longbeards that came to us and all of them gobbled at once 50 yds in front of Dad.  We did not get a shot, but it was very cool. 4/28/2011 Mike Morrell - VA
10/14/08 moved to a new home in Bedford County, VA – the coyotes seem to be thick out there.  I got permission to hunt a farm and the owner said there were a lot of them.
2/1/2009 found a deer carcass about 200 yds up the creek from my house.  Coyotes cleaned it up.  I put up a trail camera on it but no pics. 
12/14/12 more bad luck with coyotes and Gracie. We hunted one place in Appomattox county, where we found some birds in the early season, so I thought we could make a quick hunt and maybe get some scattered to end the day. She knows these woods well and made two long runs at 10:00  and 2:00 – normally where the birds are.  She went about 300-400 yds in each direction checking in with me after the first one.  I was tracking her on the Garmin but no barks, so the birds weren’t there.  When she was coming back the second time I could hear (dry leaves) something running about 125 yds to my right and behind me – I assumed it was turkeys but then could hear the footsteps so I thought it was deer.  She was still over 150 yds away coming back.  The sound subsided.  She came to me and I was ready to go to coyotes attack and injure turkey dog, veterinarian expensethe truck – only 125 yds away.  She heard the noise to my right and I spotted two 'dogs' or so I thought, coming from about 5:00 angling toward her.  She went out to check them out, about 70 yds to my right.  One was almost totally black and the other was huge and grayish yellow.  They rushed her and it all was a blur and she started screaming.  Only thing I could think to do was shoot in the air.  They left her immediately and ran off.  I rushed to her.  She was on the ground cowered and whimpering.  I could see one puncture wound in her right shoulder.  I lifted her up gently and she stood, but no weight on her right front leg.  She limped back to the truck with me and then I saw blood dripping – it was coming from the wound in her brisket.  poor dog bit by coyote back home from veterinarianHauled butt to the vet and they sewed her up.  She has six wounds and two drain tubes.  No breaks.  The vet said the bites were very deep.  She came home Saturday.  On three different meds and I have to flush the drains twice/day.  Those come out Wednesday.  Staples stay in for a couple of weeks.  Lucky to be here.  Glad I was there to save her life.  Plus I think the collars on her neck protected her too.
I have heard of two more similar incidents in this area where turkey dogs got attacked by yotes this fall, plus my other incident in TN.  In those two, they killed the coyotes.  Crazy.  This was out in the middle of nowhere, closest house half mile away.  I think it was a big territorial male and/or they were protecting a kill. Might be coyote-wolf hybrids or coydogs & coywolves (see what an Ontario, Canada hunter says here).
coyote bite infects turkey dog - veterinarian surgery antibiotics requiredGracie is doing OK and putting more and more weight on it.  Eating good and resting.  Our season is done I guess.  Inconsequential compared to losing her.  There is a late season in January.  We’ll see how it goes.  In the meantime I am declaring war on yotes.  Gonna start hunting them hard.  I have a calling system and decoys.  Killed some this summer with it.
12/26/12 Gracie emancipated.  Cleared 2 hunt gently in 7-10 days.  YAY!!
1/5/13 Gracie took a setback yesterday.  Doc had to go deeper and put four more drains in.  There was a pocket of deep infection.  No tissue or joint damage.  She sent off a culture just to make sure drugs will get it.  She's on 2 antibiotics and 2 pain meds.  Have to rinse drains twice/day.  Drains come out in a week.  Doc assured me she would be ok, just a slow long road. 
1/10/13 Gracie back in hospital tonight.  Doc saw what was still oozing out of her and wanted to keep her.  She changed antibiotics and is giving her fluids.  Said she is doing ok.  All vitals and blood work was perfect.  The culture should come back tomorrow. 
1/11/13 The doctor is going to keep her all weekend.  They are giving her fluids and a different antibiotic.  Early culture results suggest the pseudomonas bacteria and another one is growing on the culture.  All vitals are good, no bone or muscle damage, and she is eating and bathrooming well plus getting around good.  They are keeping the wounds flushed good.  The IV fluids are also keeping her flushed.
She was not acting right last night and the goop was still coming out of the wounds so we took her back to Dr. Ryan.  When the vet saw her she wanted to take more aggressive action hence keeping her.  There were also air pockets under her skin that the bacteria was producing.  Also typical with this bacteria and the black leg clostridia bacteria found in cows.  So maybe the coyote had eaten a rotten cow?  Who knows.  A solid turkey dog home from hospital after coyote attackpossibility.  The Vet said this is the worst coyote bite she has seen.
1/15/13 Should come home today.  We went to see her last night – she is doing great and looks good.  The drugs are kicking the known pseudomonas good.  The drains are out and the cone is gone.  Wounds look really good – the cold laser treatments are really helping.  Major change since last Thursday. 
And to rub salt in a wound there were 18 birds down by the creek behind my house Saturday – the opener of the late season.  We may be able to get in those by the 25th or 26th the last two days of the season.  It would be a short hunt.  I would like to get her back in the saddle to reward her.
1/16/13  She has lost some weight  and is grumpy but doing good.  She just needs to rest.  On a whole new round of meds.  Eating good.  New culture results due back next week.  Doctor remains concerned and wants to see her Friday but thinks she is doing good.  Just hope the remaining unknown organism can get identified and treated.  They are giving her drugs assuming they know what it might be.
Turkey dog hunts after coyote attacked herVirginia turkey not afraid of coyotes after the attack1/25/13  I am happy to report Gracie’s saga over the past 6 weeks has a happy ending.  I had some good intel on a nice gang of birds in a small patch of woods.  Dr. Ryan said it would be fine to take Gracie on a short hunt.  We set out this morning (22 degrees and snowing) about 11 AM.  She immediately hit the trail and made a text book flush.  We set up and about an hour and a half later this nice 15 lb jake came sneaking in without a sound.  Needless to say she was a happy camper to get her mouth on one after all she has been through! She’s resting in front of gas logs now. Thanks for all the support and good wishes for her!!!  She is not totally out of the woods but is on the right track and making great progress!! Mike Morrell - VA ---------- Researchers confirm existence of the CoyWolf 
Utah Scientists cross coyote and western gray wolf to see if that's what made the eastern wolf. If it's true, crossing the eastern wolf again with a coyote would make them 3/4 coyote, 1/4 wolf. Wolf DNA has popped up in "coyote" poop as far south as Virginia - Coywolves today are on average a quarter wolf and a tenth dog. Read about coyote-wolf hybrids or coydogs & coywolves.
Lynchburg General Therapy Dog GracieHard to believe but today is Gracie’s tenth birthday. She got her TDI certification package this week (see pic).  We are in the process of getting registered as volunteers at one of our major hospitals (Lynchburg General).

I was surprised how much is involved with both Therapy Dog International and the volunteer certification. But that’s good. Have to be careful who is walking around in hospitals. Mike 5/7/15
Every spring gobbler a story to be told. "The old turkey gobbler approached like the veteran of combat he was, slow, cautious, suspicious, his sight and hearing honed to its highest level as he viewed every shadow as a potential ambush." OUTDOORS by Bill Cochran: Spring 2015 turkey hunting with Mike Morrell, Bedford County VA 5/26/15
Mike Morrell's turkey dog BaileyVirginia turkey hunting dog BaileyI was off all  last week up here in VA for the opening week. Bailey is doing great! Covering a lot of ground and barking good on flushes. He ran 87 miles last week. Some pics from Sunday attached. It was raining some, so I built a camo roof on the blind. This is a piece of Cordura I normally lay on the ground but Bailey likes to lay directly on the ground, so I used it as a roof. He liked that. Gracie is doing great, but still building up from the last episode and surgery. To be honest, I may never hunt her again – she is so fragile and is enjoying being a pet and therapy dog. Time will tell.  Mike 10/4/15
Retired turkey hunting dog became a hospital therapy dogTurkey dog Christmas presentsTherapy dog's nursing teamHere’s a pic of me and Gracie yesterday doing our therapy dog thing at Lynchburg General. Hospital camo – green volunteer vest.  Mike 11/30/15
Gracie with the neuro step down nursing team at LGH and Bailey waiting on his presents 12/7/15.
Gracie's turkey dog therapy dog calling cardA Turkey Dog Therapy Dog's calling card - Gracie of Virginia"We lost Gracie yesterday morning.  She had been doing really good and we had visited the hospital the past two Sundays – just great visits.  She got bloated again Saturday night and we planned to take her to Dr. Lora Ryan yesterday morning like normal to get a tube passed.  She was bloated but acting ok at 6 AM.  I went back down about 8:30 to check on her and she was barely conscious.  We rushed her to Dr. Ryan and despite her efforts, Gracie lost her final fight.  We are still numb.  Just so sudden.  She had not been acting totally right for the past two weeks.  I think the cancer came back but we will never know.  It was her time.  She was an amazing dog as you know.  From family member to turkey hunting dog to therapy dog, she was the ultimate dog.  Just perfect.  She will be sorely missed."  Mike 2/15/16
Cast of Gracie's dog printsHall of Fame turkey"Here is a pic of Gracie's pawprints.  Also attached is a letter I wrote to Virginia Tech.  They took great care of her and also sent a very personal and powerful card to us about her. 
Heading to Tennessee to hog hunt tomorrow.  Same place as last year.  Waiting on spring season." Mike 3/15/16
turkey dog tattoo"Here's the tattoo I got of Gracie (this pic shows both angles). It's on my left shoulder. Had most of it completed April 1 but got it finalized this past Friday. Same picture as her business card. The text is my handwriting and we also added the turkey tracks. Needless to say I am really pleased with it.

Cody Dillow at Caspian tattoo in Lynchburg did it. He is amazing! He used a high resolution photo then did a trace over it. But his ability to fill in the details is the key. Took a total of eight hours in two sessions. One 6 for the main pic then two hours to finalize it last Friday." Mike 5/31/16
Mike Morrell with John Wright and Ralph Totty in The Roanoke Times by Bill Cochran:
Dog increases fun and success during turkey hunt.
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