Niki Tilleraas NAHRA’s First Featured Chef


It has turned cold up in the North Tundra Region (formally known as the Central Region).  Dispite the cold and the Viking’s loss to the Sea Hawks last Sunday, we have one good thing going for us and that is Niki’s Pheasant Pot Pie. Read on to learn more about Niki and get her recipe for her pot pie.

Niki T

Meet our first featured chef, Niki Tilleraas. Niki and her husband Troy live in the country near Vermillion, MN where they own and operate TNT Kennels.  Niki describes herself as a wife and mother.  Being a pretty humble, down to earth gal, Niki would be the last person to toot her own horn, so I will do it for her.  In addition to being a great wife and mom, Niki is a “Glam-ma” to two granddaughters, a puppy lover, the heart and soul of TNT Kennels, a dog mom to many of our dogs, a doggie sexologist  (I’ll have her explain that one) and a good friend.


Niki and Troy have four children Brianne, Nick, DaKota and Tucker, one son-in-law Payne, one daughter-in-law Brittany and two beautiful granddaughters Dallas and Paysen.

Niki’s great parenting skills came into play at one our FPRC tests several years ago when her son Tucker was probably around 8 or 9. Tucker was allowed to help out in one of the blinds.  He was partnered with Jason Skyberg.  In hindsight, probably not the best pairing as Jason was quite the jokester.  Jason explained to Tucker that male pheasants were called cocks.  When they called for the bird Jason told Tucker that he should stand up and yell as loud as he could “Cock, Cock, big cock”.  Tucker was silent for a few minutes and then said “My mom wouldn’t like that.  I will just say rooster, rooster.”

One of the many hats Troy wears during the hunting season is guiding at Firesteel Creek Lodge near Isabel, S.D. With plenty of pheasants on hand, Niki has found a good way to use pheasants.  Niki’s Pheasant Pot Pies have her family always asking for more.

pot pie pic

All photo credits: Niki Tilleraas



(Makes 6 large pies)


4 or 5 pheasant breasts

5 or 6 larger baby red potatoes

1 – 14.5 oz. can of sliced carrots

1 – 8 oz. can of mushrooms

1 – 29 oz. can of corn

1 – 28 oz. can of green beans

2 – 49 1/2 oz. can of chicken broth


Salt and pepper

Pie shells (boxed or homemade)

Roast the pheasant breasts in the oven with onion, some of the chicken broth, and seasoned with salt and pepper. Once cooked and cooled, cut the pheasant breasts into bite size pieces and set aside.  (The roasting of the pheasant could be done a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.)  Strain the pan broth and add it, along with the rest of the chicken broth, to a large kettle at medium high heat.  Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces and add them to the broth.  Let them simmer in the broth for a bit as these will take longer to cook than the other vegetables.  Then start adding the roasted pheasant & onions, carrots, mushrooms, corn, and green beans to the kettle.   Once these are all cooked, thicken it with flour and water (like you do for gravy…1/2 cup flour to 3/4 cup water…twice per pot).    You should now have a nice full kettle of filling with the consistency of stew.  Remove from heat and let cool a bit before transferring to the pie shells.  Cut slits to vent the top crust, double wrap in tin foil and freeze.  Bake at 425 degrees for 1 1/2 hours from frozen state.


**All veggies are optional. Use whatever you would like.   **Strain canned veggies before adding to kettle.  **Could also skip the crust and be served like stew or poured over biscuits.




Welcome to Retriever Nation!

 Happy New Year! 

Mike Matson

Welcome to Retriever Nation!  This blog has been a long time coming, after a little (maybe a lot) of procrastination on my part and the awesome help from Suellen Appellof to get the blog up and running here is the first post.


Phil Hines and Molly

The purpose of this blog is to introduce people to things I love and am passionate about. A blog is an excellent way to introduce the members who are the heart and soul of NAHRA to the membership across the United States. How many of you have had dealings with Rosemary in the NAHRA office?  How many of you could pick her out in a line up? Not many I would say but maybe you will have a chance to meet her and find out a little about her from this blog. I would also like to showcase the amazing talents of the retrievers that run in NAHRA along with other dog games.  And lastly to just share some of the simpler pleasures of life.  To do so I need help from you!  If you have a story you would like to tell, a picture you would like to post, a recipe to share, a product to endorse, a person to be highlighted or maybe you want to be a guest blogger let me know.  My email is


Hi I am Patsy.

Thanks for checking out Retriever Nation Blog!


Dan Dan and Patsy

Here is a little more about my story. Thirty-five years ago I married my partner in crime Dan Hove. After raising 3 kids who were all involved with traveling sports, we finally found ourselves with some free time on our hands. Together with my passion for animals, dogs in particular and Dan’s obsession with hunting and the outdoors, we discovered a new hobby to be completely consumed by.  It was called “The Hunt Test Game”!

We were blessed with our first dog Belle. She was Dan’s constant companion. She became the wife and I was dismissed to the title of mistress whom she tolerated.  Belle went on to accomplish goals we never even knew we had.  She was the first 1,000 pt. dog in the Central region.  She was a true champion in every way.  Not wanting to be left out, Grace came into our lives as my dog. Grace and I went on to slay the dragon and put on some impressive titles as well.  Then along came Chai.  She didn’t start out to be our dog, but she made it clear our home was where her heart was.  Chai was very talented, earned many titles and was the third dog to earn her 1,000 points in the Central region.  Very impressive as there is only four dogs in this region that have achieved 1,000 pts.  Belle, Abby (Dan Tongen), Chai, and Beamer (Fritz Baier).  All have passed onto the Rainbow Bridge except for Beamer.

As our dog family expanded to include Chai, it just kept on growing until I found myself a dog mom to seven dogs. Our children soon were complaining that we loved the dogs more than we loved them.  Children can be so needy.

As Belle, Chai and Grace’s hunt test days wound down, Dan and I started judging more. We have traveled across country judging and running our dogs.  We have met people who would become great friends, others that have become like family.  We have gotten to see the best of the best and have had a ton of fun along the way.  NAHRA has been a part of our lives for the past 17 plus years, I guess you could say we are in for the long haul!

So long for now.  Make sure to check out the next blog post featuring the cooking talents of Niki Tilleraas!