Saturday, November 27, 2010

Field Trial Buffoonery

Ace is my champion NSTRA (www.nstra.org) trial dog.  Once I tune him up after a hunting trip, he makes the transition to the field trial game very well.  We've been working the last two weeks on the little things that make a good trial dog.  Today he showed me something I've never seen before in a field trial and only rarely in any situation. 

We came off the starting line and Ace sprinted 30 yards and locked up!  I flushed the bird, shot it and he made a good retrieve.  "Good boy" I said as he handed me the bird, "Let's go!" and he turned and started looking for more birds.  He handled well and listened to me.  In the back of my mind, I  was thinking he looked very good in his ground coverage, hunting objectives and working with me.  He nailed another bird within a minute and I flushed it up and shot it, as well.  The bird landed perhaps 50 yards away and he was on it only seconds after it hit.  I watched as he picked it up, turned away, dug a hole, put the bird in it, buried it and trotted over to me, shrugged his shoulders and said, "Sorry, boss!  I couldn't find the bird."     

What?

We went on to take a second place today- by 10 points!  That (zero point) retrieve would have been about 85-90 points and it cost us another First Place! 

Arghh!  Just when you think you have them wound up pretty tight....the string comes loose.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving

The Grill Meister is ready!  We are having two fresh, cage-free, organically-fed Turkey breasts and one free-range, acorn fed, formerly happy Venison hindquarter  (humanely shot in the left ear at a distance of 25 yards in the pristine totally organic, green, environmentally- friendly back pasture) all cooked on the Big Green Egg.  Since we are eating at 3pm, I will prepare pheasant and grouse tasties, at noon, for the hungry ones in the crowd.  All of this will be enjoyed with a Southern liquid, flavored with an organic sweetener made from Iowa corn.  (The recipe for the concoction is stored in a vault in the Coca-Cola tower in Atlanta, GA), and a dessert consisting of Pecan Pie (pecans from from Milner, GA) and ice cream made from contented Georgia cows.  Or, as my neighbor likes to put it, "Dude, we're having grilled deer meat and turkey with Coke and Pecan Pie!" 

Instinct Shooting

I'm not a bad shot. In fact, I do OK in field trials and hunting all the species (except, of course, Ruffed Grouse, where I have about a 1-5 kill ratio).  I know of a guy who teaches "Instinct Shooting" and swears he can have me nailing them spot-on in one day.  His name is James Rutland.  He's a great guy and I think he can do what he says he can do.  In fact, I'm scheduled to see him December 6 for the lesson.  I know, personally, of a young lady who does NOT shoot and she just graduated from his class.  After she shot a Tums tablet out of the air with a BB gun, she went to the 20 ga. she just bought and shot clay pigeons for the first time, very successfully.  I'd give a number but I don't know what it is.  I do know she missed only 5 (out of how many, I don't know).  

Check out the website (He's near Ft. Benning, GA and they love him!)  James Rutland

Monday, November 15, 2010

This Makes a Bird Dog Man Happy

Cap, my 6 mos. old pup, out of Ace, locked down on a Quail!
There is a time in the life of a new pup when it comes down to "It's time to put him on a bird and see what he does.".  Two days ago, I put a quail out in the grass for him and check-corded him downwind of the bird. He was mildly interested, sort of got a little birdy and I whoaed him just downwind of the quail and held him there. i reached in front and picked up the bird by the legs.  Of course, it flapped and feathers flew and we let it fly off while I praised him and let him sniff all the feathers and the scent from the bird..  He went nuts!  Jumping and barking and twisting- I knew then I had a good one. Yesterday, I hid another quail and eased him in downwind, again.  This time, as he got the scent, I whoaed him again- and he locked down.  Again, I let the bird make a lot of noise and motion and fly off.  Today, we did it again.  This time I didn't need to whoa him.  He locked up tight as you see him above.  I just told him "Bird, bird" and walked around him.  He stood there long enough for my wife to go back to the truck and retrieve my phone to take this picture (maybe 2 full minutes).  I reached in, flushed the bird, and we watched it fly.  Then we check-corded back to the barn and pen.  I can't wait to see him tomorrow.....I wonder if he'll be up to hunting in NM in January?  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Field Trial Video

Alabama field Trial Video (Click This!)

I took a short video of the field trial yesterday in Alabama.  We left that one with our tail between our legs.  I was very pleased with the way Ace hunted and covered the ground, but he refused to back (again) and his obedience was a little slack.  So, today, we had a little "Come to Jesus meeting" right here in the back pasture as I reiterated the rules about obedience and backing.  He can do it all, but after all the bird hunting we've done this year, he needed a little brushing up.

Trialing

Ace waiting for the start! 
We are deep in to the field trial mode now and having a great time.  I run National Shoot to Retrieve field trials, when I am not hunting.  It's a good time with good friends all united by the common bond of working with your bird dog.  Many who field trial don't have the time to get away for the hunt, or the money (although field trialing can cost some, too), or the knowledge of how to do it.  Look up a local trial (NSTRA is all over the country) and try it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Don't leave home without it!

I've written about this previously and I'm a big believer in the capabilities of this unit.  I paid for the tracking feature, also, which allows my wife and friends to follow me as it sends an update every 10 minutes for 24 hours.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Old Ball and Chain and Yard Dogs.

You gotta love a woman that loves your dogs. I think that's written somewhere.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Last Day

Walking the Grouse Woods  (click to see video)

We had a good run over the last few weeks.  We shot Pheasant, Ruffed Grouse and Spruce Grouse.  We went through the first blizzard of the year in North Dakota.  My 7 month old Brittany, Ruby, is darn near broke after 4 weeks out of the last 7 hunting.  We met a lot of new people and reacquainted ourselves with old friends. We saw a lot of beautiful country and hunted new territory in Minnesota.  All in all, I'd have to say it was successful in every respect.  Tomorrow, we turn the old diesel south and head back to the farm....field trials coming up for the next month or so.....

My puppy, "Cap", and his first Spruce Grouse

St Louis River

St. Louis River, St. Louis County, MN
And it's in St. Louis County, MN! I know one can fly fish this river. I often wonder about stopping a grouse hunt just long enough to "wet a hook" in a stream like this.
We got skunked yesterday! Only one flush- and that was ear-high about 2 feet from said ear! By the time I recovered from the startle, the gray devil was laughing and winding his way to the clubhouse. Grouse hunting!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Minnesota Grouse Habitat

video

Bo and Randy with 2 Spruce Grouse and 1 Ruffed Grouse
One worn out old dog and the two Spruce Grouse he pointed.  I'm having them mounted for my den.  Old Bo really did a good job on these birds.  We had a 2 hour cast and took it fairly easy.  He found a sunny spot for a snooze at the end of the walk.