Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2012 Georgia NSTRA Championships

Click here for YouTube video!

Now the season is 100% definitely over.  Only 6 1/2 months to go and we'll be back on the road to Montana, Idaho, Oregon and points birdy.  The dogs are ready and so am I. 

The truck box is coming along, with plans to assemble and then coat it again with a truck bed liner type material to enhance the water resistance and wear resistance.  More as we move along on that one!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Working on Truck Vault

Glen Bahde and I are building sliding drawers for use in our respective trucks. He has a 2012 Chevy 1500 and I am piloting a 2001 Ford F-250. Turns out the beds are the same general measurements so it's all good. Glen's father is a woodworker and is doing the actual building. Shown above is the application of 3 or more coats of spar urethane to all components for durability. The plywood is marine grade 3/4" and the drawers are poplar. The finished product will be coated with another product to enhance resistance to wear and abrasion. Stay tuned as we assemble this thing!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bird Dogs and Fly Fishing

That's the name of a Facebook Group to which I belong. It's a great place to meet and talk about both subjects with like minded folks!. Look for it on Facebook! Look for it, next Fall, on fine hunting vehicles all over the country! 

Bird Dog and Fly Fishing
Facebook Group Decal

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Summer Doldrums Already

Already the summer is dragging on. Cutting grass has already started!  I'm working through pictures of this season. Maybe I need to not do this. Trial season is over, too. It's a sad thing to see bird dogs after the season is closed. 

Ruby is just now coming out of heat. It's been 17 days since I first saw her spotting. I think I'll give it another week and then do the "stud dog" test on her to make sure she's back up.  I really wanted another puppy or two out of Ace, but I figured it would be nice to go a whole season with three solid broke dogs.  Now, I may be getting "no breeding remorse". Well, it's a done deal now.  Might as well just look forward. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Memories of the Hunt

Ace on Two ND Roosters

It only takes a snapshot to remember the day.  It was freezing cold, with bad winds and temps in the low thirties.  The first blizzard of the year passed over us as we hunkered down in Mott, ND with lots of howling wind and snow that blew mostly sideways.  When the sun returned two days later, the roads stayed frozen, but the birds came out to eat.  We caught these boys in an area of tree rows and CRP surrounding a lake (public land).  Ace knew the plan and I was right on with the gun.  We worked the treeline, seen in the background, which borders a cut wheat field.  It wasn't long before his Garmin pager went off and I moved up the outside of the row.  Brush moved and red and white flashing color started left and emerged right in front of the gun.  One down.  We started up the hill to the truck, through the CRP, and Ace locked down again.  I kicked up the second rooster and bagged it.  I noticed his retrieve wasn't nearly up to his standards on the second one, so I grabbed his collar to check him over and noticed five porcupine quill on the side of his muzzle.  Evidently, he hit Mr. Porky a glancing blow while scenting the rooster in the wood line.  I've seen that before with hard charging bird dogs.  I'm darn thankful that's all it was. 
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Monday, March 19, 2012

The Championships

Ace (with me) and Cap (foreground)

The Region Championship went very well. My Cap puppy just missed the cut when the judge would not allow his "back" for a score. He thought I "whoa-ed" him in to the back, and when I told him I absolutely did not say anything or intimidate him, it fell on deaf ears. Oh well, it's not as if I never made a bad call and you got to call 'em like you see 'em.... so we moved on with Ace. The final 16 dogs started with cool, light rain which quit for clear, blue skies and 85 degrees.  Our time to run was well after the rain moved off and we did the best we could. I couldn't be more proud of my dog. We pulled up a little shy of the cut for final 6. It was a great trial with lots of dog critigues, hunting stories, history re-visited, leaning on tailgates and laughing until the tears rolled. As we were leaving, I leaned over and whispered into the old Ball and Chain's ear, "Honey, only 6 mos. to bird season!". "You are a sick puppy", she retorted. Yep.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


The Old Ball and Chain and Cap

Apparently, the old Ball and Chain reads Facebook.  Also, apparently, my blog links to Facebook.  So, to put this in a nutshell, I was greeted with "You're going on a long trip?" as I walked through the front door. That's when I managed to use my 6 seconds of remaining life to explain that this was going to be on my 65th birthday (3 seasons hence) and she was integral in the planning and execution of said trip.  Also, I might have mentioned (things get hazy here as I could feel my life force evaporating in the laser glare of my lovely wife) about the motor home and living accomodations, her flying home to check things out occasionally, etc.  It may have appeared, to the untrained eye, that I was babbling and trying to save my skin, but my coherent and cogent statement of facts enabled me to, with some sort of dignity.  Whew!  That, my friends, was a close one.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Journey

Randy and Ace
(Photo take by Nancy Whitehead)

So, I'm thinking a big trip may be on the horizon. I don't mean a week or two, although two week hunting trips are what keep bird hunters sane and walking upright- me, at least.  No, I mean one of those around the country hunting  numerous species kind of hunts.  One of those hunts you read about.   I'm thinking about timing and I realize three things are required for a successful foray.  First, you need the inclination to proceed.  You need to be the type  to get up every day and, after thanking God for another day on the green side of the grass, think "I could be in Idaho, or Alaska, or North Dakota, or Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, California" and on an on! Second, you would need the where-with-all.  You need to have the dollars to put diesel in the F-250, buy licenses in 10 states and feed those bird finding buddies of yours.  Lastly, you need the time.  Time, alas, it the one thing that cannot be earned.  There is a guarantee that it will end, come to a halt. (The numbers are out of one people die.) Usually, the ending will be without preamble.  So, time is critical and not to be wasted or squandered on inconsequential things.  

I have all three items in my pocket right now.  This is not to say I won't lose one or all of them one day, but now looks like a good time to plan a bird hunting odyssey. So, a few big questions arise....

1.)  Where to go? 
2.)  When to go? 
3.)  How to go? 
4.) Who to go with?  (With whom to go?...I never could get that straight!) 

I'll explore this more as I work through the issues involved.