Friday, March 22, 2013

The Georgia Region NSTRA Championships 2013

Click HERE to watch a video of the Championships.

We met at RB and Gary Garrett's Gold and Grass Farm in Ball Ground, GA, 16/17 March, for the Georgia Regional Championships. The last few days were warm and many were hoping for some cool weather. When the sun came over the hill, it was still in the high 30's and the shorts-wearing crowd were re-thinking the strategy. The heavy dew and cool temps were perfect for a field trial, and then a light breeze came up, making the scenting even more outstanding. We drew the trial at 0700 and braces started immediately after that, with Ed Murdock and Sugar and Randy Schultz and Cap leaving the line at 0800.

Throughout the day, with a short break for lunch, the competition was stiff. All the dogs did a good job and most of the handlers managed to keep errors to a minimum. (Did he really turn his dog loose to have it pick the bird up?). At the end of the day, Keith Koon and his Skeeter (p/f) managed, not only First Place, but her first Championship!  (Something tells us this will be the first of many!). Second went to Ed Murdock and Sugar, third to Gene Pritchett and Snicker.

That evening, after all the stories (some true), we got down to the serious business of electing officers and awarding outstanding performance throughout the year.  RB Garrett was elected to President, with his brother, Gary, Vice President. Angela Healan was too tired to protest when we voted her is as Secretary/Treasurer for the 20th year in a row. (See, we told you it would only be a two year commitment.).

High Point Dog went to Tripp and Jeffery Keck. High Point Female went to Skeeter and Keith Koon. Most Improved Dog was Taz and Brandon Pritchett. Rookie of the Year is Bill Green (we are lucky to have him) and Sportsman of the Year is Dale Aldridge. Dale is also this year's Scott Clark Award recipient (signifying someone who will go the extra mile for NSTRA and/or the Region). Judge of the Year is Corey Perdue. Bodie Ray and David Healan were elected as Directors at Large.

Sunday weather was more of the same. Perfect,  as we broke out the sun block but kept the jackets close in the morning. The competition was still fierce. In fact, by the Final Hour, we had a first for the Georgia Region, a father/son final hour brace. I'm not doing the research, but there is a possibility it might be the first in NSTRA. Johnny Murdock and Bo and Ed Murdock and Sugar took to the fields and didn't show any mercy, at all. In the end, youth had a slight advantage as JOHNNY MURDOCK and BO earned the title of Georgia Region Champion!  Second was Ed Murdock and Sugar, Third - Jeffery Keck and Tripp (the 2011 and 2012 Champion), Fourth- Ricky Gunnyon and Smoke!  Corey Perdue planted birds, Wesley Downs (Alabama) and Gary (TN) judged. Thank you all for making this possible!

Johnny Murdock and BO

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waiting for Ruby

Flyboy's Ruby Deux (Ruby)

NSTRA CH Julia's Flyboy Ace (Ace)
I am waiting patiently for Ms. Ruby to come in to season. We are excited around here for the breeding of my Ace dog to Ruby. I'm hoping it will be within the next two weeks. That would put a litter on the ground around 1 June. That would put a 6 month old bird- finding, fire- breathing, brush-busting, eager, happy, obedient Brittany in the field in December. Can't wait!! I'd take 10 more Caps if I could. And this cross will be very close to the last one, since Ruby is a half-sister to Cap's momma.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Gunstock Work! They're here......

20 ga. Ansley H. Fox (top)
16 ga. Ansley H. Fox (bottom)
In a past post, I discussed getting my older guns' stocks repaired.  After long discussions with others in my same predicament, on the Bird Dog and Fly Fishing Facebook group and others, I settled on a long established gunstock maker in Warsaw, MO.  Macon Gunstocks was only a little out of my way on my trip to South Dakota and points West last October.  So, I dropped in and had a tour of the facility and met some of the people.  I was impressed, not only with the quality of the work, but with the knowledge of the owner and his employees.  The amazing inventory of stock blanks, the gorgeous wood blocks from England, Europe and California, the highly technical machines and just the over all attitude of the place- I liked it all. 
Perfect fit.
I left my two oldest and most expensive guns with them, after taking about 3 hours of their time as they explained everything anyone would want to know about gunstocks, etc.  The conversation was only limited by my ability to ask the question. The finished product came yesterday.  It was like Christmas! You can see by the pictures, they did an outstanding job. They measured me for the stock size and now I have, for the first time in my life, a stock that fits ME.  My shooting will probably fall apart now!
Checkering on the Fore-end
To be completely transparent, the wood used on both guns is upgraded. The Walnut blanks that come with the quote on the website is beautiful enough.  But, when he mentioned that these guns may deserve some special wood, my ears perked up (and my wallet opened up!). I may have this backwards, but the darker wood is English Walnut and the lighter one on the 16 ga. is European Walnut.  He brought the blocks out and rubbed some oil on them and the wood just came alive- almost a 3D effect on the lighter one! I thought, "I don't golf, drink a whole lot, chase women or gamble. Why not spend a little extra and get exactly what I want?  Besides, the kids don't need spoiling anymore and the Ball and Chain can start driving my sharp-looking, bondo-colored 1989 F-150."  "Sure," I said, "let's put some nice wood on these old things!"  I think the price of the wood may have been an extra $500/gun.  (I know one of the blocks had $650 written on it, but I didn't pay that. Perhaps because I was doing both guns, etc.)
They told me six months.  They beat that by a month and I'm tickled to death with the result.  These are oil finishes- not the high gloss finish you normally see. I asked for  that, along with the extra checkering and different butt plate.  I encourage you to give them a look at:  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Looking for a pocket holster?

Do you carry a concealed weapon?  In Georgia, my home state, it is legal to carry a concealed weapon, with a permit.  Of course, our autos are considered an extension of our homes and it is also permitted to carry a weapon there without a permit. 

I do, in fact, "carry".  Not all the time and not every place, and some places such as churches and government buildings, it is not permitted (I can only suppose that is so that we don't start shooting lawyers).  All the political arguments aside, there are some practical considerations involved when you decide to place a concealed weapon on your body.  First, it must be accessible. Second, it must be concealed (duh!). Third, it must be comfortable.

For me, a pocket carry is just fine, either my clothing or jacket, etc.  I looked around and found several cheap designs and tried them, but they all came up short.  Either they would wear out quickly, slide around in my pocket, or cause difficulty in getting the firearm out of the pocket.  None of these is desirable.

Mikas Holster and my .38 Smith and Wesson
A friend introduced me to "Mikas Pocket Holsters"- seen here.   Robert Mikas, in Wisconsin, hand makes every holster (he even signs and dates the interior). Shown above is my .38 Smith Airweight.  When you order, he gets the make, model, frame, etc. from you so he can match the holster to the gun. Don't worry, if he has any questions, he will call you and make sure he understands before he makes the holster, so ensure your contact information is correct. 

Interior showing autograph and smooth leather

After wearing the holster several days, I appreciate the way it is stable in the pocket and, if the gun is drawn, the gun comes out and the holster does not.  Robert told me the holster is manufactured such that it is also easy to get the gun BACK IN the holster- not a feature on most pocket holsters.
All in all, I do like the holster.  The cost is moderate, under $30 and I think the quality is excellent.  Occasionally,  I leave the gun in my locked vehicle, and it would be nice if there were a removable strap to secure the gun while not on the body.  I'm sure he could make one, if asked.
The website is:  I encourage you to go and browse.  He makes many different types of holsters and other items as well! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Working on the Video

Click HERE to see a video of my last hunt.

I've been working on producing short videos of hunts.  Mainly, I do this to attempt to involve the Gen X and Y'ers and, perhaps, interest them in the videos and hunting.  Here is my latest effort.

Click HERE to see a video of my last hunt.

Monday, March 4, 2013

NSTRA Field Trialing and the End of the Season

NSTRA CH Julia's Flyboy Ace (Ace)

Flyboy Aces Delta Captain (Cap)

Flyboy's Ruby Deux (Ruby)

This is a great time of year.  After messing with the dogs for 6 mos., getting them ready to travel all over the country, then getting them prepped to field trial, I can see the end is in sight.  The weather is warming, the daffodils are up and the Forsythia is as yellow as it's ever been. We finished the last regular trial of the year, this past weekend, and the dogs did very well.  Ruby ran the second brace and was leading until the last few braces, when she was bumped to second.  Cap was in the running the entire trial, but came up just short, although it was not through lack of effort. The Georgia Championships are just around the corner, March 16,17 in Ball Ground, GA at Gold and Grass Farm.  I will do everything I can to get these guys ready.  Usually, around this time, Ruby will come in season and will need to be pulled from the Region Trial.  I'm hoping this year that does not happen.  At any rate, this year I will breed Ruby and Ace for a litter.  Since Ruby is the half-sister to Bea, Cap's mother, I'm hoping for another good cross.  I would take ten Caps, any day!   It is a rare dog that can hunt well and win trials, as well.  I have three of them and I'm not complaining.

Ruby and Cap are shown with a few of their placement trophies for the past two months.  Ruby is missing her first and third place trophy from a few weeks ago, but this shows they are doing well.

The breeding should take place within the next month and then pups 60 days after that. I, of course, will keep my pick and we have a few more fellows in line.  Ah, the smell of puppy breath!