Friday, September 4, 2015

Time for birds - at last

Dove season, for me, is always the beginning of Fall and bird hunting. Never mind that it is still Summer. 

For a number of years now, Pete Houser has been kind enough to invite me to Southern California for the opening of dove season. This year, as usual, we went out scouting birds on August 31st to check the known hot spots and look for new opportunities. We found enough birds in residence and a new spot or two so we were satisfied that we were ready for the opener the following day. After an excellent brunch at a Mexican restaurant in El Centro we went out for some pre-season shooting - at pigeons and Eurasian Collared Doves. We had a great time for a couple of hours and burned a box or two of ammunition while downing some birds for the freezer.

For whatever reason there were a lot fewer hunters this opener than the past several. And, unlike many past seasons, we found more White Wing Doves than Mourning Doves. We also found that, unlike past seasons, Eurasian Collared Doves were very widely distributed rather than concentrated in a few small areas near towns and feedlot operations. In fact, The Eurasian Collared Doves were as abundant as White Wing Doves and far out numbered Mourning Doves.

Eurasian Collared Doves do not count towards the dove limit in California.  Accordingly, we call them "Zeroes". Due to the abundance of Zeroes we made a relatively large bag in the first two days - over 100 birds and within the 15 bird White Wing/Mourning dove limits for each day. A great shoot and a great time.

White Wing, Eurasian Collared, and Mourning doves with my 20 gauge Charles Daly. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer doldrums

It has been a tough Summer for a couple of reasons that I don't want to discuss here. But a note of encouragement arrived with a call from John McIltrot, who said that Andy is doing very well - he is becoming a reliable bird finder and a solid bird handler. Photo by John shows Andy (facing the camera) and pointing a bird.

'Little John' Is running all over the prairie and rippin' birds in the best approved puppy style.

I am headed to Montana at the end of the week and will have some fun at John's camp, then head over to Paul Garrett's camp. 

Bird season is comin' and I am starting to feel renewed sense of purpose. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

News from the North

John McIltrot (Seranoa Kennels) sent along some photos of the stud fee pup from Cody's breeding to Paul Garrett's Crockett's Deep Freeze daughter. We're calling him 'Little John'. He says that he likes the pup and the pup is calm and collected - interested in pigeons, points. He is six months old.. looks like he will have some size on him. Thanks, John.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Some good news

Just heard from Sheldon Twer - Cody won runner up CH at the Pacific Coast AA Championship today. There was some strong competition. It's been a while coming. Thanks to Sheldon Twer and everyone who had a hand in developing Cody.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Another beginning

Last Fall when I was visiting Paul Garrett's dog camp in Montana, we bred my Cody to Paul's Holly (a daughter of Crockett's Deep Freeze). We were rewarded with some likely looking pups. Here's my stud fee puppy, a male who I'm calling JR.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Maggie matures

Maggie has clearly transitioned this year from eager young pup to proficient bird dog.  She has pointed sharps in Montana, chukar in Utah and Nevada, and quail in Arizona, all without any breach of manners (well, maybe once ). I'm very pleased with that progress.

One oddity: she has the most relaxed point of any bird dog I have ever encountered.  As I approach a point she seems to be smiling, relaxed, watching me come closer, tail high but waving.  No bug eyed, every muscle tense, classic pose.  As I get close she will stiffen just a bit, particularly if I raise a hand to caution her to be staunch.  I've about decided that I don't care.  We don't compete in trials, and we kill plenty of birds, and we both are having great fun.   Seems like enough.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Willys for my bird dogs

I have, for many years, been the owner of a 1947 Willys CJ2A. I bought it in the late 90s to haul dogs on bird hunts and to take with me on occasional big game hunts. 

On an elk hunt on Day Ridge, Oregon
Inevitably, one day it 'failed to proceed'. I thought it was the fuel pump, but found a new replacement didn't help. Decided it was dirt (or rust) in the fuel lines or perhaps a bad carburetor. SO pulled the fuel lines and carb and sent it to be rebuilt… parked the Jeep and covered it with a tarp and got busy with other stuff. A few years later I got back to trying to repair the old buggy. By this time there were still more problems. It wouldn't turn over.  Pulled the head… had a piston frozen in the block. 

Now the fun began. Looking it over, I decided that it needed some serious attention and I began dismantling it to find and cure all the ills. In short order I was involved in a frame up restoration. Stripped it down and examined all components to see what could be used, fixed, or needed to be replaced. That was over a year ago. Now the old Willys has a newly rebuilt engine, transmission, transfer case, axles (with a full floating rear end with locking hubs), new brake system, new suspension, tie rod ends, and a rebuilt steering box. I am toiling to get the body repairs (read fixing the rust) done. This is what I am hoping to get to - a funky, but fully functioning, flat fender Willys classic…