Monday, December 6, 2010

NAFA Meet / Amarillo, TX 2010

Had a great trip as usual out west to hawk with friends. Started out at the NAFA meet in Dodge City, KS and stayed there until after the board meeting Tuesday night. We headed out first thing Wednesday morning for Amarillo. The usual crowd was in attendance at Jimmy & Karen Walker's, Matt Mullenix, Brian Millsap and daughter Katie, Matt Reidy and this year Chris Lynn joined us with his girlfriend Steff. Here's a video of the weekend.

NAFA Meet / Amarillo TX 2010 from Eric Edwards on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Claire, 5 months

Claire is 5 months old now and last week we joined a great dog training club. The Central Florida Field Trialers club is in Lake Wales, FL and is 500 acres of dog playground. They have big flight pens with 1,000 quail for training and shooting. Ponds for retriever training, shooting ranges, RV sites with hook-ups and a club house.

Here's a video of Claire at the club. You can't see some of the points because she's behind a bush here and there and the quail also moved around on her a bit. But she's doing great and learning the ways of the wily quail.

Friday, August 6, 2010

More Quail

Claire is still doing great on the planted quail and very soon I'll be taking her out to a dog training club near Lake Kissimmee where they have a pen of really good quality Bob Whites for training.

Dog Park

Since Duncan's passing, Claire hasn't had any furry friends to play with so we thought she would do well with some socialization. So, we joined a private dog park. She was VERY nervous of the larger dogs at first, there were 2 mix breed dogs there the first day. And the followign days there were several labs, a large bully of a german shepherd the enjoys pinning her to the ground, a boxer that she loves playing with and a few other odd dogs.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Claire's Introduction to Quail

Last weekend Claire met her first few planted quail. She did great. I put a bird out in the field and hooked Claire up to a check cord to keep her from being able to catch the bird. We started 100 yards down wind and started working towards the bird.

Claire was bouncing around, mostly playing in the field as we worked towards the new smell. The instant she picked up the scent her attitude changed, for the first time she turned into a hunting dog. She first held her nose high in the air and then hugged the ground searching for the source. When she got close she locked up on point for several seconds and eventually flushed out the bird.

Here's a short video we shot of her second quail.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Pup

A few weeks ago we learned that our chocolate lab Duncan has cancer. We discovered this after he nearly bled to death after a tumor ruptured in his spleen. His spleen was removed and biopsied and it wasn't good news.

He's undergoing chemotheropy now, but even with that his prognosis is 6 - 12 months. So we thought it was time for a new pup.

Claire, our new chocolate lab arrived on Sunday and has been loads of fun. She is a Pointing Lab just like Duncan, she was the pick of the litter female and both of her parents hold 2 Grand Master Pointing Retriever titles. Claire's mother has the same father as Duncan, Grand Master Pointing Retriever "Cajun of Black Forest". In all, there are at least 5 GMPR titled dogs in her pedigree. It should be a fun summer getting her ready for snipe fields.

Monday, February 22, 2010

End of Season

Snipe season has come to an end and birds have been tough to find so I hung up my glove for the season. But, what a season it was. My good friend Joel Volpi, from GA, joined me for the last few hunts and as usual Doc flew great.
Doc caught his first snipe on Dec 6th and in the following 50 hunts he went on to take 32 head of game, including: 24 snipe, 2 doves, 1 Bob White quail and 5 Misc birds.

I'm looking forward to a speedy molt and another great season.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Amazing Hunt

The weather was cold, the skies were clear and the wind was calm, the forecast called for pain. Doc flies at his best in these conditions, and this hunt was no exception. Doc left the fist and rang up in small circles, following the dog and I out into the field. When we were 100 yards out from the truck Doc was up 500' and waiting patiently. There was a slight breeze and Doc was staying just up wind of us, when he circled he was come right over head and then circle back upwind and come right over again. I saw Duncan begin to get very birdy and looked up to see where Doc was, he had just begun to swing away from us when a snipe flushed out of the cover.

Doc immediately folded up and 100 yards out, just before impact the snipe slammed into high cover and Doc pitched up. Duncan and I made our way to the spot while Doc rang back up. he was 200' when the snipe reflushed and this time he followed it into cover fast and hard. He missed the snipe and they were both on the wing. The snipe got a good jump on him coming off the ground but Doc tried to make up the distance. He chased the snipe up 300' and eventually gave up chase after a few minutes.

Doc headed back toward us while we made our way back to the the spot we flushed the first snipe. We worked the area again with Doc 500' overhead and soon flushed another snipe. It headed to a saw grass pond with head high grass and shin deep water. Doc stooped but the snipe made it to the pond. Not to let another get away Duncan and I headed into the pond to find the snipe. Doc circled overhead and we soon reflushed the snipe. It headed out of the pond but swung around trying to come back to safety when Doc struck the snipe with a loud thump. He knocked the snipe back into the pond and I found it floating in the water. I picked up the snipe and looked up to see Doc climbing again.

When I got out of the pond Doc was 300' up and climbing so we headed out to find another snipe. After 5 minutes of looking for birds I was running out of field and started to tie a piece of meet to my lure to call Doc down. Duncan swung around towards a patch of tall grass and flushed out a small covey of quail. Doc was now 500' up and straight overhead. He came sizzling down and plucked a quail out of the air 50 yards out and 30' up. Doc set his wings and glided to a high patch of ground.

I've caught a few quail with my merlins but this is the first one with a big falcon. I never find them in hawkable situations here. One snipe and one quail, not a bad day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snipe 2-6-10

Isaac Nichols, a falconer from Colorado was in Florida for a week of training. He rented a car to come over and see Doc fly and he was not disappointed.

We flushed a snipe while driving in the field and parked 50 yards from the spot it landed. Doc took a nice 500' pitch and we headed in to flush. We over shot the mark and we ran around in the wrong spot for several minutes. We lost sight of Doc and finally had to stop and search the sky. While we were looking for the snipe Doc was climbing, he was WAY up and directly overhead.

On a hunch I moved back towards the truck and kicked up the snipe. Doc came sizzling down and the snipe bailed into a small patch of cover with Doc right behind. The snipe flew out and the chase was on. Doc put it back in a few hundred yards away.

Doc mounted back up over the spot while we ran to flush. He was a few hundred feet up and we reflushed the snipe. With a thump, Doc claimed snipe #21.

Now for a little Fishing

The shad run beginning on the Saint John's river. A few weeks ago we gave it a try and came up empty handed (a little too early). But last Monday Diana and I headed over and I hooked 8 shad and landed 6 nice fish. I also caught 3 nice size Speckled Trout.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Winding Down

I fear the season is near the end. I'm having a tough time finding snipe and Doc has given up on me a few times and flown off to chase distant birds (successfully one time).

Doc did fly great today he waited on patiently and nice and high and eventually caught a miscellaneous bird that we flushed while walking through the field.

Last weekend Mike Dupuy was visiting for the weekend, we had a great time and Mike got to see Doc and Bubba fly. We flew in a very stiff wind (close to 15mph) that I probably wouldn't have flown in if Mike wasn't down.

In typical fashion I had a minor screw-up while gabbing with Mike. I had my yearly telemetry malfunction (I didn't turn it on). Naturally, Doc saw something downwind and we lost sight of him chasing a flock of blackbirds. This is when I realized that my telemetry wasn't on. But luckily we drove down and he flew right in and landed on the lure.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Weekend Hawking Clips

The birds flew good this weekend. Here's a video with some clips of Doc's flights.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Rainy Day Snipe

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain on the roof, it was 36 degrees outside, raining and windy. Under normal circumstances I would have rolled over and went back to bed. But a falconry friend, Jonathan Millican, was in town for the weekend before being shipped out with the Marines for a 6 month deployment. So, I drug myself out of bed and headed out.

I wasn’t expecting much under the conditions but as usual Doc exceeded expectations. I launched Doc in a light drizzle of cold rain and when he was only 50’ up something caught his attention downwind and he was on an obvious mission towards something. Several hundred yards out he pitched up and circled over a spot in the field. He started making his way back to us and I saw a Harrier get up from where he flew to. Not sure what that was all about but he was now ringing up and heading back.

He was half way back to us and 200’ up when he went into a stoop back in the direction of the harrier. I heard the call of Greater Yellowlegs and saw that Doc was after one flying low. The Yellowlegs headed to the ground and Doc was strafing him in the field and the Harrier was flying toward the scene. Jonathan and I were running to the spot when I saw Doc start flying back towards us and Jonathan saw a Yellowlegs flying away. I don’t know what exactly was going on but we headed back to the snipe field.

When we got back to the snipe spot Doc was back up high but slightly downwind when the first snipe flushed. Naturally, the snipe flushed straight into the stiff wind but Doc was folded up and falling fast. They were 200 yards out when Doc closed the gap and the snipe bailed into cover. Doc pitched back up and I decided not to run all the way over for the reflush. I wasn’t able to mark the spot and the odds of finding it again were slim.

Doc remounted back up to 500’ and was waiting on tight, right overhead. When the next snipe flushed I looked up and Doc was already folded up tight and dropping straight down. His tactic looked like he was falling straight down to build speed then at 100’ he leveled out towards the snipe. He was closing fast and when he was only a few feet from impact the snipe bailed with Doc right behind. The snipe jumped back up and Doc flew him down again. The snipe bailed into cover under a palm tree and Doc was right behind again. He missed it again on the ground and the two were back on the wing. The snipe went to the ground a final time and Doc claimed his meal.

Under adverse conditions, Doc again exceeded expectations and put on quite a show.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

First Double

All season Doc has been putting on quite a show and we’ve had a lot of good flights with a few great one’s mixed in. Today was one of the GREAT ones.

It was 29 degrees according to the truck thermometer when I pulled into the field. The sky was blue and there was very little wind. Doc was quick to leave the fist and quick to get up to 500’ and then on up to 1,000’.

We were hunting a depression in the field where there is a “u” shaped pond that’s only about 30’ across at its widest and it's about 50 yards long. The inside of the “u” is muddy and holds snipe. The first snipe flushed across the water and Doc put it into cover and headed in after it. He missed it on the ground and I ran around to try to reflush it. The snipe put in to a thick briar patch that I kicked around the edge but didn’t find the snipe.

I ran, with the dog, back to the muddy area as Doc went back up to 1,000’. We soon flushed another snipe that took out across the field and Doc was folded up. The snipe was over 100 yards out when he was about to crush it, and the snipe bailed into cover. By the time we got there Doc was ringing back up. I wasn’t quite sure where the snipe was, I wasn’t able to mark the spot he put it in. We kicked around a few minutes and then headed back to look for more.

When I got back to the snipe spot I looked around for Doc and couldn’t find him in the sky. I pulled my sunglasses up to see if that helped and I finally saw a small flickering of wings straight up, right over head, I don’t know how high he was but he was WAY up there.

The next snipe flushed across the muddy area and across the water and turned left along the bank. Doc came sizzling down and chased the snipe into a tall patch of grass. The snipe jumped up and Doc was right on his tail. They both flew toward us along the bank of the pond. Doc grabbed it right as it was landing in the water and they both settled down in the pond. Doc let go of the snipe and flew a few feet over to a patch of lilly pads, leaving the snipe floating in the pond. As I waded in to the snipe Doc took to the air again, pretty wet. I picked up the snipe and put it in my bag. I was waist deep and it was 29 outside.

I was very cold and could barely feel my legs but when I looked up Doc was 500’ and still climbing. So, like a good flushing monkey I started to run to the other side of the pond, back to the muddy area. On the way we flushed another snipe and Doc pounded it to the ground 100 yards out. The then fluttered down and claimed his well deserved meal. Snipe #14 and #15 for the season.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Old Man

My German Short-Haired Pointer, "Flea", will be 18 years old in June. Hard to believe how long he's been around. He's seen a lot and been all over the country with us. He gets a little cold in the winter so we bought him this very stylish hoodie.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Snipe Hunt 12-29-09

Another video of Doc chasing and catching snipe.