Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend Training: A little good, a little bad...

The second weekend of turkey season dawned wet, cold and miserable. And call me a seasonal pansy if you must, but I don't do wet, cold and miserable during spring turkey season. So I didn't. As a  result, I remain turkeyless, despite the tom currently gobbling in my back yard, who is very close to getting a BB in the ass if he continues destroying my grass...

In truth, I would have gone hunting anyway, but an inch of rain makes the county road ("road" is a charitable description) to my private ground essentially impassable (we're pushing two inches and counting) and I have a hard and fast rule about avoiding public ground the first two weekends of the season.

I did, however, manage a little training. Recently Tess and I have been revisiting some basics, like prompt whistle sits, steadiness to shot and and "No, gawddammit! Over!"

But I wanted to get her on some long marks and work on water blinds, so I loaded up the stuff and went to a local city pond that truth be told sucks for training, but when you live in an arid area largely devoid of surface water, you take your training grounds where you can get them.

Here's Tess waiting to be released on a simple fifty-yard or so water mark. But she has to bust through a really thick tangle of reeds and willows to reach the pond. And she doesn't know it, but on her right there's a bumper about 150 yards down the clearing. I'm wanting to start stretching out her blinds in cover and I'm hoping easy no-cover longer blinds like this will give her more confidence when I send her on a blind in thick cover.

Easy mark, straight in and straight out, but she does have to climb through some pretty gnarly brush...

And she lines the blind no problem...

But then here's where things start going wrong. I had thrown a bumper parallel to the shoreline hoping it'd drift into the reeds so I could send Tess on a water blind (Tess is crated while I'm planting these bumpers). But of course it snagged on a branch before drifting into the reeds and Tess saw it immediately when I brought her up.

It's only forty yards or so (because there are people fishing on the other side of that little point, people fishing on the other side of me and people fishing across the pond. So much for long water blinds...)

Not the most challenging blind in the world...

We then moved on to some loooong marks in cover. Or so I thought. Mistake number one: make sure your Bumper Boy (which is this thing right here...) charged before you go train. Otherwise when you press the button you'll get a "quack, quack" and no boom, which makes you look really stupid in front of your dog...At three hundred yards the unit had enough juice to make the duck sound, but apparently not enough to trip the little servo that fires the .22 blank that launches the bumper. So we moved up to about 250. "Quack, quack." Nothing. So we moved up to 200. "Quack, quack." Nothing. So we moved up to 150. "Quack, quack." And then, finally, a boom.

And Tess pinned it...

Good girl! You're a good dog, even if your master's something of an idiot.


  1. Well, you definitely got some nice photos for your efforts. Love the last one and the one of her running toward the camera with the bumper.

  2. Looks like a good session to me- you always know that one of you will have fun.