Saturday, March 8, 2008

Janie's Version of Field Trialing

I thought I would take the time to explain a field trial to you.

Preparation: (this week, without MLH).
1) Load collapsible cage into Yukon.
2) Load guns, shooting bag, vest, collars, leashes, dog bowls, water, shells into Yukon.
3) Corral dogs, who by now are visiting every house in the neighborhood.
4) Load them into said cage. Zack self loads. Zoie acts like a girl and needs a little help...she is almost as big as Zack. (She's plenty able to self load.)

Then, I drive to the field trial site, which is about 30 miles away, in the country. Way in the country. And. It. Is. Still. Very. Cold. The wind is blowing about 30 mph. Gonna be fun.

I get lost. Have to call my partner. Then I get lost, again. Have to call back one more time for clarification. Ten minutes later, I find the field. I get there, and find the field is filled with stickers. I have no dog boots. So, I have to borrow duct tape, and make boots for Zack. Zack is so excited, I have to get help to control him while I put the boots on. (Zoie is howling loudly, “Please, let me out of this cage. I can too hunt! I’m big enough now!”)

It’s time to go. We have to get into the “blind” so we can’t see where the birds are being planted. Birds are ready, they release us. I have to loop the leash around Zack’s belly to control him, he is so excited and ready to go. We go to the edge of the field, and I take Zack’s leash off. I load my gun, and signal my partner. We’re running doubles, double dogs, and both shooting. And, we’re off.

Zack and I go left, my partner and his dog, Ram, who happens to be Zack’s litter mate, go right. The hunt is on. It's a timed, judges walking with you observing your every move, twenty-five minutes of hard hunting in major tough terrain, complete with mega-stickers, making sure your dog doesn’t get overheated, trying to find 6 birds, shoot them, and bag them, and go again. In huge wind, and very dry conditions. It was a hard day. The terrain was very rough, very sandy, and hard to traverse, especially in a fast walk. I was exhausted, and Zack was, as well.

Zack worked like a dream…he is such an amazing dog. We didn’t place, but Zack and I both got a good workout and he is a happy, tired dog. It was fun hunting with Zack and Ram. And we’ll get better at this. I’m improving at simultaneously handling my gun, my dog, my whistle, and my commands, all the while staying within the field boundaries. If I did it every day, I’d be a skinny minnie! It’s hard, hard work.

And now, you know a little more about field trials! I’m heading over to the Ugly Dog Hunting website and order the ZZ crew some boots. We’ll be better tricked out for the next round!


Gwynne said...

So Zack didn't mind hunting with duct tape on his feet? Wow. I just know our dogs would have sat right down and chewed until it was off! Sounds like a great time!

Janie said...

He danced around a little, while he was in my partner's pickup bed, but as soon as he hit the ground, he no longer cared. It was funny, the transformation.

And, it worked, pretty well!

Snooty Primadona said...

It's apparent to me right off, that you & I should never go anywhere together, LOL! We'd end up dangling off a cliff where we'd have taken a wrong turn somewhere.

Anyway, good for you & Zack! I was exhausted just reading about it. What did poor Zoie do all the while... stay in the cage all by her little lonesome? Just another reason I'm a cat person... I can't discipline.

Janie said...

Aw, come on, Snooty...are you saying i have a bad sense of direction?

Actually, when Zack and i ran, I let Zoie out of the crate and had her tied to my tailgate so she could watch. It's a soft way to expose her to gunfire. And believe me, there is not one thing poor about Zoie-monga. Matter of fact, the guys told me she was overweight.

The nerve!:)

thisisme said...

Wow - sounds exhausting but fun. Thanks for the explanation too - now I actually understand what you are doing.

Pam said...

It is a good thing I wasn't there to "help" navigate...I am notoriously directionally challenged, much to the bearded one's chagrin. He just doesn't get it, and I can't explain it to him...I have no internal compass when I get out of my usual baliwick.

Thanks for explaining the field trial procedure...I do hope you got pics of Zackster with his duct tape boots.

Poor Zoie, everyone's picking on her...when she gets a chance to hunt she'll slim right down, right?

Janie said...

Thisisme - you got it, girl...exhausting, but fun. Really, it is.

Pam - you kind of watched it, the last time you were here, but not really a timed event. And yes, I'm sure Zoie will slim down once she starts hunting. (Who knows, I might, too!)

Karen said...

The nerve of those guys talking about Zoie's girlish figure. And, about the boots? I think she needs pink pair, hot pink instead of hunter orange!

Avery Gray said...

I've never been hunting, but I've always wanted to go! My husband says it's not much fun, but if it's not, I'd like to know why so many people do it as a hobby.

We used to have a yellow lab that would point when he saw a bird. We gave him to my father-in-law when we had our son, and he trained him to hunt with him. I guess he's a natural at bird hunting, and he loves it!

Good for the dog, good for the owner--that's a win-win if I ever heard one. Glad you are enjoying it!

Janie said...

Karen - I think Zoie would look good in pink!

Avery - your hubby is holding out on you. Hunting is fun! And half of it is just being out in the fresh air, no phones, etc. Give it a try!!Thanks for stopping by. Your video rocks.

Sandy Kessler said...

and Zoie what is she doing all thi s time????