Sunday, October 7, 2007

four for four

We just got back from the Flaherty Field Trial Area in East Windsor, CT, after another weekend of hunt testing with His Senior Majesty, The Mominator, soon-to-be-crowned Widdershins Momchil JH!!

The first cheesey pic says it all. One proud dad with his quail-finding machine. I wonder if he has been so good with the bobwhites because they were the birds he was initially trained on. In any case, he rocked.

Saturday's synopsis: Flaherty is pretty easy to find once you extricate yourself from New Yorkers fleeing the city on the Friday afternoon of Columbus Day weekend. What was a 2hr drive home on Sunday was a 3.5hr drive getting there. We stayed at the Comfort Inn, in part because our friends that we met in Falmouth, Rich + Adrian + Ella, were staying there, in part because they have a clearly stated pet policy, and because as members of the Ruffed Grouse Society we get a deeper rate discount there. Was very pleasantly surprised.

But on to the day: it was hot and sticky! And there were close to 50dogs running Junior Hunter! We were lucky to get an earlier brace that went out around 10:00am. It was still overcast, although the humidity broke while we were out coming down into the high 60s%, and the temperature rose up through 70degsF -- the air was still. Again, I'll take some credit for steering Momo in vaguely the right directions based on the few puffs of breeze we had seen -- but for the first half of the test we saw nothing. And then he hit the motherlode. And unlike the trial down in Falmouth, the birds would fly when harassed. I would guess that a lot of dogs who weren't sure in their points were busting birds or barely flash-pointing. He had five points in as many minutes. And he looked great.

Thanks for the reminder, Stephanie, to wipe and wet your Vizsla's eyes and nose on hot days like this before heading out for a hunt.

By the time Rich went out with Ella, the humidity was about the same, but the temperature had climbed through 80degsF and there was now scattered cloud cover... which meant that any bird not in the shade was either a) eager to move or b) had had their scent burned off in the heat meaning that dogs wouldn't find them till possibly too late. Ella had three nice points to start, but all on dead birds that hadn't been picked up. And then, for any number of possible reasons, she wouldn't hold firm. It was sad to see her locate birds well but then bust through them.

One of those possible reasons might be 9weeks old and sickeningly cute. Rich and Adrian have been bitten by the bug and added Khumbu to their family a week ago. Having picked up Ella at 12weeks old (already crate-trained and sleeping through the night), taking in Khumbu at 8weeks old has added a whole new level of Vizsla to their lives! Congratulations, Rich and Adrian! He's a handsome devil. We gave him a chukar wing as a present.

Sunday: Rich and I got up early and got to the field around 6:30am to see if we could give Ella a tune-up. Things looked a little desperate as she busted a big covey of around a dozen and then proceeded to chase like a maniac. Again, she probably just needed to get her ya-yas out. We managed to find a couple of birds, including one that was too tired to fly, that we were able to get her on a check-cord and keep her staunch while Rich flushed. In any case, we were able to end our early morning romp on a high-note.

Rich had drawn an earlier brace for Sunday and it looked a lot more merciful that Sunday for weather. The temperature was around 65degsF, the humidity was about the same as it had been for us the day before, it was fairly overcast, but there was a nice cooling breeze from the north. Ella looked like a hunter and while it took till the last few minutes for her to get a nice point in (largely because her bracemate had been taken far away to avoid busting all the birds in the neighborhood), she got that point in, held beautifully and was eager for more when her dad fired the shot. Bravo!

We had drawn a later brace for about 1:00pm: the temperature had broken 70degsF, the sun was out, and the humidity had dropped off into the mid50s%, but the breeze was still playing nicely from the north. I did have a game plan for where I wanted to set Momo up in the birdfield -- and he was all business on the way out, not interested at all in playing with his bracemate, a very handsome, rugged Weimaraner named Wyatt. Kudos to Wyatt nevertheless: the couple of times I was able to look over and see him point, he looked stunning.

Speaking of stunning: here are the boys waiting for something more exciting to happen. Our wee monster, a.k.a. The Evil Genius, is now 34.7lbs and has almost figured out how to get his leash off the hitch on the back of our truck.

And back to the action: once we got in the field Momo threw a nice point, but it must have been for a freshly moved bird. But within two minutes, he just started to throw beautiful, intense shapes. In probably half of the six or so birds he found, I couldn't see the bird and so asked him to relocate to help me out. Not a bird busted despite our proximity. And he did not want to stop.

Both judges on both days asked if he was going to do his Senior Hunter; Sunday's judge also said that he didn't get to see enough of Momo, meaning that he just loved to watch him work. Some of the intricacies of JH scoring are here. Suffice to say, that the minimum passing score is a 28 (for an average of 7 ex 10), and the maximum a 40. Momo scored 37.5 on Saturday and 39 on Sunday! The only point he didn't get was for 'Hunting': Momo is not an extrovert hunter which is fine with me. I'm a proud pop.


dave said...

I don't really understand much of the technical jargon, and I also think that some of this sounds unfair for the birds, but nevertheless: congratulations to Momo. I'm glad the weekend was a success.

Andrew Campbell said...

Thanks, Dave. The only comment I can really make in response about unfairness to birds is that, unlike in a genuine hunting scenario, birds have to be in the bird-field for the test to take place(so they are planted) -- and so in that regard, it's not quite as sporting.