Sunday, December 30, 2007

final hurrah of the season...

With the regular pheasant season winding down tomorrow and Their Majesties headed off to training camp on Wednesday, I figured it was a suitable occasion to meet up with Bob and Belle and get the boys out on some birds.

Tom Mackin's a good friend of a good friend, so we decided to check out the TMT Preserve up in Staatsburg. Tom also has a sporting clays course on his land which he operates when bird-season is all done -- and being old-school, the clays are all hand-thrown by a trapper who walks the course with each group of shooters. We got a good view of a lot of the terrain and that course should be a cracker.

While I waited for Bob to get there, I shot the breeze with Tom... a good egg who used to raise and train Springer spaniels, but one of whose first dogs was actually a Vizsla. But now, when a group of clients needs a dog, he calls in friends to guide. And I overheard that the other group's guide was to be a guy named Danny Cordero... and as soon as I saw Danny I knew I recognized him. Danny was one of the judges at the second set of hunt tests we took Momo to down at Flaherty Field in CT. While he didn't judge Momo, he was one of the two judges who politely removed the crazy dog that Rich and Adrian's Ella was braced with for her Sunday run allowing her to show what she was capable of. He brought his Brittany, Roscoe -- and it would have been fun to watch him hunt that dog.

Bob and I both liked TMT, if for no other reason than the terrain was a nice mixture of hardwoods, taller grasses (now flatter after the snow), swamp, and the occasional conifer or two. Not quite as beefy stalking as at Fullflight, but more challenging than Wing Pointe. We had asked for a mixed bag of pheasant and chukar... and the chukar were chukar... run, hop, fly... but his pheasant were beautiful. Big, flighty birds. Tom keep his birds in some big flight pens out back and you could tell. Jozsi got a beautiful point on a cockbird which corkscrewed around a pine and then took off. For miles. We abandoned hope of finding it again. But after needing an initial 'tuning,' Jozsi looked like a million dollars during his run. He's young and loves birds -- and so getting him to 'whoa' while you walk in and flush the bird is our work-in-progress. But as this picture shows, his first two points and 'whoas' were beautiful.

But here are a couple of pictorial highlights courtesy of Bob. (I was a little busy trying not to shoot like Roy Orbison with my 'new' 20ga side-by-side.) This one here is Momo backing Belle's point on a hen pheasant. Momo has really internalised this part of his style-manual -- in part it's his slightly deferential personality, but as you can see, he knows exactly what's going on.

The final pic is of His Junior Majesty looking like he's set to wrestle any bird, any time. We watch him stretch at home and just look at the muscles in his hind legs pop out like he's a track-sprinter. He really is looking like he's going to be a firecracker.

Thanks for the pictures and the company, Bob!

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