Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good Birds! (Well Behaved Anyway)

I held back 4 late arrivals from this weekend's race.  Did very nicely!  My best score sheet EVER!  With a 3rd place diploma winner (my highest ever!), I was very happy.  This weekends race is a bit further so I am taking the remaining 22 young birds out today and Friday for a 42 mile conditioning drop.  The sun sure comes up late now.

The drop is exactly an hours drive for me.  I stopped about 30 minutes before the drop at the last (good) gas station and filled up and went inside to get coffee.  I came back and drove the remaining 30 minutes then opened the back hatch of the van to find that one of my baskets was not latched on one side and two birds were out!  I stared at them and they stared at me.  They seemed to be thinking, as I was, "This isn't right!"  Thank goodness they stayed on the blanket I put down!  I decided to just do what i always do - set the baskets down and let them settle a bit before the release while I eat my breakfast.  So I did.  The two loose birds just ambled back toward the opening and stayed there (still on the blanket) while I ate.  I decided it might be funny to film the release with my cell phone.  So I did (sorry it came out sideways).

They must've gotten out at the gas station - I would've heard them otherwise.  I know they rode the last 30 minutes just standing next to the other baskets.  I was thinking this morning how calm and gentle they've become.  Heck!  Maybe I don't need baskets!!  :-)  I really love working with these animals.  They're pretty amazing creatures!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Bad One - for me

Well, most of the others did well.  For some reason, only 9 of 29 came in on time.  I got 12 more - but they were really late.  That's really all I have to say on it.  There was a hawk and it got one of my rollers.  Not sure of what happened as I was out of town.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Poor Returns for 115 mile race

These same 38 birds have been 40-90 miles a dozen times but today only 19 came in before noon and only 3 came in the late afternoon.  Very strange.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sat Out The First Race

Call it superstition, but I don't like to race on the opening day of dove hunting season.  There's too many sunflower fields (dove bait) between me and the  breakpoint.  In addition, the Nat'l Youth Turkey Shoot always has an event on that same day between my house and the breakpoint!  If the dove hunters of Tennessee and Kentucky don't get them, the 2 dozen 14 year olds with pump shot guns 5 miles south of my house should finish them off!  That's my opinion.  This is a very controversial opinion according to the PML.

I've sat out the last two years.  This was my 4th Young Bird Race season.  The first two years, we all lost about half of what we sent.  Last year, for whatever reason, the others had a pretty good day on Dove Season Opening.  Almost tempted me to try it but I decided against it.  So, since they weren't going out to a 115 miles - I took them a bit earlier in the week to 92 miles (a big jump up from 64).  They did great.  I feel like they're ready and not behind (much).

This Saturday I spent a lot of time in the yard working on things.  I could hear shot guns in every direction at varying distances all day long until twilight.  I saw one guy only a mile up the road in camo, painted face hiding behind a telephone pole.  That startled me!  I was glad I didn't let them out all weekend.  Instead, I flew my rollers - hey, they never leave my 2 acres back yard!  I've got another 6 acres in the front yard and they seldom use more than just the back yard.  Funny birds!  They were safe and really enjoyed the liberation (I haven't flown them since YB season started because they tend to trap into my YB loft if they can).

I am hoping the weather is better than they predicted for this weekends race.  I'm really looking forward to it.  We moved the date forward one week and I sat out so I am two weeks later starting racing that usual.  Wish us luck!