Friday, February 26, 2010

A bad idea... please vote the poll

California State Senator Dean Florez, author of California SB 250 - the Mandatory Sterilization Bill - introduced a new bill this week, SB 1277, to establish an animal abuse registry. Is this a good idea? Go to PetPac to express your opinion...

Here’s what we know about SB 1277:

1. The millions in costs to set up the registry will be paid for by a new tax on pet food.

2. The sponsor of the bill, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, is known for its advocacy of pet guardianship and vegetarianism.

3. The author of the bill, Senator Dean Florez, has been the leading advocate for mandatory sterilization.

Please let your voice be heard on this important issue.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Racketeering lawsuit brought against HSUS

Humanewatch reports that the owners of the Ringling Brothers Circus are suing the HSUS and accusing them of racketeering - including laundering money through a shell charity and paying a witness $190,000 in exchange for testimony alleging that the circus abused elephants in their care. The abuse case, brought in New York, was tossed out by the presiding judge, who found that the main witness was not credible. 

I am going to be watching this one...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Unproductives - Where are the birds?

The term “unproductive” is used to indicate a point without a bird produced in front of the point. This often happens in both hunting and field trials. But the term covers a lot of situations – some are handler errors, some are caused by training, some are 'no fault', and some are on the dog.

A typical scenario... your dog is running well and to the front. He goes out of sight over a rise. Minutes later you top the rise and find your dog on point. You remain silent and go ahead to flush but produce nothing. At this juncture you might re-locate your dog to see if he can move forward and find the birds, re-establishing point. In a field trial this can carry some risk, since the birds may be close and the moving dog might flush them, and you are asked to pick-up your dog. Decision is yours, and if you know your dog well, you act accordingly. In a hunting situation, you probably want to release the dog to relocate.

But what happened here? Is the dog at fault? Some possibilities are:

1.The birds are there, but they didn't flush at your effort. Is a further effort required?

2.Your dog HAD the birds before you arrived, but they ran and/or flushed. This often happens with wild birds like grouse or Huns. In my opinion (voiced here before) the dog should relocate himself and avoid the UP. But if you trained your dog to hold point regardless of what happens, you could assume any possibility.

3.Your dog is pointing old scent and the birds were gone before the dog arrived. This is typical of a cautious dog, which could be a natural trait, a response to training, or a lack of experience. Some dogs become 'sticky' when natural caution and rigorous training combine and the dog seems to think, “I am not sure there is a bird here, but I am going to stop and point, rather than risk flushing a bird and getting in trouble.”

4.The birds flushed ahead of the dog and he has 'stopped to flush', and is awaiting release. You can usually determine this based on the dog's posture. Or not.

5.There were no birds here at all and the dog went on point for reasons unknown.

I have never seen a dog that didn't have an occasional UP, and I am never quick to blame the dog, relying on the old adage. “Trust the dog.” Nevertheless, I find it difficult to correct something without a reasonable idea of what caused the behavior.

New York Times talks bird dogs

The New York Times seems to have had a reporter at the National Championship in Grand Junction, Tennessee this year... and did a pretty good article introducing field trials to its readers.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

New blog watching HSUS. Good, they need watching

A new blog, Humanewatch is keeping tabs on the Humane Society of the United States.  Worth a look to keep track of what the HSUS cretins are doing now. Click the link, and make up your own mind.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thought for the day

A friend recently forwarded me the following quote from the ABC sitcom, Better off Ted. I'm not sure whether to rejoice that mainstream television has heard of birddogs or be peeved that they clearly misunderstand their sunny dispositions...

"Don't be the guy that points fingers. Nobody likes a pointer.
Even in the dog world they are seen as insufferable."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

New on the blog

You may notice that there are two new contributor's names here - Will Pennington and Jared Tappero. 

Will Pennington has shown up in a couple of my posts with his two nice pointers. Will is a career naval officer and currently lives in Virginia. 

Jared Tappero is a hunter and field trailer, and professional forester who lives in Northern California. Jared hunts and trials a couple of very nice pointers. 

Welcome, Will and Jared!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The National is upon us

With the 111th running of the National Championship for All-Age dogs due to start on Monday, February 8th, at the famed Ames Plantation I wanted to let folks know about Brad Harter's series of DVDs of the event.

While I largely field-trial vizslas and exclusively, for now, in AKC trials, I did get out to the American Field's Northeastern Open Shooting Dog Championship this past October and while only able to watch a single day did get to see the brace that produced both the winner and runner-up. In short, I like watching birddogs of all shapes and sizes run hard and find birds. Even if some of them are largely white and have long tails. And while it might be a while before I can get to Ames, I wanted to get a sense of both the location and the action.

While nothing can substitute for watching a performance in person, Brad has been documenting the Nationals on film for over 20yrs. (He has also served as the trial's official reporter for several of those years, too.) And between carrying his own camera and having others strategically positioned on the course, he misses very little of the birdwork and captures a whole heck of a lot of the excitement. While editing with the benefit of hindsight can certainly help frame a great performance, it was pretty easy to see that Gary Lester's Bud (Lester's Snowatch) had put down a heck of a race -- and therefore why, in judges' minds, Bud's total performance had eclipsed that of 2006 winner, Shell Creek Coin, despite one fewer find. The interview with Gary Lester at the end is a nice tribute to both man and dog.

With many of the contenders from 2009 -- Bud, Coin, Game Maker, and Strut -- nominated to run again next week, this year's National should be an exciting one. Unless you're lucky to get there yourself, in the meantime treat yourself to 90mins on the couch and not 9 days in the saddle.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Belated congratulations

Will and Lizzie in Montana in October
A note of congratulations is due to my friend, Will Pennington, who ran his two pointers, Liz and Riley, at the Chicahominy Field Trial Assn.  US Complete trial in November. And won with both dogs, beating Aubrey Morgan's National Amateur CH Pinekone Spade in the process. Results as reported below:
Chicahominy Field Trial Assoc. 
November 22, 2009
Amateur Shooting Dog-18
1st Tailhook Lizzie               W. Pennington  W. Pennington
2nd Quinton Oak Budlight   J. Lewis            J. Lewis
3rd Pinekone Spade         A. Morgan           A. Morgan
Amateur Derby-5
1st Tailhook Riley               W. Pennington  W. Pennington
2nd Wright’s Precious Jodie  A. Wright     A. Wright

Times have changed

I doubt that you could find a gun powder company operating in downtown San Francisco today.  This ad from the Western Field - August 1903 issue. There is also a fine article about hunting quail in Alameda County by H. L Betten of Alameda, California in this issue. Courtesy of Google Books, who undoubtedly scanned it without permission of the publisher.