Friday, April 10, 2015

"new" rides

It's not an everyday occurrence; much more like every couple of decades, that I get a new ride. And when I do it's never been "new" it's always "new to me". I mostly blame my Scottish ancestors and being raised by folks that saved everything because the great depression taught them what real privation was like.

Nevertheless-the new to me hunting truck:

It's not going to be replacing the tried and trusty subaru just yet as it has had some "deferred maintenance" issues to be taken care of before I can consider it to be completely dependable for everyday travel.

That aside, the seemingly obvious issue is that it doesn't have 4wd. Honestly I didn't realize how much I really depended on my subaru's AWD until I took the truck turkey hunting a few days ago and nearly turned into an unplanned campout! Obviously I was able to get back to civilization but not without getting re-acquainted to RWD truck physics.

So after reassessing the tread on the rear I think a set of these is in order:

The truck already has a locking rear diff, which will make a ton of difference and is probably the only reason I didn't have to camp out the other night. I won't be doing much over-landing but it should suffice on forrest/logging roads that I frequent if I just get a few bags of sand to keep some weight over the axle.

The real question now is the pooches.

My initial thought was something like this:

A plus is that I already have the ruff tuff kennels and could see building the drawer boxes. I'd just need to find a cap and a quick search on craigslist already shows me this wouldn't be too difficult to find.

The other thought was a dog box:

I've been inside a camper shell in the summer and quite simply it sucks. I'm not sure how insulated the tool box is, but it could be much worse. 

They do make this "summertime dog box" which might be a better option:
(for a bit of levity-this summertime box is listed as being "extremely lightweight at only 110#". Not that I can't move that, but that's bordering on what I would no longer call lightweight)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

It's what's for breakfast

Tomorrow is the Father's Day celebration at my daughter's school. In an effort to be as inclusive as possible Moms, aunts, uncles, granddads, etc... are invited. So while really it's XXXXXX Day and I'll be thinking that it should really be "YYYYYY" day, chromosonally speaking; it should be a lot of fun.

We're invited for the morning and to bring hammer and nails to fabricate sculptures with our kids, who will paint them for us.

Last year we were very representational and wound up with an airplane. Perhaps this year we'll be more expressionistic?!??! I'll have to wait and see what the boss has in mind. (I'm just in charge of nails and hammer)

Also, we were requested to bring food and apparently there is/was a signup sheet with suggestions posted outside the classroom door, but still being a bleary-eyed-bloke in the AM thanks to the time change I still haven't fully recovered from, I didn't notice above mentioned sign-up sheet until there was only one slot left.

"Quiche:  _____________________"

Many years ago there seemed to be a political firestorm over a book Real Men Don't Eat Quiche that's apparently now long out of print, but it made enough of a splash in our little town that it was the launching point for more than one sermon from the Sunday morning pulpit. So as a youngster it was indelibly etched on my psyche that any egg based pie was verboten...until I learned that I really liked quiche. (I decided that was ok, I just had to keep it a secret for fear of a repeat of the "easy-bake oven incident")

So, quiche is the suggestion and I gladly put my name down.

Now, with the recent discovery of the "hipster hunter"

Rise of the Hipster Hunter
Hipsters Who Hunt

I will do the hipster thing and see how 'cool' I can be and see exactly how many of my fellow dads are in on the 'game'.

Tomorrow's menu will include a venison sausage quiche.  Wish me luck. If no one eats it I promise it won't go to waste.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Four letter words

It doesn't take a long look around my favorite blog haunts to see that there is a bit of malaise. Whether it's  "crickets" or "the vest" there has/had been a notable lull in productivity.

I'm even more guilty than the next except I have been writing and working plenty but have posted nothing. The thing is that I've been dealing with a problem and I've not been sure how much of it to put 'out there'.  There are a few words that contain more than four letters, but have the same effect as four letter words used to have. The one I've been dealing with:


but to be honest it's not really "gun-shy"...more like "gun-nervous"

That being said, I completely accept that it's my fault. I just don't know what the hell I could have done to deserve it!

Last year, in the late summer/early fall I noticed that Carson was getting progressively more storm-shy; until it was really unlike I've ever really seen in person: thunder = Slobbering, trembling, wanting to be in my lap, etc…(FWIW I didn't coddle him when it started, because I didn't want to reinforce the behavior for fear it would lead to more trouble down the road)

Fast forward to this past January. I took him out with some buddies and their dogs for a cleanup hunt the day after a continental pheasant shoot. This was not carson's first hunt, but it was his first hunt with other people not to mention dogs other than his kennel mate. The hunt started off in a planted bottom of around 10 acres. 

So...the other dogs and their owners are working a separate part of the field when they (2 gsp and a gwp fwiw) went on point, birds flushed, their owners shot (and missed, but that's another story).  

All the while my dog didn’t see any of this. 

He just heard the sound of three 12GAs going off in that bottom and I honestly think he thought it was thunder. 

At this point he was seeming pretty apprehensive and I should have stopped then and there but we kept hunting some the cover crops edges by ourselves when in another ~10 min the other group put up another bird (which they missed). 

When he heard the shot this time he went into boot-licker mode and would have preferred I picked him up (which I didn’t). 

Instead I took him directly to the car, put him in kennel, and drove home.  

The whole way home I keep thinking about the seriousness of this situation.  

Thoughts were generally variations on: 
"I can’t believe I’m going to have to live with a gunshy dog for the next 12+ years"
At this point he’s part of the family and I won’t push him down the line. Not to mention:
"he's too f'ing annoying to just be a 'pet'"
So I spent the afternoon brooding but by late in the day I finally came to the conclusion that if I was ever going to consider myself a "trainer" worth anything then I’d have to fix the situation because that’s what trainers really do-they fix problems.

Step 1 I talked to the breeder and 3 professionals. 

First thought from most of them, including myself: put him on some quail. When he’s really going after a fly away, shoot one.

I did that and he was OK, but really just ok. I thought I saw a bit of hesitation in his run so I decided to stop. 

Back to drawing board. Further input from trainers and further thinking on my part led me to:
  1. Take a BIG step back in training. Pretty much back to square 1.
  2. NO birds, guns, etc… for a few weeks. We're working on the basics.
  3. Add Masters Voice CD which I start to play several times a day. Fortunately I have an understanding wife and daughter!
  4. Seven to eight weeks later I went to my hunting lease and immediately after I sent the dog off for a dummy I had my wife( who was standing 100 yards away) fire one shot from a starting pistol. 
    1. There was no reaction
    2. We only fired that one shot as there's no sense in tempting fate.
Since then I've started firing shots closer and closer. But still only one.

Where we are:
Now I’m  firing shots very close, but that are muffled by the training shoulder-bag. I throw a dummy, send him for a retrieve, and fire starting pistol inside bag. 

Fortunately, so far no reaction.

Next step is to reintroduce some quail and then the .410 and I will probably do that in the next week or two. Biggest worry right now is that one of our thunderstorms comes through and somehow sets me back. 

He’s a wretched combination of being wickedly smart, highly driven, with dominance tendencies, and a hatred for being corrected. With positive reinforcement this dog to do anything. Sometimes I find it’s hard to have that kind of personality/behavior and so I’m learning a lot about myself here too.