Richard & Guy
So we headed to Huntly (!) for coffee. They do quite good coffee at the Chinese owned bakery in Huntly, so wasn’t overly distressed at the extra travel time or distance. Moccalattefrapachinoswithextrafroth in hand, we looped back and arrived in time to help Guy start the tractor, attach guns trailer and be general good barstools. With brilliantly fine and still weather we knew it would be a long day if we were to achieve the bag (200 birds), and with e retriever trial happening behind the guns it would be even more challenging (handler noise) but still you gotta go to know and so we did!
I "Nose" where dem pheasants is!
We were sharing the gun and Tim got the first drive, contentedly blasting away at passing birds, was all good. I got the roving/walking gun job on the next drive and had some good birds including one poor bugger that came down after I stretched the barrel somewhat, in a helicopter spiral. As we moved down with the beaters towards the line of guns the bird seemed to revive, then jumped up and flew off! Poor old Malcolm and his lab chased off after it, thought he would pop a cork… as it happened the bird had escaped (good luck to it). The birds were flying high and fast and we weren’t exactly wiping them out by any means.
Tim, not wiping them out by any means.
Tim got Tahi’s Wood drive and had a good time there, I got Insoles and put lots of lead in the air for a pukeko and a few pheasants and then Tim excelled with a couple of partridges at Lusitanicus. The guns were good value for sure. As for the retrievers, poor freaken dogs are so over-controlled they really would be hard put to work the swamp. They are not allowed to show any initiative and while they are well under control, I struggle with the outcome. For example if the dog is sent to retrieve a dead bird and a wounded one lands, if the dog switches to the live bird which under normal hunting circumstances is exactly the right thing to do, it gets disqualified. Seems to me to be more about the handler than the dog. Strange and bizarre, not for me. (I like Cally Ralph, the bird hoover who just scoops everything up in sight. To me that’s real retrieving).
It was a long day... moon was up for the last 2 drives. Final tally: 154 pheasant, 3 partridges (I counted 6 shot, those robot retrievers have a lot to answer for), 2 magpies, a Pukeko and a Rosella parakeet. Had heaps of fun though, and so did Tim.
His Lordship, Guy of Ralphlands
Tim in action: Photo courtesy of Dig.