Also it seems breeding plans for Booker are beginning to materialize for the spring of 2015. His potential mate is still yet only 20 months old, but is showing great promise in the field, and her conformation has really begun to take shape - and it's one we are really liking. Maddie still needs to pass her health checks, which require her to be 24 months old to begin. Once we have those documents in hand we will have a fast moving situation. To be 100% honest we were excited about his 2014 litter, so much so we ended up keeping one of his pups. What we have brewing for 2015 frankly is even more exciting. Maddie is the offspring from the 2013 Fowler X Brooke Rainshadow litter. Fowler is proving himself capable in the field, and is litter-mate to our Jorja, who is a fantastic Drent at home and in the field. Brooke, Maddie's mother, has a NAVHDA qualification and she proved to be top dog at the 2013 DPCNA Natural Ability test. Booker of course is still the only European bench Champion in North America, and produces consistent results in the field on multiple species of birds. Both of his parents are dual show and field champions. I really do need to get his hunt qualifications quantified through the AKC or NAVHDA, maybe next summer? At any rate, provided the health clearances go through, this pairing will have a low COI and produce gorgeous intelligent and athletic Drents with great personalities that can hunt!
We had a glorious day afield! Each dog did an admirable job, but it was Booker whose nose had it for the pheasant. Sadly most of the shots I had were on the limit of my skill, and so I successfully scared my fair share of these lovely birds, but only bagged one. Jorja and Booker shared a nice point, the shot was sharply downhill below me, with the cock-bird hooking hard and fast to the left, a shot I had no hope of making. The roosters where there, but the shooting was tough. On the way out, we made a last minute hunt in an area I had hunted the year before, and Booker turned up a pair of roosters, but again, standing in grass as tall as myself, made for poor shooting. In the end we worked hard and hunted smart to bag the largest of the two roosters. Literally, I had just come to terms I had most likely made a tactical error, and blew it when suddenly Booker slammed into a nice point up ahead and off to my right. An arms length in from of him was my ditch chicken trying to make like a hummock of grass tucked under a small bush. Not a lot of time to think, and he was on the move, exploding out and winging hard to make safely again. Fortunately, for a change of pace I managed to connect. I'm sure my hot and tired dog was thankful I finally held up my end of the deal.
Powder had her first ever hunt yesterday. After ridding the area of its pesky deer population, she decided to get serious. With all of her demons run out, she didn't hesitate to locate and point a huge covey of valley quail. In fact, she made point after point, and I missed one easy shot after another. Fortunately Powder didn't give up on me, despite clearly having been given the "are you serious" look more than once. Who knew dogs were born with it? She also excelled at locating our downed birds, something my others have had to learn over time. Without her good nose and fanatical love of birds there is no way I would have been able to find any of her birds on my own - well done Powder!
As far as the book goes, the bills have begun to roll like an incoming tide, so it must then be for real! I have been promised to have the books in hand by mid-November, but it is possible I have them a bit sooner. At this point I don't expect any significant deviations, the book files have been with the printing company for well over a week now. I hope my next update will be to be posting the Amazon, and Dog Willing links so you can got your own copy. More importantly, I hope everyone enjoys the book as much as those who have had the opportunity to preview it. Only 150 copies will be available from the first run, and I am expecting them to go pretty fast.
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I'm just a guy suffering with an infatuation with gundogs since childhood. Forty some years later this is what you get.