Sunday, February 19, 2012

Two triples with blinds

Rixeyville, VA

Sunny, mild winter temps.  Wind calm.

Laddie, Dave, and me training alone, using Bumper Boys and stickmen for extra gunners.  No opportunity to work on honoring. Dave had been able too obtain two chukars.

I told Dave before we started that I didn't want any marks longer than 180y, that I wanted to give Laddie a chance to train on Qual-style triples and blinds. I especially wanted to see his marking without the weather conditions, not typical of Quals I've been to, that have been so much affecting his performance the last few sessions.

Series A. Out-of-order land triple plus blind

For Series A, Dave stood on a hillside at 180y on the right side of the field.  For the first mark, he threw and shot a flyer right to left, with the fall over a crest and invisible from the start line.  For the second mark, I fired a Bumper Boy in the center of the field beside a stickman, left to right on an angle back with the fall at 160y.  For the third mark, I fired a BB on the left of the field beside a stickman, right to left on an angle in at 70y.  A hot blind (OB) at an LP on a 45 degree angle lay on a line behind the middle gun station, with the blind at 220y.  The terrain was hilly, and the line to the blind included a stretch diagonally across a slope.

Although I wanted to run the triple as in an event, Laddie would never have seen the go-bird if I'd just fired it on a normal cadence.  He watched Dave's throw, of course, and seemed to get a reasonable look at the middle throw, but even though I'd shown him all three gun stations (in reverse order) before calling for the first throw, Laddie never turned to look at the stickman on the left, even after I repeatedly sounded the BB's duck call.  The sound was faint, and the woods-encircled field had echoes that made it difficult to pinpoint sounds.  Instead of wasting the setup, I cued "Sit" and moved in front of Laddie to get his attention on me, then repositioned him until he was locked in on the stickman on the left.  I fired that BB and sent Laddie.

Of course, he nailed that mark.  I sent him to the flyer next.  Dave was quite happy with how Laddie ran that mark.  True, Laddie began hunting short, and ended up with a relatively long hunt, but it was within a confined area.  Laddie never considered leaving the area of the fall and never got behind the gun.  Considering the fact that chukars are almost invisible lying in this clumpy hayfield, and apparently have little scent, I guess Dave felt Laddie did a nice job.  I sent Laddie to the middle mark last.  He took a line a bit on the inside but never behind the gun, and darted over to the bumper as soon as he got out there.

Laddie had no difficulty with the blind.

Series B.  Land triple with breaking bird, plus triple

We only moved the gun stations a bit for Series B, but the marks all were thrown in different directions, and we ran from the other side of the field.  The distances were roughly the same, and the blind was once again on a line to the right of the middle gun.

The first mark was a BB and stickman on the right of the field, throwing LTR at 180y.  

Again, I had intended to run this as a triple, but suspecting that Laddie might head-swing to the flyer, I notified Dave that if Laddie looked off either of the first two marks before watching it to the ground, I'd send him immediately.  That's exactly what happened on the first mark.  When I sent him, Laddie didn't no-go, but the line he took showed that he was confused, apparently thinking that at least one of the other marks must have also been thrown and so not knowing what line to take.  He eventually popped, but I just froze.  After a moment or two, he swung around and nailed the mark that had been thrown.

We then ran the middle mark and Dave's mark on the left as a double.  The first mark was a BB and stickman in the middle of the field, throwing LTR at 160y.  The second mark was David throwing and shooting a flyer from the left of the field.  The bird was active, and Dave shot it in such a way that it had a long glide to ground and remained active on the ground, with the fall at 30y.

I would have sent Laddie early again if he'd swung his head, but he didn't, so we ran it as planned.  He nailed both marks.  He then ran the blind needing only one whistle.

Dave asked me afterwards, "Well, are you still worried about Laddie's marking?"  No, I wasn't, although failing to see the last mark in Series A could have knocked us out of an event, as well as head-swinging as Laddie did in Series B.

But Dave and I were both pleased to see that Laddie had learned the intended lesson when he was sent early on the first mark of Series B,  Over all, it seems to have been a productive session.


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