Lagniappe's Blazing Star "Blaze"

 Click on the year for that seasons hunts and other adventures








2005 - 2006 First year of hunting



April 18, 2005 - First Rabbit Hunt



Pictures from Blaze's first real hunt under the gun. This was the first of three walking hunts along Fish Creek near Graham Texas. We had done a lot of tracking training with a frozen rabbit beforehand and it paid off. She did point a couple Wild Quail and a couple of the rabbits during these hunts, but mostly when she scented the Rabbits from downwind, the rabbits had already seen/heard her. So the chase would be on! Blaze would run and gain on them so fast I was only able to shoot one out of every three rabbits. She would not let me stay out of her sight for long so she usually broke the chase and came back. Sometimes I could get her back on the track, but usually the rabbit ends up in impenetrable briars or a den. Still she was not doing too bad for her first three hunts at less than 7 Months old.



I was also Turkey hunting one of those weekends. I did at one point heal Blaze and stalk to within rifle range of a Turkey on the edge of a wheat field, but turned out to be a hen. Teaching her to heal for future stalks on stock tanks and creeks for ducks has been something I have been simulating with her. Blaze stayed right at my knee the entire time just as I trained her. She will be fun jump shooting stock tanks with her come duck season. 




August  2005

Here is a nice Short Music Video of my Son Weston and Blaze singing " I Love my Little Blaze "



August 24, 2005 

I have been taking blaze for training now at the lake instead of a pond. About three evenings at the lake now. Temp of 102 degrees today, so can't
do much else in the heat. This evening was mostly just for fun, no serious training this time, so took my Kayak. I had started at home with the kayak in the grass and having blaze sit in it with me. She transitioned to the water no problem. Paddled around with her sitting with me for a long time. This is a 9 foot kayak and she sits between my knees. Believe it or not and don't try this at home, I was able to have here dump out of the  kayak to retrieve, swim back, and with my help, climb back in with me. Nothing like having a 55+ pound dog launch from your 38 pound boat! Also did some reverse retrieves, fetching from land retrieving to kayak. That was neat. Mostly just had a good ol time with blaze swimming/chasing me around.



This is a short movie of Blaze making a water retrieve.


August 26, 2005

Blaze in training for her first Teal and Duck hunts. 



   September 1st, 2005, The First Dove Hunt - Opening Day

Opening morning I hunted on a sunflower field at my hunting lease. It was calm, dry and hot. Dove would not fly unless we walked them
up which was hard on Blaze with the heat so I cut the morning hunt short. She retrieved very well until she got hot, which was
understandable. Still I shot 9 birds, hunting partner Steve Heath shot 3 and had to go home. Dic not take pictures during the morning hunt. 

That evening I went to a separate dove lease, Greens Outfitters. My field was about 15 minutes from my main hunting lease. Perhaps a half section of land, maybe 3/4 of it in sunflowers, Rows had been cut  a month before criss- crossing the entire field which was nice. I was the only lone hunter amongst two corporate groups. Total of 40 hunters, only about 30 showed. My plan this time was to set up on a fence line under a shade tree with a mojo dove decoy 20 yards out. 

With hunters moving dove and dove looking for a safe place to land, the decoy was a success. I actually set up where no other hunters considered which was on the tree line along the farm road. I sat with my back to the road. I had my six birds to finish my days limit in maybe 20 minutes. Phenomenal for dove hunting! Blaze was fresh from napping earlier in my air conditioned camper and she did outstanding. The first few minutes she was overwhelmed with intent to catch every one of the thousands of big grasshoppers in the field. I let her figure that out on her own and get it out of her system. I sat her next to me under the tree and sent her out as needed. If she did not mark the bird I would heel her to the general area I saw itfall and tell her to "hunt it up-go fetch". The only bird we lost was a cripple that she chased probably 200 yards before giving up. She looked like a kangaroo bouncing through those sunflowers after it. 

After shooting my limit, I offered to help another hunter "John" by offering my dog to retrieve his birds. Good opportunity for me to do some training. I kneeled with blaze next to the hunter and kept Blaze at attention, I could hold her back, point her in the direction of the bird and keep her excited. She really figured it out, finally watching the birds flying in or flying past, marking the location of the bird, and groaning with excitement when she would see the bird fall. She did not embarrass me at all, she was outstanding. Though sometimes difficult to find a bird, with a lot of searching, sometimes calling her back in and sending her back out in the right direction or heeling her to the area, she did find and retrieve
every bird. John was not shooting to well, so without intent, it worked out to train her not to break on the shots. I had left to walk to my truck for water at one point and had another hunter intercept me. He asked if I knew who the guy I was helping was. I said no. The guy said that is John Brandes with two Super bowl rings. Used to play for the Washington Redskins around 1992. When I got back, John missed about 5 birds in a row. With him not knowing that I knew who he was, I yelled out. "Man, your a terrible shot, you would think you played for the Washington Redskins or something!" I about fell on the ground laughing with the shocked look on his face. He thought that was funny. Super nice guy.

Those football players are big guys, I feel so small


Picture of day one's limit. 



September 2nd, 2005, Day two of Dove Hunting

Blaze and I went back to the Dove lease field on day two. Hunting not as good, less hunters, but a few dove flying early. Blaze having figured this game out, really excited all morning, ears perking up with every distant shot. I shot 6 dove this morning. Most retrieved without my help this 
time. 5 of those came from the field. Got a wonderful picture of Blaze with a Dove in the morning sun. One of my favorites. 

The hunting became slow real fast so the few hunters on the property left early. That gave me an opportunity to take blaze for a walk through the mesquite flat on the property to see if she would point some wild quail. She busted two covies, but did not point them. Pouncing on crippled dove had her in a different mindset. I did have a scare and strange moment. I turned and saw her nose to nose with a baby skunk in a large clump of prickly pear cactus. Neither threatened, just smelling each other. On top of that, there was a rattlesnake rattling in that clump of cactus and a
single quail walking out of it. I freaked out of course yelling NO! NO! NO! running to her. Blaze backed out cowering. Then Isuddenly thought, what if she associated my no's with the quail scent. So I immediately grabbed her by the collar, ran her to the quail walking down the trail. The quail was cooperating by some miracle. Made sure she saw it, though not a good point, whoad her, I chased up the quail, then told blaze to "get it". She tried and I praised her real good and she was ready to hunt again. So good damage control on that one I hope. Now the neat thing is we now found a pond hidden way back in those trees that the other hunters did not know about. My sixth dove was taken on this pond. This will be a great dove hunting spot Blaze and I can hit on evenings in October when I am at the deer lease. When it is dry, dove hit those tanks like crazy before going to roost. Note, I also caught three nice Largemouth Bass from that tank with my fly rod before I left. 


We then loaded up and headed home. Things I did: I carried a squeeze sports bottle of water for blaze. Very often I would give her a drinks 
from the bottle. In addition reward for every retrieve was a drink from the bottle or I would just squirt her with it to get her wet. I carried peanut
butter crackers and gave her one every now and then to keep her blood sugar up in the heat. (me too). For a good sit stay, to keep her comfortable and off the red ants I would carry an old BDU shirt. This would mark her spot to sit and keep her still. I also carried in a plastic bag 
with an appropriate colored bath towel drenched in water. I would use this to cool her down and at one point laid it on top of her shirt. She would lay on it to cool off. What I will not do again when hunting sunflowers is offer her to retrieve another's birds. The sunflowers, red ants, and stickers where hard on her. She really got beat up after retrieving 30 birds or more in two days. The dry sunflowers rubbed her inner thighs raw. Also next time, If I see a bird down, I will probably make her stay put and pick up the bird myself to minimize her number of retrieves she has to make in that stuff. Still as beat up as she got, it never slowed her down.

One tired puppy





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2005 - 2006 Hunting Season



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