Nov 24 Pounce and I were ready to hunt by 7:45 am. Nothing flew all morning and the blind's "wind break" fabric was tested some......home by noon. It was not a total waste. Pounce is often high and "amped"...doing nothing well and just "hanging out" for five hours was a good thing. 
Nov 25......snow storm beginning around noon - 9-12 inches forecast....early morning, covered goose blind with a large tarp (not enough time to dismantle). It will be removed later. With that much snow in the forecast, "snow blowing" the driveway will be done in two or three "shifts". We will be mostly practicing "hibernation mode" as Lylah's schooled is closed tomorrow.          
Nov 26 Monday will be much colder. Total snowfall was 7 inches and the pond has ice covering half of it. Tonight's low will be 15°F which means the "goose pond" will be iced over. 
             note: Also, Pounce's "upland" training with chukars will be "delayed".
Nov 27 Pounce did some "off lead, up beat" OB around the "deck" of an indoor, heated area.
Nov 28 "bummer" day....wife's car to body shop (accident), dentist appointment (teeth cleaning) and tonight it is snowing AGAIN
Nov 29-30 snow one day and a cold, windy one the next - Global Warming "my donkey" 

                         note: skimmed ice on the pond & below freezing temps every night.....not good
Nov 13 ICED OUT!!! checked back to previous years and this did not happen until the first week or two of December......bummer!!! quite a bit below freezing every night for the next ten days.
It is time to switch "the action" and refresh/review upland training/hunting with chukars.
Nov 14 no snow on leaves..."yard work" gas powered leaf blower...easier (no chord)
Nov 15 Thursday - trained at the Four Lakes DTAs....Pounce did a review of her basic upland training. The first phase was quartering in front of me "working" cover.  This included two quick whistles to change direction, responding to hand signals or the subtllty of "physical influence". We had not done this for a couple of years. However, most of this is driven by instincts and hers are exceptional. After this quick "review", the direction altered so as to intercept a scent "track" laid down by dragging a chukar on a meandering, downwind trail.  Pounce was very effective and fast with this "search". She was excited with "The Reward" and delivered to hand.

Next up was moving off to simply hunt/work the cover. Every five minutes (or so), a chukar was thrown into the air.  It should be noted that we have not done any upland for quite some time (two years). The established upland conditioned responses (back then) were 1) "bird in air" means sit, 2) "one, short whistle" when in motion means sit and/or 3) "a shot" means sit. When "hunting" the cover back to the van, "this list" was "presented" several times with a chukar into the air.
                     note: There was no "rust" (and Pounce was NOT wearing an e-collar).         
                     note: This was an "easy do".....Pounce has exceptional scent discrimination
                               (great nose), processes quickly "in the moment", is driven and very "birdy"
                               plus a natural for "tapping" into the engagement of "physical influence".
                    note: "Physical influence" is another way of describing "handling by influence"  
                               in the uplands. This SILENT approach is well explained in chapter 8 of        
                               "The Labrador Shooting Dog" by Mike Gould. It is extremely effective.
The plan was to buy live chukars starting soon and begin "field" preparations for doing HRC Upland tests in a few months (Jan/Feb). She is much closer to being "test ready" than I thought. This essentially means Pounce is now in the precise practice and repetitions phase.
Nov 16 day off (no training)......With snow tomorrow, oak leaves in the yard MUST be first.
Nov 17 snowed 2-3" last night = day off - all leaves were removed from the yard yesterday and the  "airing yard" is setup for its "winter phase". Several, lower pine tree limbs were trimmed a few months ago so as to not block light from three, "second story" spotlights.
Nov 18 Pounce and Daisy had another day off.  Snow is gone in areas that had direct sunlight.
Nov 19-21 Monday-Wednesday......didn't do anything......really well 
                note: There is a section of open water along the north shore of Thorson Pond. With a
                           warmer forecast in the next two days, geese may "visit". (wishful thinking?)
Nov 22 Thanksgiving - pond is about half thawed out (rest is skimmed ice and should be
completely free of ice by Friday afternoon....small "goose" window                   
               note: Meanwhile, it is about two weeks until the next KwickLabs' pup will be whelped.
                         It will be a 2nd pick black female.

Pounce's Goose Hunt - Thorson Pond

Nov 1 high of 50°F.....the next week (or more) will be "occupied" dealing with a serious case of cellulitis in my right foot....can't walk because of the swelling and pain caused by this infection. The process for recovery is using a strong "pain killer" and antibiotics. Living in a tri-level has suddenly become an issue (feeling old). The fall "yard work" and getting "stuff" ready for winter is on stand-by and the worst part of this is not being able to hunt.
Nov 2-6 foot is not getting better
Nov 7 finally, an appointment at 8 am...diagnosis (finally)..gout...not in the usual "big toe" place
Nov 8 mailed in deposit on 2nd "pick" black female pup due in late winter...if there are not two then 2nd "pick" yellow....foot much improved, do NOT need cane anymore.....planning to hunt Saturday (in two days)......time is running out as impending cold weather indicates ice......soon. 
Nov 9 Foot good to go...However, snow is an issue for this goose hunt. The van will NOT do well getting "in/out" (poor traction) which means a 300 yard sled pull (one way/not easy)!
Nov 10 morning goose hunt with Pounce....decided to "give it a go"...single digit wind chill, but
the blind is fairly tight with a wind breaker lining. Geese were smarter. They stayed in the fields eating at least until afternoon. Pounce was again good in the blind...very calm, quiet and patient. Even though she is a "house dog", her neoprene vest was effective. For me, the cold was bearable and kind of a test for the next few weeks. Wearing chest waders was effective. Today revealed that even though being 78 years old, it was doable. Another "aid" was using Zippo hand warmers ("game changers"). The "in and out", 300 yard sled pulls were easy. Today was more about simply finding out about being physically able rather than trying to bag two geese. The best discovery was that the "gouty" foot is almost back to normal.
Nov 11 day off (Sunday).....for the "old guy" geese in scouting report
Nov 12 Monday - scouted for geese + "conditioning" session (exercise) for Pounce and Daisy
                   note: Pounce did four "stand alone" singles each with a poison bird

                   note: skimmed ice on the pond & below freezing temps every night.....not good

Nov 23 Scouted for geese (twice) plus train/exercise "in the yard" for Pounce and Daisy. The Pond is clear of ice and it will be above freezing on Saturday. Quite a few geese were using the pond. The plan is a goose hunt in the morning. In "hind sight", the fact that a big snow storm is coming tomorrow was ignored. This time of the year they will stay in the fields and eat all day.
Daisy did a bunch of fun bumpers for exercise. She's old and cannot see or hear very well, but still "wants to retrieve". Pounce's
exercise was a simulation of a recent "session" in Hillmann's  videos "The Hurdle Drill". Pounce's setup had three "targets" 1) a pile of bumpers, 2) Dokkens on the other side of a "jump" and 3 ) a "placeboard"....from which she ran "send back/stand alone" singles. The following "button link" is to Hillmann's Blog.
"The Hurdle Drill" is in the November 2018 "Archives" file.



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