Friday, May 30, 2008

Congratulations are in order..

Congratulations go out to Brian Sanchez and his English Pointer male N Y P D, aka Reggie, for their win in the 2007-2008 Purina Amateur Shooting Dog Competition. Brian and his dogs from Great River Kennels have been knocking on the door for a good number of years, and this win is certainly well deserved...


From the May 17, 2008 edition of The American Field...

NYPD Takes Top Honors in 2007-2008 Purina Amateur Shooting Dog Competition

A few years back, Jack Sanchez was judging the National Red Setter stakes at Berea, KY. Between braces, conversation turned to Jack's family, particularly his son Brian. "Does he like the bird dogs and field trials?" Jack was asked about Brian. "He loves them," responded the irrepressible New Yorker. Indeed he does!
Brian Sanchez has been pulled two ways --- his education in electrical contracting (at the behest of his father) and his attraction to pointing dog field trials.
There's no denying Brian's prowess as an able amateur trainer/handler, proven by the many dogs he's piloted to the winner's circle, and the crowning achievement of 2007-2008 as owner and handler of the dog named this season's to Amateur Award Winner --- N Y P D.
The four year old white and liver Pointer male is officially registered in the name of "Great River Kennels," owned by Jack and Brian Sanchez of Central Islip, Long Island, New York. He was bred by Tony Panovski of Cookstown, Ontario. Shawn Wright of Woodstock, Ontario owned the dog during his formative years; Great River Kennels acquired the young Pointer in 2005 when his name was changed to the current N Y P D.
N Y P D ammassed nine point earning placements during the 2007-2008 campaign, accumulation a total of 2040 points, the highest yet in the five year history of The Purina Amateur Top Shooting Dog Award competition.
The winner - N Y P D - and his owner handler Brian Sanchez will be honored the weekend of May 30 - 31 at the Purina Awards festivities in Olive Branch, Mississippi.


I'd like to add my personal congratulations to Brian, Jack, and the entire Sanchez family. They're great folks, and deserve this win greatly.. They've also done alot to help this old birddogger, in more ways than I could ever repay...

Timely thought for the day...

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch... Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Passing on traditions..

In "Letter to a Grandson," one of his Lower Forty columns published in Field & Stream magazine, Corey Ford tells of a man writing a letter to his newborn grandson that was to be read when the boy turned 16.

The old man describes some of his guns and rods he wishes the boy to have when he reaches this age. "More important," the man writes, "I am leaving you some memories."

Among these memories are, "The smells that men like to remember — pipe smoke and boot dubbing and Hoppe's No. 9, and fly dope on a red bandanna handkerchief, and wet dog fur steaming by the fire, and the smell of leather that is more like a taste, and the before-breakfast smell of coffee boiling and bacon frying, and the smell of a cottonmouth — the smell of fear — and the fall smells of sweet fern and rotting apples and burnt powder in the frosty air."

I tend to favor traditional things, in regard to hunting gear in particular.
I favor wool over synthetics, waxed cotton over nylon, real leather over plastic. I think that traditions are also important to pass on. They provide a link to our past, and respect for those who have passed on their traditions to us.
I eschew modern convenience, and only apply electronics to my dogs to enhance their safety..
In my humble opinion, I was born about 40 years too late.

A hike up Snowy

Snowy Mountain is the dominant landmark in my neck of the woods in the Adks. It's scarred peak can be picked out for miles in any direction, and while I've hiked many of the mountains in the area, Snowy has eluded me. My son has done it at least four times, and I feel that if I don't attempt it soon, it will be beyond me..
So, if you'd like to take a hike up Snowy, check out Mountain Visions for a guided hike, and some magnificent views taken from the old fire tower,
In the old days, these fire towers were manned on a daily basis, and I know folks who used to do the hike up and down some of these mountains on a daily basis to man a tower. That's a job for young men, but, the old Adirondackers were tough, and many did it, and other jobs in the woods when they had become somewhat "long in the tooth." I respect these local folks greatly for their toughness, grit, and "do it myself" attitude..

The picture at the heading was taken from the hill behind my camp on a hazy summer day. That craggy mountain is Snowy, the other side of Indian Lake.

So, take the hike up Snowy and enjoy some beautiful Adirondack scenery..

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

SxS Elitism

I'm a new Side-by elitist, but I'm having alot of fun learning the ropes with a completely new (to me, at least) configuration.
I spent many years being misguided in the O/U ranks, believing that I couldn't shoot a side-by-side double effectively. Until a friend put a Model 21 into my hands for a round of Sporting.. What a revelation! That incident opened up a whole new world for me, and now I can look down my nose at all the O/U and repeater shooters with just one barrel. (Those who know me understand the pun here..)
Anyway, upon researching the Purdey that belonged to George bird Evans, I came across a great little article about the seductive qualities of the Side-by Side game gun..

I'm now a believer!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

"The Adirondacks"

"The Adirondacks" has been running on PBS. It's a great program, and gives a lot of information and outlook on the greatest wilderness area east of the Mississippi. The commentary is a touch one-sided, as not many "locals" have a chance to air their views on subjects nead and dear to their hearts... The Adirondack Park Agency in particular.
But, the show is very informative, and certainly well worth your time.

Catch it if you can..

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fine gear.... for a cheap shotgun

My J. Purdey & Sons "London Best" cleaning rod for cleaning my Japanese SxS.. That's the story of my life! I like the finer things in life, but often can't afford them.
In reality, this beautiful cleaning rod was a gift (re-gift) from a close friend a few years back.
A few of us that shot clay birds and hunted deer together for many years used to exchange gifts, usually liquor as we always knew it would be used, around Christmas. One member of the group, who was not a shopper, would generally give gifts that had been given him that he had no use for. That's how I came into possession of this lovely cleaning rod and accessories.
My SKB 280 loves it, and it always breaks a few more targets with clean bores from the J. Purdey rod...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dogs n' kids...

A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down. ~Robert Benchley

If there's any pairing better than dogs and kids, I'd love to know what it is!

Pictured here is my 3 year old grandaughter Sophia, with Sandy. Sophia has not had a dog of her own yet, but she gets along famously with our two.
My daughter and her family will be making a move away again around the first of the year. Hopefully nearby, but, no one knows. The kids are supposed to get a dog then..

For a child to grow up without a dog seems, to me, well how should I put it???.... inhumane...

I'd like to wish all readers of The Bombshell a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend. And please don't forget our Veterans, the meaning of the holiday..

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another siren calls...

Wednesday's are my day to go out to the gun club and practice with the bird guns. I once was much more serious about clay target shooting, and there were many years that saw me shoot 35,000 rounds per year.
Shooting every day took the thrill out of the games to a large extent for me, and it's only now that I can once again enjoy a friendly game of skeet and not look at it as a job.
Part of that renewed interest is shooting birdguns low gun, and not shooting for score or to impress anyone. I'm only a shooter of average ability, with a master eye opposite to my shooting hand, so to keep up with a "natural" shooter, I'd have to pump lots of rounds through a gun every year to stay sharp. I have no desire for that anymore!
Yesterday, a friend came out with a B. Rizzini Aurum Classic in .410. What a little beauty, and as often happens, he put this little O/U in my hands to shoot. Now, anyone that knows me will readily divulge that I have enough problems shooting my own guns, much less pick up a strange gun, and in .410 no less.
But, I shot the little gun, and pretty well. These Rizzini O/Us just seem to fit me.
I've been thinking about a .410 for a long time. Not to do anything serious with, but just enough to bring pups along. A single shot would be more than sufficient, but, that little Rizzini captured my imagination..
A friend has a Beretta 686 DU dinner gun that he "won" at an auction quite a few years back, for $2,000. He was drunk at the time, and seated near a young lady that he was trying to impress. That's the only justification I can think of for bidding $2K!!!
All he wants for it is what he's got into it.... But, I like the little Rizzini...

Stay tuned.... More to come!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

In the arms of the Angels ll

Duncan was one of those rare dogs that did everything well. He handled his birds with aplomb, you could read the bird he was working by observing his tail and body language. He stood his birds well.. no running to a point before the dog broke. He retrieved when he felt like it, but that was OK!
In the off season, he was a trail dog nonpareil, but he took keeping the pack together very seriously! We once hiked into a pond where some neighbors stash a boat. Anyone can use the boat, the only caveat is that the boat be returned and hidden. My son decided to go out onto the pond in the boat. Duncan was visibly upset by this. He jumped into the pond, took the bow line in his mouth, and towed my son and the boat back into shore. One of the most amazing feats by a dog that I've ever seen..
It was during a trip to the firetower on Wakely Mountain that he suffered his first distinguishable seizure. I had previously thought these were glycemic events, or "sugar shock" as sweets always pulled him out of it. We had cookies, and it worked this time also. Duncan was at this time getting older, and my Vet advised me to take it easier on him.. As if the dog would have it!
To take it further, Duncan was much more than just a birddog to me. I would have been more than happy to have finished out my gunning career with only him.. Just the two of us together..
I hope, if there is an afterlife, that he's there waiting for me.. I've never forgotten him, and I hope he hasn't forgotten me..

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In the arms of the angels

This blog would not be complete without mentioning the dog responsible for it's creation. That dog was Springset Gale Warning, or Duncan as we called him. I will publish many remembrances of him in future posts...

This past Sunday was a retrospective day. It brought to mind the words of the Sarah McLachlan tune, which touches my heart.
I was looking through closets for my digital scale to weigh a shotgun. I didn't find it, but, I did find a wicker basket, which contained items I was not prepared to discover..
It was all of my Gordon "Duncans" things that he had and used when he was of this earth. The cover from his last bed from LL Bean, with his name inscribed, his old "Star Wars" water bowl, and, his hand knit stocking that we used to hang on the "mantle" every year, along with those of everyone else.. All lovingly packed away... for what, I don't know. Maybe for times such as this. To remember the best dog I ever had..
He came to us from Norm Sorby's Springset Kennels in 1984. Norm termed a "Super Gordon", because he came from the best Sire & Dam that he had at the time, and maybe ever. There was something magical about these dogs and their capabilities! And, a few of his siblings went on to great things.. Maybe Duncan could have also, were it not for me. But, he was the best dog that ever was to me.

I'll have more tomorrow..

Monday, May 19, 2008

The temperament of a Gordon..

Followed are thoughts on a Gordon's temperament from various angles. I agree wholeheartedly with most of the attributes listed by the various authors...

"He is a faithful and lovable as any dog in existence, though he does require an outlet for his abounding energy............For a relatively large dog, he can take up a very small amount of space, curling up in some favorite corner where he is quite out of the way...............he is a great family dog and soon becomes a devoted companion and guard for children...............he has the 'touch of the devil' which induces a Gordon to play all sorts of pranks, but rarely tempts him into outright mischief. In a word, he is a thoroughly adaptable dog, with the instincts of a bird-hunter but very willing to learn other crafts and to use his own initiative................The Gordon while less affectionate than the Spaniel, displays much more independence, but will be just as demonstrative to his master and family, and as a rule impeccable polite to strangers after a proper introduction; but then he will commonly go about his own affairs unless required for some special purpose where as a Spaniel is always anxious to serve his owners every whim..........Though inclined to be formal and reserved with visitors, he soon accepts them as part of the household. When young, he is apt to be over demonstrative and boisterous, requiring firm by sympathetic handling; later he develops a quiet dignity and instinctive understanding of his master's wishes......he has a need of personal attention and has a distaste for being a mere kennel dog. Even when a Gundog is kept for work he will benefit by living in the house most of the time, since this will help to develop his intelligence and improve his understanding and co-operation. This is particularly true of the Gordon, who seems to flourish when in constant association with his master and indeed as a family dog.............." From a book, published in 1976 ,written by G.St.G.M.Gompertz , called "The Gordon Setter ...History & Character".

"The Gordon impresses people as aloof and not partial to strangers. Young dogs are considered boisterous and a bit tough to handle…. A good hunting Gordon works with its owner - in fact, guides him, and is quite confident that he [the dog] knows what's best…. One must be prepared to be outsmarted more than a few times by his Gordon…. Because of their involvement with their owners, Gordons are jealous and protective." From "The Complete Gordon Setter", Jean Sanger Look and Anita Lustenberger, published in 1984.

"intelligent , noble and dignified expression" From the Canadian Kennel Club breed standard.

"Acknowledged to be a strong, dependable bird dog, the Gordon is said to be capable of working for long periods of time…." The Canadian Kennel Club Book of Dogs.

"The Gordon Setter is alert, gay, interested and aggressive. He is fearless and willing, intelligent and capable. He is loyal and affectionate, and strong-minded enough to stand the rigors of training." American Kennel Club Standard, approved, Oct.9, 1990. (Note: the word "aggressive" in the standard does not refer to an aggressiveness to dogs or people but rather to an approach to working.)

"Bold, outgoing, of a kindly, even disposition." From the British Breed Standard.

" Just because temperament is intangible, it is still a characteristic of the breed (just look at your standard: yes, temperament is asked for just like body length etc.). Now we all know (or should know) that the Gordon is a "one man, one family dog". The old Scotsman bred him to be a working dog during the day and a companion at night by the fire. This is what formed the temperament of the Gordon in the beginning, making him a loyal companion which in turn found him guarding his owner and his owner's possessions, but at the same time still accepting his owner's opinion of strangers. (i.e. if it's okay with my master, it's okay with me.) "……. Robyn Wallis, Rokeena Gordons, Australia.

I tend to agree mostly with the Gordon' penchant for aloofness, particularly in Field bred dogs, and have many instances that convince me of this..
I had a partner I hunted with for a good number of years, and he gunned over my Gordon "Duncan" almost every week during the seasons. Duncan never even acknowledged his presence, even though he knew him very well. In the field, he was singleminded, and in the home, he would accept affection only up to a point. He was very much a "one man dog" however..
Most of my Gordons have been the same..
I also agree completely that a Gordon needs to live alongside his master in the home. Gordons notably do not do well in kennel environments, which is one of the reasons that inhibited the dog's popularity amongst people that need a "string" of dogs. In my experience, the dogs do not thrive in that atmosphere..
A Gordon is unique in that it needs to know that he is trusted, and an equal partner in the game harvesting experience.
I also firmly believe that Gordons thrive best in a "one man, one dog" relationship. Many breeds do not seem to care about this one way or another, but the Gordon is very much a "personal gundog", and operates best as such.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Quote of the day..

By someone I love to quote... Winston Churchill.. and pretty appropriate to the current news..

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."

If anyone knows anything about this subject, it was Winston Churchill... Food for thought.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The slow to mature Gordon!

Is there any other kind??

When I put Holly on the ground, I don't know who will show up... My four year old Derby dog, or the fully broke (well, almost) gundog I know she can be.
Going on five, she's still somewhat inconsistent on pigeons, and it's certainly because she knows the game so well. Bird work, and especially work with pigeons, can be overdone, so I've backed off a bit on putting down pigeons. But, I love to work dogs. I get to work with dogs that belong to other folks, but, I like to work my own best of all...
Due to bum knees, Holly hasn't gotten as much opportunity to hunt, or hunt as long, as her predecessors. This is my failing, and not hers.. In any case, she's still a helluva little dog, and folks think highly of her...

Maybe it's time for my last pup...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A favorite from Henley

"Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be,
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud:
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed...
It matters not how strait the gait,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul."

(William Ernest Henley, 1849-1903, from 'Invictus', more precisely titled: Echoes, No4, In Memoriam RT Hamilton Bruce, written in 1888.)

I had to memorize this in Junior High School. At that time, I wondered what good memorizing this piece would ever do me....

And now I know...


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Time for a Quote

I talk to him when I'm lonesome like; and I'm sure he understands. When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands; then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught thereat. For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that. ~W. Dayton Wedgefarth

How can you tell a dog person??
By the muddy pawprints on otherwise clean jeans...
By the hair that adorns one's clothes at a wedding or other formal affair...
By the drool or "eye gook" wiped across one's T shirt...
By the rope burns from a checkcord around the ankles...

Or, just by the happy and contented look on a real dogman's face, not caring a whit about the other distractions that bother others...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More musings on the origins of the Gordon

This, from the website of The Gordon Setter Association of England....

Although it is often credited that the Gordon Setter was the result of the Duke of Gordon crossing his black and tan Scottish collies with his Setters, to quote from the definitive work on the breed - The Gordon Setter - History and Character by G St. G M Gompertz - published by the author in 1976:

“There are reliable records to show that the Black and Tan Setter was in existence as a separate breed long before it was taken up by the Duke of Gordon.”

In the first half of the 18th Century records show that there were several noted kennels of Black and Tan Setters in the Midland Counties well before the Duke took up the breed in the early part of the 19th Century - obtaining his original stock from Thomas William Coke, late to become the Earl of Leicester, and that some of this stock was maintained as pure-bred stock, without the introduction of outside crosses for many years. It seems to be clear that this was the reason that the Kennel Club, founded in 1873, classified the breed at this time as “The Black and Tan Setter.”

Some 50 years were to elapse before in the Kennel Club Gazette of 1924, it was announced:

“In the list of breeds ... dated 1st January 1924 ... [without any reason being given] ... the Setter (Black and Tan) ... is now officially designated ... “The Gordon Setter.”

... possibly in recognition that by this time most Gordon Setters, but not all, could be traced back to the Gordon Castle strain, whilst it would be wrong to accredit solely the production of the breed to the Dukes of Gordon there is very little doubt that they played a very important part in the breed's development.

The effect that Robert Chapman from the late 1870s to the end of the century, and Isaac Sharpe from that point to just before 2nd World War, exercised cannot be ignored. They possibly exerted a greater influence in the refinement and uniformity of the breed and produced a type better suited to changing needs.

Within this brief précis it is impossible to examine and come to a definitive conclusion on importance of the individual contributions made to the development of the breed.

Just more evidence exploiting the facts of what an extremely eclectic breed our Black and Tan setter is...
We'll never really know what went into the mix, but, if we observe our dogs closely on a regular besis, we can see traits that could be attributable to other breeds..

Long Live the Gordon, ever changing even to this day!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Setter not to be overlooked

I'd like to introduce the other Setter that shares our home...

Great River Sandy. Ultimate Reissue x Clark's Sandy Beach.. And yes, that is the "Clark" of Clark's Black Copper fame. This dog was "pick of the litter" of a pretty impressive breeding by George Ekdahl of PA, and her daddy, Ultimate Reissue, was the National Pheasant Champion years back. But, not without difficulties..
UR was possessed of an exceedingly hard head, not unlike Sandy pictured here.
Mr. Ekdahl got the well bred UR for a song because of this trait. He soon found that the young dog would do what he thought best, rather than what George thought best. Not a good relationship for a dog destined to win big! Mr. Ekdahl proceeded to throw the dog in a kennel and not work him for an entire year. The strategy worked well enough to have UR go on to big things.
But, sadly, what's bred into a dog's nature can be impossible to break, and Reissue was lost to the road near the Ekdahl's kennels a couple of years ago..
It's easy to see therefore, where my Sandy gets her bullheadedness from. But, she's absolutely the sweetest, and "lovingest" dog that ever played on God's Green Grass..
She want's to do what pleases me, as long as it agrees with what pleases her..
We got Sandy at one year old. She had been shipped to a friend's kennels from her owner, Gilbert Clark. Sandy was destined to be a Field Trial competitor. I don't know why she would not handle for her previous owners, but, people don't have time to waste on a dog that doesn't want to partake of the game, as there are too many other prospects waiting in the wings. So, Sandy was headed for a life in the kennel as a brood matron... a puppy machine. A sadder life for a dog I couldn't imagine.
But, this little dog is not one to suffer in silence. When this little dog doesn't like something, everyone around her knows it! The bottom of her pedigree is all "Smith Setter", and the Smith dogs are known for their intellegence.
To their credit, Sandy's owners noticed how unhappy she was in the kennel environment, and I was asked if I could find her a good hunting home. To do this, I decided to take a look at her. It was basically "love at first sight", but I didn't need another dog. I spent alot of time thinking about prospective homes, but none I could think of measured up to the home I thought she deserved. I came to realize that this was because I truly wanted her myself!
I asked my wife to just come with me one day and take a look at her. I knew what the outcome would be, as my wife is probably more of a dog lover than I am. When we arrived, my wife put her fingers through the chain link of the kennel, and Sandy bore her body into my wife's fingers.. At that point, the die was cast, and Sandy came home with us..
She's been with us now almost four years, and while she'll never make a gundog, and that's her decision because of baggage from previous encounters, she is the best companion there ever could be..

I saved this little dog from a life in a kennel, but this little girl has given me much more than I've given her...

So here's to Sandy...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

For those suffering grief..

I am...

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

An interesting piece of literature, and a very moving one. There's more than one version, but, they're all very similar. Most people attribute it to Mary Frye, although I've seen it attributed to Royster, the Indians of the Northwest,and authors anonymous. It doesn't matter much, as I consider it a classic piece, and it's helped me through more than one period of loss. It still brings a tear to my eye whenever I read it.
When I lost my Gordon "Duncan" many years ago now, I'd look at the sky, and know that his spirit was in the clouds above, looking down on me and watching over me. It's been almost fifteen years, and I still feel that way sometimes...
It's odd when we lose a companion like that, that was very close to us. For weeks I thought I'd caught a glimpse of him running toward me out of the corner of my eye, or hear his farmiliar sounds in another room..
It's tough to lose a friend so close, and I've been through it now more times than I ever wanted. But, we always open ourselves up to the hurt again...
So, this post is for anyone who has faced that loss, expects to face it soon, or is wondering how to cope in the future..

Don't cry at their graves... They are not there, they did not die....

For those with some time on a Sunday

First, hop over to our friends at Upland Feathers and take the "Upland Monkey" survey. It's totally anonymous (as we all worry about on the innanet these days, and may help us Uplanders in the long run.. I filled it out....

Second, check out the latest posts by Deb over on "A piece of the Purest Challenge" concerning PETA. It may be more than many of us really wanted to know! This group is scary, their agenda is based on outright lies, and most insidious is that they can win the hearts and minds of our impressionable youth..
See what Deb has to say, and take some action!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Odd Couple...

Here's a painting by Otto Bache entitled "A Gordon Setter and a Pug". I can't think why anyone would paint such divergent dogs, in style, size, and purpose for breeding, in a study together but, here it is.
Bache lived from 1839 until 1927, and painted this in 1885. He did much canine artwork during his lifetime, but, what ever possessed him to put these two together, I'll never know...


Friday, May 9, 2008

Who said Gordons don't like water?

Here's my Holly, taken about two years ago now out at my club on the mighty Peconic River. This little Gordon loves to swim, although if you come at her with a bucket of lukewarm water for her bi-annual bath, she shivers and shakes... typically Gordon.
All my Gordon's have been pretty much the same way, to a greater or lesser degree, and I believe that most Field Gordons would have no aversion to water if exposed at an early age. There have been times, with wood duck on the water, where she developed the infamous "selective hearing", and it took me some time to call her in.
Dogs in general are "natural" swimmers. Every dog possesses the ability to swim. Some may like the water more than others, but they all have it in them.
Swimming also makes the best hot weather exercise for a dog, bar none. It's a great way for a dog to burn off some steam, and get some great exercise during the approaching "dog days" of summer...
My girls will be hitting the water this summer, give your dogs a chance for some "water sports"...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Of Gunners and Birdguns..

Met up with my old buddy Andrew, The Bronx Bomber, of Regal Vizsla fame for a couple of rounds of informal Skeet out at my club.
It was great to meet up with Andrew again, and finally meet Jozsi for the first time... I did miss a reunion with Momo though...
My reason for calling Andrew the "Bronx Bomber" will become readily apparent, as he showed up with one of the prettiest little 20 ga. boxlocks I've ever seen. A Webley & Scott produced 5 pound and change little marvel with 30 inch barrels. Pretty wood on the straight grip and nicely blued barrels.
And could he ever shoot this little wand of a birdgun. Lots of guys around with purpose built Skeet guns just shaking their heads in disbelief, as target after target created ink balls in the sky! And, low gun shooting to boot! My heart has to go out to any birds unlucky enough to have Andrew, his remarkable Vizslas, Momo and Jozsi, and that light little birdgun come across them this season.. It's certain meat in the WingWorks vest!
I, on the other hand have been staying with the 20 ga. Ithaca/SKB 280, and I'm quite pleased with the results it's been giving me. Particularly with my light 3/4 ounce reloads that I've become so fond of! One trigger is working for me, and, for the coming year, the 280 has already earned it's place as my "go to" gun..
Only time will tell...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The French Connection...

Small roads, big-time smuggling
By Don Lehman
Published: Sunday, May 04, 2008

The stretch of Route 28 between Johnsburg and Indian Lake is among the most desolate pieces of highway in the region.

It's a strange stretch of road to be a favorite among big-time drug traffickers.

But in recent years, as federal authorities have focused on the Northway as a conduit for illegal aliens who recently entered the country, marijuana dealers who move tons of pot into the U.S. through the Canadian border have turned to the smaller state and county highways that cross the Adirondacks.

Among them is Route 28, which runs east-west across much of the Adirondack Park, intersecting with Route 9 in Warrensburg and a number of other north-south routes to the north.

"We've known for a while that Route 28 has been a pipeline from the north, coming down from the (Indian) reservation," said Warren County Undersheriff Robert Swan.

Route 28 was the highway four Massachusetts men took to arrive in Warrensburg early the morning of Feb. 25. Erratic driving drew the attention of Warren County Sheriff's Officer Jeremy Coon, who stopped their car on Route 9 and found it to contain a duffel bag with just under 10 pounds of high quality marijuana inside.

The same night, the Sheriff's Office seized 126 pounds of marijuana three Canadian women were allegedly transporting south on the Northway. That was the biggest seizure in Warren County history, and the women's explanations to police of how "dummy cars" were used to test police resources opened some eyes.

In both cases, the people transporting the drugs brought them into the U.S. through the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation, which sits in the Franklin County town of Akwesasne.

The recent arrests have prompted some new initiatives by local police and prosecutors as they work to cut the flow of drugs, particularly large quantities of marijuana destined for other areas, through the region.

Police and prosecutors hope the use of technology, and the combining of resources, will allow authorities in Warren County pluck more pot as it is transported south.

"We know there is a lot of (drug) traffic going through our area from the north," said Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan. "There are some things we're looking into to interrupt that traffic."

The Glens Falls region has long found itself at a literal and figurative crossroads in the marijuana trafficking networks of the Northeast, thanks in part to the 8-plus-mile hole in the border where the Akewsasne reservation sits.

The reservation straddles the U.S.-Canada boundary, making it an attractive spot for those who want to smuggle drugs or illegal immigrants into the U.S. Tribe members have the right to move unchecked across the border on the reservation, and only a small force of tribal police patrols on the U.S. side.

Those who want to head to the New York City, Boston or Hartford, Conn., areas generally have to go south, and the shortest routes take them through Essex, Warren and sometimes Saratoga counties.

"The majority of it is going to the New York City area, but we're seeing a lot going to Boston," said Timothy Harvey, a sergeant with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne, in whose county the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation sits, said a billion dollars a year worth of marijuana is estimated to come across the international border at the reservation.

"You've got seven unmanned roads that come across (the border) through the reservation," Champagne said.

Champagne's office is part of a federal drug task force that in part targets smuggling through the St. Regis Mohawk reservation, and said.

And while some debate whether marijuana should be illegal, he said police area aware of at least three recent homicides (two in Canada, one in the U.S.) that were tied to marijuana smuggling efforts originating at Akwesasne.

In a series of raids last month, police on both sides of the border seized more than 700 pounds of marijuana and $2 million from one ring, and Champagne said police are aware of groups that move as much as 1,200 pounds of pot a year through the reservation.

St. Regis Mohawk tribal leaders have downplayed the drug smuggling issue, with a tribal police officer telling The Associated Press last year that other parts of the boundary are just as troublesome as those on the Mohawk reservation.

Police on both sides of the border, though, disagree.

"It's been an ongoing problem of drugs going into the U.S. from Canada and (illegal) cigarettes coming into Canada from the U.S." through the reservation, Harvey said.

New York City is the main destination, but Champagne and Harvey said there are connections to other cities across the country as well.

Champagne said police have tracked marijuana shipments that came across the border in Franklin County to not only big cities in the Northeast but as far away as Florida and Texas.

The shortest, and quickest, route to New York City and points south and east from the Canadian border generally brings motorists to the Northway, but the 1999 creation of a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on the highway in North Hudson (which has since been closed) forced many to try to find ways to bypass that stretch of the highway.

That put them onto roads like Route 30, Route 9 and Route 28, and often takes them through the heart of Warren County as they try to connect with other interstate highways like 90 and 95.

"Warren County is in the conduit," Champagne said.

The recent arrests in Warren County prompted Champagne to sit down with Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan to try to figure out ways for authorities in Warren County to work with their counterparts to the north to target the drug traffic filtering south.

One way is to have police allow those they catch with large quantities of marijuana to make controlled deliveries of the drug to the intended recipient, which allows authorities to nab one more person in the conspiracy and increase the chances of working their way into the distribution ring.

State Police Capt. Robert LaFountain, who supervises troopers in Troop B which includes Essex, Franklin and Clinton counties, said traffic enforcement is one of the ways to counter large-scale marijuana networks.

"You need a combination of good intelligence and good police work," he said.

Swan said Warren County sheriff's officers will be receiving more training in tactics like highway drug interdiction, an issue that was among those touted by Sheriff Bud York when he ran for office last year.

Hogan said technology, like police cars equipped with license plate readers that can be tailored to watch for a "hot list" of suspicious vehicles, can be used as well.

"The more sophisticated these groups become, the more sophisticated we have to be," she said.

Now, one may ask... What do these last two entries have to do with the price of bananas, and why are they posted on a Gordon Setter site??
Well, in the hermit post, the property my camp sits on in the Adirondacks backs up very near the northwest corner of Warren County, so the hermit wasn't too far off..

And, Route 28 is one of the two main drags in or out of Indian Lake, and I use the road all the time....

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A modern Adirondack hermit

Man tells police he has lived in woods for past 20 years

Buried in the thick woods of northern Warren County, 2 miles from the nearest road, was a testament to human adaptability.

A tarp-covered lean-to loaded with clothing, sleeping bags and provisions — items believed to have been stolen from seasonal homes around the Brant Lake region — was his residence, at least for the last several months.

The man police believe endured the elements of the Adirondacks in a pine-branch shelter was Alan G. Como, 56, whose last known address was in Massachusetts, police said. He told police he’d lived in the woods for the past 20 years.

This guy had been breaking in and burglarizing camps for gear - for 20 years!! Seems he started near Chazy Lake and began moving south after he was detected.

Big and muscular with little fat on his body, police said he is in remarkably good shape for someone his age who has apparently lived in the woods for at least several years.

“He’s a pro. He knows what he’s doing,” Cleveland said.

Only items needed for survival — clothes, sleeping bags, food and batteries — were taken during the burglaries, with the thief leaving behind valuables like jewelry and electronics, the sheriff said.

Here’s the best account of his capture:

For over a year, Warren County Sheriffs Deputies and State Police have been looking for a man living in camps in the middle of the woods, stealing items here and there from camps in northern Warren County.

“A lot of people seen him and whatnot, but they just weren’t able to catch up to him,” says Paul Smith, with the Horicon Highway Department.

Until Wednesday, the arrest of 59-year-old Alan Como came on the heels of a Tuesday morning tip from two Horicon snowplow operators who saw something that just did not look right.

“2:30 in the morning, somebody is out on a bicycle and there is two-inches of snow on the road…something is going on,” says Mark Younes, with the Horicon Highway Department.

There was a bike trail in the snow that the plows followed along their route.

“I finally tracked him out on to Pallisades Road, which eventually leaded to Beaver Pond Road,” Younes says. “Then that was the end of my route, and one of the other plow guys picked the track up from there.”

The plow operator followed the tracks in the snow until they went over the snow bank and left the road.

“They sent up some investigators…Mark and I went up to show them where he went over the bank, and they took it from there,” says Smith.

After two days of scouring the woods, on Wednesday, deputies found Como’s latest campsite.

“(It was) about two-miles in, way back in the deep woods…(we) spooked this guy out of his place,” says Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland.

Then, a nearly two-mile foot chase ensued, until Como ran into uniformed officers waiting for him.


These stories never fail to capture my imagination... I guess I'm a "hermit wannabee"!
I've always been a bit of a loner, often don't work and play well with others, and just generally cherish my alone time.. Don't know if I could withdraw from society for twenty years, but I must admit I find the idea appealing.
I'm also not enamored with rules and regulations, unless I come to the realization on my own that it's what's best for me.
I remember seeing doormats that had the inscription "GO AWAY".. I always wanted one, but gave in to my wife's wishes.. She could be the only person that keeps me from a primitive life in the woods..


Monday, May 5, 2008

Shadowfax Casey Jones

Thought by many folks to be the best moving Gordon ever!

FC/AFC Belmor's Knight (Austin Sumner) x Shadowfax Midnight Promise, Casey exemplified the look and run of a canine athlete. Almost given away as a puppy, the only thing that saved him was that there were no takers.
Casey won every Open Puppy stake he ran in his first season. Casey finished his Open Field Championship early, and went on to win the National Open Shooting Dog Championship, an American Field event!
Like most of the great ones, Casey could be a handful to handle, but, handle he did..

So hats off to Casey Jones.. one of the all time great Gordons.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A favorite from Gene Hill

"He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds. He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea. He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him. I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me. When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile. When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags. Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself. He has taught me the meaning of devotion. With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant. His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He has promised to wait for me... whenever... wherever - in case I need him. And I expect I will - as I always have. He is just my dog."
Gene Hill

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Wet Gun Dog

It's been a bit rainy here for the last few days, so, the smell of wet gundog has
been permeating the house. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about!
Orvis used to sell a cologne called "Wet Gun Dog". I don't see it in their catalog anymore, but apparently similar products are available across the pond, where they know only too well the smell of a wet gundog..
So, if you'd like to smell a little "different" for a night on the town, pick up some of these products.. Your "signifigant other" will thank you for it!

Friday, May 2, 2008

A little bit of this, A little bit of that..

First, I'd like to start everyone's day with one of the neatest little video clips I've ever seen. I stumbled across it at the Cold Duck Blog, a group of upland bird hunters who prowl coverts in the Adirondacks.
To sample the dancing woodcock, click here...

Second, I'd like to thank Dr. Shawn Wayment at Birddogdoc's Chronicles for adding the Bombshell to his bloglist. Shawn has a great site, and we're greatful for the recognition..

Third, For a Friday morning laugh, check out Glyn Davies' blog "A view from rural Wales". Scroll down to a post from May 1, entitled "What's the World coming to"..
I can relate to this post as I'm kind of an "au naturale" guy myself... As far a sniffing seats??? No comment!
Check it out here...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Storm Cloud Gathering?

A recent NYS Department of Environmental Conservation press release states..

DEC has announced a new initiative to switch to "green ammo" from lead based ammunition for firearms training to help reduce the impact from lead at firing ranges.
The ammunition DEC will be using is considered "green" because it is lead free and includes non-toxic primers. This combination greatly reduces the impact of firearms training on the environment. Lead poisoning is a serious human health risk and excessive exposure to lead, primarily from ingestion, can cause increased mortality rates in cattle, sheep and waterfowl.
DEC is currently phasing in the new ammunition with the agency's 330 environmental conservation officers and 134 forest rangers. The DEC expends over 150,000 rounds of ammunition annually, including during regional in-service training exercises, as well as at the Department's 26 week residential basic training academy.

For more information about lead in bullets, go to EPA's website at:


We've got a new DEC Commissioner in NY, Pete Grannis, appointed by our illustrious former governor, the legendary Eliot Spitzer, over the objections of Sportsmen, Environmental groups, and almost everyone else who had an interest.
Does Mr. Grannis expect DEC officers, the most powerful Peace Officer in the State, BTW, to train with one type of ammo and expect to enforce laws against possible violent offenders with another??
Pete Grannis is a political hack fresh from NYC politics. His appointment gave former Governor Spitzer another chance to flex his muscles (no, not that one) and thumb his nose at the people of the State of New York...
In any case, with Commissioner Grannis at the helm, I fully expect much more stupidity to follow..
I know this.. I'm laying in lead in 6's, 7 1/2's, and 8's even if the price is high... We're in a whole new environment with folks like Pete Grannis at the helm.