Friday, July 31, 2009

Hanging with dad, and the Big V

Wednesday was walkup day around Lakelands. Got a really good insight into the property, and how to access the swampland at the end of the farm. Lake "Tikotiko" at the end of the farm has rolling grass paddocks down to the waters edge, and there were geese present ... lots of geese. Rick was out after geese on Wednesday on Waikare, they got 3 but he was complaining about the wind being wrong. Our bag was quite mixed:

16 Pheasant
3 Hares
3 Magpies
1 Feral cat
1 Hedgehog

I got a melanistic bird as well, was going to get him stuffed but ended up plucking him! I may never shoot another, so consider myself double blessed. But my dear readers, I can say this - the first time is best. It was a really hard shot on this bird but I appreciated the early season bird much much more.

Rachael's dog Pippet is fantastic, I'm really switching onto Spaniels now in a big way. Beam was great also, working very close to the Big V all day. Some retrieving issues to iron out but still a really solid performance.

The blue bird:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Still & sunny

The 4th shoot at Lakelands was an exercise in .... exercise! 6 drives for 120 odd birds. It was hard work as the conditions were bright and sunny, with almost no breeze. Guy has explained his thoughts on the result. I happen to reckon that the guns were somewhere between average and crap in terms of skills, but that's my opinion only.... I saw birds get through that should have been dead. I watched one gun on a primo spot at The Gums, reprimanding and dragging his dog to heel while birds flew all around him. Dickie saw that too and wasn't impressed. So could they have got the bag? I think so. Everyone was a bit tired and I had to leave early - which was late in fact. Marcia hit the roof. Rilee is playing up big time so i get the roff-hitting part.

A Demon Energy shot (220 mg caffeine in a tiny bottle), and a Voltaren when I got home and I felt fine!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cars.....plans & schemes

My poor poor 'Baru. Her guts are rotting. New pipes installed and a complete system flush .... but that's only putting off the invevitable which has arrived much sooner than I'd hoped. The idea was to drive her until she wouldn't go any more. In my mind that was 5 years away from today, but it seems that she probably doesn't have 5 years left in her. Suddenly struck me today how much she's cost in repairs over the past 2 or so years... clutch, diff, rust around windscreen, now rusty waterworks... yeah the maintenance is now getting over the cost of financing something else. TCO they call it - Total Cost of Ownership. What to do?

Saw this on TradeMe

9 grands, 3.5L petrol though, and I'd suspect no WOF.

God I didn't want to be in the car market yet.

Scrw eyes closed and ignore facts, or buy new car?


Sunday, July 19, 2009

At the circus

Went to Dralion last night... not sure if it was just me but it seemed a bit flat after the magnificence of Varekai. This may seem a bit of a strange critique given that the performers were world class (or better), but the whole performance seemed sort of random and uncoordinated. It fell a bit flat. Varekai was the best thing I ever saw, so Dralion had big boots to fill... and didn't quite get there.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


That's the final tally from Saturday's shoot at Lakelands. Guy was very chuffed, a combination of wind, good beating, and some very good shooting made a record bag. Guy's stats:

3.32 shots per bird is quite respectable indeed. After that first drive I had thought it was going to be a very long day... not so as it turned out. Marvellous.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Boy I can't wait

Tomorrow morning Andrew, Tim and Quinn (maybe) and I will be on the pheasant beating crew at Lakelands. To someone who didn't have an affinity to guns, dogs, game birds, tradition, and cameraderie, this may seem a strange way to want to spend a day. Walking up and down hills, carrying sticks, flags and clacker machines. Pushing birds out and up, so that they present the guns with challenging shots. But its not strange at all, people from different walks of life with common interests get together, work as a team, make new friends and enjoy themselves immensely. It could smack of elitism if you wanted to make it so, but its not. No beaters = no bag so it really is a team sport, just like marlin fishing which is as much about boat handling and crew work as the actual angling bit. And I feel a bit intoxicated by the entire historical aspect, knowing that they syndicated shoot has been a workable model for over 200 years. Plus I like being outside. A good walk in the countryside with a purpose is better than a walk around the block.

And this is going to be a challenge for the guns, check this out!

That's going to be a veeeeery strong wind, i expect the birds will be oh so challenging. Could actually make it a long day, after all you need 150 birds before its over......

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ups & downs

My business reports on the general state of the credit market; as a credit bureau we track and analyse application and default data across both commercial and consumer NZ. We sell information that let's credit providers make decent decisions about who to lend to, and under what circumstances. Because we collect data from all credit providers in the land, we have adarn good view on what's going on in lending and trading land. Today's release item
is just an example of the type of breezy, bright and cheery news that we put into the market. There's an underlying sales message of course, after all why else would a business say anything at all? So its bad out there for lots of people. And this week it sort of got closer to home when I along with 5 colleagues were advised that our roles are dis-established. Its a hard reality when its hitting you smack in the face that your source of income may disappear. But you see where one door closes, another opens. Some new roles will be created, and these will be contestable. I've seen the role descriptions and can say none really thrill me but at times like this we put our best foot forward and go for it don't we? Winners are grinners and I'm gonna win, the other options don't bear thinking about.

After that I'm going pheasant shooting.

Good stuff that happened this week:
1. Paul & Michelle's little girl arrived
2. I arranged another shooting trip
3. Landed decent contract with blue chip client
4. Had nice weekend at home, proving it can be done and winning immense brownie pointage
5. Roger Federer won Wimbledon (closet tennis fan you see)
6. Rossie extended his lead in MotoGP
7. Springboks got fined for acting like cocks

Bad stuff:
1. Have to apply for new role

Good beats bad 7:1


Friday, July 3, 2009

This is Good

The Drake pullover, goes under your waders, made of nice warm fabric, good colouring and a reasonable price. This could be a better answer than the jackets I've looked at, which could be thrown on over top on a very wet day. I'm gonna get one..... :D

Et tu, John?


I'm going home to have a nanna nap.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hot air and toxic shot

Global schwarming my oath. I have a view. You see, the history of the earth is littered with life changing events such as Ice Ages (more than one), volcanic dust storms, tsunamis, meteorite impacts... and what normally happens after each event is sort of cyclical. For example, carbon dating technology tells us that between Ice Ages, there are periods where dear old mother earth has got quite warm. Think far warmer than now. This has happened forever on our little planet. What we're seeing now is quite foreign to us poor humans, technically over the past 20 years, the earth has warmed by about one half of one degree on average. Let me say that again. One half of one degree over 20 years. A warming crises of biblical proportions? Not in my view. An "Inconvenient Truth" - pah!

In a similar vein...

My views on shooting lead at birds are: it is the most efficient and effective gamebird killing medium ever invented. Right price, right ballistic, right denisty... right everything. Except for one teeny weeny thing... lead is toxic. Well sure, so don't go eating the stuff in big doses! Another paradox... to keep the greenies off our back, we shoot alternative shot out of our big bore shotguns. The problem is that no matter what anyone says (inc my esteemed ammo sponsor) steel doesn't stack up at ranges beyond 40m. This actually doesn't mean that much to most pond shooters who shoot at 20m or less, so we're left with some tough choices. One of our better known waterfowling identities has all the answers - "fool ducks into getting within 20m" is his common reply. In certain areas of the country where there are vast bird numbers, lowish hunter numbers and where bag limits can be set at 50 birds a day, well I'd put it to you that anyone with a few smarts and a few good contacts could harvest huge numbers based on the fact that the birds are simply not going to be pressured as much as birds in say the Waikato region. I.e. they will be easier to decoy, easier to get into range and easier to kill with steel. So I don't fully subscribe to his views given that I think he's got it pretty easy - and don't get me wrong, good on him, that's what years of experience is all about. But to transpose a limited view based on his local area across the whole NZ shooting scene... well, that's just not right. For example, the guys I shot with on the Waikato River would open up at ducks at 60m. They'd kill them too. The ducks simply wouldn't fly closer so they did what they had to to get a bag. They hand loaded powerful lead loads based on great ballistics. I fear that with steel they just aren't going to be in the game, or will wound so many birds it would turn your stomache. To tell these guys they have to call birds in to 20m? Nah, it wont happen, it can't happen, its just not how the ducks fly.

My view is that I'm going to continue to buy better alternatives than steel, and hopefully over time the alternatives will be more palatable from a $ perspective. I will do my utmost to have realistic decoys and appropriate settings, will continue to practice my calling and will continue to think of putting myself in places that birds go. By doing this I may have the luxury of being relaxed about killing lots of ducks with steel at 20m and then getting on a high horse and calling the sub gauge shooters "hypocrites".

(but its not likley!!)

Busy calendar

Speaking with rick about stuff we need to do, like shoot WILD roosters, hunt geese, sort out laydown and boat blinds... its slightly obvious that life is quite busy. This is the stark paradox that is life... when we did have more time, we lacked opportunities, or the finances required to maximise opportunities. And when we then again have lots of time - god, weve either gone on the dole (no $) or retired (no youthful energy)!

Lap it up while you can I reckon. If you love it, get out and do it!