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Roca is a Rockstar

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  • Roca is a Rockstar

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Name:	2014 Roca with Cranes.jpg
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    6 big birds taken and Roca brought back 5 of them. The one she did not get landed in the trees, hidden, so we would not send her. My partner went to find that one himself.
    The grass is tall, water is deep, and the muck, well, it is mucky. She could see birds falling, but really there was no way for her to tell how far off they landed. She took great lines, fought the mud sucking muck, and handled better than I ever thought she would. She had never seen a crane, yet never hesitated to pick them up. I've seen her not be happy about snipe, so was not sure what she'd do w/ a monster bird. At 62lbs, she dove in, grabbed each bird, and hauled butt back best she could carrying birds weighing 6-9lbs each (later all 6 weighed in at 47lbs)
    Roca picked up the first 2 w/ only a little help handling. Number 3 was a complete blind, as was 4 and 5. 3 was the longest bird out (maybe a bit over 45 yards) and she did phenomenally. On the 4th bird, she hit the muck, found some solid footing, and launched herself toward the bird, as yet unseen by her. Wow! I could see the bird, thought it was dead, but found out just how wrong I was. That bird rose up and struck at her before I could stop her. 2 times that bird struck before I could call her off. She came back and I told my partner to kill it! He did so happily. We checked her over and found everything intact. Whew, that was a moment.
    I gave her a line to bird 5, and she tried going back to 4. I handled her away from it and she got the other bird. She brought back that one and I gave her a line back to 4, the one that tried to nail her. She locked on, I told her "back", and she took off. She did not hesitate a bit. We watched closely, though we could see more of the bird and knew this time it was dead.
    I was so impressed by her willingness to stop on the whistle, and take good casts through really challenging conditions. I was awed by her determination to get that bird that attacked her.
    Opening weekend for ducks was pretty slow for her. She only got a couple of birds, I was bummed. But she did impress me when we took her to look for a possible cripple on some floating matt and she handled all over it without a refusal. I even handled her back into the water, paralleled the edge, and then handled her back on to the floating mess. At 6 years, she is in her prime. I do lining drills and simple baseball in the yard at home, mostly as a game. We did go out and shoot pigeons over her before season, and ran pattern lines in and around the marks. She did well there. I'm excited about what the rest of the season will bring.
    Good luck this season folks,

  • #2
    Thanks for sharing Roca's success story. Sounds like a great partner.
    President of Alaska Waterfowl Assoc.
    And God said, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.


    • #3
      I've had labs since 1978. I have been blessed w/ some great dogs during that time. Everything I've done w/ the dogs (field trials, kennel boy for pros, travel, group training sessions) has all been for moments like this. The hunt is where it is at for me. I won't say Roca is my best dog, but she brings a great attitude and willingness to our partnership. She is a sweetheart, but also has the drive to work in pretty extreme conditions.
      For a dog to handle that well, with arguably very little consistent and focused training, is simply crazy. She is our first yellow (the others were all blacks) and hopefully this next spring we'll try breeding her again to NAFC Cody Cut a Lean Grade (Grady) to see if we can get some good pups out of her. This last years breeding did not take, bummer for us.
      She is heading out to hunt w/ my son today so I am looking forward to some stories and pictures of her work out there. We'll see if he wants to add to her 2014 story.


      • #4
        I have only seen one lab take on live cranes. Flash. She's gone to the happy hunting grounds now. That girl was 3 when she took on her first crane. First bird she had a boxing match with, but came out with a solid TKO. The rest of the birds were KO'd. She'd run at them full on (wheat fields) and hit em with her shoulder, then wheel and come back for the neck. She was something to watch!


        • #5
          It's amazing how they figure that stuff out. One of our labs got bit in the face by the first goose he tried to retrieve. He hauled that goose back by it's bill, making sure that didn't happen again. He used to give every goose he got after that a little shake to make sure it was dead. I know, it's not something you really want your hunting dog to do, but it didn't hurt the meat so we let him do his thing.
          Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
          "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs
          I am a shoveler's worst nightmare!


          • #6
            I've never eaten a live bird, as long as they don't chew it up, i really don't care. It is good stuff to watch a dog do their thing. Any more crane stories?


            • #7
              Nice work on the big birds!

              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


              • #8
                Roca got another 4 day trip in w/ my son and his buddy. No photos (I'm bummed) but they came back w/ their 3 day bag limits. A nice selection of puddle ducks w/ some really pretty widgeon, some mallards starting to change, and a spoonie showing some extra blue. They even brought in a couple of golden eyes.
                Roca worked pretty hard over those 4 days, coming home a few pounds lighter, leaner, and muscled. I guess she was so tired that at one point while laying in the cabin, he placed a plate of food in front of her nose and it took her a while to wake up and realize what it was. Then she did not even pick her head up, just laid there and licked the plate. That's one tired Labrador.
                There were a couple of tough chases on wounded ducks that kept diving, but she is figuring things out one by one. Each time that happens she seems to get a bit smarter about what the game is. Roca did not handle as well, but that is not unusual as he has not worked w/ her like I have. We need to spend some off season time getting them on the same page so she trusts him like she does me.
                Hopefully we'll be able to get her on some more birds before freezeup,


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