More Birds, More Shot

Zahra spent a couple hours at the hunting club this morning. The goal now is to build her experience while we still have tolerable weather.

It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the mid-40s. The club put out (and marked) two chukars and the breeze was just right to give Zahra a nice big scent cone to pick up.  She did a bit more creeping and a little less pouncing today, which was good.


I shot over Zahra again and she didn’t seem to care at all. In fact, reports heard from a distant area perked up her attention — she looked as if she might see birds that way.

We also happened upon a rooster pheasant on our way into our field. He flushed and I noted where he came down. On the way back out, we headed in that direction. I caught a glimpse of him running as we neared, but Zahra wasn’t able to catch his scent.

Here’s another one, spotted a half mile away along a roadside. The smarter pheasants are fattening up!




Gun Dog

Zahra had a great time in the field today.  Trainer Lorraine set her up with two chukars and she found and flushed them both. We’ve done this exercise a few times before, but today the pup heard a shotgun for the first time.

To prep for this session, I grabbed some lightweight target load. I went looking for the lowest velocity shot I could find for my 12 gauge over/under. (Of course, it would have made sense to use a smaller gauge gun, but I don’t own one!)  I may have done better at a specialty shop, but the best I could find at the big box sports store was a Winchester “Light Lead Load” that was on a buy-one-get-one clearance. I can’t find these shells on the Winchester site – they’re labeled “USA Game & Target” and are rated at 2 3/4 dram equivalent, 1180 feet per second, with a #6 shot.

Being a training session, our chukar’s location was marked with orange tape in some tall brush. As Zahra approached that area, I handed my gun to the trainer, and walked in with her for the flush. When the bird took flight, our trainer fired a round in the air from probably 30 feet away. Zahra, already giving chase, didn’t even notice.

Good dog!


Age: 4 months



Gancia Negroni

The classic Negroni: Equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, stirred, served on rocks, and finished with an orange twist.  It’s silky, cool, and bitter… perfect on a warm summer afternoon.


My wife has always been intrigued by the Negroni, but also finds Campari revolting. So, when we recently came across a restaurant menu that offered a Gancia Negroni, she was excited to try it.

I didn’t have much more than a description, so I started with Death & Co.’s classic Negroni recipe, which bumps up the gin to 1.5 parts. I substituted Gancia Americano for the Campari and used Hendricks Gin, which I think was part of the description, but is probably our favorite gin right now anyway.

Typically, you’d stir a Negroni, but in this case, I gave it a good long shake, adding water and froth, cutting back a bit on the bitter.  Still a Negroni? You decide.

Gancia Negroni

  • 1.5 oz Hendricks Gin
  • 1 oz Gancia Americano
  • 1 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth

You’d normally want to stir over rocks in an old-fashioned glass. Alternatively, shake over ice and strain into the glass. Orange twist to finish.



Lorraine the Trainer asked me to bring Zahra’s pedigree to our first training session.  She’s hoping for clues about what the various breeders that put this dog together may have prioritized.

Zahra’s dame’s name is Zsalya and she came from Zöldmáli, which claims to be “the World’s No.1 dual purpose Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla kennel.”  So that seems like a good start… Zsófia Miczek, the kennel’s breeder, was interviewed for an article in the August 2017 issue of Gundog Magazine.

I really like this shot of Zsalya’s dad from Zöldmáli:


Zsalya lives near Turkey Point, Ontario, Canada and is owned by Dream Vizslas, who bred our Zahra.

I don’t know as much about Zahra’s sire. His name is Csipes von Schattenaugen.  He’s listed as “NAVHDA NA Pz I/UT Pz III”.  NAVHDA is the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association, and that scoring says he did really well at 14 months on the Natural Ability test and did pretty well on the Utility Test, which he took at 3.5 years (according to NAVHDA online records).


Casual Water Time


We’ve had a week of summer weather here in the Northeast US and I wanted to get Zahra into some water before it gets too cool. She’ll be quite a bit older next Spring.

The idea here was to keep it casual and low-stress with some play time at a quiet boat launch. Zahra was able to walk in and out at her own pace. I walked in with my fishing waders on, hoping her puppy follow-the-boss instinct would kick in.

It didn’t, but treats worked!


Age: 12.5 weeks.