2010 - 2011 Season Commentary
We hope this finds you well and looking forward to another season... we are excited about the prospects and hope you will join us to shoot this year.
We had a remarkably nice fall to start off last season. The weather co-operated and the birds were flying well. There were some excellent days in October and November. We had just hosted a very successful Father and Son/Daughter day on December 4th with 16 for lunch when, by the following week, the weather showed it's true winter colours…. by that I mean white! The snow stayed with us, except for a short thaw, through December and January. Despite losing some drives due to snow inundation we were still able to hold and show some good birds into January with our last driven day being our New Years Day shoot which was postponed from January 1st to the 8th due to inclement weather.
All things considered, it was an excellent season and we had the pleasure of hosting two new groups and making some new friends. To those of you that have been regulars here at Bardorchat for several years we enjoy your company and look forward to seeing you again this coming season. For the 2011 season we will continue to raise our birds from day-olds to ensure we provide strong flying birds for your enjoyment. There will be some chukar to add to the mix of birds when desired.
Last season was the second year we used our 2 new release pens. These pens are built around a wood that incorporates cover as well as sunning areas for the poults. The concept is that the poults grow up in the pen and see this as "home". They will fly out of the pen but the attraction of "home" encourages them to come back each evening to roost. Because the birds grow up in the wild as opposed to the flight pen they are better flyers and thus more challenging to shoot. Our return last season was a bit below our hopes but we think the bean field next door proved to be a significant temptation for our poults and they wandered.
Despite this we believe these birds make more sporting quarry and will be continuing to experiment in 2011. The new cover strips added in 2008 to augment existing drives have been retained for this coming season. Under-sowing the corn strips with a mix of Japanese and White millet proved to be good holding cover as well as providing a food source for the birds.
Our two new drives from the big fir wood at the back of the farm showed some spectacular birds when the prevailing west wind was strong. We will continue to use these drives when conditions are suitable in 2011. We are currently planning to enhance one drive on the west side by extending the game cover strip further north. We haven't really utilized this drive to it's full potential in the past. It has the benefit of being able to be driven in either direction to take advantage of the wind conditions. In addition we are looking at some thinning of bushes around the north end of the pond which will give us a new drive utilizing the cedars to better advantage.
We've also been checking with our shooting friends in the UK about their use of both broad-leaf kale and artichokes as holding and flushing cover outside woods and game cover crops. Pheasants seem to like the overhead cover it provides as well as the food value. So provided we can get some good seed we have a mind to experiment with some blocks on a couple of drives and see how they perform.
We had the benefit of the woodstove in the lunchroom last season and a couple of early days saw us opening doors and windows to cool things down at lunch time. However it was much appreciated after the snow in December! On the dog front this was the first full season for "Maggie". She is from Springwater Kennels just south of Owen Sound and we felt very pleased to see her working with enthusiasm both finding and retrieving game. Being young and fast enabled her to get to the bird first and some might say she had more than her fair share in the retrieving department. Finally we have had some time over the winter to pull together a few game recipes. These include a fabulous curry all the way from the glens of Angus in Scotland and a heart warming soup also native to Scotland. We hope you'll enjoy some or all of them over the course of the coming year and if you have any you care to volunteer we'd be happy to include them with the appropriate credit in the title.
To our regulars we hope to see you again this fall for an enjoyable day chasing some pheasants about. As usual we will be sending out our e-mail on booking dates soon and would urge you to book your day(s) as soon as you can to avoid disappointment. Jan and I are looking forward to having the pleasure of your company for a memorable day at Bardrochat.