Friday, March 26, 2010

The Wonders of GPS Technology

Ever since I started running Gil in the open field I've been using the Garmin Astro dog tracking system to keep track of his whereabouts should he ever become lost, disoriented or injured while on hunt. The Astro is probably one of the best, if not the best, investment I ever made. They're not cheap but it sure does give me lots of peace of mind, plus I get all the cool features that come with it, like being able to review Gil's courses.

Below is an illustrated view of the last course Gil ran at this year's NOFCA Grand Course.

The image was created from information gathered from the collar and then superimposed onto Google Earth. The collar tracks all kinds of information including average speed, distance and location of the dog at any given point in time. I have highlighted the leg of the course where Gil was recorded to have reached his highest speed of 52 mph. In all honesty I doubt the accuracy of the collar but it does give you some idea of how fast these dogs can travel. The point at the far left is where I believe he lost the rabbit since the speeds from that point on become much slower and steadier. The whole course was about 2 miles, but if my guess is correct he only ran the rabbit for about half that distance. Nevertheless a mile long run at full speed is quite a feat.

The most important point to be taken from this is that it gives one a realistic view at how real rabbits run in their natural habitat. Lure coursing is held by many to be an adequate or even exemplary simulation of hare coursing when, in truth, most lure coursing plans do not even come close to simulating the natural course a hare would take while being pursued by a predator (be it dog, coyote or falcon). As a result, lure coursing can only give us a limited indication as to how well our dogs are fulfilling their original function. My hope is that we can start to use technology like this to create better lure coursing plans so that we may improve the ability of those who do not have access to open field coursing to test their hounds' skills in the field.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Split Weekend: LGRA and ASFA

Since there were two events being held on the same weekend we decided to split it 50-50 with LGRA racing on Saturday and ASFA lure coursing on Sunday.

Gator, Luna, Fecni and Belle were entered for the sprint races. Unfortunately Fecni pulled up lame in the last program (she's much better now) and Belle had to be scratched for interfering with her competitors. Looks like Belle is in for some re-training in the near future. Hopefully we can correct her naughty behavior and get her back in good racing form.

With two of the four scratched that left the two siblings to battle it out for the points. In the end Gator won the meet, taking home one more point for his GRC (just a few more to go!) with Luna taking best opposite for half a point towards her GRC.

On Sunday Gator, Luna and Belle headed out to Sloughhouse for SSIH's ASFA lure coursing trial. Gator and Luna ran together in the Open Limited Stake while Belle ran solo in the Singles Stake. The course plan was very challenging and quite a few dogs had trouble with it but the brother-sister duo managed quite well. In their prelim run Gator edged out his sister by one point, but by the end of finals Gator was the clear victor, taking home 8 points towards his Field Championship. Luna took the other 6 points. With these two staying neck and neck with each other it will be interesting to see who finished their ASFA title first.

Miss Belle had a difficult time maneuvering the course and did not place in singles but she had a jolly good time just the same.

Unfortunately there's no photos this time, but here's a video of Gator and Luna's finals run:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Old/New Pictures

These pictures aren't really new, but it's the first time I've seen them so they're "new" to me. These were taken by Dave Mills last season the day that Gil made his first kill. I was so proud, and so was he:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Extra! Extra! NAMAA Newsletter is Hot Off the Press!

NAMAA just published it's latest newsletter. It's long overdue but it's finally here so download your copy today.