In May 2016 Cawston Ranch, just north of Bulawayo, hosted the annual Zimbabwe National Pointer Dog Trial. Expertly judged by Bob & Karen Harte and assisted by Adrian Swales, it was a solid competition between quite a number of quality dogs. Deka, owned by Graham Ross won both the Derby and Maiden categories. The championship was won by Kevin Cooke’s dog Bear, who demonstrated excellent style and discipline and scored a full house of points within a few minutes of starting. Great photos and more stories of the weekend can be viewed on the Pointer Dog Trial Facebook page
Cawston is one of the few places open for wing shooting in Zimbabwe. Due to the bird friendly habitat, well dispersed water points and plenty of appropriate food, the ranch supports a very large number of terrestrial game birds. Two driven shoots held so far have provided excellent sport despite the low breeding of the guinea fowls this year. To breed successfully, guinea fowls need consistent rainfall to provide the right humidity and plenty of insects for essential protein. Despite nationwide drought conditions, we actually received at our official measuring point, the highest rainfall of the last 15 years. Unfortunately, this rain has been very sporadic and in short heavy bursts leading to high levels of run off and very little useful rain in terms of replenishing ground water and sustaining the veld. For avid Pointer Dog owners, wing shooting is secondary to seeing their dogs working and at Cawston there is plenty of opportunity for this as the lush environment is full of franklin who seem to have been able to take full advantage of the late rains and light frost so far experienced.