Thursday, August 16, 2012


We have been on a roll lately, and he is cleaning up out of the car window. The weather has been cooling off lately as well, so we have hit the field a couple mornings as well. We caught our first bird field hawking the other day, and I am pretty darn pleased with how he is progressing. The noise on the other hand.....well, lets just say you gotta love red shoulders :-). I keep forgetting the camera most days, but here are a few decent shots that I have taken over the past week or two. Pulled the Prairie out the other day, and we flew outside on the creance for the first time this morning. Falconry season is almost upon us people!!! Are you getting excited yet?!?!?!?

(yeah yeah....I know. The rainbow colored padding on the perch is lame looking :-))

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Going The Extra Mile

I'm sure you have seen the Marshall radio advertisements, which are scattered throughout all of the various falconry forums and web sites.  It says "going the extra mile," and though their intent was to show that you now have the ability to order products directly from them (as opposed to using one of the many falconry retail stores), the phrase took on a whole new meaning for me yesterday.  No, this isn't a story about an epic telemetry chase, nor is it about how Marshall products have saved my rear numerous times (which they have), it's about the company as a whole, and how they have yet again, gone above and beyond their commitments, in order to maintain and/or create a client base, with a cult like loyalty to their products.  Before I go on anymore though, let me tell you all about the series of events, which lead up to this post.

 My story began a month or so ago, when the epic-ness of my memory showed itself to the max, and I left my Marshall receiver out in the field (don't's just depressing!!!).  I tend to loose my mind for short periods when I get caught up in the hunt, and though previously it had only been lures, game sheers, brush beating sticks, etc, etc, this day,  I decided to kick my "loosing stuff" streak up to a whole new level.  Though I went back to get it pretty darn quickly, it had been picked up by someone else, and was out of my life for good.  The wife, as you all can imagine, was hotter than a hornet when I told her what I had done, and my place in the dog house was secured for a pretty good while.  Things eventually blow over when you have a wife as great as mine though, and after a little bit of time had passed, I mustered up the courage to approach the subject of buying a replacement :-).

Not only did I want a new one though, I wanted an upgrade, and the the appeal was presented in the context of a long term investment.  "Why drop the coin on a receiver that will need to be replaced semi soon, when spending a little extra now, will result in a receiver used for many, many years"....that was the argument used, and being the sensible and logical woman that my wife is, she bought into it, and it wasn't long before I had a new FM800 receiver waiting on my door step.

 From the moment I pulled the receiver out of the box, I handled it as if it were made of tissue paper.  The amount of caution taken could be compared only to that of someone dealing with explosives, and I was bound and determined that THIS would be the receiver I never messed up.  A buddy of mine has one of the first receivers ever produced for falconry, and it still functions to this day.....that was my goal!  I wanted to have this thing still looking cherry 30 years down the road, and be put in the situation where I would hear things like "I can't believe you guys used to haul those monstrosities around the field!!!"

Fast forward through the first week, and I was doing pretty well with my plan :-).  I had a hawk out on hack during that time, and other than checking on him once from my back patio, It hadn't left the safety of my air conditioned home.  I got a phone call from a REALLY good hawking buddy of mine one afternoon, and was informed that he had trapped some baggies for me.  Arrangements were made to meet up that afternoon, and since I was going down there and all, of course, I had to let him check out my new toy!

So the receiver and bird were loaded up into the car, and off we went. It's always good times getting to sit around and talk birds with friends, and that day was no exception for sure.  My slightly too heavy bird was bagged, which he did alright on, and after a while, the time had come to show off the new baby.  Now, a really neat feature about the FM800's that is lacking in previous models, is the ability to take the handle on and off.  There is a big wheel shaped plastic piece that is attached to the top of a screw, and by loosening this "wheel," one can remove the handle.  Now, I don't know if it's because it's something that just instantly catches ones attention or what, but the VERY first thing that both my wife, and a few other friends who had been shown it did when it was handed to them, was too loosen it, and remove the handle (and then put it right back on....).  Don't know why, but I guess it just screams "MESS WITH ME!!!!"  Well, my good buddy was no exception, and while talking about all the new features and what not, he started fiddling with the handle.  What happened next will remain a mystery till the end of time, but something distracted him part way through, and apparently when he went to finish tightening down the handle, he accidentally went the other direction with it.  What he thought was tightening it all the way down, was actually loosening it all the way up.  As he made the motion one would make if they were trying to pick up a transmitter ping, we watched in horror as the receiver left the handle in slow motion, and went crashing down on the pavement!  My heart literally stopped beating I think, as I stood there wide eyed, with a gasp caught somewhere between my lungs and my throat.  Disbelief was the only emotion I could feel, and though I vaguely remember him instantly apologizing and offering to pay to get it fixed, I was just completely dumbfounded.

 I scooped it up off the ground.  In a daze, I mumbled out that it wasn't a big deal, that crap happens all the time, and no worries of course.......I calmly said that I'm sure it worked just fine still, and stuck it back in it's case. Later on when I had gotten home, I pulled it back out to assess the damage, and couldn't get the antenna to come out at all.  I had to yank on it pretty crazy hard to get it to open, and when I did, my heart just sank.  Where once there was a super clear, static free signal, all I heard was white noise.  I cursed my luck, boxed her back up, and back to Utah it went.  I shot Marshall an e-mail letting them know it was coming, gave a brief run down as to what happened, and explained that I was just starting a new bird, and was pretty much down in the water without the receiver.  I got an e-mail back from them within a day, explaining that they had a week and a half lead time on all repair-and-returns, but saying that they would pull it out as soon as they got it.  They said that they would check it out and give me a ring, and if it was something that could be fixed relatively easy, they would bump it up on their priority list.  That was above and beyond anything I could have asked for, and I REALLY appreciated them doing that for me.

 So fast forward again, to yesterday.  I'm on my way home from work in this crazy 112 degree heat, and I get a phone call from a Utah area code.  A really sweet gal was on the other end of the line, and she gave me the great news, that they had fixed my receiver.  I was over the moon with how quickly they had gotten me taken care of, and I couldn't express how much gratitude I had in words.  This though, my friends, is when my mind was blown!!!  I asked her how much the repairs were going to set me back, and do you know what she said?????  "Don't worry about it....we decided to just cover it under your warranty" "WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?" "you mean cover it under the warranty, that specifically says that it DOESN'T cover situations such as this.....that warranty?????"  She giggled, and said "yes!"  I asked if I could at least pay for the shipping back, and she politely declined.  I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT!!!!!  That right there, is how you create a customer for life my friends, and I will probably never fly with anything other than Marshall from here on out.  The products are next to none, their customer service is incredible, and they will bend over backwards to help you out.  Business ethics such as those, are few and far between these days, and I just can't really say enough about them. So here is to you Marshall (as I hold up my beer, and toast the air).  I can't thank you all enough for your kindness, and you all have literally, blown my mind!!!
 All the best,