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The Bird that Bites Back - Hunting the Sandhill Crane

In most circles, Eazy-E is best known as the “Godfather of Gangsta Rap” for his pioneering lyrics as leader of the popular 80’s hip-hop group N.W.A. In Lubbock, Texas, however, the name Eazy-E brings an entirely different scene to mind. Instead of a genre-defining artist in California, the Southern-bred Eazy is a four-year-old black lab who is creating his own (albeit less mainstream) legacy as a top hunting dog alongside his owner Hunter Pickett.

Eazy-E and 26-year-old Hunter work for Final Descent Guide Services leading bird hunts for their clients, and while they are well-seasoned with all kinds of waterfowl, like ducks and geese, their specialty is Sandhill Cranes. Cranes, known as “the ribeye of the sky” are a bucket-list bird for any serious hunter, sought after for the rarity of the hunt, the challenge in bringing one home, and their delicious meat, which Hunter claims is best cooked up like a fine beef filet, seared on the outside and medium-rare on the inside.

In most states, it’s illegal to hunt Sandhill Cranes, and in those that do allow the sport, almost all have an incredibly short season or highly-limited tags. Lubbock, though, is a consistent wintering ground for the cranes, so the birds are plentiful and legal to hunt, making it one of the few places in the United States where hunters can come to pursue them.

READ MORE FROM HUNTERS USING REX SPECS

Along with the general lack of opportunity to hunt these birds, cranes are unique to hunt for two major reasons. First, they can be up to four times the size of other typical waterfowl -- typically weighing in at around eight pounds and standing up to four feet high -- making for a dramatic scene when a flock of the birds flies in. Secondly, they are known to be one of the only birds who will stand their ground and fight back when threatened, making the work for bird dogs that much more challenging.

Cranes are known for their dangers as hunters often believe them to be down and will approach the birds, only for the bird to jump to life and fight back—usually by digging in their massive claws or pecking with their razor sharp beaks.

In bird hunting, dogs like Eazy are used to retrieve the bird once the hunters have taken their shots, but it does happen that sometimes a bird will be injured rather than fully “taken,” and that’s when a dog can run into trouble with cranes in particular. When Eazy approaches an injured crane, the bird will start to make its escape, and if the dog doesn’t end its pursuit, the crane will turn and fight back, pecking and clawing at the dog’s eyes. That’s where Rex Specs come into play -- providing a protective shield for Eazy to do his work safely.

SHOP HUNTING K9 EYE PROTECTION

Even though crane hunting can be dangerous work for Eazy, he absolutely loves his job, and Hunter says that he’s out getting birds nearly every single day, retrieving a couple thousand a year. Hunter matches Eazy’s enthusiasm for the hunt. He grew up duck and goose hunting with his dad and grandfather, and once he got into high school and met a group of friends who were serious about the sport, he really fell in love with it.

After graduation, Hunter was working on cell towers and only getting to hunt on weekends. It was during that time that he got Eazy, and the new pup was crazy about hunting with him. Hunter felt guilty that during the week Eazy was locked in his kennel for long days while he was working, and those weekend days out hunting with his new pal were incredibly special. Finally, Hunter was given an opportunity to guide hunting trips in Kansas, and he jumped at the chance to really pursue his passion—spending his time working alongside Eazy-E every day, expanding Eazy’s experience base and honing his skills as a professional hunting dog.

Eventually, Hunter was able to move down to Texas and enter the wild world of Sandhill Crane guiding, which he enjoys with Eazy every year through the November-January season, but he doesn’t stay in one place for long. Outside of crane season, Hunter and Eazy can be found all over the continent -- from Canada to Arkansas -- leading all types of bird hunts and growing both their skillset and their incredible bond.

So while Eazy-E the labrador may never get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame like his famous namesake, he and Hunter have certainly found their own niche and are no doubt making a name for themselves in the world of hunting.

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1 comment

  • I have had multiple buddies lose dogs to sandhills. I am glad to see something like this to help protect them and help prevent that from happening.

    Collin Culberson

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Gear For your Dog

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Lens Guide

Lens

UV Rating

VLT*

Durability

Recommended Use

Red Mirror

Blocks 99% of UVA and UVB Rays.

Allows 20% of light to pass. Very similar to sunglasses.

Impact Resistant. Mirrored lenses show more scratches than clear or smoke.

Giddy up! The Red Mirror lens is great for most dogs and is very similar to the smoke lens with a bit more style.

Clear

Blocks 99% of UVA and UVB

Allows 92% of light to pass

Impact Resistant. Offers best visibility when scratched.

For Everything except protection from brightness. Great for working, hunting or adventure dogs. Blocks UV is impact resistant and often is preferred by dogs. Great training lens, and when it gets scratched the scratches are not as visible to the dog as with other lens options.

Blue Mirror

Blocks 99% of UVA and UVB

Allows 15% of light to pass. Slightly darker than smoke and red mirror.

Impact Resistant. Mirrored lenses show more scratches than clear or smoke

DM's are rolling in! The Blue Mirror lens adds a touch of flare and is one of our darker lenses for dogs who have sensitivity to light. Perfect for use in sunny areas and for those who love that blue mirror look.

Silver Mirror

Blocks 99% of UVA and UVB

Allows 13% of light to pass. Our darkest lens.

Impact Resistant. Mirrored lenses show more scratches than clear or smoke.

STYLE! Add some flavor to the daily grind with our darkest lens, allowing only 13% of visual light to pass through, making it the best option if your dog has light sensitivity.

Smoke

Blocks 99% of UVA and UVB

Allows 20% of light to pass. Very similar to sunglasses.

Impact Resistant. Offers excellent visibility when scratched.

For everything! Overall the most versatile lens. Great for dogs that are rough on their equipment as it continues to offer good visibility when scratched.F

Green Mirror

Blocks 99% of UVA and UVB

Allows 15% of light to pass. Slightly darker than smoke and red mirror.

Impact Resistant. Mirrored lenses show more scratches than clear or smoke.

The Green Mirror lens adds a touch of flare and is one of our darker lenses for dogs that need some reprieve from the suns brightness.

*VLT = Visual Light Transmission

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Rex Specs

measure your dog in two steps

  1. muzzle circumference

    Measure the circumference of your dog's muzzle where you expect the goggle to land on their nose - usually around the back of their mouth.

  2. head circumference

    Measure the head circumference where you expect the goggle to land on the forehead - typically an inch or so behind the eyes.

Watch Sizing Video
Goggle Size Head Circumference Muzzle Circumference
X-Small Less than 10.5 in Less than 6 in SHOP X-Small
Small 10.5 in - 12 in 6 in - 8 in SHOP Small
Medium 12 in - 14 in 8 in - 9in SHOP Medium
Large 14 in - 17.5 in 9 in - 11.5 in SHOP Large
X-Large Greater than 17.5 in Greater than 11.5 in SHOP X-Large
Small Wide* 12 in - 15 in 6 in - 9 in SHOP Small Wide

*Designed for dogs with a wide, flat face i.e. Boston Terriers
If your dog is between sizes, select the larger size: This will insure the most functional fit and optimal field of view.

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Ear Pro Fit Graphic

EAR PRO SIZE GUIDE

Measure the circumference of your dog's head at it's largest point (just in front of the ears and under the chin).

SIZE

HEAD MEASUREMENT

2 13" - 15" SHOP Size 2
3 15" - 17.5" SHOP Size 3
4 17.5" - 21" SHOP Size 4
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CRUX & TRAILHEAD COLLAR SIZE GUIDE

Measure around the dog's neck as loose or tight as you would like the collar to fit.

SIZE

NECK MEASUREMENT

1 12"-14" SHOP Size 1
2 14"-16.5" SHOP Size 2
3 16.5"-19.5" SHOP Size 3
4 19.5"-24" SHOP Size 4

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