Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We have had a visitor

for the last 2 mornings. A lovely 8 point buck has been coming down into what is left of our garden and having his morning breakfast. He is just beautiful. Of course it is driving Gunner nuts. But he..the buck, seems to know Gunner can't get to him from inside so he just ignores him. That really bugs Gunner. We have been working on his recall again and he seems to be doing fine so far. If the fog ever lifts we will go out and work some Phezzies later this afternoon. He is getting so he holds for longer. Still not super long but at least long enough for me to get there and flush them. He has not be chasing them either. Then again when we do alot of our training alone it makes it easier because there are less distractions for him and me. I need to find some other folks to train with that are not 4 hours away. Until then we are having fun and next week will try to get a few Grouse days in during the week...less deer hunters.
Gordon is still doing well and is to be moved out of ICU today I believe. We are so thankful for the Donor and their family it is a brave and wonderful thing for them to have done.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sometimes life gets in the way,,

We have had an interesting weekend. It started with a call from My Daughter Missie. She and her Fiancee live in NC. They had gotten a call that they had the double transplant that Gordon needed and had been waiting on for so long. So Gordon was whisked off to the Hospital for his New kidney and pancreas. After 7 or so hours in surgery he is doing just great with it. Still in ICU but getting stronger every minute. And although this will mean a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs it will mean a longer life. As he was truly on the edge of life. We are thankful to the Donor and their family.

Gunner and I have just been running the fields for the past few days and not getting lost.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Now that my heart is beating again..

I can tell you about today's training. I took 2 pigeons down to the "bottoms" to work Gunner. Planted them and he did really well finding them. After they were up and on their way home Gunner and I went down toward the river to let him swim and cool down some. The first place we reached Gunner could go down but not me..too steep. So I called him back and we found another entry point. I had to turn sideways and go a couple of step down to some small tree and then I was going down to the river. Well I took 2 steps and looked back at Gunner standing about 10-20 feet away to call him down. And no Gunner. ??? I climbed back up and called him. No Gunner. He had just disappeared. Not a sound but the wind. I whistled and used the e-collar. Not a sound or sight of my boy. I stood still for a few minutes waiting to see if he would check back in with me like he always does when he gets out of my line of sight. Still nothing. I am worried and started to whistle and call him and walk back up the trail. Maybe he missed me and was heading back up the trail. I was hoping I would get to the bottom of the trail and he would be there messing with the frogs. No Gunner. I looked up toward the way we came. Now I was scared that he would have tried to go home. The reason...we cross a 2 lane road, and a 4 lane highway (US 23) and over the rail road tracks to get to the bottoms. I was terrified that he would try to cross those roads to get home. I ran up the rail bank and looked . Still no Gunner. I don't know how to feel at this point relieved that he is not in the road but scared because by now I have no idea where he is. So I decided to make one more loop looking for him and if I don't' find him to go home and get Thom and some help to search. I get back down to the river trail and am calling him and I hear a male voice..Thom. Calling for me. I yell that I am on the back trail and run out to find him. I get to him and I'm in tears. Trying to tell him about Gunner and how I can't find him. He tells me that Gunner is fine and showed up home about 5 minutes ago and he put him in the house with some water and came to find me. So I feel relieved and a bit afraid to ask if he was truly all right. Yes, he is fine. Tired and confused but fine. I get home and Gunner is very excited to see me like "Momma where were you??"

I don't know if he saw something and chased it and then couldn't figure out where I was and just did the only thing he could figure and come home. I don't really know because it was not like I saw him taking off and called and he did not respond it was like he just disappeared to the point I even wondered if someone had taken him. He was just gone. I am buying a Beeper today so I can at least know which direction to look if he ever gets away like that again but I have to let him have some head room to hunt. So we are home and I am finally breathing again. And he actually started lifting his leg on bushes to mark today. I know,TMI, but I have been waiting for his big boy behaviour to kick in.

Tomorrow we are going to the big field with Thom and do some phez work and it should not be as dramatic.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dad went with us today

Gunner, Thom and I went down to the "Bottoms" earlier. Just to run and get some exercise. It was nice. Sunny and cool and no bugs!!! Gunner pointed and I flushed up a brown bird..I don't know what it was just a mid-sized brown bird. We also saw about 4 frogs in what was left of a mud puddle. Gunner thought they were interesting but he did come when called to continue on. The leaves are finally starting to change. I fear we will not have a great color year because we did not get enough rain and alot of the leaves seem to be just kind of browning up and falling off. There is some color though. Still waiting for the firewood guy.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Grouse - 3 Me - 0

Gunner and I went out to the Forest at O'dark Thirty this morning to do our first Actual Grouse hunt. I have been doing alot of scouting while training Gunner so I had a pretty good idea where I wanted to start. It was about 34 degrees and foggy this morning. We got out to our first place and would you know it there was a truck already parked there. I don't know if it was a bow-hunter or another grouse person but I moved on to my 2nd choice spot. There was not a soul around. So I got all geared up and Got Gunner out and walked off into the forest. Let me tell you it is a vastly different feeling going out to actually hunt by myself and not to just train. Gunner set off and I kept him a bit close because of the fog and the roughness of the terrain. I figured if we did find the bird they are notoriously spooky and to have a chance I had to keep Mr. Speedy Feet closer. Gunner did great and started to work the hill side and about 20 mins in he starts getting really birdy and just literally slides on the leaves to a stop. Point!! and I whisper "wait,easy,wait" and he does. I walk close and boom out comes a Grouse. I have time and aim...I missed and it was gone. But I was so happy he let me flush and he found it. Off we go and about 3-5 minutes he points again and he holds to let me flush but I still can't get my gun up fast enough so I do not get it either. Before we could go far he points hard and before I can get there a rocket of feathers shoot out sideways almost under poor Gunners chin. He jumps at the bird and he misses and I don't stand a chance to shoot and it is gone. After the Feather Rocket Attack we take a break and have some water and then get back at it. I am tired and I can see Gunner is tiring too and we have a ways to go to get back to the car. So I call it a morning for us.
We get back to the car no incident and I water Gunner and drive home. I get home and my wonderful Hubby has made a great breakfast and my lovely favorite coffee with chock. soy milk in it. I tell him how it goes while I shower and get my PJ's back on and get ready to eat.
We had a great time and Gunner was a champ about the birds. I think it is going to be a fun season. Even with out the game to bring home it still was fun. I didn't take the camera today...too much other stuff to carry. Tomorrow is training day and no hunting because it is Sun. Next week is Muzzle -loading season so no bird hunting for me. Just training. But after gun season for deer I'm back out there and maybe I can get one then....with some target practice.

Monday, October 11, 2010

And then the wheels came off..

at the NA test. We went to Gunners NA test as you all know yesterday. I will attempt to tell you all about it. In that I try to be brutally honest in this blog, posting the good days/times/training and the bad. Also as an Athlete I know you can have the Natural Talent and have trained and sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you. Yesterday we were Bear snacks.
We all got up at 2:30 am and Left for the testing ground about 4 am. Got there right about 7 the drive was dark but uneventful. It was cool at that time...that would change.
Took Gunner over to stretch out his legs and get some relaxed. Me too. The got out his new stake out thing and got him all set up. He was fine with it but was wound tighter than a 2 dollar watch. All the new people and dogs and activity. The meeting was called an the Judges gave out the instructions. The Judges were very nice and helpful and I truly appreciate what they must go through on the 2 days of testing all these different dogs and handlers. So any comments are not a reflection on them. But on myself and my boy.
Were were dog number seven. First test of the day was the field portion. It runs 20 minutes per dog. One at a time. Poor Gunner had to wait about 2-3 hours for his turn then we got to go.
I was worried about alot of things going into this test. As you all know he has had an issue flushing his birds and catching or chasing. But he ALWAYYS points first!! I mean always. Well not on Test day. I will not say that his points are always magazine cover perfect or very long but they are getting longer and more steady. So I was worried about his chasing. Yay he did not do that. But he only pointed twice. Once I know the judge did not see and the other was not very good. We did the test a bit different than I have trained too. That was my fault in being prepared. When we hunt it is more let Gunner lead with his nose and if he gets birdy, you Weim folks know the little tick tock of the tail that tells you. I slow down and he either finds and points or moves on. On this test I had to just keep walking and not really slow. So I felt off and a bit uncomfortable too. Gunner spend alot of time catching up and then running into the brush to hunt. I'll have to work on that. He still should have pointed because he did find a couple birds.
We got to the second part of the field and he was tired and even laid down under some shade.I have never seen him lay down and we work some hard terrain in the afternoon heat. After that he did bump up 2 pheasant hens and one chukara. Again he did not chase. I don't think by then he cared. Never saw that before either. He was not bad about his recall until he was truly bad. I let him get way to far out in some deep cover and away he went. I was so nervous I could hardly call him back and I did not hunt him with confident like normally. So his terrible score of a 1 in Pointing and I think either a 2 or 3 in Cooperation was partly/mostly my fault. I felt bad about it and like I let Gunner down. He did look happy for most of the field by the end he just wanted to get in the pond and get cool.
The rest of the dogs went after us and I think most of them did stellar. Then we had lunch.
After lunch it was the Track portion. The Judges were very helpful and I credit them for helping me get Gunner going in not to excited. Even though we did have to wait on another bird to track. Out first one got to hot and had to be taken back to the pen. Anyway I did as the Judges instructed and after letting him smell the feather pile the first 2 times before I let him go he was a bit distracted but the third time was the charms and I released him softly with not a sound and off he went like a little tick tock tail vacuum cleaner. Not running in circle or all over just tick, tick to the edge of the woods. He went in and I hoped he would find it and point but he did not find it and after he looked for a bit came back out and I swear as he went by Judge Tony L. He looked up like OK?? and came back to me and we exited the hot and windy field. Gunner got a 4 in the Tracking. That is the best you can get and I was feeling better. Then we waited for the rest of the dogs to do theirs.
Then it was time for the Water part. And my now water loving dog was happy and excited to do this. We got down to the water and the Judges once again gave instruction and I threw the first dummy and Gunner just flew after it. I actually threw it too far. Not for Gunner but the Judge said you dont have to throw it that far. Gunner brought it back and I threw again and he did great. He snagged an extra bumper while I was taking him up the bank for his physical exam. But he gave it to me not a problem. Gunner got a 4 in this as well. Then they checked his teeth. Gunner did OK with this . No growling and let the judge look at them. They checked his coat and he was squirmy and he was not happy about them checking the testes. Again he didn't growl or anything bad but he didn't like it either.
We were done and just had to wait for the Judges to total up the scores. Some of our dogs did great. Andrew, Out test sec.s Dog ,I believe got a 112 prize 1. I was happy and very nice guy from Penn got a 110 prize 1 too. Gunner got an 87 I think..I think because I was a little upset. I knew that we did not do well on the field I was expecting not a good score. It was upsetting all the same. I also was trying not to be a girl and cry so I'll have to wait to get the rest of the numbers but I do know we did not prize. I was a long drive home and Gunner was crashed out all the way home. And when we got home he got a treat, a White Castle Hamburger, for doing everything I asked him too. Clearly and with confidence. I can't ask him for any more than that . He is a good dog and I know he points...I don't really truly know what happened to it yesterday but we will just move on from here and do some hunting and some training and look towards the future and the UT and his AKC stuff. If you stuck it out this far I want to thank you all for your support and my emotions are a bit tender this morning. Thanks to all th eguys and ladies of MId-Ohio and especially Ron B who has helped Gunner and I alot. And he if I drive him nuts he at least doesn't show it to me and is very helpful. Thanks to Bill for being very calming. Gunner is tired but his usual self and we will go run later. I'm disappointed in me..not in Gunner, but will keep moving forward.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bloody tongue but we had fun

We went out to Odell Creek and went up some of the hiking trails there. To scout and also to just get some exercise. It was beautiful and cool. The leaves are starting to change and they coat the ground making it quiet to walk. They are wet and woodsy smelling. The first trail was pretty steep or at least it seemed that way to me. The second was nice and cool and darkish. The good thing about it being cooler. No bugs. Gunner was great and just ran up ahead and into the side forest along the trail. If he gets to far ahead he just runs back to me or waits for me to catch up.
After the trails I took him in the big fields. The grass is tall and I sent him to look for birds. He worked the field but we didn't find any birds. Gunner found some deer poop. Which I called him off of. The he runs up to me and looks like a horror show...his mouth and face and upper chest are covered in blood. He is acting fine so I make him sit. I find a small cut on his tongue. Probably from the grasses and briar's. He runs with it hanging out so I guess it gets stuck some. I rinsed his mouth and checked him out. All the while he is wanting to go and run some more. It stops and we head back to the car and call it a day. Today you can't even tell where it was injured. I guess they don't make a tongue guard. That would be weird.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Only 6 Days..

Until the NA Test. Are we nervous?? Well I am but Gunner is having a ball. Today we took the chukars out to the forest field. Thom hid 3 of them and one got away and flew up on a hillside. Gunner and I went for a walk while Thom planted the birds. On our walk through the fields Gunner pointed a nice "dickey bird". After about 10 min. we headed back down the road toward the bird field. Told Gunner to "find" and off he went. Thom doesn't make it easy. Had to climb over a big log...Gunner just hops over it. He is out a bit in front. and it is a little hard to see him. He points and holds. The bird flies. Gunner chased for about 20-30 feet and I call him and he comes back. Tell him to "find" and he is off again determined and then his little nubbin' tail starts to go in that now recognizable pattern when he is on a bird. Then WAM...point. He holds but due the tall grass and briars I can't get there and the bird again flies. Gunner chases a bit but comes right back. So off again through a ditch...did I mention that my Loving Hubby planted these birds. And then through some more briar's. He hits point again and this time I can get there and flush it. Gunner gives chase but less than before. Gunner is now covered in grass seed and bits of leaves and stuff but his doggie face is just so happy. Thom sez' you wanna see if he can find the one that flew up the hillside. Sure I said. And sent my lovely boy up the hillside. Did you ever see Sleeping Beauty, with the Prince hacking through all the thorns and briar's...that is what that hillside was like. I could have used a Sword. Gunner was game and just followed his nose back and forth up the hillside. He points hard at a brier thicket. I get there and bless him he is still at point but wanting to get in the brush. I look but don't see anything. Gunner is insistant, so I Send him in the brush and follow him in. He is right at ground level and I still don't see anything. So I get even closer and am about to pull him out and off figuring the bird or what ever has moved and he is on old scent. Right about then the Chukar moves and Gunner goes to get him. That crazy chukar was actually buried under the leaves. Gunner does grab him but gives him right to me when I ask.

I was amazed that he found this bird and amazed that it buried itself under the leaves like that. So we went back down the hillside. Gunner nimble and just flowing down. Me crashing down like a crippled bear. We got back to the road and he was happy and I was too. Excited that he did so well today. Then we went to the pond and did some retrieves. He did great and not a problem. We ended with a short hike to dry the Gunner-man off and them home to pic thorns out of me. Gunner didn't get any. Tomorrow is just an exercise day. I am so proud of him handling that territory like an experienced cover dog.