Sunday, November 14, 2010

A pack of beagles

It started raining last night and turned colder. So when I got up I decided to take Gunner out to the West Side and just work the edges of the corn and soy bean fields. We were working our way back toward the corn fields and heard the baying of beagles. They were still a ways out so we continued on for a bit. Then we didn't hear them any more. A few minutes later we were surrounded by happy smiling beagles. If a dog could look like "WTF??" Gunner was doing a good impression of it. He likes other dogs but not in such numbers. They were friendly and sniffing Gunner and me. Gunner got more relaxed after a little while and started to play bow to them and they were just hopping around. It seemed like a hundred of the little cuties but in reality there were only 7. My very first dog was a part beagle that my Aunt brought home when we were living with my Grandparents so I have always loved their smiling faces and sweet temperaments. Anyway off in the distance I see a guy coming towards us and I holler out that I'm sorry if I got into his way. He hollered back..."Not a problem..they have not done crap this morning anyway." He was on his way back to the truck so he whistled them up and off they when en-mass over the hill. Gunner looked like "Whew that was exciting" So we continued on our way. We didn't see any birds except a big hawk that Gunner DID NOT chase. Yay!! So now we are home after I gathered a few rocks for the edge of my fence. Gunner is tired and we will just relax the rest of the day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our first woodcock.

The above woodock is not the one we saw just a pic of one from the general area.
(if you can't find it click on the pic for a bigger view.)

Today started off with a bang..or should I say a quick run down the hill followed by an even quicker stop and fall on my butt in the road. I had put Gunner on his CC to see his girlfriends on their walk up the street. Unfortunately I underestimated his strength in pulling me down to see them. Yep, one quick yank and down I went. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to add that to my list of injuries this week. But it did set up a scenario for us seeing our very first Ohio woodcock.
I'll explain, due to somewhat twisting my ankle in the lovely downhill this morning and needing to get Gunner some exercise. I decided to take him to a rarely used road in the forest. That way I could stay on the road and he could run loose and investigate the roadside, ditches and brush along the way. We get to the road and park in a pull off and off we go. Gunner in his hunter orange E-collar and reflective hunting collar and me in my Hunter orange is still bow season after all. It is nice and cool and quiet. All I can hear is an occasional bird and Gunner moving on the fallen leaves. We get about 15 minutes out and he goes into a ditchy, wet and soggy area. It has some fallen trees and stuff but not too much. Gunner goes on point and I can see him from the road. So I call him and he glances at me and then right back to intense point. So I grudgingly go into the mushy, squishy stuff to see what the heck he has. I get about 6-8 feet from him from the side and up flies a bird. Brownish, gray-ish with a really long beak. Up the hill about halfway and into some brush. Gunner moves about 2 feet and stops. He looks at me like Momma why didn't you shoot it. Well for one we don't hunt from the road and two I don't have a gun with me. About that time I realize that we have just seen our very first woodcock. I have seen pics of them but never seen one in person. I hug Gunner and tell him what a great, smart boy he is and he does his little happy butt wiggle dance and we go off up the road. The rest of our walk was uneventful and we get to the top of the road and turn around and start back and go back to the car. As soon as I get home I look online to indeed verify that it was indeed a woodcock. I am so happy and need to work on trusting Gunners nose and not be so sceptical sometimes. After all he is the one with the good nose. It was a good day even with falling down the hill and all.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sometimes it's the little things...

That mean so much. I was going to go out and see about getting a grouse up but everywhere I usually go there was a truck or two. So I went to the West Side park and was just going to let Gunner play hunt and maybe scare up a dove or two in the harvested corn fields.
We get there and it is great the sun is shining and the wind is not blowing a million miles an hour. Gunner all ready and me looking forward to just stretching my legs. Off we go and about 1/4 mile down the trial we come upon an older Gentleman with an elderly English Setter. The Man sez' "He's looking really good". I thank him and he asks if I remember them. Then a light goes on and I do. We had met about a year ago when Gunner was a little guy and just starting to go on big boy walks. We talk for a bit and he asked if I had seen a starter pistol and holster? I told him I had not. He told me that he and Roger (the dog) had come for a play hunt earlier that morning and he had lost his pistol. Mr. W. said that Roger is 15 yrs old and he can't really hunt any more as he doesn't see very well and has some "Arthur" in his legs but he brings him to work the backs of the cornfield to see if he finds anything and it makes them both happy. As we walked the dogs both ahead sniffing and looking for birds. He told me about his many years of going up to the Dakotas to hunt with Roger and some friends. But not anymore as his family, read kids, worried too much so he and Roger just stayed close to home. He asked me about the E-collar Gunner was wearing and I showed him how it worked and he though it was a lot better than some of the old ways that were so hard. Just about then Gunner slams into a point in a tuft of brush. I'm thinkin' what could be there and about that time the Setter goes into a hard point...actually honoring Gunner. Gunner looked a bit startled but holds for me to get up there. I am thinking please let there be something here...and kick,kick a dove flies up. I don't' know why it held. Maybe it was unsure about the 2 dogs looking at it but anyway. The dogs were happy and after seeing Roger pointing you could see the dog he had been an still was. Just beautiful and calm/serious. Mr.W said, with his voice slightly cracking and a hint of a tear in his eye. "That was beautiful, wasn't it. It has been along time since he has done that" Heck I wanted to cry is was so great to see. My Gunner all shiny coat and clear of eye and Roger older but so calm and confident in himself. We walked a bit longer and then headed back. Both of us quiet for a while. Got back to the parking area and told him I'd keep an eye out for his stuff. And maybe we'd see him again soon.
It was a inspiring day and I wouldn't have missed it for anything.