Monday, November 4, 2013

Hunting with Dora and Sally

Poor Dora.  Grouse season opened in September and she didn't get to go hunting until yesterday.  She did a great job, though, despite the neglect.  We went up the road a mile or so and took a trail that we don't explore very often and had never gotten to the end of. 
Dora taking a break

Dora cooperated with me, quartering back and forth across the trail, investigating likelier areas more thoroughly than those less likely to hold birds.  Shortly before reaching the end of the trail, she bumped a bird that was so far away I didn't even think of trying for it. 

On the way back to the car, we took the wrong fork in the trail.  We stumbled on some more lovely cover that didn't look well traveled but still didn't hold any birds.  We got back to the fork and I decided to do the obligatory photo of the dog and gun, despite the lack of bird. 

After the photo, I took a closer look at that old stump.  Do you see what I saw?  Hmm.  Where was the bird that left that behind?

Look at the upper left corner
I took my dog and chilly feet back to the van to warm up the feet and switch dogs.  I decided to hunt the same trail again for two reasons.  One, I hoped the grouse Dora had bumped was stupid enough to come back after a little over an hour with us gone.  Two, it was a very pretty trail that will be fun to snow shoe this winter and I wanted to retain a better memory of it. 
See the film of ice?

I didn't get my feet dry and wasn't smart enough to switch shoes before going back out with Sally.  It made walking pretty uncomfortable after a while.  Here is a photo of one of my new shoes: 

Predictably, Sally and I didn't find any grouse down that trail.  She did have a number of non-productive tentative points.  I don't know what she thought was there.  I've seen her point where a grouse had been; this behavior was different.  Perhaps some woodcock had stopped there on their way through the area. 

On the way out, I heard what sounded like a small dog barking.  Strange, as there aren't any houses behind this area of forest.  I held Sally's bell so that I could hear better.  It was more than one animal.  I wondered if maybe there were a pack of coyotes out there.  Did I really want to walk in their direction?? 

I listened some more.  One of those critters sounded suspiciously like our Tucker, the most vociferous of our pack.  I marked the time and asked Scott what he had been doing then when we got home.  He took two teams of dogs for runs with the training cart, a sure fire way to rile them up!  

Some people might find a pile of bones creepy or even nerve-wracking.  What puts me on edge is seeing my dog freeze while staring off into space, then turning quickly to rush back to me.  Sally's ears were back, her ruff was raised, and her tail was in the submissive but ready for action position.  Even though we hadn't made it all the way to the end of the trail, I decided to head back for the car.  

There weren't any birds, but Sally and I did stumble across an old wolf kill.  There was nothing left on the bones, which were bleached very white.  I forgot to check for gnaw marks.  However, I doubt there are many Gnaw Wolves in our part of the world. 

Happy hunting!