Thursday, September 24th, 2009...10:25 am
9/18/09 Hunitng Prairie Birds in Nebraska
9/18 Nebraska -
Ran the same dog sets as the first day but we didn’t make as big of a round with Em. She didn’t show any issues from the long first day.
We had a really slow first round. No points and we only saw one bird flush wild way out in the distance.
Em ran well. I will be interested to see how she does later in the season. Both of us have to come to terms with the fact that she is 11 years old and she can’t run like she could at a younger age. I think it’s been harder on her than me. The biggest problem is that I have yet to find the dog that will step up and take her place. It will be interesting to see who can fill this void.
It’s the only bad thing about dogs. They don’t live as long as they should. It’s pretty important to enjoy the limited time that we have with them.
We ran the four broke dogs next. It was really hilly and we had a hard time keeping Stud in range. Richard had a really nice find on a flock of Sharptail Grouse. Sage and Click came in to back. The dogs did perfect but we could not get there in time.
Two birds flushed and the rest of the flock followed. The dogs remained steady. While we worked the dogs, Stud made a 700 yard cast and got out of range.
We headed west and continued to work the hills. Stud was still working an area but could not seem to figure out how to get back to us.
The advantage of running the Garmin Astro is that I knew exactly where he was the whole time. I could tell that he was trying to get back to where he thought we were but could not seem to catch up. Unlike the first year I had him, Stud isn’t just running as far as possible in a straight line. He is doing his best to hunt with me and find birds. I just have to make sure that I put him into situations where he can do well.
The Sandhills made that pretty tough since the hills made it really tough to see each other. Over all I was pleased with how he did.
Sage and the Porcupine
Sage is the only dog I have ever had to remove porcupine quills from him. He found his first one in North Dakota two years ago and his second one today.
He had about 20 quills in his face and all but one came out easily. He had one in his gums that I had to pull out with my Leatherman pliers.
I made the mistake of putting my shotgun on the ground to help Sage. When I picked it up it was covered in sand. Unlike Texas, you just can’t put a gun on the ground in the Sand Hills. It wouldn’t close so I was done shooting until I could get back to my truck and clean it out.
As we circled back and headed to the truck, we went to the area that Stud was hunting. We found him with little effort and got him going the right way.
With in a few minutes of getting back with us, Stud locked up on point. Sage, Click and Richard came in to back. Before we could get in shooting range a couple of Sharptails flushed. All the dogs remained steady to wing.
I went down the hill to get in front of the dogs to release them. Everyone else stayed up on the ridge. I stopped to take a few pictures. After I was finished with my photos, a grouse flushed about 2 feet in front of me. I stood there like an idiot with an unloaded gun full of sand.
The dogs remained steady and the guys got a good laugh at my expense so it was worthwhile.
We ran Cash and Merle next. The goal was to see how far they had come since going to South Dakota for the summer. Both dogs handled really well and hunted the entire time they were on the ground. I was real pleased with how much progress they have made.
Next we ran Brandy and Mishka. Both hunted closer than I prefer but I think we can stretch them out with a few bird contacts. Brandy made a couple of nice casts toward the end.
I am headed to Montana later this year and I only have one slot left open in the truck. I expect based on what I saw today that Merle will fill that spot. Cash ran almost as well but he is not as far along on his whoa training.
We finished up and headed back to town. I called the folks at K-9 Kondo to see if we could come by and see their warehouse. We have been selling the K-9 Kondo and Dog Den Dog Houses for years but I had never met Joe or Judy. I’ll do a post on it later.
We are going to run dogs in the morning and then head north. – Steve