Wednesday, 9/22/10 Ft. Pierre National Grasslands

Wednesday, September 22nd.

I came to Pierre last night.  I had a really hard time finding a hotel room because there’s a couple of conventions in town. I ended up staying in Fort Pierre, which is across the river from Pierre.  I prefer it because it’s smaller and closer to the Ft. Pierre National Grasslands.

I woke up before sunrise to a light rain. I started getting my gear together and then it really started coming down. Instead of exercising dogs in the rain, I waited a bit and the rain slowed up a little bit.  I got everybody exercised and loaded back up in the truck. I finished getting my gear in the truck and I headed toward the grassland. The rain started coming down again.

I rode down to the highway and hung out to kill some time. I went to a nearby gas station on the South end of the grassland and to get a cup of coffee. When I got back into my truck, we had a major hailstorm come through.  I sat that out in the parking lot hoping my truck would not get to damaged.  Finally, the storm blew through and I spent the next couple hours driving and scouting the grassland.

I’ve never been on this grassland before and I needed to spend some time figuring out where parts of it were and to get a feel for the map and the roads.

I found a spot that looked good and took a round with Click and Bu.  I was pleased with Bu.  She did much better and ran a little bigger.  We had one sharptail get up on us wild.  That was all we saw.  I took another round after that with Sage and Stud. Sage false-pointed a bunch, and Stud ran pretty well, but he got away from me a couple times.

I wanted to run a few puppies before lunch.  I ran Apple first and was real pleased. She didn’t find anything, but she ran pretty well.  She’s got a lot of go in her and is a real classy and fancy pup.  I think she’s going to turn out real nice.

I ran Merle after that.  I was real concerned after going Merle on foot.  So far, he’s been way too much dog to hunt on foot.  I ran him on horseback yesterday and he stayed with us. That’s a little easier for a big running dog.  When you are on horseback, you can see the dog further out and he can’t also see you better since you are so much higher off the ground.

I’m pretty pleased how he ran today. He stayed with me.  He went with me.  He hunted.  The few times that he got out of sight he wasn’t gone for long, and he came back to check in.  He was quartering really well and hunting objectives and doing a really nice job.

He had a real nice point on a pheasant.  He locked up just as pretty as you please and stood there.  The bird got up and flew and he stood there. It is not pheasant season, but I shot in the air after she was long gone.  It was a hen, so we would have shot her during the season, but I did fire a gun just to get the gunshot in. He stood there steady to wing and shot.

The biggest disappointment of the day, hands down, was Mac.  I turned him out and he did not handle or listen.  He made about a 900 yard cast running a straight line, chasing cows.  I am going to take some of the fault because I put him into a pasture that had some cows in it.
He’s been cooped up for about two weeks, and it was his first time on the ground.  But he did not show me anything that I’m interested in.  We’ll try him again tomorrow and see if we can’t come up with something a little better.

I got everybody out on the chain gang.  I stopped at a spot on the grassland at a little parking area, and I got everybody out and got them cleaned up.  I got to use my power washer again.
Apple keeps getting car sick.  I’m going to have to give her a day off from food.  Mac is a little runny, too, so he’s going to take a day off.  I’m not sure how much they were getting fed while they were being kenneled, but I’m overfeeding them, I guess. We’re going to back down on both of them for a day or so.

Over all it was not a great day.  I saw a few birds.  Saw a lot of pheasants; lot more pheasants than I would have guessed in this part of the world, but they are definitely around the crops.

I like the grassland as far as the way it’s laid out.  It’s big and it’s real open, easy running, easy walking.  I did not see a lot of birds today, but I think weather played a role in that.  I also don’t think I was hunting in exactly the most ideal spots.
The roads are a little gushy from all the rain, so I’m a little limited as to where I can take my truck.  And that’s going to play a pretty big role this week.  They are expecting more rain tonight and tomorrow. I don’t think it’s going to get any better.

Steve Snell