Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Back from hunting

Emma casting; Jack checking the birds; Jack steals a wing

We're back on the ranch after our annual Thanksgiving hunting expedition. All went well. The dogs had a great time, but, like me, were glad to get back home. Like humans they are creatures of comfort and habit and like the old, familiar places best of all.

I was pleased with Jack. He worked well with the other dogs, watching them and following along as if he were trying to learn. He needs discipline, of course, but he just turned six months so that's to be expected. He had a tendency to run ahead too much and several times bounced birds when they were too far out. For a while I kept him on a lead and just let him watch. Surprisingly, he was very mannerly on the lead. Birds in the air got his undivided attention and volleys of 12-gauges didn't phase him. Once I worked him alone in a little triangle of field and he cast well and stayed close. No birds there, but gratifying nevertheless that he seemed to "fake it" so well.

Em was her usual, business-like self: focused, busy, organized. When she's hunting she does not like to fraternize with other hunters or other dogs. She has work to do and she does it. You can also see the joy she takes in her chosen profession. Her age is starting to show. Some mornings she was creaky and slow for a while. But she was always eager and ready. One afternoon we drove into town to get some stuff and I left her in our camp trailer. She thought we were going without her and I could hear her howling inconsolably as we pulled out.

I can do a day or two of unrestricted walking and then the hip starts to hurt. So I did a bit of blocking and some delivery/pick-up of my hunt mates. Emma will go with another hunter if I tell her to and she will work with them just like she does with me. But Jack wouldn't go with anyone but me, and once refused to leave the truck with them when I had been dropped as a blocker. They had to leave him.

Mags of course stayed at the ranch house, up on the couch, watching television. She always gets spoiled there as the wife really likes her. Mags would go along for morning chores and then happily return for some couch-time.

A good trip, but glad to be home with no place to go for quite a while, save for routine errands and the like.

Home is good.


BobG said...

Looks like a really good time. My right shoulder has been useless for several months now, so I wasn't able to do any fishing or hunting this year. Hope to do some when the shoulder gets better. Seeing those dogs out in the field cheers me up immensely and makes me wish I was there.

Rio Arriba said...

Sorry to hear about your shoulder, Bob. Hope it mends soon.

Dogs afield are always a good tonic. My hip doesn't let me do the extensive walking I used to take in my stride, but getting out with pups and hunt-mates is sure a great way to spend some quality time.

Hope you get some of that soon.

Brigid said...

I just had one weekend to hunt this year, some family obligations, but cherish every minute of it. Thank you for sharing, as it brings all the good back.