Here in Pennsylvania, we cannot hunt on Sunday. The dogs got several big runs yesterday, but you wouldn’t know it…the way they attacked me this afternoon.
Today I hunted with a friend who has an outstanding GSP named Bella. A friend of his came along, brought his 8 month old GSP male that already weighs 60#! He showed good drive and cooperation with the other dogs.
It was very windy, cold. But any day chasing birds behind good dogs is a blessing.
We arrived at the preserve where I sometimes hunt and occasionally guide at 8:20 am. Today it was cool, foggy, and a very light rain was falling. Owner Mark was understanding that my two boys wimped out. So my friend and I suggested a mixed hunt of pheasants and Chukkars.
Mark started to walk to the bird pens, turned, came back, and suggested that we do a ‘woods quail hunt.’ See, he has a 10 acre wood lot where he releases some quail for some hunts. He said he’d like to hunt with us. That cinched it.
He left in the mule with 21 Quail and 3 Chukkars. While we waited, we ran the dogs in a corn strip, looking for scratch birds. We did flush one rooster at the end of the strip. It flew, of course, toward the barn across the road so safeties stayed on.
Mark finished planting birds and we started our first sweep of the cover. While I would not call my britts ‘experienced’ cover dogs, they do make one, week-long sojourn in Michigan for grouse so they ain’t amateurs either.
Lets just say that pandemonium ensued. Chukkars stayed out of the trees. Quail stayed to the thick cover and multi flora rose clumps in the timber. We did well. Dogs performed nicely. I was proud when Mark shot a quail over Nim’s point and (because I was a ways away) retrieved it to his hand. Nim retrieved every bird to hand. Every one. Even one quail that landed in the creek! He marked it well and launched himself off the bank into the water to get the bird. On one steep bank, 60 degrees – no kidding, Nim pointed the bird down the bank. Mark and I looked at each other. I threw a stick down the bank in the direction I thought the bird was holding. It flushed, almost flew up my nose, I recovered and dropped it at the crest of the hill.
Shelby also did very well. She pointed 3 quail, by herself. The last one was an escapee to the grass on the edge of the wood lot. I walked up, saw a pheasant wing on the ground. I started to tell Mark that she was pointing a wing when the quail flushed. Fortunately I recovered, again, and dropped the bird and finished on a high note.
At the truck after the hunt my friend Don said, “how did you get blood up on your neck?” Upon closer examination he removed two thorns from my ear. Still, Dogs and hunter came home muddy, scratched and bleeding, tired and happy.
Many people say their dogs speak. You can look them up on YouTube and find singing dogs. I am not making this up.
My dogs do not speak. They have a greater power. They ‘mind-meld’. You might remember this technique from the old Star Trek episodes. My dogs, however, are not Vulcans. Their ears are not pointed, for one. Also, they don’t have those weird eyebrows. And, no torturous grasp of your skull is necessary.
Lately I have experienced this communication. It has occurred at specific times of the day. Not breakfast and dinner, everybody knows that they communicate verbally and non verbally then. No these times were early mornings as I would gather my deer hunting gear, case my rife. They would begin to say, “oh goody! A hunting day!” They would look at the rifle and say, “that’s a ugly gun.” Then I would head out the door. Without them.
I would see them, doing what my sweet wife refers to as their ‘prairie dog’ imitation, standing on their hind legs, their front legs tucked against their chest, so that the can peer out the kitchen window. I can hear them saying, “jerk, you’ve forgotten us!”
Fortunately, deer season has wrapped up and there is venison in the freezer.
To assuage a bit of their sense of abandonment, I used the liver to make some “venison liver dog treats.” After baking, I put these on a cooling rack in the kitchen. They looked like molasses cookies. I decided to leave them out, waiting to see if any of the young adults mooching off their parents here would swipe one. Unfortunately, they didn’t.
Brittany’s love ’em. Still, it does not compensate for me going out into the woods and fields without them. They told me.
Venison liver Dog Treats
1 c. whole wheat flour 1 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. wheat germ 1 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. raw liver (venison, beef, chicken, or lamb)
Preheat oven to 350. Liquify liver in blender, add dry ingredients. Grease cookie sheet. Drop teaspoonfuls of mixture onto cookie sheet and flatten with bottom of glass dipped in water and cornmeal. Bake for 15-20 minutes. You may store baked or unbaked dough in freezer. “This makes a big batch, so share some. They smell absolutely wonderful to dogs. Your family may not like the smell of them baking.” Posted by Charlotte Wamser.