Monday, November 2, 2009

"Winter, For Real This Time" and "The Second Barrel is NOT for the Dog"

It was inevitable. The thermometer over the weekend plunged to a balmy -8F with daytime highs in the whopping single digits. The full moon illuminates the night landscape now covered in snow while the first auroral displays start to light up the sky.

We knew our fortunate run of warm fall temperatures would end soon although its kind of sad; I'm excited about the new dimension winter brings to the landscape.

I took the new pup out for a long walk through the woods to see how he'd fare in the cold and I was really surprised. Our new dog loves walking in snow, smelling the nocturnal passage of unseen creatures, following their tracks and is apparently not phased by cold weather one bit (at least not yet). He also started doing the strangest thing.

He would gallop along and lean his head over and gather up a big bunch of dry powdery snow in his mouth and then stop. He'd then blow the snow into a huge cloud and take off running full speed through it with his tail stuck straight into the air and a very pleased look on his face. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera along but I'll try to film this behavior. Amusing doesn't begin to describe it.

He is also determined to kill a raven. On our walk about he heard a raven's croaking cry and took off full bore after where it sat in a low tree. Only the raven's opportune flight kept him from being munched. I don't know where that came from; because to my frustration grouse and hares are perfectly safe from his depredations and he apparently has little interest in flushing them for me to shoot even sitting in plain view. He prefers to sniff around while pretending he doesn't see them, obviously trying to encourage me to ground sluice him one to eat "fresh".

He is apparently lucky at this point to have not flushed a grouse for me because I'm pretty sure on the retrieve it will disappear into his gullet whole. Other items have disappeared into his gaping maw, ie. my son's toys, sundry household items and on one occasion we thought we lost a cell phone (it was only misplaced). I'm sure I looked rather comical with my head stuck to the dog's side listening for the tell-tale ringing while I dialed the number on the other phone. Every lost item is now evaluated based on the approximation of "Will it fit down Sonny's throat?" (a surprising number of things pass this test by the way). I fear one day will find me standing at the vet looking at a profile X-ray of my dog with something ferociously expensive and irreplaceable seen in the middle. A vanishing delicate little ruffed grouse may be more than my sensibilities can possibly stand. The dog will hope that I've used both barrels on the bird.

The hunting dog must be approached with saintly patience I'm discovering.


native said...

great tale, (tail)
I really love working a new pup in because they can do the most amusing things while learning to hunt.

Please do try and get a picture, it would be priceless I am sure.

Holly Heyser said...

Sounds like you've got a hunting partner with , er, great personality!

And you must get video of that snow trick!

hodgeman said...

As an update. The dog DID eat a cell phone belonging to my neighbor.

Apparently it fell out of her pocket while visiting earlier in the day and that evening the dog found it under the fresh snow, rooted it out and ate it.

Imagine my shock when the dog suddenly vomits up a strange cell phone in his kennel.

I had to return it with no small amount of embarassment...