Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Time in the Praries - Part II

Monday, October 18, 2010

The dogs slept very well last night and don’t seem to mind lounging this morning inside where it’s warm. The day broke clear and cold. Outside temperature on the window thermometer read 28 degrees with a constant 10+ mph wind. Then about 8 a.m. fog came in and it is currently gloomy outside and quite cold. We will go out again this afternoon.

I have concerns of the dog’s physical ability to make the full week. It’s only the second day and there are numerous abrasions and scrapes, a slight cut on Scarlet’s pad. I will definitely try to limit each dog to about an hour and a half hunt each day.

Public Walk in area sign
This is all entirely walk in hunting, no quads, nor horses.  All on foot.  I also will see how my feet hold up. After one afternoon of hunting, I have large blisters on each heel. It won't let it stop me, but it may slow me down.

We returned to the area we hunted yesterday. Today I decided to carry a different gun and see if I felt more comfortable with it. Apparently – YES! The first bird came up and one shot it was down!

Each of the dogs ran about 1 1 /2 hours. Hank seems to handle big country better than the narrow ravines and treelines where he easily separates.
tighter cover at Little Moreau Recreation Area

He had several sharptail grouse finds today and I managed to bring down a few birds for the dogs. Nellie had much fun in the corn fields and then a section of prarie grass adjacent to the corn where she had numerous points on hen pheasants and a few wild flushes of sharptails.
Mixed bag of South Dakota Rooster Pheasant and Sharptail Grouse

Tuesday, October 19th,

Today we decided to give the girls a day off. They are stiff and sore. Hank seems to be getting stronger if that’s possible. We decided to try our hand hunting Sharptail on the prairie with him. The first section we ran he handled well and though it looked promising, no birds were found. We moved to another piece of ground a mile or so away that we’d gotten sharptail contact and took a bird on Sunday. Hank opened up on this huge tract of land. We started off running into the constant 15 mph prairie wind and as he reached out, he could no longer hear any whistles or signals to change direction.

Rod Michaelson heading to Hank on Point (clik on picture to zoom in)
 Hank is home. To see this dog run on the wide open prairie in South Dakota is spectacular. I wish I had a horse or quad that we could use for these hunting areas we have access, because the country is so huge. He swallows ground so easily that we are working mile square tracts of ground and he covers all of it. When he was able to see me waving on top of a rise, he returned from his cast that the Garmin said 673 yards away. He came in to me and I gave him water. He’d been running for nearly an hour and stood next to me not even panting. I’m so impressed with his strength, stamina, bottom and drive. He’s an incredible dog – but he’s not made for hunting pheasants in tight treelines or draws.  As Rod and I agreed after listening to Atlas shrugged for a dozen hours of the drive - "A is A" and Hank is Hank.
A  happy tired Hank sporting his new cold weather coat

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