Friday, November 10, 2006

More Hare Coursing

A continuation of my last post. As the hounds came back to our vehicles, the 3rd member of our party arrived with her Deerhounds. Karen has a very keen Deerhound bitch with her that is just under a year of age and the second Karen with her Deerhounds then arrived. With this many hounds on the ground I lost track of who was with who, but I believed we had an additional 4 Deerhounds with us. They too are magnificent hounds, truly built for running and sturdy enough to negotiate the hard ground. They were each adorned with their colored jackets to be able to identify them individually from a good distance away, often more than a mile. We strapped on our daypacks and got moving to a large patch of sage brush. Weather was nearly perfect for coursing as it was in the low 40's. Broken cloud cover and almost no breeze. The population of hares is approaching ridiculous as we were not walking for more than 30 seconds and several hares bolted away from us. In our freecoursing walk, the hounds are all loose and so the whole pack was after them. The Staghounds and Deerhounds were up in the lead with the Wolfhounds close behind. Half the pack went after 1 hare that made hard turns bearing straight down toward the lowland that was sage covered. Once to cover the hounds would become unsited and he would be home safe. The second hare was going for open ground hoping to outrun his pursuers, which he indeed did do. As I had mentioned in a previous post, it is not the taking of the game which is important, but the quality of the course. These hounds were hard driving and did a great job of going after their quarry. They forced numerous hard turns by the hares and were terrific to watch. My next trip, I am going to walk the hounds on a slip lead to prevent them from launching off after these hares that bolt a 1/4 mile in front of us. This uses up huge amount of energy that could be more beneficial to save for hares that bolt nearly between their front feet. After running a dozen different hares during the course of the morning my hounds were spent. All their energy was gone. They were not lacking desire as they wanted to run after more and more hares that we came across on the way back to the vehicles. I needed to leash them up so as not to run them past the point of complete exhaustion.
Weather permitting, I am going to go back out this Sunday. It is supposed to remain cool and maybe have some snow fall.
Here in the States, we are celebrating Veterans Day. Let us all take a moment and give thanks to our military forces that have sacrificed a great deal and in some cases, their lives in order for us to enjoy the lives we have today.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Wilds of Wyoming

Had the pleasure of getting up to my favorite place in Wyoming to hunt the Longdogs last Saturday. Went up with several groups of hounds in addition to my Staghounds. First was a pack of Irish Wolfhounds. I hear all the time that these hounds have lost their hunting drive. To those people I say you have never seen or been out with my friend Karen's Wolfhounds. They are the fittest and most prey driven Wolfhounds I have ever been out with. They just go and go like the energizer bunny that we are coursing. The second group of hounds we went with were Scottish Deerhounds. They too still have some strong hunt drive in them. When Karen and I pulled up to our hunt location, she unloaded her Wolfhounds. I was not even able to get my Staghounds unloaded before her hounds bolted the first Jack Rabbit. They are going into their winter coat color which is a mottled white. They were off and running and I was holding my hounds in place until they returned. Within just moments while on their way back to the trucks, the Wolfhounds had bolted a second hare. My Staghounds were going mental wanting to get loose. I was patient and waited. We gathered up most of the Wolfhounds and started off to our north. I would say not more than 30 seconds later, the chase was on. For those of you that have not experienced watching these hounds explode into motion after a quarry, it is one of the biggest adrenaline rushes there is for me. Out in the wide open West, we have views that extend for sometimes 20 to 30 miles. No fences, treelines roads or highways to get in the way. These hounds streaching out to maximum strides and coursing a truly worthy opponent, the White Tailed Jack Rabbit, which is not a rabbit at all, but a hare. This hare was off and running full speed with the hounds in hot pursuit. They were about a half mile out and the hare was nearly grabbed by my Scorch. My young hound, Mace was very close to her and made an attempt to get teeth into this hare. A couple of hard turns in a circle of about 10' and the hare straight lined it out and managed to get into a badger sette. A great run. All of this has taken place in the first 20 minutes or so. More of the story tomorrow