Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Wyoming High Prairie
Went with some friends last Monday to some BLM land in Wyoming. The place is breathtaking as there is just so much unobstructed room in that area of the country. The trip up was pleasant as it is only 4 hours of windshield time. I saw more Golden Eagles on this trip than I have ever before seen in a single day. Think there were 6 different birds. They are so huge that they are truly a sight to behold.
Our pack of free coursing hounds consisted of some Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds and few Saluki's and my 3 Staghounds. Temps to be honest were a little on the warm side for running dogs as it was in the mid 60's and sunny.
With a dozen hounds freecoursing it wasn't long before the first hare was bolted out of the black sage still sporting their brown and white coats at the end of winter. Hounds had a good run but the big challenge with this area are there are SO MANY badger settes that every 30' to 40' you have a perfect escape place for these Jack Rabbits and they seem to know the location of every one of them. It's amazing to see one run to ground while traveling 35 mph. This first hare was no exception and down they went after about 1/4 mile run. Had the hounds panting a bit in spite of the short run. Wasn't long before a second hare was bolted along a short dry water course. Up and over a short hill the pack went and back they came within a few minutes so I am guessing the same escape plan had worked for this one as well. Spent the next hour or so walking different patches of sage brush looking into the endless number of badger digs thinking I should have brought an extra set of digging hands and a good terrier with me. Two of the Wolfhounds were growling and digging at a badger hold so I have no doubt that old Brock was close to the surface thinking he would sink his teeth into the muzzle of one of these large hounds. We pulled them away and the hole was stopped up from the inside about 2' down. They were there alright but no terrier today.
Along toward noon another White Tail bolted and this time it was within about 50 yards of my hound Mace and a Saluki named Hobba which was imported from Iran last year. These two really gave this jack a run for it's money. He tried the same escape plan but these hounds were all over him in half a heartbeat and forced him to overun the settes. The jack turned on the afterburners and so did the hounds. Those two hounds were like pulling the trigger on a pair of Stinger Missiles with a radar lock. They were all over this jack forcing turns back and forth and back and forth. They ran this jack within my sight for a good mile and then went out of site over a hill. I was so disappointed in not getting to see the finish of this fine course. The two hounds came back into view about 10 minutes later both overheated and panting badly. They each had a bit of fur in their teeth but no sign of blood so I am assuming the hare managed to escape to run another day. We found a cool source of water and let the two of them get temps back to normal and had to call it a day. What a great time we all had letting the hounds do what they were truly bred to do, run flat out in open country pursuing a game that has been hunted for hundreds of years. Sorry but I was not able to get the camera out in time to photograph these runs. Will try to get better at it.
Posted by Mike Bilbo at 5:43 PM