Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Unleashing the Inner Dog.....

Backwoods Destination--Return to the Snake River.

Snowpatch has turned seven months and it was time to take him on his first pheasant hunting trip.  Now without a doubt he is the smallest hunting dog.  However, inside that little body there is still a dog.

We purchased him a reversible hunting orange and camo hunting vest.  Well, that worked more in theory than fact.  Seems four feet of grass and shrub will hide Bugaboo on occasion, but soon he jumps up and those huge ears and flowing tail become visible.  That does not work with Snowpatch.

Hunting with Snowpatch was different.  I was pretty sure that Bichon's were flushers rather than pointing dogs, however, I was not quite sure how he was going to flush a pheasant,  since he and the pheasants are almost the same size.  You just walk through the grass and wait for his barking.  The pheasants did hold well for his barking so we were able to walk in and flush the bird.  Almost like hunting with Bugaboo!!

Well, after we shot the first pheasant another problem appeared.  Try as he might, Snowpatch had a difficult time with the retrieve.  First he grabbed the pheasant tail, but then it just came off in his mouth.  So he grabbed a foot and slowly brought the bird back to us.

It was easy to lose track of Snowpatch in the grass and weeds.  So the solution was to give Buggy the command "Go find Snowpatch".  So there we were Snowpatch pointing the pheasant and Bugaboo pointing Snowpatch. 

Oh, I thought Bugaboo's long hair was a problem with seeds and weeds.  Well, Snowpatch was soon covered with every invasive weed and seed found in the Snake River ecosystem.  So at night it was brush the big dog first and then the little dog.

Well, after a couple of birds Snowpatch did get tired and we switched to hunting over Bugaboo.  Bugaboo was great several times working a bird for more than five minutes in a small area before finally pointing the bird.  The dumb pheasants became dinner during opening week so this time they were quite a bit more wiley.

We camped in the same spot, but this time we were all alone for the entire week.  That 19 lb steelhead is safely in Idaho and for the entire week we never had a bite.

The weather was very windy for three days.  It is very difficult to hunt in a high wind so we traveled to Walla Walla for a day and tried to find sheltered areas for other hunts.  It was great to be camped in the Cameo rather than the tent trailerl since it was much more comfortable in high wind.

Camping in November means colder weather and we hit a low of 24 degrees, but the water system continued to work.  The Honda generator provided light and electricity for the long nights.  We could only get four Idaho PBS stations.  So instead of football, we watched shows on the Idaho Wilderness areas.  Somehow it was appropriate.

The Cameo was staged in Eugene for the trip to the southwest after the first of the year.  I did pay to winterize the trailer and LEARNED a LOT about doing it right.  If your in Eugene, I used  to winterize the trailer.  Manny's phone number is 541-731-9137.  No credit cards: cash or check only.

The Cameo is back at Eugene RV and Boat Storage.  We were happy with both RV services.

Here is another picture of me and Snowpatch showing off the pheasants.  Normally, I am not a fan of pictures of dead birds, but the pride that Snowpatch showed in hunting these birds does deserve some recognition.


Cyndi and Stumpy said...

I love a working dog, but I cannot imagine brushing out a bichon after a day in the field! The pictures are awesome!

Vladimir Steblina said...

I suspect Snowpatch's hunting days will be very limited. You really need just the right habitat for him to hunt effectively.

Also he can easily become the hunted. You end up watching for owls, hawks, coyote's, bobcats and virtually every animal over 10 lbs.

But he is still a dog. It is fun to watch him be a dog, instead of an ornament.