Thursday, July 29, 2004

Some Digs are Easy ... and Some Aren't

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Went out for a few hours on Sunday.

Mountain found a small groundhog is a forest sette.  That dig went fairly uneventfully, though it was in a kind of "secret garden" in the middle of a couple of downed trees that had vines covering them. The photo above looks like it was shot at night as a consequence, but it was taken about 1 pm (I went out late due to the very hard rain that we had the night before).

At the next farm, Mountain found again, this time on a ridge above a pasture. High-tension wires were about 150 yards off, and the Deben box would not work (it would work 20 feet away, but we were right on the edge of the radio corona from the lines).

I listened to the dog and managed to find the pipe with the first hole I dug, but I also discovered that the ridge was almost solid rock -- it took me more than an hour to drop a hole 2 feet. I tried to guess the location of the pipe for the second hole, but after another hour of digging through even harder rock,  it appeared I had missed.

I decided to pack it up for the day after both dogs took some injuries from this fortified groundhog in his rock-solid one-eyed sette. Score one for that groundhog! We won't be back next weekend -- the dogs need to knit up, especially Mountain who took a rip near his eye and wore away small patches behind each ear from banging on the rock ceiling of the pipe. 

The picture below  is of stone klitter kicked out of another hole we passed by on an earlier ridge.  This stone is white, but the stuff we were cutting into one ridge over was dark blue or even black, and much harder.

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Monday, July 26, 2004

Two With New Friends

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Went out with new diggers Susan and Brian on Sunday.

The dogs found right out of the car, but lost it in the dirt, and at the depth the box was reading, I was more than willing to take my chance on another hole. Susan and Brian's Emma went right in, which is very nice to see on a very green dog.

We nailed a year-old chuck that was very difficult to tail out in a shallower hole, then swept down the creek and back to the car for a cooler hedgerow sette.

The dogs found in a nice cool patch in the woods on the second farm, and we dug down to another one-year old groundhog that was well located for Susan's Emma to school on. Emma pulled the groundhog out (it did not have too much den pipe left) and that was that. No damage to the dogs or humans, and back on the road by 2 pm. All in all a very nice day.



Thursday, July 22, 2004

WANTED: MORE HUNTERS

 

It's hard to believe, but as late as the early 1960s, Virginia was importing whitetail deer (whose species name is Virginianus).  Today we shoot 200,000 deer a year in this small state alone (37th in size out of 50), and the numbers keep climbing, as they do in much of the rest of the country.

Now even environmental organizations, like the National Audubon Society, are arguing that more hunters are needed if we are to preserve the understory for birds and other wildlife, and if we are to avoid the hundreds of thousands of car-deer impacts that occur every year -- 40,000 a year in Pennsylvania alone, most of them wrecking the car, and some killing or seriously wounding the driver or passenger as well

For more information, read Ted Williams's excellent article from Audubon magazine: Wanted: More Hunters



New Book on Lurchers and Terriers



Paul Dooley has written a new book on lurchers and terrier work in the U.K. entitled Stormy Nights and Frosty Mornings .

You can now order this book by credit card and on line at: http://www.terrierman.com/dooley.htm . Prices posted are in U.S. dollars, Pounds Sterling and Euros, and include shipping.



Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Six Before Lunch with the Ladies

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Back in June, Shanon and Dorothy and I had a nice day in the field, racking up 5 groundhogs by 11:30 and then switching farms to nail the 6th before quiting by 1:30. Excellent weather, shallow digs, easy locations and small groundghogs to school the younger dogs on. I was back home and at the baseball game a little after 3 pm.

The pic above is of Shannon's dog, Lore coming out of a pipe.

This pic (click link) is of Mountain nose-to-nose with a groundhog.

This pic is of Shannon's dog, Lore, frozen in position. Those nitrogen tanks are heavy!

Monday, July 19, 2004

Quick Quiz on Working Terriers



A Quick Quiz on Terriers and Terrierwork can be found at http://www.terrierman.com/popquiz.htm. There are only 10 questions, but it covers quite a bit of waterfront in that small space.

The purpose of this thing is introduce a bit of inter-active education. If you wonder why I chose a particular answer, do not hesitate to email me at terrierman@terrierman.com, and I will answer.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Biggest raccoons ever, and biggest found in ground



Raccoons are often claimed to be giants, but a trapper that has put away quite a lot of fox and raccoon (see pics at http://disalvo.20megsfree.com/index.html) says:

"Lots of people say they have caught 40+ pound coons. Well I want to see a picture of this coon weighed on a accurate scale! I've caught hundreds upon hundreds of coons and have yet to see one top 35 pounds."


This is not to say that very large raccoons have not been documented.

According to "Raccoons: A Natural History," by Samuel I. Zeveloff, the average weight for an adult raccoon is 8 to 20 pounds, but occassionally a very old, very well fed boar raccoon will top 30 pounds.

The heaviest raccoon ever recorded was a monster Wisconsin raccoon that weighed an amazing 62 pounds and 6 ounces! Zeveloff also notes an old and quite rotund Texas raccoon that tipped the scales at 56 pounds.

Another odd bit from the same book: a raccoon holding onto the inside of a tree once supported a 200-pound man hanging from its tail.



Westminster & the Death of the Fox Terrier

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A repost from July 2004
 

 
I came across an interesting book in the stacks at Borders Book Store today -- "The Dog Show" By William Stifel (2003, Westminster Kennel Club).
 
This is a very well-done coffee table book celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Westminster Kennel Club, the biggest dog show in the U.S.  
 
I did not buy the book, but I read a bit and discovered an amazing thing that helps explains the very rapid degeneration of the fox terrier between 1900 and World War II. 
 

  • The first "Best in Show" winner at Westminster in New York City was in 1907. This first "Best in Show" winner was a smooth fox terrier that looked very much like today's Jack Russell.

  • Fox terriers won again in 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1926, 1928, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1937 and 1942.

  • A Sealyham (another working breed ruined by the show ring) won in 1924, 1927 and 1936.

  • Airedales made Best in Show in 1912, 1919, 1920, 1933, and 1936.

  • A bull terrier went Best In Show in 1918, and a Welsh Terrier in 1944.

As you can see, almost all the early winners were terriers, and most of them were fox terriers.

It was during this period of time that the face of the fox terrier was elongated and the chest enlarged by show ring breeders.

Prior to World War II, if you were really intent on wining the top award at a dog show, you were into fox terriers.

Probably no breed could have survived such intent attention without being wrecked by fad.

The fox terrier certainly did not.