Monday, December 04, 2006

A Trifecta in the Field


Static pushes into a tight pipe.


Mike B. was down from Colorado, and he and his Jack Russell, Static, joined up with Chris and I for a little action on a farm up near Baltimore. It was 29 degrees when I started out in Arlington at about 7:00, but it climbed to about 50 degrees during the day. Pearl stayed home this outing -- she came into her first heat on Saturday.

The first "find" of the day was a raccoon, found by Mountain and Moxie. Moxie worked it well and with a lot of grit, while Mountain perched at a bolt hole. The coon bolted for an exit with Moxie hard on it's butt, but Mountain was at the exit and sorted it out pretty quickly, with a little dispatch help from Chris. Moxie worked this coon well and came out with only a small nick -- a nice outcome and good work from this young dog.



Mike with Moxie (Patterdale) and Mountain (Jack Russell), and Chris with raccoon.


We crossed the road to the other side of the farm and worked down a creek bed. Mountain went to ground in a really nice eight-eyed sette in a mound of soft earth, but she never opened up. Mountain stayed underground for a long time, and it was only after we left, came back, and then dug a bit that she finally came out at all. I leashed her up. There was clearly a groundhog down there, but it was down for the count and walled in behind dirt. There was going to be no finding it in a sette this large and complex. Nice try Mountain Girl.

As we moved up the creek bed, a red fox bolted out of the hedge and ran up the field. It's still too warm and too early in the season for fox to be denning. Give it a month. This farm holds fox -- Chris and I had located here last March, and I have dug a few here in years past. January and February will come soon enough.

Mountain opened up in a hedge a little ways up, and when we reached her she was under a dry mound of sticks, with her tail wagging furiously in the hole. A bit of brush clearing, and a quick hole punched in the top of a shallow pipe, and we located a large male possum. Mountain pulled it out with the help of Static, and we terminated it. An 11.5 pounder -- not bad for a possum.



Mountain with possum.


We headed up the field, past five dead cows. This is a dairy, and diseased cows are generally shot and left to rot at the back of the farm, providing ready food for fox, possum, raccoon and coyote.



A little digging combined with a little watching of the dogs at work.


We decided to work a small copse of woods in the middle of field. This little patch is riddled with holes, but before we got to our destination, all three of the dogs opened up on a sette located in the middle of a jumble of old poke berries.

I tied up Mountain, and both Moxie and Static pinged on a small mouse hole at the bottom of a stopped pipe. Both dogs were too gung-ho for something not to be there, so we postholed past the blockage and found a den pipe. A bit more digging and locating, and we had a nice end-of-year groundhog. Yahoo -- a three-quarry day. Excellent!



Getting Static out of the hole was achived by pulling out the terminated groundhog.


Tired, we called it a day just in time for Mike to change clothes, wash off Static, and high-tail it to the airport for his flight back to Denver. My bet is that both Mike and the dog slept all the way back. It had been a fine day in the field with good company and three working dogs.

Is this a great country, or what?

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