|The view from the road this morning.|
I noticed the loss of the dog treat bag almost immediately, but since the weather has cooled it was not too big a loss, as my farm jacket has big pockets. Nonetheless, I ordered another treat bag -- the old one was getting pretty grody anyway.
Then on Sunday night, as I was cleaning out the truck, I realized my Deben locator box was nowhere to be found.
I ripped down the truck, scoured the garage, my study, the laundry room. Then I did it again. Nothing.
On Monday night I ripped the truck down again, taking a flashlight to the space under the seats. Then I checked every spot, high and low, where I might have tucked it inside the garage. Nothing.
I thought back. I had had the Deben box out 9 days earlier when digging with John M. I had the treat bag with me then too, as John had a new dog that did not have much recall. After the dig, I had taken off the belt that I hang the bait bag off of. Had I put the locator box on that belt too? I could not remember. Had I left both bags and belt at the hole? That seemed unlikely, but... My hunting license was in a side pouch with the locator, along with some farm cards with my email and web site information. If the locator box bag had been found, someone would have (hopefully) called.
I did not sleep at all last night, and left for the farm in the dark, arriving with the dawn. There was a thick fog over all the low parts, and as I pulled in I realized deer season had just started. I slipped on an orange hunting vest and orange ball cap and set out into the woods.
The good news is that the sette was very near the car. I only had to walk 200 yards through the fields and then traverse through 15-feet of thick underbrush at forest edge. The locator box and the treat bag were hanging from the belt, which was dangling off a tree branch, right where I had left them. Excellent!
On the way back, I tested the locator box and it crackled to life, picking up static from the car radio and the ignition. Excellent.
Thank goodness I had all the box edges taped, the locator itself in a bag, and the whole thing dangling off the ground. Rain and dew had not knocked it out.
I have used this box for about 15 years. A few years back I accidentally left it in a hedge, right next to a dead groundhog. When I came back the next morning, the groundhog was gone, the box was cracked from a coyote bite, and an enormous coyote turd was on top of the box. The black front edge of this box has been sistered with a bit of hard plastic to repair the crack from that coyote bite.
They do not make Mark I Deben boxes anymore. I have another tucked away as a spare, but I have always used this one, and I am glad it is back in the fold.