Coming out of this, Dot was tired and wet but still eager. We were fortunate to have a large lake behind the dam so I watered her several times during the day. She also hunted a bit on the shore and I think that was a little stress reliever.
We got a good start – she was on track and I was spotting blood.
I called out and dropped cotton on every spot I could find. I knew I could call myself back to the last blood without penalty. I used this tactic 3 times that I remember.
I knew I was called back once but wasn’t surprised to find out it was actually 2 judge callbacks. Later, I found out I was within a single stop of getting the dreaded 3rd callback. Whew!
I can tell when Dot is tracking and not tracking. When she turned not-tracking I stopped her and went searching for my last blood drop, put her down, and then I searched for the next spot to get a direction. Once I got that, we restarted.
It was hot and I was sweating like a pig. One time Dot even took some water from my hand! She was hot, too. I did get frustrated but caught it quickly so I could get my head back in this game. That helped.
At least twice, maybe 3 times, she tracked me right into the damn brambles! I’m 16’ behind her on a leash and by the time I get the wrongness of the situation in my mind, we’re tangled in catclaw brambles. I got scratched getting us out of those messes.
We found one wound bed but it didn’t mean much to either of us. Probably should have downed her and found the next blood myself. I knew she was weaker on turns than a line.
I did notice the general direction changes and knew when we were on the typical third leg. I also started noticing more paths and the tendency of the blood trail to follow the paths.
I also learned at this time that when Dot was not trailing blood, she was actually tracking box turtles. She finally found one close by – before she could drag me through the brambles again – and I learned what she was after.
Now I could keep her on the path and off the turtles!
I went back to the last blood, put her down, found the next blood, and restarted her.
Within 50 yards her head came up and I knew she’d scented the pig.
Thankfully, she did put her nose down a time or two more so that it wouldn’t be so horribly obvious.
I was pleased with her water work as she performed exactly like she’d been trained and worked on our ponds. She was effective on this pond and I appreciate how she figured it out. I also appreciate that she is more tentative entering the water rather than big splashy entries but that’s just me.
- Fox in the Box
- Down Stay w Gunshot
- Steady by Driven Hunt
- Off leash obedience on the road
- On leash obedience in the forest
Jan 29, 2020
Away by 730. No easy way via Google maps. Fredricksburg to Del Rio to Marathon is better than I10. Fed and ran Dot first but dog farts.
Scouting. Lol. I just got back to camp 4 by 5 PM. This place is huge!
Depart HQ @ 520. Just missed javelina crossing the road at Stillwell. It’s always a bit weird to come back here. Temps drop fast in the desert. 15 deg w sunset and rise to Alpine. Check in but no coffee machine so nought one $20 at grocery store.
Todo – Download onX maps, Prep all cam batteries, Shop lunch, PDF detail map on iPad, Decode paper map
Jan 30, 2020
6a wake but lazy and delay leaving until 8. Got taco and bread. Out of Alpine @ 820. 32 and foggy. Download onX for Black Gap!
Javelinas on the road again. Arrive HQ by 10. Bird watchers said they saw a covey near camp 14. Going there first. Dump out loop. Drive and spot. Big Valley near Dell and Camp 14. 20m Loop around camp 14. Brutal hard walking on BBNP lava burp rocks. Another big valley south after bad ass climb. Loop near sheep pen. Driving loop near sheep pen. 1230 Dog farts even with windows open! Hunted a road covey in the pass. Uphill. Stalked and shot on flush. Missed. Searched but couldn’t find again. Steep hillside
Lunch and drone flight at primitive camp on Rio Grande. Out at 245. Driving loop past camp 8 and back to HQ at 5PM.
That’s a long road to one guy’s house. Gets dark in Black Gap early behind BBNP. 2 big loops with Dot and she didn’t have dog power for quail on the hill. No loops just drive. Hunting the desert is humbling in many ways. Size, time, scarcity, survival, and distance.
Jan 31, 2020
Out by 730. Cold and sun slow to rise.
Dump loop at Camp 7. 40 deg cold but perfect w scattered clouds. Big covey in canyon stream hills south of camp 14. Right turn 50 birds split 3 ways up, around and down the canyon. Went up first Shot 2 Hit 1 Retr 0. Searched around but only found a single. Searched downstream and jumped covey again. Shot and missed. Missed again on late near birds. Pay attention!
With the exception of the East TX bird watchers, nobody else is here!
1p Offward! Big horn sheep area turn around !
Bighorn sheep blocked at camp 23. Makes sense. 230 Covey on old high road between Camps 23 & 13. Cliffside and went up, then over and around. Video of this hunt and shot. 1 shot and a miss. Droned from a water collection source between Camps 23 & 13. 315 onward to Camp 10/11. Seems too grassy up here but could be wrong. Tight canyon they like. Bighorn blocked again at water before Camp 12. 345
I’m the only one here today. It’s a good reason to only hunt weekdays. Up to camp 8/9. 4p Road through arroyo Seco up to camp 9 is too brushy.
15 m loop to find a late bird. No luck. Pooped out at 525 and de-registered at Black Gap HQ.
Highway covey still out at 615! Perry diner, groceries and Home @ 730
Feb 1, 2020
Out w taco by 845. Big loop through Marfa and Presidio to scout Gambles and then into Elephant Mountain late pm. Marfa lights stop.
Onward at 930. Rio Grande pics near Candelaria.
Candelaria at 1145 and End of the Road (paved).
Gamble covey on the road just north of Riudosa and Chianti Hot Springs. OnX waypoint but no owner data. Canyons are like Rio Grande Gamble canyons in NM. Blue quail road covey saved at onX waypoint. San Jacinto Enterprises. Presidio at 1p. Jumped a time zone in there somewhere.
Blowout flat right-front tire. No cell service. Alpine 45 miles away. Spare flat too! One car passed. Second car stopped! Jeep guy pumped me up! 445 restart.
Alpine at 530. No open tire stores.
Feb 2, 2020
Spare held at 32 psi overnight. Blessings! Out at 930. 1030 @ Sanderson 40# good! Ranch at 330 out at 445 to home.