Pounce's Goose Hunt - Thorson Pond
Nov 1 high of 50°F.....the next week (or more) will be "occupied" dealing with a serious case of cellulitis in my right foot....can't walk because of the swelling and pain caused by this infection. The process for recovery is using a strong "pain killer" and antibiotics. Living in a tri-level has suddenly become an issue (feeling old). The fall "yard work" and getting "stuff" ready for winter is on stand-by and the worst part of this is not being able to hunt.
Nov 2-6 foot is not getting better
Nov 7 finally, an appointment at 8 am...diagnosis (finally)..gout...not in the usual "big toe" place
Nov 8 mailed in deposit on 3rd "pick" black female pup due in late winter...if there are not three then 2nd "pick" yellow....foot much improved, do NOT need cane anymore.....planning to hunt Saturday (in two days)......time is running out as impending cold weather indicates ice......soon.
Nov 9 Foot good to go. However, snow is an issue for this goose hunt. The van will NOT do well getting "in/out" (poor traction) which means a 300 yard sled pull (one way/not easy)!
Nov 10 morning goose hunt with Pounce....decided to "give it a go"...single digit wind chill, but
the blind is fairly tight with a wind breaker lining. Geese were smarter. They stayed in the fields eating at least until afternoon. Pounce was again good in the blind...very calm, quiet and patient. Even though she is a "house dog", her neoprene vest was effective. For me, the cold was bearable and kind of a test for the next few weeks. Wearing chest waders was effective. Today revealed that even though being 78 years old, it was doable. Another "aid" was using Zippo hand warmers ("game changers"). The "in and out", 300 yard sled pulls were easy. Today was more about simply finding out about being physically able rather than trying to bag two geese. The best discovery was that the "gouty" foot is almost back to normal.
Nov 11 day off (Sunday).....for the "old guy"......no geese in scouting report
Nov 12 Monday - scouted for geese + "conditioning" session (exercise) for Pounce and Daisy
note: Pounce did four stand alone singles each with a poison bird blind....sharp
note: skimmed ice on the pond & below freezing temps every night.....not good
Nov 13 ICED OUT!!! checked back to previous years and this did not happen until the first week or two of December......bummer!!! quite a bit below freezing every night for the next ten days.
Time to switch "the action" and refresh/reviewupland training/hunting with chukars.
Nov 14, 15 no snow on leaves..."yard work"...new gas powered leaf blower...easier (no chord)
Nov 16 Thursday - trained at the Four Lakes DTAs....Pounce did a review of her basic upland training. The first phase was simply quartering in front of me "working" the cover. This included two quick whistles to change directions, responding to hand signals and the subtllty of "physical influence. We had not done this for a couple of years. However. most of this is driven by instincts and hers are exceptional. After this quick "review", the direction was changed to intercept the scent "track" laid down by dragging a chukar on a meandering, downwind trail. Pounce was very effective and fast with the search. She was excited with "The Reward" and delivered to hand. Next up was moving off to simply hunt the cover. Every five minutes (or so), a chukar was thrown into the air. It should be noted that we have not done any upland for quite some time (two years). The established upland conditioned responses (back then) were 1) "bird in air" means sit, 2) "one, short whistle" when in motions means sit and 3) "a shot" means sit. When "hunting" the cover back to the van, "this list" was "presented" several times with a chukar thrown into the air.
note: There was no "rust" (and Pounce was NOT wearing an e-collar).
note: What has made this an "easy do" is that Pounce has a great nose,
processes clearly "in the moment", is driven and very "birdy" plus she is
very good at "tapping" into the engagement of "physical influence".
The plan was to buy live chukars starting soon and begin "field" preparations for doing HRC Upland tests in a few months (Jan/Feb). She is much closer to being "test ready" than I thought. This essentially means Pounce is now in the precise practice and repetitions phase.
Nov 16 day off (no training)......With snow tomorrow, the oak leaves in the yard MUST be first.
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