Sunday, April 4, 2010

Dogs go to ground

My younger son and I took Gordon on a trip up to Maryland to wander the fields and look for groundhogs with Patrick, Terrierman.

It was the perfect day for hunting.

My son manned the camera so all picture credits go to him.

We started off at a familiar farm. This piece of land has changed over the years as the owners have modified their management style from corn to cows.

A stream meanders through the bottoms of the field and generally groundhog holes dot the shoreline of the brook. The dogs gamboled through the thick grass on the edge of the creek looking for their first scent. It didn't take long.

Five minutes and Mountain had pinged on his first hole. The other dogs piled in. Mountain had opened up in the hole and Pearl was on her toes with excitement.

Gordon still hasn't quite got it yet. He's interested - but not sure what to. He will get into the holes and sniff - but doesn't go all the way in with reckless abandon, like Patrick's dogs do. I'm working on exposure here.

We dug one hole and exposed a corner of the set, Mountain was on it, in and out the holes, then digging at where he thought it should be.

There was definitely something in there. I pole the ground. It was hard to tell where the tunnel was because the ground was so soft after all the snow they'd had that the pole went in like it was butter. We found the tube and then dropped another hole. We ended up behind the groundhog.

Pearl engaged it from one side, and Patrick tried to tail it out with the other.

We spent the rest of the morning following the creek, but realized that the recent flooding had evicted most of the wildlife out of their holes in this area. We moved spots and tried another farm. We saw lots of beautiful scenery and plenty of holes, but no one was home in most of them.

I couldn't have asked for a better day.

Near the end of the day Gordon was getting it. He located a hole and knew that it was occupied. He was on his toes! He was active, engaged - he wanted to proceed, but the hole was impassible. It was a layer of rocks, crossed with more rocks, and no way the dogs could fit.

My boy and I thanked Patrick over a pint. I had Cookie Dough, Luke had Mint Chocolate Chip.

We headed out to spend the night at the campground, then came home the next day.

Gordon is going to need more exposure to this ground work thing- but he's going to get it, I have no doubt.

Happy Easter.

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