Sunday, November 15, 2009


I took the dogs out for a little exercise today, and to set up a couple of calling stands. I hiked to one of my good spots, tied Bear and Sadie to a couple of trees, and put an electric caller across a small gully from us. Had the video camera on a tripod as usual. It didn’t take long to see that this just wasn’t going to work. As soon as I turned the e-caller on (remotely) little Chigger had to run over there to see what was making those strange sounds. Then he came running back and jumped squarely in the middle of his uncle Bear; biting, chewing, and rough housing for all he was worth. A few minutes of this and the older dog made it plain that he wasn’t going to take it anymore, so the pup spent the rest of the time on the stand digging holes and attacking some bushes. He was having the time of his young life! Like a fart in a skillet, he couldn’t stay still for a minute. It’s ok at this point, as the main object right now is to get him used to being out and to hearing the distress calls, whether coming from an electric or mouth blown call. At least he didn’t start howling at the sounds as some pups do when they first hear them. A little hard on his uncle though, who was tied and couldn’t get away from the puppy attack. Chigger knows better than to try this with Sadie. She doesn’t like puppies at all, and she wouldn’t have tolerated his foolishness for a minute.

After spending awhile on the first unproductive stand I gathered up my toys and walked back to the truck. I loaded Sadie and Chigger in the pickup and roaded Bear ahead of the truck for awhile to give him a chance to stretch his legs. For the second stand I picked a spot where I could set up right next to the truck with the camera aimed down an old fire break, and the caller parked in a bush several yards down the hill. Bear and Sadie were in the back of the truck, and Chigger was up in the cab. He was tired by then, and content to take a nap on the seat without trying to eat it. This is a good spot, and I have called in several fox and a bear from here using exactly the same setup, but no such luck today. Not even a bird came to the call, so I ate my lunch there then poked along home. I fed the pup, and as soon as he had his belly full he crashed. It was an exciting day for him, and he was plumb tuckered out. So far I like what I see, even if he is full of puppy foolishness. That’s to be expected. He isn’t a bit spooked about being out in the woods, and on the walk to that first stand he was running right along with the older dogs; not trying to walk between my legs (and tripping me) as some puppies do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Catching up

I’m finally getting my mailbox cleaned out and catching up on the news I missed while my computer was down. I’ve already introduced the new pup, so here is a little about his introduction to life around here.

Chigger is smart as a whip and learns fast. Now if I can just get him through the puppy stage before I kill him. He will tear up anything he can get hold of, and those puppy teeth are sharp as needles.

Chigger is his name (they get under your skin and irritate the hell out of you) and he has already been to the mountains just like a big dog, and has been hunting too. The first time I took him out I roaded Bear and Sadie up toward a trailhead for exercise. I had Chigger up in the cab with me, and when we got to the trailhead I let him out and walked around with him some. Pretty soon I felt the urge to use the outhouse. When I went inside and closed the door he panicked. Thought he had lost me. I could hear him raising heck, but he had sense enough to go back to the truck. When I finished my business and went outside I could see him down the hill, sitting next to the truck, and howling like a lost puppy. I called him, and he came to me on a dead run. He had found me, and he was happy as he could be. Then he sat down in front of me on his little butt, and I swear he called me every name in the book. I can’t remember ever being cussed out like that by a dog before. LOL.

The next time out was uneventful. I drove up to the Lovers Camp trailhead as I wanted to look at the new corrals that the Forest Service had built there just before the fire broke out, and to see if any sign of the fire could be seen from there. It couldn’t. There were about a dozen head of cows and calves in one of the corrals but no one around. I let the dogs run around some and ate lunch there, and just as I was getting ready to leave one of the rancher’s daughters drove up with a stock trailer to pick up the cows. These were the last of the bunch that had been grazing in Red Rock Valley right through the fire. She caught me up on the news of where the fire had burned, and said the cattle had no trouble staying away from it.

A few days later I took all the dogs up on the hill behind my house and set up a couple of calling stands. Nothing showed up but a few blue jays, and Chigger spent most of the time bugging the older dogs. A couple of days ago I took Bear and Chigger out and set up a stand close to home, behind a ranch just down the road. I had the video camera set up on a tripod, an electric caller a few yards out in front of me, and Bear tied to a tree just behind me. Chigger was either bugging Bear or laying under the folding stool I was perched on. Only a minute or so into the call, Bear came to his feet and started growling. He was telling me plainly that something had come in the back door. I swiveled around as best I could, and there was a coyote standing there looking at me. Kind of a poor looking coyote, and may have been a young one. No way I could swing the camera around to get him on video, and pretty soon Bear couldn’t stand it anymore and let out a roar. That ended it. The coyote put it in high gear and beat feet out of there. I turned Bear loose for a little run, and he was back in about 15 minutes or so with his tongue hanging out. Of course Chigger had no idea of what was going on, but he has plenty of time ahead of him to learn.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Meet Chigger

If anyone has been wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been right here. It was my computer that was sick and spent over 3 weeks in the hospital. It’s all better now and I’m just beginning to catch up.

The only major event to take place while I’ve been off line is the addition of a new puppy; another Airedale of course.


Chigger on lawn

This is Chigger, grandson of my old Kelly. I knew from the first day that I heard about this litter that I would have to have a male from it. He is a little live wire, and has been keeping me busy, but puppies are fun to watch as they discover their world.

Chigger investigating the chickens:

Chigger and chickens

Soon after this photo was taken, he caught 3 of the birds in less than 5 minutes. He got a mouthful of feathers from each one and looked like he had grown a beard. Got his little butt paddled for it, and so far that is the only time I have had to lay a rough hand on him. He didn’t like it much, and although he obviously still has an interest in the chickens a sharp “NO” is all that is necessary to stop him.

Chigger discovers Sis:

Chigger discovers Sis

It’s a good thing my mare is good with dogs and puppies. A mule would have killed him by now! They don’t take kindly to puppies who snap at their heels and pull on their tails. Lots of horses wouldn’t tolerate it either.

Old Sadie will turn 14 years old next month, and she hates puppies almost as much as she hates other females. She is doing her best to ignore the new pup. His Uncle Bear will play with him some, but I can see that he is getting tired of being a chew toy. Those puppy teeth are sharp, and nothing is sacred. It’s the old story, “If you want it, keep it out of reach”. He will tear up anything he can get hold of! He is growing like the proverbial weed. He’s been here less than 3 weeks, and I’ve already let his collar out 3 notches.