Posts Tagged ‘Dokken dead fowl trainer’

Bumpers Where They Don’t Belong

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Gazing at the small black and white Avery bumper hanging in the very top of a pear tree in front of our house, I started thinking of all the places our dog training bumpers have gone where they shouldn’t have gone.

Several years ago, a bumper shot from a dummy launcher flew over our barn and landed on the flat lower roof of the barn addition. I didn’t realize what was going on until I discovered my husband stuffing my German shorthair out of the window in the barn’s upstairs office, so he could make the retrieve.

dsfsdf. Photo by Nancy Anisfield / Anisfield Hunting Dog Photography

…and a bumper in a pear tree. Photo by Nancy Anisfield / Anisfield Hunting Dog Photography

Another time, I discovered a Dokken Dead Fowl Trainer – the one that looks like a ruffed grouse – torn to shreds in our upper field. I’d been rubbing liquid grouse scent on the body for training purposes. The dummy got left outside and picked up (most likely) by a coyote looking for a snack. No doubt that coyote was mighty disappointed as he picked shreds of foam out of his teeth.

Last summer, while practicing double marks at a big pond, I woke up a skunk with my starting pistol. Doing what skunks do, he or she filled the air with a guaranteed gag smell close enough and bad enough that I called – well, screamed actually – my swimming dog off the retrieve. We high-tailed it out of town, abandoning the bumper floating nearby. No bumper is worth a 45 minute ride home inside a Jeep with a freshly anointed bird dog. Fortunately, two weeks later a friend found the bumper and guessed it might be ours.

When we drained our backyard pond, I found three bumpers in the bottom. They were the kind that float of course, unless my not-so-soft-mouthed older shorthair gets hold of them. Forever hungry, he loves to slink off into the high grass for a good gnaw. He eventually chews through and the bumper slowly takes on water until it sinks.

Outside, we’ve had bumpers lodged against the chimney, impaled in a thicket of buckthorn, and flattened in the driveway. Inside, they materialize under the bed or in the kitchen sink. They disappear; we replace them. They reappear; we lose them. My guess is that with five dogs, we go through an average of two dozen bumpers per year. That estimate has a plus-or-minus range of at least three bumpers on any given day depending on whether they’re in appearance or disappearance mode. And that, no doubt, has a lot to do with canine intervention.

Nancy Anisfield, an outdoor photographer/writer, sporting dog enthusiast and bird hunter, serves on Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Board of Directors. She resides in Hinesburg, Vermont.

Winter Bird Doggin’ Wonders

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Photo by Nancy Anisfield / Anisfield Hunting Dog Photography

Photo by Nancy Anisfield / Anisfield Hunting Dog Photography

My German shorthaired pointer, “Scratch,” brought me a squirrel yesterday. Perfectly frozen, no sign of disease or damage, but perfectly dead. (I wish I had the camera. Scratch came bounding out of the trees, legs flying in all directions as usual, ears smacking across his face, with his quarry held high, its fluffy tail streaming in the wind.) A little later, “Rimfire” brought me the foot of a leftover pen-raised training chukar that escaped our steadiness training but not sub-zero temperatures. Rim probably ate the rest of the bird. I didn’t ask.

A few years ago, Rimfire dispatched and delivered a mink to me. I told him to get a couple dozen more so I could make a coat. “Harley” once retrieved an old Dokken dead fowl trainer from the upper field. Pretty much all that was left intact was the head, rope and tail. The foam body lay in chunks spread across the snow. Since I’d laced the foam with a fair amount of grouse scent for training, no doubt there was a coyote somewhere either very confused or nursing a stomach ache.

Rabbits? I can’t count how many have been brought to hand or deposited at the back door. Mice? No problem. Varmints-R-Us (the three German wirehaired pointers) think there’s nothing better than plunging head first into 20 inches of snow to burrow deeper and pull out a mouse. Or a mole or a vole. It’s amazing they not only can smell them through the snow, but they scent them across a big field.

On today’s snowshoe trek, “Tank” snapped on point at the top of the field. Scratch backed. “Rudder” backed Scratch. Rimfire backed Rudder. “Scrub” backed Rimfire. When no bird came up, we released them. About three minutes later, as the dogs scrambled along turkey tracks that looked busier than a downtown intersection at rush hour, two turkeys flushed from under the apple trees 30 yards away.

How can you tell your dog that hunting season is over? Would we want to?

Nancy Anisfield, an outdoor photographer/writer, sporting dog enthusiast and bird hunter, serves on Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Board of Directors. She resides in Hinesburg, Vermont.