Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year Hunt

I try to hunt at least a little on New Year's Day, which is a bit superstitious (Thanksgiving too, another story). I have been worried that Ataika, best of all dogs, was getting depressed from lack of activity; hell, I was, beleagured by, first, lack of feedback and misleading written advice from the new Rheumatology office, which caused one crisis (wouldn't you think that a bottle that told you to take it for "one month" meant THAT, and not "Then come back for another?") Then, my own stupidity led me to take too high a dose of another med without realizing some rather strong side effects- mea culpa. (I should note here that my "real" docs, Sarah and Jen, are perfect , and have nothing to do with these problems).

But even at my worst, I believe that I have a duty to my animals. Last week I wrote to Gil:

"Yesterday I made some sort of resolution that regardless of what I felt like I HAD to take Ataika out— she, the most cheerful and inteligent of dogs, seemed to be getting seriously depressed.

"Gil, it might be the best decision I have made in months. She and her line continue to be as remarkable as their Kazakh breeders claim. Remember, my old Lashyn died of “old age” when she was younger than Ataika’s mother Oska was when she gave birth to Taik (14!), and Oska then lived to 20! Her mother, Arys,  made 19.

"Taik is ten, and virtually hadn’t  hunted for around nine months. Not only did she seem utterly fit; she put up  a hare, ran it through a barbed- wire fence; remembered to flatten like a snake at full speed to go under the lowest strand; nearly caught up, turned it, forced it to flatten its ears (only hard- pressed hares do); ran it over a hill and out of sight, and returned promptly at my whistle, jumping OVER the four strand fence on her way back. Then hunted attentively for a half- hour over rough ground. As for me, I walked further over that rough ground than I had in a year!

"What a girl she is! I am sore but feeling re- energized. As for my future breeding, I am also thinking of her daughter Larissa, who embodies much of the line’s virtues,  and has already been offered as breeding stock…

"To be continued- I think I will take her out for quail next!"

I  appended this photo of 'Rissa-- who resembles her most of all her offspring-- by Shiri, leaping like her mother:

Today I took Ataika out for a run, hoping for a cottontail.

" I didn't want to go far, so went to the Rodeo grounds across Route 60, almost always good for a bunny or jack run, though it is hard for a single dog to prevail in coursing-- you need at least another dog and/or hawk. I took the .410 just in case we saw a close cottontail past the fence that marks Village limits, inside of which you are really not supposed to shoot.

"Instead, we busted a rather large covey of Gambel's quail-- 20? Ataika once again proved her quality and good memory by carefully hunting up and flash pointing the singles and stragglers, five I think, within shotgun range, and standing to the flush (only once did I have to remind her to "hunt close").  Since this was the first quail hunt for her in 3 years because of drought (she has hunted lagomorphs) I thought that was intelligent of her. Unfortunately all were within the Village. Now some of you may realize why I want an Accipiter or male Harris (or accurate air rifle), legal and effective within the village, where in dry years we often have more game , and still have dirt roads.

"Afterwards she insisted (as she does) on pulling out her own goatheads, and was predictably shy about being photo'd by Libby. "

Happy New Year!


Anonymous said...

Great way to start the year of 2105 Steve. Hope you get out for some more dog runs and hunts soon. TK

Holly Heyser said...

How beautiful that must have been to watch her work! LOVE that photo of her jumping the fence too - very cool.

Harry Hill said...

I didn't get out today but Rosey and I will hunt up some quail before the weekend is over.

bill gilchrist said...

Sooo wonderful Steve! Young Woody and I just returned from Mearns hikes under Montana Peak. Wishing you folks the very very best!

Harry Hill said...

How did the Mearns hike go. I'm still trying to get the Patagonias for a Mearns hike.

Anonymous said...

I've often wondered if our modern setter breeds have some saluki-type ancestral genetics. I've never found ANY information that might support that notion, but just certain things about behavior and mannerisms in the many setter-types I've known, are incredibly similar to saluki-like mannerisms(I think). And seeing a Tazi-saluki POINTING birds only makes me REALLY think their might be! I mean, saluki-like dogs were being brought back to Europe(where the setters were developed) as early as the days of the crusades. And I've read plenty of accounts of smooth-coated greyhound genetics being part of pointer development--so why not saluki-types part of setters? Maybe that's where setter got their "feathers" from? Could be just coincidence, I know--maybe others on this blog have read of any connection? But in regards to "pointing" behavior--I once had a half-wolf that was obsessed with birds of all kinds(no bird dog blood anywhere in her background), and she showed rudimentary pointing behavior--paw up, holding tight, and everything! But she never had any thought of waiting for any assistance from me! And she did, all by herself, nail various birds quite regularly(and then proceeded to EAT them--no retrieving in her mentality!). None of my other wolf crosses ever paid much attention to birds--they were all generalists and opportunists. Easy to see how bird dogs were likely developed from dogs/wolves that DID show an inherent interest in this particular type of prey over others......L.B.

Retrieverman said...


I don't think anyone has found a link between tazis and pointers or setters. It has been suggested that saluki-types are the ancestors of the setters and spaniels, but big genome-wide assays have revealed that they are more closely related to scenthounds that to sighthounds. And there are two big groups of sighthounds- European rose-eared ones and drop-eared non-Western ones. There is some debate about the exact relationship between Azawakh and some North African sloughi and the rest of the drop-eared ones-- their mitochondrial DNA sequence seems to be different from the Saluki and Afghan hound family.

Spaniels and setters are derived from the same source. The setter is actually the older type, and these dogs were bred to hold the birds until a net could be thrown over them. Often a hawk or falcon would be flown over the birds to keep them from flushing. True flushing spaniels were bred solely on the island of Great Britain, although Ireland did have water spaniels. All the spaniel type dogs of the European continent point.

The question actually is how the land spaniel evolved from the crouching net setter. I think it comes from crosses with small scent hounds, which would go a long way to explaining why some of the older strains of spaniel are bassets (short-legged) and give tongue on the flush. Further, you can hunt birds with beagles, and the way most Americans use beagles is as baying flushing dog anyway.

There is a fellow in Oklahoma who trained a coyote to point, so I would not assume that pointing behavior exists solely in one group of dogs.