Sunday, 24 June 2012

A month in the bush learning to hunt

Hi everyone. Last weekend, Astro, Zsa Zsa and I took off into the bush for a few weeks. Unfortunately Ozkar couldn't come, as his mummy wouldn't let him be away for so long. We all miss him terribly.

We are camped out in the high country of Victoria in the attempt to spend some real quality time getting down and learning how to stalk Deer, Foxes and Rabbits. It's only a few hours a day we do this, as my health is still not good. But, we manage a slow walk each morning and each evening and each day are getting better and better at hunting and stalking.

Zsa Zsa is still my biggest challenge. She just wants to run and hunt for herself. She is slowly starting to get it, but it's taking more time than it is with Astro. Astro is very tuned into what I am doing and will hunker down into a stalk with me as soon as he sees my body language change. Zsa Zsa needs to be constantly reminded to heel.

We came up last Sunday from memory and set up camp on the banks of a beautiful fresh mountain river. Unfortunately Tuesday the rain hit and a flash flood warning was issued for the River, so we had to hastily pack up camp and move to another location. We only just made it too, with the River bursting it's banks slightly just at the entrance to the campground. We had to reverse back and take a run up to get across the rushing water and up the incline to the roadway.

We then found a nice alternative campsite on the boundary of a friends property. It is an old disused Rifle Range, with a ramshackle club house still on the grounds and the ranges still usable. So we set up the tent on the wooden verandah of the clubhouse. It's cheating a little, but it is nice to have a dry wooden floor underneath, when it has not stopped raining for 6 days.

We are not slumming it as such, we have gas cooking if a fire is not able to be lit. (The rain has been so heavy, it has quashed several evening fires and forced the gas cooker out of the camper trailer) We also have a generator to charge laptop, phone, gps, lights and even operate a toaster and a heater. (I know it's soft, but it's been -4 and -5 the last few nights and even with two dogs in the bed it's still cold when you first go to bed. Each night I boil some water and add a hot water bottle to the bottom of the sleeping bag. The dogs appreciate that as well.

We have managed to live well while out hear, but if we were to be attempting to follow Redbirdogs blog and be self sufficient, then we would have had a mighty fail. On days one, two and three, we spotted and got spotted by several groups of Sambar Deer. Each time though, we either had wind against us or Zsa Zsa broke ranks and ran in before I could even slot an arrow onto the string. Patience is a virtue they tell me. We will get there in the end I know, but it will take some time.

Tuesday the weather is looking up, so we might drive out early to a new spot and see what happens.

Here are a few pics of the riverside camp and some of the things we have seen since being out here.

I must say, the solitude has been a godsend. Just the three of us, doing what we want, when we want to. Got to love that and even though it's been snowing not 150 metres above us and the rain has not ceased, it's all worth it.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

It's been a while since I last posted, so I thought it best to jump online and let you all know what's been happening. A few months ago, I made the decision to explore the natural instincts of my Vizslas and my Pointer and take them hunting. Vizslas and Pointers are generally described as general purpose gun dogs. With an ability to focus on both feathers and fur.

Rather than go down the standard path of training for birds, I made a decision to go down a slightly more difficult path. That of Hunting Deer, Goats, Foxes and Rabbits. These animals are all non native to Australia and as such are classified as pests. So not only will it be an experience for the dogs, but it will also aid in reducing the impact of introduced species on the Australian Flora and Fauna.

Once again, rather than making things too easy, instead of opting to use a firearm, I have rekindled a hobby I had at school, that of archery. So instead of using a firearm, we will be hunting with a bow. This is going to provide both myself and the dogs an even greater challenge. Anyone who has hunted Deer will know how easily spooked they are and how difficult it is to get within rifle range, let alone, the closer proximity required to get a clean take down from a bow.

So, of late it has been a process of re-skilling myself and becoming bow proficient again, which is now achieved. As well as commencing the training of the dogs in tracking animals in the bush. Thus far we have only been on one hunt and did not even get a chance to place an arrow on the string. But, it is all slowly coming together. I have been a little slack with the taking of pics, being so focussed on getting myself and the dogs ready prior to the Deer season kicking off. (It commenced in early May)

I am actually sitting in camp as I type this, having hunted all day without ever getting within range. The dogs are all asleep by my side in the tent as they are exhausted from using their noses all day. Next weekend is a holiday weekend and we will be going out again. Next weekend however I will have someone else with me, so may have an opportunity to take some pics and post them up. Here is a big Sambar Deer which was spotted on the property we hunt on recently. With any luck, the dogs will be eating Venison soon enough.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

 In full flight (Fight)

a couple of pics from yesterday afternoon's walk.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

After not seeing Ozkar for more than a week, Astro and Zsa Zsa were very excited to have him home. Mind you, the boys ganged up on her on our walk. However, ever the lady, Zsa Zsa took it on her stride, waited till they were not looking.............and nailed them!

The dull photos are due to a large bank of cloud which obscured the last of the setting sun. We are approaching winter and the days are getting shorter and colder. Although we have had some days of mild early 20's temps, there has been more days, cold and overcast. Soon enough the snow will be falling on our mountains. Surely a great excuse to take the team skiing! We'll keep you posted......

Friday, 13 April 2012

Just trying to work out how to post pics with the best quality balanced with a reasonable download speed, so please bare with me if the pics are either outrageously large or small........

Our first sunny day in a while, so I snapped off some pics and found these little gems amongst them.....

Saturday, 7 April 2012

A new camera to improve the visual experience

My 7 year old digital camera finally got tired of coping with dirt and water and stopped working recently. It's why we have been a little slack with the pics, rather than subject you to too many shots taken with the mobile phone. Today we tried out the new Fuji 770EXR. It was a very dull day and I was learning my way around the camera, but on first use, I am impressed with how well it takes shots. I'm a photographic newby, so unless it's point and click, I'm lost. Here is the first pic I took.

Friday, 6 April 2012

vizsla movie_1.wmv

A montage of Vizsla pics, showing the versatility of the Hungarian Vizsla all set to a Vizsla Folk song......wonderful!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Which one is mine???

Today was the Hungarian Vizsla Club Of Victoria's fun day up at Daylesford. Ozkar and Astro of course went........and....we had a ring in, in the form of little Zsa Zsa. Not sure how welcome some of the humans made her, but the red bird dogs didn't seem worried by her "odd" colouring, they accepted her as one of their own.  It was at times difficult to tell which ones were mine. A sea of Russet Gold was everywhere. The three of them are exhausted, they played from midday till 5pm non stop, including a swim with 50+ other Vizslas in the river. Still not sure who had more fun, them playing, or me watching???

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Camping at Kirth Kiln State Forest again.

The dogs just adore this place. They chased a bush turkey (Lyrebird) down this track with the bird at full song letting them know of it's dissatisfaction.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

playing by the water

They love it down here...............

The Quarry

We discovered a new place to walk recently. It is perhaps the most beautiful place I have found close to home.  It is a disused quarry that has now filled with water. The water is almost crystal clear..... until the dogs stir up the mud on the bottom. But, it is a very clean lake and they don;t have a muddy or stinky smell when they get out either. Kids take blow up lylows and go swimming there, so it is a safe and clean area. The area surrounding the lake is covered in tall pines and it is stunning walking through the shade of the pines on a hot day and then jumping in for a dip when you get to the water.

The Quail are all gone now

The pups are a little disappointed of late. All the Quail have taken off and there are no more birds to chase. They still try, but the pickings are slim these days.

No prongs, no e-collars, just time and patience

Just a short vid of my pups behaving themselves well while in an off lead walk.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A successful hunt....all be it with the odds stacked.

On our walk today, Astro and Zsa Zsa gave me a really strong point. When I looked, there was a bunny sitting in the shade under a tree. I gave them a hand signal to "Flush" and they ran forward after the Rabbit. Normally, the bunnies are off before either one can get near it. But this little bunny was not as lucky. Partly due to the dogs being down wind and slightly behind a bush and partly due to the Rabbit being partially blind in one eye from a dose of Mixomatosis.

Zsa Zsa got to it first and grabbed it around the neck and headed back towards me. This is the first time they have caught onto a live one, so they were a little unsure. The rabbit gave a wriggle in Zsa Zsa's mouth and she dropped it. The Rabbit didn't get much of a reprieve however, with Astro being in the right time at the right place and scooped it up and started heading towards me. The Rabbit gave another wriggle and Astro then dropped it, but picked it straight back up, gave it another shake and brought it to me.

It was completely unharmed apart from being one very frightened Rabbit. I could very well have let it go into a bush, but, it had Mixo in one eye and was well on it's way to a slow and painful death, so I humanely put it out of it's misery immediately. I then made sure the dogs didn't start to eat it, as I wasn't keen on them eating a diseased Rabbit.  But, Astro and Zsa Zsa were very very proud of their little bunny achievements today, as was I.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The weather has been a little chilly the last few days, especially for a time which is usually intense summer heat. However, it has not stopped the dogs enjoying a daily swim in the lake.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Here are some before and after shots of the lake we usually walk around. We've had a little rain down here of late! There is a road under all that water somewhere. In the overall scheme of things though, it's not as wet as other parts of the country at the moment, with literally thousands of Australians currently displaced from their homes due to flooding.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Vizslas should have been mailmen

They say the post always got through, come rain, hail, sleet or snow! I think exercising your Vizsla fits in there somewhere nicely. It's been very wet of late, with a lot of our usual walking spots under water. Slowly, the waters are subsiding to reveal new smells and even some new animals to explore. This week (Sans camera unforunately) they saved two baby water birds which had been washed from their nests and out into open grasslands. With no mother about, they were a definite meal for some predator. Luckily, Astro brought them to me in his mouth, unharmed and we rushed them up to the local bird rescue girl. Job done!

Astro is very feather focussed. Even some left over from where the pelicans were resting. The Blackberry's are also ripe and ready for the most part, so each walk they get a little berry treat halfway along. Astro in particular, hangs around me very closely once we near where the Blackberry bushes are. I think he may find them as tasty as I do. They are juicy and delicious at the moment, literally falling off the bush when touched.

The lake has flooded and receded twice in the last week. Lots of rain, then a few dry days and then more rain has it rising and falling overnight. Sometimes the tracks are under water and we are restricted to the dam wall.

Here are just a few pics of Astro and our honorary Vizsla Zsa Zsa (She's the one with the spots) out on our walks this week.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Red Bellied Black Snake encounter today!!!!

Well, I haven't seen a snake in some time on our walks. There has been enough water from the plentiful rain this year to keep them away from the lake where I take the dogs regularly. However, the last two weeks have been relatively dry. With that, the snakes are obviously heading to the lake for water. Today while walking, my youngest boy Astro who is 11 months old, pointed at something. Normally, when he does this it will be a bird and he will flush it into the air. However, this time he kept moving forwards and back again sniffing at something. So I decided to go over and take a look.  I very nonchalantly walked over to where Astro was to see what he was interested in. Well bugger me if it wasn't a fat Red Bellied Black Snake!!!! By the time I saw it, the toe of my shoe was maybe six inches from it. So if it had wanted to strike, it certainly had the range. More worrying was Astro had his nose about the same distance from it. Thankfully, my recall and leave it training worked and both Astro and Zsa Zsa walked away. I then made them sit and stay when i had them far enough from it and went back to take this pic for you all to enjoy, or not, depending on how you feel about snakes. To be honest, if it wasn't illegal to kill them and our gun laws were not so strict, I would have had a shot off from the 410 and hung it on the fence for the crows like we used to be able to when I was a kid. But, not these days unfortunately. I really don't like snakes and our Australian ones can be highly venomous.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The last of this season's Quail

Well, the Quail are becoming harder and harder to find, so before they all departed our little walking spot, I took a small video of the dogs on the scent.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The most loving dog

I have had a lot of different breeds of dog over my lifetime, but the Vizsla is perhaps the most affectionate I have encountered. This is Ozkar at about 9 weeks of age.

Astro & Zsa Zsa on Quail

Just a short view of Astro and Zsa Zsa looking for Quail. Unfortunately, the Quail have started to move on and they are finding less and less of them. But, now there are some other tiny grassland birds who have taken up residence and they are chasing them now too. This is an area 1 kilometre from my home. It is a wetlands surrounded by grasslands, so we have everything from Ducks, Geese and Pelicans to Quail and other small grassland birds. The dogs just love it! (Thankfully, they haven't managed to nab one yet.

Because everyone loves puppy pics