Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Try telling them the Freezer is full

After taking a big Red Deer and a nice Sambar doe in the last two weeks, the freezer is full. Even had to farm some out to friends. But the pups don't care and at 4pm this afternoon, I was being severely hassled to take them out hunting. It had to be hunting, as without the camouflage clothing and the bow, they know it's just a walk. So, after the harassment got to me, I popped the clothing on and slung the bow over the shoulder and out we went for what I like to call a "Feau hunt". For those of you familiar with the non alcoholic drink from the 80's, it can also be termed a "Claytons Hunt". The hunt you have when your not having a hunt.

Again, the pups did well and again it was Astro's cool calm and collected nature that had him point the Deer. The previous weekend, my mate who helped me train the pups was commenting that Astro didn't have as much prey drive as Zsa Zsa my little GSP. But I told him he was wrong and that he just couldn't read Astro the way I could. By the end of the weekend I think he was seeing my point of view.

Astro is a laid back dog. A point to him is not as distinctive as Zsa Zsa's points. With her a blind man can tell. But with Astro, he just sort of looks at me, and flicks his head in the direction of the scent. That is until we get very, very close. Then it's a rock solid full body frozen like a statue point! So about half an hour into the journey, Astro looks at me, and flicks his head at a gully below us with the wind in his face. I got out the Binos and had a little look see and sure enough, there was a nice fat and healthy Sambar Doe feeding on the grass at the bottom of the gully. He got lots of praise and told how good a hunter he was. His tail wagged in appreciation and we walked on.

We commenced stealth mode and both pups came to my side the minute an arrow was placed in the bow. We snuck down along a ridge of Tea tree to a point where a shot would be available. I gave the wait command and we sat watching the Doe feed as I pointed to it and repeated our favourite word.... "Deer". Both dogs went on full alert and picked up the movement of the deer. Astro was already frozen solid in his point as was Zsa Zsa.

I then spoilt the party by standing up and giving the Doe a damn good look at me. She gave a mighty loud Honk and trotted off into the Tea tree behind her. The pups got lots of praise before we moved on.

One thing I have learned from these two, is that each dog is different. Every dog will signal you in a slightly different way. With Astro, unless you know him, you might miss what he's telling you as he doesn't make a fuss about it, he just cooly says... hey... it's down there. Mr. casual he is!

So, If you have a Vizsla you hunt with who is subtle, then get to know him or her and don't dismiss it as a lack of prey drive, as it may just be they have a different way of letting you know. I know for sure, that while little Zsa Zsa is a driven dog, it's Astro who will point the Deer 80% of the time.

Todays Feau hunt wasn't without taking something home though. As we were walking out of the gully, Zsa Zsa locked to a point on a Rabbit sitting not 20 metres from us. How it hadn't seen or heard us I will never know. But, once I had sight of it, I loaded a bunny blunt into the bow and let it fly. Astro and Zsa Zsa had a nice treat of Rabbit as a reward for a hard afternoons work.


  1. "So, If you have a Vizsla you hunt with who is subtle, then get to know him or her and don't dismiss it as a lack of prey drive, as it may just be they have a different way of letting you know."

    Brilliant! This is so true! Riley is very obvious in her hunting style, while Cooper gives much more subtle hints. I hate it when people think their dog's not cut out for hunting because a trainer doesn't think they are showy enough in their points! Even though Riley has obvious points, she is much more headstrong and will often break her point. Cooper is steadfast and absolutely won't flinch! :D

  2. Ashley, I find gun dog trainers think this way often enough. Yet, when my mate who is a trainer and i were out hunting last weekend, he was talking up little Zsa Zsa, but it was always Astro who had the point? I think with some familiarity to the dog, my mate may alter his view. Especially if we keep dropping Sambar for him!!! It was his first Sambar and he has Astro to thank for it! :) Kind of ironic in a way.

    If I were to field trial them, I am sure the judges would mark down Astro. Yet, in the real world where finding and taking game is the goal, he is the one who is often the most effective of the two. So who's right and who's wrong?