Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Astro has been a little ill.

Poor Astro has had a rough time the last few days. He had a playmate come up to visit for the weekend and as he is very food possessive, he decided he would inhale, rather than chew his daily rabbit. end result was a bone lodged in his food pipe. Symptoms started a few hours after eating it when I noticed him eatinga lot of grass. They all eat grass quite often, so at first I thought nothing of it. However, as the day progressed, his grass eating increased in frequency. Then he started choking and gagging which also over a few hours increased in frequency. By 9 pm he was also salivating massively. The poor boy had saliva pouring from his mouth. The choking and gagging got worse and he was throwing up as well. So soon after we had to ring the vet and drive down to see her. Rebecca our local Vet was great and interrupted her Sunday evenings activities to see him.

Astro came to me when he was a little over 6 months of age and with that came a couple of issues. One being, he doesn't like the Vets. We took our time trying to get him settled so Rebecca could examine him, but in the end, he was just becoming more distressed. So it was decided to sedate him so Rebecca could have a look and see what was going on. The first sedative didn't take, as he would not allow her to even touch him, let alone get a needle near him. He was howling just from her touching him with her hands. We had another go and this time managed to sneak the needle into his rump and get some sedative into his system. It still took a good half hour before he eventually gave in to the sedative and fell asleep in my arms.

Rebecca had a look into his mouth and food pipe and although there was a couple of irritations, could not see any obstructions. So we then had to X-ray him. So both Rebecca and I donned the X-ray gowns and we took some pics to see what was in there. It showed some bone stuck in the food pipe. Rebecca then slid a tube down his food pipe which we think cleared the obstruction. We then took some more X-rays to make sure it had moved and thankfully, these pics showed no more signs of any foreign bodies in there. While he was asleep under sedation, we also took the opportunity to give him his annual vaccinations. We figured there was no point putting him through the stress of two more injections while fully awake and killed two birds with the one stone.

We are now two days down the track and with the aid of some antibiotics, some anti inflammatories, as well as some Lactose free milk and some Yoghurt to sooth the irritations, he has progressed well and is now almost back to his normal self. A little stressful for me, but in the end he is now OK which is all that matters.

As for the hunting side of things, he and his sister Zsa Zsa are just loving life on the farm. They get to hunt rabbits every day and Deer at least once of twice a month. We have converted from using the bow to using firearms now, as my poor body can't manage to draw the bow anymore. But, that's OK, as the guns are a more effective tool and we rarely come home without some sort of food reward for Astro and Zsa Zsa. We have a Sauer Side by side 12 gauge and a Voere .22 for the rabbits and a Ruger .270win for the Deer. All three are very effective tools and should serve us well in our food gathering endeavours for years to come.

Sedated at the veterinary surgery.

The reward for a good hunt.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Got you Marilyn

There has been a blonde bunny at bunny central for the last 6 months and try as we might we have not been able to nail her. It's odd, as we usually nail blondes on the first night!  ROFL But Marilyn had thus far evaded us. We had tried with the bow and got close, but missed. We had tried with the little HMR but been busted several times before we could even shoulder the rifle. But today, we snuck up to bunny central and dropped in to say hi to Marilyn impromptu. 

She was caught unawares as we snuck up on her through the thick ti tree. She was out in the open, about 15 metres from the nearest cover which was some more Ti tree. As we snuck out from our cover, she spotted us and made a bolt to our left slightly down the hill trying to get to a burrow underneath the Ti tree. I shouldered the old SxS, clicked the safety forwards, checked to make sure the pups hadn't broken point and unleashed a dirty old Federal #4 load on her......

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

A change of tools led to a lot of fun for all....

As a bowhunter previously and having recently returned to firearms due to an illness which makes it very painful to use the bow; I have been having issues finding challenges to rival that of hunting with the bow. While long range shots are a challenge, they are also a bit like playing a computer game for me. For the pups, they have difficulty in seeing the prey that's been shot at 150 metres or more. So today, I changed tools and picked up the old AYA SxS 12 gauge shotgun

The bunnies on the property are very wary after years of having spotlighters hammer them and the owner smack them from his verandah on an almost daily basis. When hunting them previously with the bow, we might take 3 or 4 a week. With the popgun it's one shot, one bunny from longer distances. So I thought going back to the shottie might make it a little more like the bow in as far as we have to get within 50 metres to make it work. 

So this afternoon we went out with two shells hoping to catch one unawares. We climbed the hill to bunny central, but the bunnies were not playing ball. There were spotlighters out hammering them last night and they do get a bit skittish the day after. I heard at least 50 rounds go off early last evening, so figured today might be a great challenge.

So after failing to see one at bunny central, we traversed the gully heading down to the bottom where there is a small creek covered with ti tree and blackberry. as we came down the hill, I spotted on hanging about just near a blackberry thicket. But he was too good for us and made a bolt for his burrow when we got to about 100 metres. So we continued on down the gully, past the dam and into the sides of the creek. 

As we crested a small ridge, I picked up some movement and colour. One had busted us and made a b line for his burrow. However, another boy at 50 metres wasn't quick enough. I shouldered the shottie, clicked the safety forward, aimed and squeezed the the go button. The shot was good, and punched him in his left shoulder. He made a brief attempt to make it to his burrow, but he ran out of steam about 10 metres from where he was shot. 

The pups were very excited as they could see all this and instead of wondering where whatever it was I had shot was, they could see it as I aimed and see it make a dash. I guess as they haven't had much close up stuff of late, they got too excited and they broke point. Bugger... I thought we had fixed this, but obviously we will have to do a little more work. I recalled them, settled them and then let them go after him. Astro was first to him, which is unusual. Normally little Zsa Zsa is the one who will be first to the prize. He picked it up, it wriggled...he dropped it. Smile Zsa Zsa ever the opportunist, snapped it up quick smart and trotted back to me with it. She handed me the bunny, tail and head high and obviously very proud of her achievement. Both got lots of praise for a job well done. 

We gutted it and headed home. Once home, I fed them their dry food and while they ate that, I cut the bunny up and they got that as desert. Zsa Zsa has become a real fiend for the bunny heads. When I cut them off and give them to her, she prances around with it in her mouth, throwing it up in the air and catching it again. It's very cute. I must remember to video it next time. It makes me giggle like a little girl! Smile 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

A week of munted legs

Well it's been an interesting few weeks of hunting. We have been taking a bunny for dinner every day. The pups are totally into the whole routine. We get dressed in our finest hunting gear (A pair of jeans, some sports shoes, a long sleeve T Shirt and jumper if necessary) pick up the little bunny gun, watch the pups get excited and head up to bunny hill. We sneak over the top of the hill through the thick Ti tree for cover, they stand behind me, I line one up, squeeze, wait a few seconds and tell them go get it. They run down towards the aim point, sniff about, one or the other finds the bunny and then returns it to me. I then gut it and we head back down the hill to home, where I divide it up. Basically they get half each, but they take it in turns of getting the head. As said before, they eat the whole thing. Fur and all. Great roughage!!

But this week we had two firsts. First of all we shot a Sambar. A three legged one at that. Poor girl had had an injury at some point and her front right leg was missing from the knee joint down. It had obviously not slowed her too much as she ended up having a fantastic amount of meat on her. Again the pups performed well, pointed her to me, waited for me to fire, waited for the go get it command and went to the carcass. This one didn't need tracking. She fell instantly with a headshot ensuring she did not suffer any pain. Lights out immediately, which is just how I like it.

Then a few days later, we did our daily trip to bunny hill and the bunny had a healed but previously broken front leg as well. Again, this one was a headshot, so bugs was lights out instantly too. It makes me very happy when this can occur regularly. While an engine room shot is quick, a shot to the computer is instant.

Here are some pics of some happy puppies and some of the unusual legs these animals were living with.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Been doing some gun conditioning

Since on occasions we hunt with a gun, or at least go out hunting with another gun hunter, I have taken the precautions of conditioning the pups to the gun. I was a bit surprised at how well they took to it, as Zsa Zsa isn't a fan of loud noises.

We started with a shotgun, but from long distances of 200+ metres and slowly worked our way in closer over a period of time. Each shot was followed by praise and a little play and then we moved in closer and repeated the process. I used a shotgun as it is loud. very loud. so I figured anything less noisy won't be an issue from there. As I said, they took to it like they had been doing it all there lives. No stress, no anxiety and barely a flinch when it goes off.

Included in the gun conditioning was working on being steady until released. This is something I never really worried about with the bow, as the with the bow, there is no follow up shot. You either drop it, or you miss. So I always just let them go after it as soon as the arrow was unleashed. Again, it didn't take them long to work out that they needed to wait till released to track the prize.

On Friday when we shot the last Deer with the 300WSM, they behaved perfectly, waiting till I gave to go get em command to follow the Deer and track it to where it stopped for it's final sleep.

Both of them are getting better and better at the whole hunting caper and I am truly looking forward to when they are 4 or 5 years old and where barely a command is needed to be issued.

Friday, 31 May 2013

morning glory

I awoke this morning to the sound of the bunny gun going off down at the main house. Shortly after a text message arrived letting me know the bunny gun had spooked a Sambar into the Ti tree below my van. So I staggered out of the van in my jim jams to wet the grass and have a look see. As I steamed the grass, I noticed a little movement about 250 metres away down the bottom of the hill. It was a nice sized girl feeding on the grass. I shook... perhaps a little too much.....but it's mine isn't it! Then returned to the van to grab the bang stick.

The pups jumped to attention the instant I reached for the bang stick. They were pretty keen not to be left out of this one. We slowly headed down the hill towards where she was feeding. There isn't much cover apart from a few large gums. The gums while providing cover also obscured her from me having a clear shot. So we moved in a little closer each time she put her head down. We got to about 160-170 metres and she picked up either some scent, or movement and looked our way.

Almost simultaneously, I cocked the bang stick, shouldered it, took aim, clicked the safety, dropped to my knees to get a clear shot, all while she checked us out and then decided to head for the Ti tree on her right. She wasn't fast enough and I lead with a little pill to her front. She hunched and took off into the Ti tree. I walked down casually to see where she fell and was a bit surprised to see she hadn't dropped just inside the Ti tree. So it was back off to the van to get out of my jim jams and slippers and put some waterproofs on to get into the wet ti tree patch.

Once back down the pups initially lead me on a bit of a wild goose chase for a few minutes, heading down to the bottom of the gully. I think there may have been more and they had winded them. So I returned to the scene of the crime and found the blood trail and got them to sniff it. They then tracked her directly into the Ti tree, across the side of the ridge line, across a small clearing and back into the Ti tree again to where she had stopped for her final sleep. The pups got lots of praise for a job well done. I rolled her over onto her other side to see where the entry wound was, as I was a little surprised at the distance she ran. Probably 70 metres all up and I thought I had nailed the shot. Turns out I had and she was just running on adrenaline and the shot was actually ok. When they run like that I always start having doubts about my accuracy. Usually it turns out to be false worry, but I am a bit funny about making very quick kills and not having wounded deer slowly expiring in pain.

Anyways, I've half done the butchering and will finish the rest off tomorrow and fill the freezer in 4 or 5 days after hanging.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Video diaries to be added soon

Today I received a package in the mail from my dog trainer and friend Matt. He was with us last weekend when we shot the Sambar Doe and was lamenting the fact that I had no decent camera and no video equipment to record the memories.

Anyway, in the typical spirit of Aussie mateship, he went home and dragged out his old HD handycam and popped it in the post to me. It arrived today, complete with a memory card, batteries charger and all the gear to plug it into the computer. I just have to download a manual and a driver for it and then learn how to use it.

So, as soon as I have my head around all that, I will endeavour to do some filing and load them into the Aussie Vizsla Diaries. There won't be a lot of film taken when close to the point of shooting an arrow, as I mostly hunt solo and when that close, the focus is on slipping an arrow into it more so than videoing it. But when the freezer is full, when we are walking in, or a distance from the Deer and after the takedown, I can certainly try and take some footage to share.