Life with Sweetie

JTHOMP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
687
Location
Louisiana
Prior to the coon hunt I had trapped two coons in my chicken coop. Kept them both where they had water, shade, and gave them some dog food for a day. Saturday morning me and Mr. Brent ran the coons.

We put the dogs in the dog box in his truck. I picked up the first coon and held it up to the box to rile the pups up and get them ready. I walked in the field behind his house and turned the coon loose. We would let them run on scent. The coon ran out and we watched it tree a big oak near the fence line. We went back for the dogs and walked them in the field. Turned out near where let the coon go and Sweetie had him treed in short time. We looked for the coon to kill him but couldn’t see him in the leafy tree. We didn’t waste much time looking. IN A HOLE LETS GO. And we regrouped and get the next coon ready.

The second one we let the dogs watch it run out of the cage and into the trees. I love hearing them fired up. Took the dogs a little longer but they tree on the other side of the creek. When we got close Mr. Brent said he saw it in the tree so glad the dogs found it. When trying to find it with the gun we never could see it again. Mr. Brent likes have coons at his house to run so no issue leaving them. I’ve even grown to enjoy catching coons in the coop just to have something to run.
 
Last edited:

JTHOMP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
687
Location
Louisiana
Lately I’ve cleaned the coons out of my coop, and started trapping elsewhere. These were a lot smarter and were difficult to catch in the have-a-hearts. Finally early last week I was able to catch one. Mr. Brent was busy with work so I ran Sweetie by herself. Moved the coon to a different piece of woods and with Sweetie waiting at the gravel road on the edge of the woods I turned him loose. Then got Sweetie and walked her into where I let to coon go then turned her lose.

Not much to say on that one other than she didn’t find him. While I wouldve liked her to I can’t complain. She ranged out well, checked trees, hunted in the directions I sent her. Bottom line was she hunted. She’s proven to me that she knows the game and has the drive. If she hunts well then I’m happy with that. In one area she wanted to tree both going In the woods and going back to the truck. I think she smelled something old though.

The past few weeks I’ve been working from home, so Sweetie hasn’t been kenneled during the day. Pottie training has taken some refining to say the least. Good thing for mute buttons or there would’ve been some yelling and cussing on conference calls. They yard squirrels have also been driving her crazy. In one corner of the chain link fence of the front yard the hit some of my fruit trees. She likes to stand there and watch for one moving in the backyard. Additional going outside has been a struggle because she’s anxious to find one. Also now have to put her on a lead when to use the bathroom or she’ll be too distracted with squirrels and won’t readily use the bathroom. Bring her inside and then there’s a mess to clean.

2809C26C-3488-416E-A513-B60AB9205C73.jpeg

E7274ED4-A756-4B65-A174-545E37C2708C.jpeg

67AB1787-172F-4AB5-84A4-5AA3D7B0F28C.jpeg
Messing around with yard squirrels.

We have making both dogs sit, stay, while opening the door and not go out until commanded. Prior to me being home and the yard squirrels this was easy. Now...geeze I’m telling her to sit 3 and 4 times, even thumping her butt to make her sit. STAY...grab the door knob and she’s running at the door. We have to get through that and the screen door constantly starting over. Poor Millie just lays down and waits impatiently.
 

JTHOMP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
687
Location
Louisiana
Last Sunday I took her in to woods by the house just to runner her. We’ve had cool dry mornings lately and need to enjoy it while we got it. Summer is right around the corner.
Sweetie did good. Turned her loose and after the first crazy loops she ran a b line through the woods. Called her back in, gave her a few pats and sent her back. Did this a two times that morning. I can’t help if she wants to run but I’m glad she has a good enough handle to bring her back in to work an area.

At one point while working near the edge of the woods and gravel road she started to tree where squirrels routinely cross the road where the go to the neighbors yard since he feeds them. She was in the neighbors yard And I could tell she was smelling squirrels, but couldn’t let her stay there. Hit the toner, called her back and sent her the direction I wanted her to do. So happy with her handle lately.

She made 1 good hard tree that morning on a large white oak. When I got to the tree there was a hole on the base about knee high to her. When I got there she decided it was time to go in. I grabbed her by the back leg and drug her out. After our experience in the creek back we’re going to stay away from holes for a little while.

CAD07CA8-121A-4CF4-9BCF-C37BAC629D8C.jpeg

9428EDDA-5FA4-4908-9B97-FD4092379070.jpeg
 

JTHOMP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
687
Location
Louisiana
Another milestone achieved this morning!

This morning we went to a family friend’s place on the river. My dad, brother, and Ashley fished. I ran Sweetie. Because of my dad’s paranoia with being at the river at day break we were really a good hour ahead of the squirrels moving. She made 3 trees. The first was a big hallowed out sycamore. I swear come July 4th I’m going to spend some serious money on smoke bombs.

Second was a water oak along the trail in the woods. As usual I tied her near the base and started shaking what I could around the tree. Found 1 vine off to the side that made it was up. Shook it a few times and had a squirrel run out. She was still raising hell and didn’t see the squirrel run. I barely caught a glimpse of it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but I’m really proud of this dog. She turned 7months on April 1st

One thing for sure come spring squirrel season next month it’ll definitely take two people and shot guns to bring one down.

0DA55CDD-DEDE-4C6B-9124-ADFCC0D8594F.jpeg

4509FAD2-3EA9-491A-81E6-CE57416769C0.jpeg
 

JTHOMP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
687
Location
Louisiana
Another successful trip to the woods yesterday evening.

Got access to a new place near the house and brought her there for a short run. After settling in she made 4 trees. On two occasions prior to making the first tree, she was intently smelling and barked a couple times on a tree but acted like she wanted to keep checking and eventually moved on. Not sure if she just couldn’t figure it out, or if it was puppy piss and vinegar.

I was a little relieved when she finally settled in on a tree even though didn’t shake nothing out. On the next tree I shook a squirrel out that was just a tree over. Very proud of her. She made another tree but didn’t see anything run. With the heat I kept it short and sweet and we made our way back to the truck. On the way out she was smelling on a big oak. With her still smelling I looked up and saw a squirrel climbing high up in the canopy, and impatiently waiting for her to open up. Sure enough she did! There wasn’t much good to shake in the tree. I did what I could but never saw the squirrel again.
I think we’ll be in good shape for spring squirrel season in May.
 

JTHOMP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
687
Location
Louisiana
Had a good run yesterday evening even though I don’t think the squirrels were really out good. She treed one right off the bat. Thought it was too good to be true. There was a really small hole near the base of about a 5in sweet gum. She kept after that hole. My dad has tagged along and mentioned how he’s seen people run a saw briar up a hole and pull a squirrel out. I ran one up but couldn’t tell anything. He ran another and much to my surprise when he pulled it out there was squirrel hair at the end of it. Cleaned it off ran again pulled more hair. I gave both Sweetie and my dad a pat on the back for their good work before “In a hole let’s go!”

We ran for probably a little over an hour. She treed 2 more times but no luck in finding a squirrel. One was in this hallowed out cypress full of holes. What really impressed me was when we came back to the first tree she gave that tree and the hole a thorough sniffing, but never treed. I don’t want to give her more credit than she deserves but I like to think in that hour we were gone the squirrel left the hole and when she checked again she felt the scent wasn’t hot enough to tree. Only time will tell and hopefully when we starting putting some fur in her mouth the lightbulb will really click on.
98BF4262-9189-40D3-A76D-716D5ACE56DB.jpeg
 

JTHOMP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
687
Location
Louisiana
Opening morning of spring squirrel season. Only me and Sweetie was up for the task. Went to a small WMA by the house and there were 3 trucks already parked there. It’s only 150 acres and presumably they were turkey hunting. So we made the long loop around to another small WMA to a spot I had never been before. Turned out to be better than I expected. We ran for about 1.5 hours.
She made 3 trees, but never saw any squirrels. It’ll definitely be difficult from now until the leaves fall but I’ll take what opportunities I can get. The good thing about her being so pissed off biting vines and limbs when treeing was that I could step back and watch the tree while she shakes vines. At the first tree, she broke the vine from the ground. Looked like a mini Tarzan running and swinging back and forth. If she grabs the right vine she does just as good as me shaking it.
DCC190D2-7044-47A2-A45A-F5D5407F9B14.jpeg
B19B5BFD-D874-480C-BDE9-E35A2E7FFC6A.jpeg
 

asdew1880

Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2018
Messages
34
Location
Louisville, KY
I'm starting two mt Feist pups in KY and have some similar experiences. Great read going through seeing some of the same things with my pups. Definitely help keeping me patient and out in the woods. I really love seeing pup passed out in the passenger seat after a hunt.
 

JTHOMP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
687
Location
Louisiana
I'm starting two mt Feist pups in KY and have some similar experiences. Great read going through seeing some of the same things with my pups. Definitely help keeping me patient and out in the woods. I really love seeing pup passed out in the passenger seat after a hunt.
Good luck with your feists. I see mine working in the woods and wish I had a second one with her. But having two dogs in the house, and working Sweetie is enough of a hand full for me. I'll try to catch up on some of our Spring hunts. Been a couple patient testing moments the past couple weeks as well as some proud moments.
 

JTHOMP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
687
Location
Louisiana
Spring season started on May 2nd and so far we have made 8 trips to the woods. I'd say an average of 4-5 trees per normal hunt. One evening she made 8 trees. A slow morning with IMO with little to no moving squirrels she made 2 trees. And one morning running in a low populated area hunt to get a quick run in she made 1 in a den tree.

Of all of the trees, I have seen two squirrels. Which is no fault of her. I aint saying there is one in everyone of her trees, but I have confidence in her nose. Just yesterday morning I couldn't get her off a tree in the yard. After putting the dogs inside and Ashley was leaving for work I saw 2 squirrels making their get away from that tree. She knows the game it's just trying to fine tune the process.

One of the tree where a squirrel was confirmed was hollowed out from the bottom. She was in the hollowed out part when the squirrel came out of a hole mid way up the tree and ran up. Never saw him again. Second, I heard the squirrel jump and saw him. She was working that area and she treed. I was already on my way hurrying to that area. It was two big oaks on the edge of a field and in a ticket it. I wanted so bad to be able to shoot this squirrel out for her. In the process for the first time of all the trees she wouldn't stay one the tree. And it was so thick I had a hard time trying to catch her to tie her. Any other time I wouldn't have tried to make her stay like that, but just knowing one was there and having a decent chance of killing it for her made it different. Eventually got her on the tree, but never did see it again for a shot.

Now the tree before the one just mentioned, I'd bet a week's pay there was one up there. She hasn't treed that hard that fast since we were pulling hair out of one in a hole. And there was holes at the base of the large tree, but she didn't care about them. She wanted up that tree. It was frustrating seeing her go from that to not wanting to stay on the tree when I could see the squirrel.

Last Friday May 15th we took a trip the MS and hunt some public land there. The first 30-45 minutes I kept debating if I should just bring her back home. Wouldn't range out, kept smelling the same spots over and over. I hate to call her off when she's doing that as she's trying to figure something out, but this time it was bad. And if there was a fallen log you might as well have chained her there. I don't know what clicked but eventually she hunted good. I was still on edge the whole time watching either her or the GPS hoping she wouldn't fall back into the same rut. After that I kinda of understood and felt like a coach that gets frustrated with players. You seen so much potential, put so much effort into them yourself, and then just watch them piss away the time. But I take a deep breath as I type this and think how well she hunted later that morning. She's a short range dog. Mostly 50-75 yards out. The woods were open and it was good to see her running from tree to tree.

Sunday morning we went on a short run by the house. Mostly just to get her out and hope that she would run good. Absolutely no complaints. She showed drive and hunted thoroughly. I appreciate that more than the number of trees she makes.

It is disappointing that I have to break of shaking vines, or at least try to limit it some how. One two hunts in a row, 1 time each, she started shaking vines before treeing. Just can't have that. In a way I hate to try to break her because that is just her personality. I was looking back at some old videos on my phone. Even the first night I introduced her to a coon tail she was doing it just too little to notice it at the time. I've let her do it for so long I think it'll be difficult to break her and having to shock her or pop her while on the tree can obviously become a problem for her treeing.
It does seem to help if I tie her back away from the tree, and away from anything I'm shaking. When I do that shes sitting looking up with a steady chop. But it's getting her not to shake vines before that. Definitely need patience and persistent for this task.
 

JTHOMP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
687
Location
Louisiana
Outing #9 for the spring squirrel season, and very happy with her performance. Did great ranging out, showed lots of drive checking tree to tree. Even ranged out farther that normal. And at 150yds when I was ready for her to comeback and work the opposite direction she came when called. I can’t ask for much better.
On 3 trees she whined a little wanting to tree but wouldnt committ which I’m ok with. Right after the 3rd she opened up and treed on one not too far away. We still have some work to do on biting vines but it is what it is. Just going to take time and repetition.

One thing I never really worked on training her was “load up” in the back of the truck into the kennel. Usually just pick her up because she’d rather the cab. Past couple times when it was time go hunt or the hunt was finished tried it with treats on the tailgate with no luck. Today I forgot to grab treats out of the truck when I told her to load and you’d have thought that’s all she’s ever known. Made her sit in the kennel with the door open as she watched the cows across the road (thankfully never did her usual barking and growling) as I walked to the cab to grab some treats.
A good day.
 

JTHOMP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
687
Location
Louisiana
Ran Saturday morning again in Mississippi. Over all she did very well. I parked on the highway so walked her in about 200yds on the lead down a trail. I saw a squirrel cross ahead of us and figured that would be a good place to start. Cut her loose and she immediately when to barking and running around. Never done that before. I really thought she was going to run open the whole time. But she settled in and worked that area. Eventually treed on a big pine. Never saw the squirrel to confirm if she was right. She went on to make 1 more tree. I guess with maturity she’s is starting to run farther out and cover more ground. It’s good to see.
Now for the suspense of the story.....
She was about 100yds away from me. I was down in the flat and she was up on the ridge. Woods are really open here. I heard her “booger” bark. She’ll do that anything from pigs, buzzards, to turtles. So I unlock the GPS unit and keep my thumb on the shock for whatever she might try to run after and ease that way. Then I see her and a flash of grey hauling ass down the ridge. The grey was on her toes.
My initial thought was a pig. I began running their direction and chambered a round. I lost sight of them as I got closer and they were on a step on the ridge. Heard a scuffle then and some yipes from Sweetie. When I crested the step Sweetie was there at my feet and the grey streak was a coyote about 10yds. It wasn’t a big, but looked big enough to have 15-20lbs over a 20lbs dog. I put a load of #7.5s in it. The coyote went down but was still alive. I grabbed Sweetie and tied her to the closest tree and incase she decided to get brave and run after it. Mid way in tying her I looked up and it was still there. When I finished it was gone. Quick walk around and didn’t find any blood or sign of it. Tried hunting her after then but she was just running around all over the place instead of hunting. So we made a loop back to the truck.

I hated to shoot it because the coyote was just doing its thing, and because I don’t want Sweetie to start thinking that is our hunting. A few things that keep stirring through the my mind in hindsight...Sweetie is a part of our family and without hesitation I’ll protect her no matter what cost. I joked with Ashley’s dad when I was on the phone with him that if Ashley found out Sweetie got hurt or killed I’d be the next one of the receiving in of that shotgun.

Coincidentally Mr. Carlton had called me Friday and told me about him recently killing a coyote that a Lakia he just got bayed up one up. He didn’t have a gun but slipped around and killed it with a machete. At 20lbs Sweetie is at a disadvantage of a lot of things in the woods. I’ve never been a fan of carrying or shooting pistols but I might start doing so in the future when it’s not hunting season just in case.
 
Top