Life with Sweetie

JTHOMP

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Oct 3, 2017
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826
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Louisiana
We had a heck of a run yesterday. Yesterday morning I trapped a coon that was messing with my chickens the night before. I had planned to run him with Mr. Brent’s hounds but he texted me that he couldn’t make late that evening.
I ran the coon on a large track of woods away from the house. Mostly pines and mixed stands of thinned timber and cut cover. Nothing worth hunting a tree dog in but good enough for turning a problem coon loose.

I left the coon in the trap and dropped him off a couple hundreds yards down a logging road where it crosses a drain. Sweetie was tied to a tree during that time and when she saw me carrying him she was not happy. Cut her loose and she made a b line down the road. I let her bay it a minute or two to get her fired up. Little nub was wagging the whole time. Then tied her back and let the coon go.
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I gave the coon a decent heat start before cutting Sweetie loose. When she took off she ran sporadically through the briars and tall grass where we last saw him. I was scratching my head there wondering if she was going to pick up on him then when hit the patch of grass where he turned and I last saw him she opened up with a few barks. She smelled him. Then heard her cross the drain which I never heard the coon do so I had my doubts about whether she was really on him. But she stayed on that side of the drain working it.

She kept on while I kept an eye on the GPS distance and direction from her trying the keep up. After awhile I thought there’s no way the coon went this far. But I let her keep on. I’d say about 4 times she barked on track. Honestly I wrote it off as her excited or frustrated at the time but in hindsight I believe she was barking on scent. Then at 70 yds away GPS said she was “on point” and was finally about to close some distance. At 35yds from her I stepped through an opening. In front of me was a big tall patch of briars and I could hear Sweetie on the ground. Then heard a solid THUD of the coon falling out of the tree which lead to a series barks snarls and even a few yipes from Sweetie.

I tore through the briars as fast as I could. Lost my good hat in the process. When I got to where I could see them Sweetie had it bayed. She kept her distance for the most part, which at her size I’m glad, and the coon stood his ground. The vines and briars were so thick that I’d have to crawl in the grab Sweetie but in doing so would probably bump the coon. She did her job but now I wanted to her out. I tried going through on another side but it was even thicker. Decided then to call her off and hope she listen without having to make a negative response like a shock or “leave it” command.

Blew the whistle, called her to come. Did that a couple times and she backed off. She didn’t come immediately back to me back gave the coon some space. He left and the heat died down. I walked around to where I could see. She still wanted to go in his direction but a few more calls and she came to me. Patted her up with with a lot of good girls. Don’t think she cared though. She wanted that coon.

Marked the spot then we went back to the truck. When I went back to get my trap I looked at the pin from where we turned loose. It was 400 yards as the crow flies.
So many times I’ve doubted her when she’s on something, but then times like these she proves to me that she knows what she’s doing.
 
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JTHOMP

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Long hot dog days of summer are finally over and fall is here. It's been awhile since I've updated Sweetie's progress. Through the months of August and September we ran occasionally just to keep her active. I don't recall anything special happening. The opening weekend of squirrel season (first weekend of October) I was still hunting out of state, but the second weekend I had her in the woods.

Her first of the year we hunted a family friend's place on a Sunday morning, just her and myself. She made two trees, but I couldn't see anything. Second hunt was on a WMA in Mississippi with a fellow BHA guy I had just met. She made 6 trees but we couldn't find any squirrels. Early in the hunt she was climbing up a fallen tree. She was a good 15 feet in the air when she lost her footing and feel from the tree top. Got up and ran like nothing happened. I don't know how she didn't break a leg or something.

Ran her another time by the house just before the latest hurricane. She was working out a couple trees when I saw the squirrel in a near by tree. She eventually settled on a tree not far from it and whimpered, but instead of killing the squirrel, I waited until she opened up before making a move. By then I couldn't find the squirrel. Mr. Carlton told me afterwards that I should have shot the squirrel when she whimpered. Lesson learned on my end.

October 31st it all finally came together. My brother and I hunted his inlaw's place. She was 115 yards out when it looked like she was working something on the GPS, so I started walking that way. Sure enough she opened up and we hurried through the woods to catch up. I tied her back, and told my brother to stand back and watch while I shake vines. I was able watch while I shook, and saw a squirrel make his escape. "There he goes!" The first shot killed him and the second shot knocked him off a limb he was hung up on. I didn't know if Sweetie had seen the squirrel fall. I unleashed her, and she walked right to it picked it up and walked off about 10 feet with it. Previously I imagined unleashing a furry a terror that would destroy the dead squirrel since its been months since she's had fur in her mouth. I was excited as hell. She acted like it wasn't the first squirrel she killed.
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OntarioHunter

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If you are overly worried about your writing (for whatever reason I do not know), try Strunk & White's "Elements of Style." Great little book.
 

JTHOMP

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Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
826
Location
Louisiana
If you are overly worried about your writing (for whatever reason I do not know), try Strunk & White's "Elements of Style." Great little book.
I REALLY suck at proofreading. Other than that I like my writing and sharing stories.
 

WestKyHunt

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Feb 24, 2020
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Far West Kentucky
If you ever make it up to KY with her, give me a shout.
Land Between the Lakes (170,000 acre peninsula operated by the US Forest Service) can be ran by squirrel dogs. I also have several other places chock full of squirrels
 

JTHOMP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
826
Location
Louisiana
If you ever make it up to KY with her, give me a shout.
Land Between the Lakes (170,000 acre peninsula operated by the US Forest Service) can be ran by squirrel dogs. I also have several other places chock full of squirrels

I'm really thinking about making a run up north for an OOS squirrel hunt next year. It'd be nice to hunt somewhere where the leaves drop earlier in the year.
 

WestKyHunt

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Joined
Feb 24, 2020
Messages
152
Location
Far West Kentucky
I'm really thinking about making a run up north for an OOS squirrel hunt next year. It'd be nice to hunt somewhere where the leaves drop earlier in the year.
I usually hit them hard in January/February once deer and duck season have winded down.
I usually have zero competition on public
 

1_pointer

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Joined
Dec 20, 2000
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17,709
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Indiana
If you ever make it up to KY with her, give me a shout.
Land Between the Lakes (170,000 acre peninsula operated by the US Forest Service) can be ran by squirrel dogs. I also have several other places chock full of squirrels
One of these years, kids baseball schedule allowing, I'd love to hit LBL for the spring squirrel season. Could be a fun way to spend a weekend.
 

JTHOMP

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Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
826
Location
Louisiana
Sweet is coming along just fine! Made a long run this morning on Mississippi public. It was hot and drizzling. I had my doubts on finding squirrels but you couldn’t tell her that.
Ended the morning with 4 trees. On the 3rd tree I saw a squirrel, and burned a pocket of shells trying to get him to move for a clear shot. He ended up diving out of the tree into the top of a thick magnolia. You can’t see a thing in a tree like that. Eventually we had to leave him. I was kicking my own ass after that. Felt like I failed my dog. We left and kept hunting.
Later on our way back out I noticed she was interested in something but I didn’t give her much thought. It was late in the morning. I was ready to be back at the truck and knew she was tired too, so I told her to come on. Next thing I know I look back and she’s got a squirrel in her mouth! I see the squirrel is shot up and realize we’re back at the 3rd tree. He must have died and fallen out after we had left.Couldn’t be happier with how she hunted today. Covered ground well and treed well.
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JTHOMP

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Oct 3, 2017
Messages
826
Location
Louisiana
Made a run Friday morning and evening. Not much action happening in the morning but she made 2 trees. For the evening I ran with a buddy and his son and Sweetie was fine. Treed right off the bat with a double. Knocked both out but only found one. She treed again while we were still looking for the squirrel. She was interested in a hole at the base of a tree. Decent chance that’s where the wounded squirrel went.

She went on to make two more trees and we found a squirrel in both. She did her job and we walked out of the woods with 2. Real happy with her work yesterday. When we got home she was favoring her left leg. She’s got a decent cut on her pad. Going to let her heal up and then we’ll be back after them. Don’t think she’s mad about her recovery day.

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JTHOMP

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Location
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A couple more good hunts and Sweetie is now back on the injured list. Just the way it goes I guess.

Sunday night was her first run since her foot healed. I don’t think she’ll be a combo dog and hunt at night. She doesn’t hunt with the same intensity at night, but I still bring her by the house occasionally. That night while in the woods I got the news that the landowner, my best friend’s grandpa, passed away. He was in the nursing home with Alzheimer’s long before I had Sweetie. He was a die hard hound hunter. Always ran foxes until he got too old, but even in his upper 80s he could be found at leaning against the truck listening to dogs run. Something tells me he appreciates there was a dog running in his woods that night.

Tuesday her and I went to homochitto. There were a few people riding horses where I wanted to hunt her. I decided to hunt elsewhere so picked out a random bottom and hunted it. Looked like good woods but very little sign. She made 3 trees but it wasn’t without lack of trying. I covered a couple miles and she ran like a mad man the entire time.

Thursday morning was thanksgiving and I wanted to get her in the woods just for a few minutes so we went by the house for a 30 minute run. She made 2 trees. I was really questioning her she was first interested. Just a bunch of skinny trees. When she opened up and I walked up I saw a nest in one of the skinny trees. Shook a vine, the squirrel took off out the nest, and I knocked him down for her. I don’t care how many deer hunts I may miss in the future. Seeing it all come together to put meat on the ground with her will never get old.
She made a second tree and the squirrel timbered out without harm. I didn’t care she did her job flawlessly. And since these are our training woods I don’t need to kill them all anyway. I waited until her back was turned to me. Threw the first squirrel up, shot, and let her have some more fur to enjoy.
We made our way back to the truck after that. Along the way I heard her yip. Called her to me and checked her out. She seemed fine and took off running again. Wasn’t until we got home that I realized she had a puncture wound through the skin on her side. It was the first time I had ran her with a vest. The stick went between her leg and the opening of the fest. Not sure if the vest made it worse or just a freak accident that would’ve happened anyway. A trip to the vet delayed the thanksgiving plans I was trying to save time for, but 2 staples later and she’s patched up. Hopefully she’ll be good to go for next weekend.

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JTHOMP

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Oct 3, 2017
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826
Location
Louisiana
Sweetie has had herself some good hunts recently. I’ve really come to prefer to hunt her on larger tracks of public land where we can work through open woods. She just seems to hunt better and faster rather than getting distracted on other stuff.

This weekend I headed to Starkville, MS to make a hunt with a buddy and his friends. I left early Friday morning so Sweetie could make a hunt. She did great, multiple trees but couldn’t find any squirrels. That evening I got to the WMA we planned to hunt. Road around a bit and made an evening hunt. Made multiple trees where I couldn’t find the squirrel. But in her last 4 trees I saw a squirrel in each of them and was able to kill 3. Absolutely couldn’t ask for anything better out of her. We camped out that night and it was cold. Only time I’ve wished she was a little bit bigger but she makes a good foot warmer.

Saturday morning there were 4 of us hunting behind Sweetie. Having the extra eyes in the trees helped out a lot. We saw 8 squirrels over her and were able to kill 3. Now I’ve always said she hates a squirrel, but when she walked off with squirrel #2 dropped him and then proceeded to try to take a crap over him...she showed that her hatred goes beyond measure. And squirrel #3 gave her a nose piercing when it turn around and bit her. She was licking and snorting blood out of her nose after that but she was ready to go find the next one. That evening my buddy and I hunted her. We saw a few squirrels and were able to kill 2.

Came back home Saturday night with intentions of hunting her again Sunday evening. Sunday morning came and that little dog was worn out, so I kept her out of the woods and let her rest for the day. Plan to make two more hunts with her on Tuesday.

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JTHOMP

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Another good hunt Tuesday morning. Squirrels seems to quit moving early that morning but when they were out Sweet was on them. In the first 4 of 5 trees I saw 4 squirrels and killed 3. After things slowed down she later went on to tree a beech tree full of holes but no holes the bottom to get smoke in.

Lessons learned:
Wait just a little longer when smoking a squirrel. I placed a smoke bomb in tree #4 and watched until I saw smoke coming out of a hole higher up in the tree. I gave up and then the squirrel ran. Had I been ready it might have been a different story. Instead it was a long game of cat and mouse that I lost.

Not sure what exactly the lesson is to learn here. Maybe “don’t do it” but I couldn’t disappoint my dog. I saw squirrel #2 move but lost him in the leaves. I tied Sweetie to a nearby tree, and walked around to get a better view. With a better view I took a poke to try to get the squirrel to move. Luckily I hit it and it fell out. He hit the ground alive, and was making a get away to a tree with a large opening hallowed out trunk. I couldn’t let him get up there. We got to the tree about them same time. He had just gotten up off the ground inside the tree and I was able grab a piece of tail and get him down. He went back up and I blindly grabbed inside the trunk. This time I felt body in my grip and then felt teeth. I flung the squirrel out then was able to catch him and finish it off. Bled like a stuck pig, but we kept hunting and had a good morning.

Sweetie got her nose pierced by one Saturday so I guess it’s only fair I pay my dues. One jaw went into the bottom of my middle finger and the other went through the top of the nail. Then sliced the finger as it was flung out the tree. At least with hers it healed quick. This finger will be sore for awhile. It’s Christmas Eve morning and I really wanted to make a hunt with her but with 15+ mph winds there’s no chance squirrels will be out.

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OntarioHunter

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790
Ouch! Small game can be dangerous. A rooster pheasant did this to me last month when I was trying to wring it's neck. Just a young one too with nubbin spurs. 20201121_123756.jpg
 

JTHOMP

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Oct 3, 2017
Messages
826
Location
Louisiana
Sweetie has been steadily working good. Saturday the 26th she hunted good. I was by myself. Saw 2 but no luck One of them I smoked out of a tree with a little smoke bomb. The squirrel jumped out of a hole I didn't see and ran off with Sweetie hot on his tail. She treed him again on a skinny hollowed out truck maybe six inches diameter. The trunk had holes probably 12 and 20 feet up. There were two knots just big enough that I could get a foot hold to climb up and reach the 12ft hole. I dropped smoke and waited for our second chance at him. I watched all the smoke leave out of the hole I dropped it in and no squirrel. An anticlimactic defeat.
Sunday the 27th we hunted with one of Mr. Carlton's dogs and another guy's dog. Mr. Carlton's dog is a pretty good dog. Sweetie hung in there with him. If she was near him when he treed, she could continue to check near by trees and then decide to tree with him. If they were a good distance away when he treed, she would just keep doing her own thing. She treed a few trees on her own, and we killed one that she treed first.
After we got home Sunday afternoon, that little dog was worn out and grumpy. I had been feeding her more than normal but she had lost a few pounds. I'd say her normal weight is around 23-24 pounds. On Tuesday at the vet for routine visit she was 18 pounds Got her checked for worms just incase but she was clear. Ribs, hips, even tail bones were visible. Increased her food more and made sure she rested. By Wednesday morning she was acting like herself and was fine by Thursday looking and acting much better.

I was on call for work for New Year's Holiday and the weekend, so didn't venture too far with her. On Saturday a small Louisiana WMA nearby the house opened up to run squirrel dogs so we focused there for evening hunts. Saturday she made 6 trees, saw 2 and killed 1. Sunday she made 7 trees, saw 3, and killed 2. This morning she was looking a little thin again. Going to keep a better eye on her so she doesn't get as run down and wore out as she was last week. Hopefully she will have more squirrel hearts to eat soon for an extra protein bump.
 

JTHOMP

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Louisiana
A few more runs last week. Ashely and I haven't sent time with her dad in awhile and two birds one stone Pearl River WMA in Louisiana just opened to run dogs so we hunted there as well over the weekend. I took a half day off Wednesday to run Sweetie and for he and I check out the WMA. We didn't hunt hard but had a few trees and killed one. Saturday morning I hunted a new property near the house with a guy I had recently met. Made a couple trees, saw two in one tree but both slipped into a hole.

The afternoon we went to visit her dad and stay the night. Overall we had a good, but the amount of den trees in there does not make it favorable for a dog hunter. The woods there before Hurricane Katrine were big open bottomland hardwoods and swamp. Katrina destroyed much of the bottomland timber creating an impenetrable thicket. Now 15 years later the woods have started to open up again. Mostly small trees with a hand full of mature oaks scattered through out. About half way through the hunt it clicked. Those mature trees made it through the storm but lost a lot of limbs, and those lost limbs are now knot holes. There are very few squirrel nests in those woods simply because there is no need for the squirrels to build them. So Sweetie treed a lot of trees littered with holes and we got two. The next morning we went back and we got 1. The morning hunt was a little frustrating. Her first tree she was 150yds out and it took us a while to get there, but she stayed on the tree barking the whole time beautifully. The last tree was exactly the same. But between those two she did not want to bark and stay on tree. I don't know what was going on then. Even the one we killed she barked in one area, ran to another barked, then another, ran and stood up on a broken tree without barking but stood there a while. She got off the tree and ran off when my buddy saw the squirrel, and I told him to shoot it. Not sure what was going on. Maybe there a couple squirrels she was working, or she just couldn't fully work the track out. At least the first and last trees were perfect. Patience and persistence. She's still a young dog and we have a lot more season left.

If she has the energy for it I may try to coon her hunt Tuesday night, and planning to take a half day off work Thursday and run that evening. She should be coming into heat any day now. Once that happens I can better plan the rest of the season. From now through February I'd like to take a half day off once a week that I'm not no call and hunt her. Keeping weight on her has been better. Looking a little thinner this morning but not bad. You can definitely see she is more tired this morning, so just have to keep an eye on how much I push her. With a good supply of pigs, ground meat is plentiful in our house so I'll start supplementing her after hunt meals with ground meat and eggs. I'm sure she won't complain.

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