Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sporting Dog First-Aid Clinic......

I went to a sporting dog first-aid clinic last night and learned some cools stuff; I thought I’d share…

It was put on by our local Versatile Hunting Dog Federation and was held at Region 3 FWP here in Bozeman, Montana. Cost was $25.00 for 3 hour course, but was well worth it; given the great tips for hunting in the west and being prepared for the many hazards that come with it.

If you’re coming out west and haven’t hunted in areas where traps might be set; check on the web for how to get your dog outa one, as there are several types and while some are easy to release and do little more than hold your dogs’ leg.

Others, like conibear (beaver traps) are deadly, and take having a leash or rope on-hand; and ‘some knowhow’ and important-instruction to get it off in time and save your dog’s life.

Since in Central and Eastern parts of the state beaver trapping begins on Sept. 1st, and there’s no law that states BMA’s have to post signs indicating trapping is taking place; running a dog in a river bottom with channels and obvious beaver sign about; could be an issue?

I used to set conibears on the plantation and trapped dozens of beavers in a single week, but we did it in the off-season as damage-control; which means you could run into them anywhere that’s allowed year-round. They’ll kill your dog within seconds I’d imagine as they did beaver, so time is of the essence.

Most other types of trapping begin after Nov. 1st in Montana, and "is still very much a business out here", or so FWP told us; and is quite common; though dog’s being caught and killed not so much. "Still, precautions should be taken and some tools like cable cutters are needed for some traps; as Leatherman’s won’t work."

Now for the Tips...

- I recently dealt with Suzie having that annoying cough and posted about it here too, but have since realized it’s not a big deal and has also gone away. Apparently Vets see this one a lot, so might be nice to avoid a visit if it isn’t needed (an actual Vet was one telling us this). It’s called 'tracheal collapse' and is quite common based on how many YouTube videos are on the subject.

- We were told if your dog gets porcupine quills inside its mouth, it means he attempted to eat it as opposed to the more common occurrence of smelling one. When this happens, it’s advised to bring it to a Vet, as some quills could be further down their throat and might cause illness weeks later.

- Saline solution was advised several times for washing out eyelids as this apparently is a very common problem out west too. We had this issue at the plantation and it was deadly once left untreated, as the grass seeds would eventually work their way down into the pointers’ face and blindness occurred when others (which still had dew claws) would scratch at them. Try as I might to tell the guides this, because I learned it early on in my career; instead they worked day in day out and were never pleased with their pay, and with a sorry redneck factor of 110, they sadly didn’t care.

- It was suggested “the very best thing for a wound is fresh water and soap”; as opposed to any other forms of liquids such as peroxide or alcohol; if your intentions are to take the dog to a Vet anyway. Staying calm and keeping your dog warm in winter or cool in summer on the way; was stressed as well to keep the dog from becoming overly excited in transit.

- We were told dogs can sometimes have an allergic reaction to being sprayed with skunks; though the symptoms might not show for two to three weeks after being sprayed; so if a dog has a mysterious illness and has recently been sprayed within the past few weeks; it’s important you tell your Vet of the incident.

- “He doesn’t appear to be in a lot of pain” is apparently a common thing Vets here, because folks don’t recognize the signs when they should? It’s suggested if your dog, after an obvious injury, doesn’t moan or groan doesn’t mean it’s not in pain. In fact it might be in quite a bit and if it goes and lays down in an odd location, you witness it yawning excessively, or drinking excessive amounts of water or not eating ( or anything out of the ordinary) its advised to bring it in for a checkup.

- Something neat I thought was when they mentioned for sternum cuts or wounds on your dog; it’s advised to use your T-shirt and actually put it on the dog, then tape it over the wound. Another bit of advice was to use a sock for a leg wound and also tape it; before getting them to a Vet for treatment.

- Lots of things should go into a First Aid Field bag that aren’t included in the store-bought ones; and its suggested to take what you have to your Vet; for advice on other items that might be of use (staplers, short-runs of certain Vet meds., etc.). “Vet Wrap with Johnson and Johnson porous tape” got high marks too FYI.

...And from my own experience, I’ll throw in 'a western rookie mistake' and that is DON’T LEAVE YOUR FIRST-AID KIT IN YOUR TRUCK ALL SEASON (or even overnight when visiting); as all the fluid-contents will be frozen solid and useless when you need them the most!?


Initially, I was going to add a few more things from last night, but think I best not since I’m no Vet and don’t want to get the technical info wrong.
I will say though, if your local hunting dog org. wanted to put something on that would really be beneficial to guys in your chapter and the general public; this would be the thing to do during the off-season. It was 3 hours of intense hands-on instruction and I learned so much more than what I’ve written here; and regret not going to something similar years ago?

I also regret driving into the %#@* ditch out in front of FWP while trying to find a place to park and ripping my bumper off, but such is life…


.Versatile Hunting Dog Federation

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pheasant Surrogator... The Project Begins....

Ultimately the above image is 'the goal', but for now its more or less a gamble it seems?

Since many of you who visit this site originated from 'Upland Journal' this weblog will be familair; as I've also begun a thread on there with as much if not more details than here.

...The reasons for posting it twice are simple, 1) I promised this blog would be 'about hunting and fishing' and it hasn't been lately, and instead more about my inability to find a %#@* damned job and 2) Its for the 50 odd folks visiting who have no idea what UJ is...and to prove I've met at least two people in Montana who can stand being around me, and am not a complete physcopath...?!

Note: I've changed their names, as I do with all my stories, in case I one day end up in a fight with one or the other and want to bash them on here..(quite possible).?


Today my friend Jim and Donnie went out on his parents' ranch to set up a 'pheasant Surrogator'.
Its a pretty cool project and should be interesting to see how it goes...?

- First, Donnie had picked out a great spot to set the Surrogator as it was a bottom and had two natural springs within close proximity; the bird should easily find later in life.
The bottom leads to an a 1-mile long stretch of the Musselshell River that is also included in the 1,000 acre private ranch.

Once the area was cleared and leveled, the surrogator was put in place..

Then we connected the propane heater, and had already filled the 15 gallon waterer, but had to make sure it was operational and checked for leaks...

First thing 'to-do' as per instructions; was make sure heater worked and get it lighted (took a few tries, but evetually lit)..

Next we filled the feeder and placed the ceramic dome over the heater (center of frame) and then readied it for the chicks..

Next we mixed in the provided "chick aid", which is designed to gel up and encourage the chicks to begin pecking right away (which worked, as they were on it before we left)...

The "chick aid" was placed on one of four paper plates placed in all four corners and on top of a handful of feed; as indicated in instructions...

Then came the chicks themselves, which were a day-old and were picked up in Townsend from a bird-grower on the way to the ranch....(60 total)...

There were 30 on each side of crate and all were alive when placed inside the Surrogator...

It was tought to tell which ones were roosters or hens, but was guessed to be 50/50.
Once all were inside we made a quick hand-check to make sure heater was working, the prepared to close them in...(object being to limit thier exposure to us to mere minutes)

Then we put 6 stakes in the ground to suspend the provided cover above the Surrogator to keep it shaded...

Lastly, we rechecked the heater and waterer were working then left them be...

That is probably the biggest concern is whether both would remain operational for the 5 week duration the chicks are inside? They will stay hidden completely inside the section with the heater and water, then the screened section is available to hem by simply raising a divider; so they can aclimate themsleves to weather and their surroundings.
Its said 'only a bear could get to them inside' and is probably accurate as its quite well made and fully self-supporting for the 5 week duration, without need to refill water or propane. Though it is recommended to check on them once a week.

There is considerable habitat and food-plot work being done yearround on the ranch to benefit the birds once released; and they are sparing no expense in that regard... So 'it will not be lack of feed or cover' that determines whether they make it or not?
There is also a trapping-progarm being started as well, so should work..?

Another release is scheduled between now and September, of additional 63 pheasant using same surrogator, and both groups are being leg-banded with seperate dates; too determine if and how many survived into the upcoming hunting-season; when pursued afield.

I'll keep you posted on how things go here...