Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

One of My Favorite McMurtry Tunes

James McMurtry and his band before a rather ... uh ... mellow Dutch crowd. If you like this at all, you'll love it on Live in Aught-Three. Enjoy!

Herd Guardian Documentary

For the past few months, I've received a lot of positive feedback on an article I wrote on herd guardian dogs, with the help of the estimable Cat Urbigkit. Fortunately for my interested readers, a crack(ed )film crew recently descended on the Pinedale, Wyoming area to get the real story. So set back and thrill to the ruthlessness of predator and the courage and resourcefulness of the guardian:


Here's a great beagling video. My thanks to Gregg Barrow for sending it along:

One of the things I like about it is that it debunks the common myth that hounds can't or shouldn't be obedient. Although beagles have no peers when it comes to hunting cottontails, most will also do yeoman work on quail and woodcock. I was eleven or twelve years old, watching Feller, my beagle, silently working scent along a grown-up fence row, when my father said, "He's working birds. Let's get up there." Sure enough, about the time we got within shotgun range, Feller flushed the covey. From then on, whenever, he'd get really gamey, but didn't open up, I'd hustle to within shotgun range. Old Feller got me a lot of shots at gamebirds, and I've seen a number of beagles do the same since. Given a little encouragement, most beagles will retrieve as well. They're versatile little hunters and great with kids.

Looking for a first hunting dog? Find a well-bred beagle pup, make friends with her, and just go hunting. You'll figure it out together.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sweet Relief

It's drizzly, breezy, and cool this morning in North Texas, after a dry, blistering August. Rain fell most of yesterday. Just after sunrise I heard the distant popping of hunters shooting at, and probably missing, the few resident mourning doves that didn't head south when the cool front arrived. No worry. Migrants from Oklahoma and Kansas will arrive in a few weeks.

Cate and Maggs are soaking wet and feeling fine, treeing backyard squirrels, barking through the wrought iron fence at cottontails in the neighbors' yards. For the first time since May, I can imagine following a dog through the woods or across prairie.

Looking out my office window at drizzle falling on erstwhile prairie reminds me of the effect of rain on Blackland clay. Which, in turn, reminds me of this little Corb Lund tune: