Here are some more photos of our hunting trip. To say Sabine had a good nationals is an understatement. For her to get a ribbon, much less a first place at her first nationals, speaks volumes of how hard she's worked. Although for me, the best part of our whole trip was going hunting afterwards. We took two terriers that have never seen field work, much less a natural den, dropped them in the field, and away they went. Dax and Mac had a slight altercation (too much testosterone), so they were hunted by themselves. We had an experienced terrier along "Bisley" who just happened to be the JRTCA's National's Working Terrier Champion for 2013. The first day we were only out for about 4 hours, but the terriers got to stick their heads in holes and you could see the light was beginning to dawn on them. The second day we dropped Dax on the ground first along a row of tree's, but that's a story for Sabine to tell.
I had Mac on the ground after we put Dax up and he was very nonchalant about checking the holes. I've been working my dogs since 1996 and I always have to remind myself that "the nose knows". It's very tempting to keep calling your dog over to check holes that you think look active, but your terrier say's "Nope, nobody home". You also have to be able to read your dog's body language and know when he's interested and when he's not. Mac appeared very interested in a hole that had two tunnels branching off of it. He went in the left side, which narrowed down to a pretty small opening. Mac was definitely interested and pushed, twisted, and dug his way in. I located him at 3'+. He opened up baying and I could hear him sparring with something down there. He kept digging and I would pull the dirt out behind him. Once he settled in, I started digging to him as it was very apparent he wasn't coming out. About 45 minutes later, I broke through to the tube. A lot of young dogs don't like the shovel or PHD's (post hole diggers) working around them, but Mac didn't mind at all. Once I opened the hole up, I could see Mac, but couldn't see what he was working. He was sparring with something and as I opened the hole up further, he pushed forward and grabbed it, drawing it out. It was a really good sized opossum. We pulled both of them out and could see Mac had about three bites along his muzzle from doing battle and the opossum was a little worse for wear, too. Photos were taken and the opossum was released.
The fact that we took two green dogs out in the field and they did so well made me incredibly proud. This is about seven generations of working dogs (4 of them my breeding). My buttons are POPPING!!