Friday, March 13, 2009

Missing the Money Shot

I've gotten to where I don't bother taking the camera out to the desert when we go hunting.  It's heavy, gets covered in a fine, fine dust that seems like it can't be doing the camera any good in the long run.  And if I'm going to tote something weighty, I'd rather it be the binoculars so I can better watch the action when it goes over the horizon.

So it was yesterday, as I packed Sandia and Fanny in the car for a rare afternoon hunt with Dutch. A brisk East wind was blowing, keeping the temperature in the mid 50's, so we weren't worried about heat.  We were at a field we hadn't visited in several weeks, and is always good for a couple of chases, if not exactly bountiful.

We'd walked south about a mile and a half, and then cut west a bit, then back north an equal distance without even a sniff of a hare.  We decided to turn to the west for a while, and that's precisely when the hare jumped right in front of Sandia.  He got the jump on everybody, and had a good run up, which eventually turned the hare... hard, to the right, almost right into the mouth of Dutch' s Phyllis (winner of the Desert Hare Classic) who was closing fast.  I saw her head go down in the high cover, but she came up empty.  Sandia avoided the collision, and stayed right behind the jack through several more turns.

Eventually the hare made a straightaway break, with Sandia still on its tail.  In fact, that was one of the more impressive parts of this chase, that despite the extremely high cover in this particular field, Sandia never let the prey get more than a couple of feet ahead of him, always keeping him in site.  When they broke into an open patch I could see Sandia lunging, ever so close to the hares rear, but not quite making contact.  Those would have been some pretty impressive photos had I, you know, had my camera with me... 

But that's not the "money shot" referred to in the title.  Ninety seconds after the race began, Sandia, with some help from Phyllis finally snapped up the jack.  A very brief "discussion" ensued as to who "owned" the jackrabbit, and for a while Sandia carried it back in tandem with Dutch's soon-to-be impressive puppy "Cinnamon", but she finally let go and Sandia proudly brought "dinner" back to me.  That was the money shot, as these events are rare.

This was probably Sandia's finest overall course of his young life, the first where he really looked like some of the best Galgos I've seen coursing in the southwest.  The best moves of the jackrabbit didn't shake him. He kept it in sight despite difficult conditions, and he refused to give up until the job was done.

But his day wasn't over.  After a fifteen minute rest, and some goats milk and water, he was back out front as we started our final sweep back towards the vehicles, and boom!  Fanny jumped this one, and for a nearly nine year old staghound, did herself proud in the run up until Sandia and Phyllis took over.  This rabbit had a different plan than it's "brother", and ran in a- fast - straight line to the southeast.  Sandia was, again, right on it as the rabbit's sinister tactic became apparent.  It was trying to get to a heavy concentration of creosote bush.. nasty stuff you don't want your dogs running into, and pretty much guaranteeing the jackrabbits survival to run another day.

The dogs straggled back looking like survivors of a WWII beach assault.  Dutch's Ashley had a big hole in her foreleg, while Sandia had a long, ugly tear on his rear foot and, discovered later, a couple more holes in his armpit and chest.  Not deep, just tears, but ugly.  By the time we got home, he'd stiffened up significantly.  This morning, he's moving around much better, but we may take him to the vet, because he won't let us touch him.

The drawback to the vet idea is that they'll probably want to suture the wounds, which means he'd most definitely miss a big Galgo outing planned for next week.  Galgos are coming down from the north of the state, including his mother and siblings,  and others are coming from out East somewhere.  So for now, I've got him on antibiotics and letting him keep the wounds clean on his own.

Meanwhile, we've purchased a bigass crockpot, and there'll be jackrabbit in the dog food tomorrow!

So that was yesterday.  One jackrabbit got caught.  One got even.  Rubber match anyone? 

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