I thought I'd post a story of one of my hunts from last year for my first as it was a milestone trip for my GSP bitch Bella.
She had reached 4yo and was really settling into her role as No1 sidekick and deer indicator. This trip really cemented the partnership and she has not looked back since.
Went bush for a few days in October 2011 with Bella my GSP and good mate James with his mopheaded GWP.
Saw quite a few and Bella worked fantastically. She led me in on deer a number of times including a Spike that I traded honks with for a few minutes and got it all on Video. Then came what I thought at the time was the pinnacle of the trip. On the Friday arvo at around 3:00pm I had her standing nose to nose almost with a hind and her knobby stag off-sider down beside a very noisy mountain stream. I mucked around so long trying to get pics with my little pocket camera that the deer eventually ignored the dog completely and just went about their business. Bella got sick of waiting for me o shoot one so she came over to me and started nuzzling my hand. I told her to "fetch ‘em up" and she went back to about 6m from the hind and went on point again. Eventually the deer just wandered back across the river and Bella gave me the dirtiest look. Shots weren't taken for various reasons including the distance required for a carry out and the freezer already being pretty full but mainly because there was plenty of time to keep looking for something better.
Sunday comes and we all had a midday snooze while it rained and the wind blew its guts out for a little while. About 3:30pm, when the weather finally calmed down we headed out for the last hunt for the trip.
Bella and I went about 30m above the creek flats and began to contour an area that I knew the deer come through on their way to the feeding grounds around the 2 or 3 small creeks that meet on the flats. After not too long we get to a scrape and preach with some very hot stag prints that I reckon were made only minutes earlier by the look of them so I work Bella into the direction they are traveling. Bella quickly picked up the deer’s scent and by now, thanks to all the time we’ve spent in the bush together, I can definitely tell by her body language the animal is not all that far away. She led me along with her nose hoovering scent from both the ground and the breeze. We get to a bit of a crease in the hill that is choked with Dogwood and wattle and she wants to go in as that's where the prints go but there's no way I can hunt through it so I tell her to "Fetch em up" and off she goes with me hoping she will put him out. Bella comes back out and I assume we've spooked him and he's gone but she is still really working the breeze so I trust her and follow her very slow progress around the face a bit more. She again goes into some thick stuff and climbs a log to get a better sniff. Then she freezes while standing on the log looking intently down toward the flats.
I'm making my eyes water with the strain of trying so hard to see what she is scenting and looking at but I can't see anything. Bella then climbs down from the log and tip toes very slowly back out toward me and then angles downhill and freezes in a classic point. I've been standing still for probably 5 minutes now but still can't see anything so I take a few careful steps toward Bella and look to where she's indicating. As I move I change the angle of a couple of trees between me and where she's looking and suddenly a Stag appears 45m below me. He’s backed up to a tree ignoring me completely and eyeballing the dog. He looks good and Bella has done so well I don't hesitate and take aim for the sore spot and drop him instantly with a Norma Oryx 180gn from the 300WSM. Bella doesn't move until I send her to him and then runs flat out and starts licking him and plucking at him everywhere.
I get there and give her lots of scruffs and "good girl" and we take in the moment together.
A great few days spent in our wonderful Aussie bush shared with a good mate and our faithful pooches with a thrilling hunt to finish off leaving me so proud of my little four legged accomplice.
Tony & Bella