Thursday, January 6, 2011

Retiring Dakota

After 12 hard years of hunting chukars for me, Dakota has made it obvious that the steep mountains are becoming too much. It's time for him to retire to the couch and maybe get in a few easy hunts next year. The decision became easy for me shortly after we arrived home from our hunt today. Dakota had a hard time getting himself up in the back seat of the truck after the ride home and I had to lift him down. After his dinner he laid on his blanket in front of the T.V. When I went over to pet him he  had a hard time getting his back hips up.
Those of you that follow the blog know that Dakota is the son of Tucker. Dakota was the runt of the litter but has his dads heart. He was never the athlete his dad was, but was a quick learner and became a first class hunting dog by his first season. He and Tucker became a great team and were soon known as Team Tuckota. Chukars weren't safe when the two of them were in town.
Dakota was also a great solo hunter. He was built a little closer to the ground so he didn't cover the country like Tucker or his relief dog Riley. Although he holds point forever, he has never been the dog that would let me get 10 to 20 yards ahead of him. He liked being in the action. This last year was no exception. He started figuring out ways in which to circle the birds once I got ahead of him so he didn't miss anything. But put him with another dog and he would honor like a pro.
As time has progressed, his tail became less stiff and almost tucked. Maybe that is due to his bad hips. But he was staunch none the less. He is also quite deaf now which leads to a quite a bit of uncertainty at times. He doesn't hear the birds when they take off. He spends as much time looking for me as for birds now. A few times he has been confused as to where I was and would bark enthusiastically when he would locate me. All of these things have lead to a more cautious hunting dog. Here are a few of his points today.
Dakota's strong point had to be his retrieving. He was relentless and lost very few birds in his hunting career. He would often beat Tucker to the retrieve and towards the end of Tucker's hunting days he relieved his dad of many long retrieves.  That made it easier for Tucker during his last hunts. Today was no different. He retrieved every bird to me although it took much longer to gain the elevation I was at.

My hopes are that Dakota will have several years of rest around the house left. We will still enjoy many outings together but at a lot slower pace. I do hope to get him out on maybe an easy hunt or two next year, where just getting one point will be sufficient. But Until that time I am happy to remember Dakota's last point and limit.
After I wrote this I turned around to find that Barb had covered Dakota. I think he'll have a good and soft life from here on.

3 comments:

Karl said...

Here's to our hunting partners and the joy they bring us. Thanks for sharing Larry. Dakota has earned the obvious spoiling and his rest.

jc said...

Agreed--he certainly has spoiled you for many years. Tell him Neka and I are out shopping for his gold watch since it looks like Barb has already started providing the golden parachute.

jc said...

Agreed--he certainly has spoiled you for many years. Tell him Neka and I are out shopping for his gold watch since it looks like Barb has already started providing the golden parachute.