Thursday, December 5, 2019

Another bout with a sticky kitty

First off, I don't mean to steal my hunting partner's name for porcupines, but when he told me what he called them I had to use it  the name. Thanks Greg Allen, it fits.

Yes, it happened again today. Grady decided to get a taste of a sticky kitty. The day was getting off to a bad start as it was. We started hunting a fog that looked like it would rise but instead it got thicker. Greg took off one way and I the other in search of the chukars we saw tracks of on the way in. Chukar hunting was pretty slow and the few coveys we saw never got lead thrown their way. Either they disappeared into the fog too soon or I couldn't shoot not knowing where dog two was. About 45 minutes into the trip I finally got the signal that both dogs were on point about 150 yards away. I crunched my way through the snow and finally could see both dogs locked up. As I moved forward I could see a few bird heads sticking out of the snow and was ready to move forward for the flush. Suddenly Grady broke and I saw the sticky kitty by the sage. I immediately yelled but it was too late. Grady had a mouth full. I don't even remember hearing the birds flush and maybe they didn't. They may still be up there chuckling about the fool on the hill.

Crap happens and at times I feel like I'm stumbling over it too often. There were about 50 to 75 quills in his lips and mouth. Far less than Jake had two years ago and not that deep so I decided I'd pull them on the hill. Now you have to understand that Grady isn't the toughest dog on the hill and I found out he doesn't like pain much. The whimpering at each quill being pulled was pathetic but he started to put up a fight. I had never used a stiff hand on Grady but now the fight was on. There was a lot of tugging and pulling and yelling by me but I finally got him wedged in some snow deep enough that I could sit on his chest and finally get a good hold. He calmed some and I quieted down some also. Ten minutes or so and we had the job done except for a few deep down and broken.

Jake just sat there and watched more like a referee in case we got a little too rough. Things like this happen to almost all hunters at one time or another but it's how we handle them that is important. I had the right tools but I'm not sure I was of the right mind. I've always said how nice it is to hunt the mountain and never say a word. Silence is beautiful. Greg was on that mountain somewhere and either he didn't hear me or he was being kind and never mentioned I sounded like a raving lunatic on the mountain.

Although everything came out just fine I have to admit I could have been a little quieter. I was a wrestler in high school and I don't remember ever yelling at my opponent to hold still but as I wrestled with Grady I was pretty vocal for him to hold still. Point is, after I calmed down a little and let Grady calm down a little it was fine. Calmer heads usually get the job done easier than panicking.

Good luck in the next 55 days or so and watch for those sticky kitties.


Pat, Marcus & Alexis said...


I've been worried about porcupines all season long following my dog's having gotten bitten by a rattlesnake when I was dove hunting (yes, I know that normal people don't take their hunting dog dove hunting, but I do). He was retrieving a dove and the snake had the same idea, which made for a high speed, for a Jeep, Sunday trip to the veterinarians.

The snakes are now thankfully dormant here, although we still ran into a big bunch pheasant hunting. But he keeps checking out the willows when we're waterfowl hunting and I've seen porcupines in there. So far, so good.

Anonymous said...

If your dog gets hit with a sticky kitty dont pull quills straight out turn 45 degrees counter clockwise the pull much easier.

Anonymous said...

Another day with GSP’s. Ijake was probably enjoying it all. Maybe this will keep him from going after another porky. Haven’t had this problem with the setter yet. she is probably too much of a coward.There will be better days ahead....
Alan and the setter

Tuckers Chukars said...

Pat, I'm not normal either. If I could I'd take my dogs on everything I hunt.

It's too bad I didn't know about the 45 degree turn. I just grabbed my leathermans tool and started jerking. We've already discussed who the jerk was.

Alan, I'm surprised you haven't seen one yet. Every encounter I have had with the sticky kitties has been north of where you go. Gracie is proving those setters might be a little smarter than my GSP's.