So far this season has been a disaster. I should just be thankful that I’m able to get out, but with the calamity that has resulted I’ve been anything but thrilled to this point. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but if it weren’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all.
Last weekend Dad and I managed to sneak away for a multi-day hunt. The first day of the trip we were treated to winds over 60 MPH. Yes that was SIX ZERO miles per hour. While hunting the first spot of the day Dad had a rooster flush in front of him, and at less than 30 yards I could not hear the discharge of the gun. As we neared the truck we both agreed nothing good could come of hunting in these conditions. All was not lost though, as the small stock dams had a good amount of waterfowl on them, and although we didn’t have a retriever along, the wind would help us on that front. I managed a successful sneak on a group before breaking for lunch for the day.
The next day dawned nearly perfect and we decided to hunt hard to make up for the previous day, most of which was spent napping in the truck. The dogs, I thought, were in fine form:
Maggie had other plans, managing to rough up both front legs (between the feet and wrists) at the first spot we hunted. At the second spot I went through a panic situation that I hadn’t had to endure for a number of years. Maggie stumbled up to me with a bug-eyed look and clearly couldn’t see well. Her gait became very herky-jerky and I knew she was in trouble. The day was very cool and I had been using an in-the-field supplement to prevent this type of problem. For the last three or four years she hasn’t had any issues like this, and I thought they were well behind us. I immediately grabbed the first-aid kit to get the dog some sugar (in the form of dextrose), as I was certain she was experiencing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). We alternated carrying her out of the field and the little dog was done for the day.
With Maggie on the bench we asked Belle to shoulder most of the load. By the end of the day she was tapped. As luck would have it we ran in to a friend of mine who I had been trying to hunt with for the previous few years. The timing had never worked out before, but fate intervened, and we ended up arriving at the same area late in the afternoon. The birds were less than cooperative, and during the last field I left the gun in the truck and followed with the camera. My friend’s GSP Annie was a joy to watch in the field and put on a show on a couple of pheasants:
The next day was even more beautiful than the first, which wasn’t necessarily a good thing from a hunting perspective. We did manage a couple of birds prior to heading home and both dogs hunted like a million bucks. My wife had tickets to a dinner event where Tom Brokaw was the keynote speaker, and my presence was strongly suggested, so we cut the trip short and returned home.
I awoke Wednesday to an all too familiar squint from Belle. I examined her eye closely and didn’t see anything immediately obvious. Even after staining her eye, I noticed only a few minor scrapes along the top part of her eye but nothing concerning. Later in the day I brought home the head loop from the clinic for a magnified view only to find an extremely small sliver embedded in her eye. The small plant piece was less than the diameter of a piece of hair and about 1mm long. I couldn’t believe it. Here we were heading into the month of November, looking to make up for lost time, and I was looking at Maggie with two raw legs and blood sugar issues, Belle with another corneal foreign body and me with a stress fracture of my left foot. This fall wasn’t exactly turning out the way I had hoped with all three members of the team trying to play injured.
I made several attempts to remove the object from Belle’s eye, but in the end I couldn’t find an instrument fine enough or magnification strong enough to get it done. In the morning we will be pointing the car south as we head to Omaha for a visit to an ophthalmologist. I’m really hoping it turns around from here.
Stay tuned for Belle’s latest adventure. I love these setters but it is getting to be a little like hunting with glass figurines.