Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Night Hunters

Not that I want to impress anyone, but my twelve dog team actually hunted a ptarmigan type of bird last night. As Jachym said, it was just a matter of time, as they live in the snow banks, spread around our trails, in groups. Sometimes one has to hold on to the handlebar of the sled for dear life, when the dogs suddenly jerk and sprint in suecidable tempo, as the birds shoot out of the snow, just decimeters from the team.

We just climbed a long and seemingly never ending hill yesterday and the speed started to roll a bit, when a few birds gazed out of the snow infront of the leaders. One of the birds was too slow and the dogs jumped in the air and got it. The bird managed to escape and dive into the snow again, which was a very bad strategy. Galena dove right after it, pulling the rest of the team with her to the snow bank and dug the bird out. I must admit that I had one of the most stupid ideas then, as I ordered the dogs to keep going, naively thinking they will drop him along the way. Goosak carried majority of the bird in his mouth and trotted with his tail and head up. His sister held onto her part (the wing plus some extra stuff) and they unwillingly trotted forward, hoping they could stop and eat their delicious, warm and freshly hunted pray. I was hesitatnt to stop the team to actually wrestle it from the dogs as the nearly 50cm of fresh snow were not very good for anchor hold and I didn´t want to lose the team. I also was´t willing to let them eat it all with the feathers, etc. As I meditated, a light apeared infront of me - Jachym just finished grooming one of the loops and was comming back. Splendid! I called him to help me and he wrestled the parts of the bird from the dogs´ mouths. He lifted it to show me and suggested we could bring it home for Richard to cook it (Richard is a professional chef), but then looked from one part to another and added "or mabye not" and threw it to the bushes, where a fox or a wolf will have a feast later.

I´m quite proud of the dogs, as they were in a big group and tangle and except for a few growls, no one picked a fight about the pray. They kind of just waited what´s gonna be left for them.

The next 2-3km were a nightmare, as now not just the leaders tried to investigate all the snowbanks along the trail, trying to dive into the snow, for more birds.
After some disciplining, I finally got the team rolling down the trail in a good speed with tight tugs again and we had a really pleasant rest of the run, with full moon and clearing sky.

Today is a gorgeous, sunny and bright day - the ideal time to take pictures! Stay tuned.

Hmm, what will be for dinner tonight, I wonder?

Katerina

1 comment:

Sus said...

I know the feeling, what to do when there´s no chance of stopping the team. I tried to get my little team focused on the trail and not the birds. The sled was still on the trail but all 6 dogs was entangeled in the trees and branches. I just had to stand and wait, I have never seen the dogs turn from hard working beautiful dogs to mad killers. Not like that. Now they know the birds are coming sooner ore later, the just wait for them. :-)

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