Sage Monkey

Sage Monkey

Monday, October 6, 2014

These Mountain Grouse Don't Stand a Chance

Sage and I's first few hunting trips this grouse season has resulted in slightly underwhelming and long hikes with a gun. We have had absolutely zero contacts with birds and I've been valiantly fighting the urge to feel discouraged. It's Sage's and I's first season as a team and needless to say its gotten off to a rocky start. Thank goodness she doesn't possess the knowledge to know what she's been missing. If she had I wouldn't be remotely surprised if she posted a Craigslist ad looking to replace me as a hunting partner.

On Saturday Sage and I headed out to try our luck once again. This time we focused on an 18,000 acre BMA in the Bridger Range. I spent just shy of an hour meandering thru the vastness of the Block Management Area trying to carefully select what I thought would be a good spot to stop and embark on our adventure. Once we settled on a promising looking area we cheerfully set out armed with my Berretta and big can of bear spray.

We worked our way up a steep mountainside that eventually leveled off and opened up to pristine mountain fields. The sky was blue, the air was crisp and the granite peaks in the distance were covered in snow. It felt glorious. It felt like what hunting should.

Sage was off to the races. She was running very big and I knew right away that if we were lucky enough to make some contacts she was going to bust them. I'm so hungry at this point for Sage to have wild bird contact that I could careless. Being 11 months old and not fully steady I want her to have exposure. I want her to learn. I can always tighten her up later.

We had been hiking for close to 40 minutes when a covey of 8 big fat grouse exploded from the under region of a tree. Sage stayed steady and held back from giving chase but she did shoot me a borderline fanatical look as if she was saying, "For Christs Sake woman get up here already". As I closed in she broke free covering the area where the covey had been held up. She was wild eyed and in a frenzy. My heart was beaming. It was what I had been waiting for, the wheels were turning she was figuring it out. I watched the covey fly off and settle down the side of the mountain. I made a mental note to work it on our way back.

Sage and I were pumped! We set off with new vigor and a healthy dose of adrenaline pumping through our veins. About 15 minutes later we hit our second covey and 5 more plump mountain grouse hit the sky with a flapping flurry. They were inevitably out of shooting range but Sage was getting the exposure I had hoped she'd get. We worked forward into the wildness for about 45 more minutes before turning back and working adjacent areas.  When we made it back to the location of the first covey I looped to the far side and carefully made my way down the steepness with Sage leading the charge. The cover here was thicker and Sage had finally settled down into a rhythm. Our best chance was going to be here because she was working closer. After a breath holding 10 minutes Sage finally locked up on point. In seconds three grouse burst into the sky. I pulled my gun up, focused on one and pulled the trigger. It was a perfect shot and the gun fire echoed through the valley like a symphony.

As soon as I had shot the bird and it fell into its final descent Sage and I looked at each other completely shocked. I smiled and said, "You did't think I'd get it did you!!" Then I sent her in for the retrieve while belly laughing alone in the woods. She mouthed it first and then drug it halfway. Not that I gave her the opportunity to bring it all the way in. I was entirely to pumped. She found us birds, I shot us one. It was our first successful time out. It was amazing. It was everything and more than I had hoped it would be. Now that we've had some luck these mountain grouse don't stand a chance.

Be sure to follow our shenanigans on Facebook at: Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sage Bears All

Things have been great for Sage Monkey and I since our last post. We've been out hunting since opening day but more importantly we have been soaking up our new life in Big Sky country. On a personal level part of that for me has been being able to get out and consume as much nature as possible. On Saturday I decided to go hike Sacagawea Peak (Sageless and by myself). It's the highest peak in the Bridger range and offers stellar summit views in every direction. I was blessed enough to run into some mountain goats while at the top and have included some photos below.  It was an awesome day indeed.

Before heading out to hike Sacagawea I swung by Sportman's Warehouse in Bozeman and grabbed a can of bear spray. It is grizzly country after all and it would be irresponsible for me to not at least have some with me. Truth time folks. Let's have an honest talk about bear spray.

#1. It's basically hopped up super mace and is designed to deter aggressive bears.  
#2. The minimum recommended distance to discharge the spray between you and the bear is about 25 feet
#3. Bear spray is pressurized and contains some seriously hazardous contents
#4. It's really nasty shit.....did I mention that yet? It needs to stop a pissed off grizzly. In case you didn't know male grizzlies can weigh 790lbs.

Let's now flash forward past my non-bear encounter hike up to Sacagawea to my Sunday night. I had a wonderful dinner at my best friend Jen's house. I played with her kids (my nephews Noah and Alex), chilled at the park afterwards with them and then read 5 year old Noah his bed time story, proudly getting to be his ambassador to sleepy land. Then I had a glass of wine, said my good nights and headed home to my beloved Sage Monkey.

Then shit got real. I walked in the door to my tiny 700 sq ft apartment and Sage was overly riled. By the time I got 8 feet into the hallway I felt as though I had been hit by a freight train. I couldn't breathe, my eyes and skin were burning and the only thing running through my mind was that there was a fire or some kind of toxic fumes were invading my apartment. Little did I know what was truly in store for future Robyn. Feel free to start pitying her now....but I digress. I ran to the back patio turned around and saw that Sage in my absence had managed to remove my newly purchased can of bear spray from the kitchen counter and had bit into it spewing its contents down my wall, base boards and heater and soaked fully into my carpet.

At this point I was basically dry heaving and snot was involuntarily pouring from my face. I drug her outside and opened all my windows and doors. I carefully removed the punctured can being wary not to touch it and then I called my girlfriend Jen for reinforcements. She had at her house everything a girl could need to combat a super noxious capsicum spray debacle: milk, heavy cream and Ponds cold cream.  

Jen showed up to my shit show and offered two very important things: help and humor. I had already tossed Sage in the shower although she would require a milk bath. Jen quickly pointed out that I hadn't removed her collar and the bear spray could easily be hanging on to it. (I'd like to throw it out there that Sage wasn't even remotely fazed by any of the commotion or painful spray. This could easily be a sypmtom of her being a batshit crazy GSP). When I unhooked her collar bear spray laced water flung directly into my eyes and onto my face. This is where I politely say Fuck You bear spray. It was just about the most painful and debilitating experience. I'd like to add that while I writhed in pain and agony on my carpet and Jen threw me a milk soaked towel I choked and half laughed/cried, "you better get a god damn picture of this." And such is the sadness you see below.

Pretty much the worst moment of my life and I can't stop crying/laughing or 
demanding it to be photographed.

This was pretty awful. If you ever wondered what heavy cream and tears looked like. 

True friends show up to your house when your jerk dog blows bear spray through your apartment, they pull your hair back while you cry into heavy cream in your kitchen sink and they most importantly take unwarranted selfies of you at your complete worst because that shit is funny. In fact it's just about the only thing I respect. They also wash your dog with milk and soap and then have a beer with you before heading home and telling you how much fun you make their life.

Your mocking my life right now. But your washing my dog. 

Pretty sure I may never see the same way again but Ponds is in the 
midst of free publicity. I can only see pain. 

Ignore my ugly suffering mug and pay tribute to how awesome my T shirt is. It says, "Philly, No one likes us and we don't care." Truer words have never been spoken. Fly Eagles Fly. #Reppingphilly

I wish I could offer some moral of the story but it's a couple of hours later and my lips are still on fire, my lungs feel singed and I am still sporting a ponds cold cream hitler stash. All I can say is Sage Monkey may have finally out done her Aunt Luna...AKA Hell puppy with this one. Sage has earned herself back into the the crate 3 to 4 hours a day pending good behavior. Jen and I have another insane story to throw into our almost 27 year history together. Sage is okay which is all I really care about. And if there was ever any doubt in my mind......I don't ever want to be maced or run into a grizzly.

Follow our shenanigans on facebook at: Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer 

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Tale of Two Sage's and a Dog Named Sprig

Sunset Saturday Night

This past Saturday, Sage and I packed up my truck and headed out to Wisdom, MT to run her in her NAVHDA Natural Ability Test. The testing grounds in Wisdom are located about a three hour drive from where we live in Bozeman. It also happens to be located in a Bermuda Triangle type area as there is absolutely no cell service there for miles and miles and miles. Sage Monkey and I opted to embrace the off grid theme and slept in the bed of my truck for the night on the testing grounds. Life is an adventure after all.

We rolled in around 7pm cracked a bottle of wine and started to mingle and hang out with the other Sharptail Chapter testees. There was some incredibly cool cats there and they made us feel extremely welcomed. I ate the most amazing elk burger for dinner. The chef happened to be the owner of The Gourmet Cellar in Livingston, MT. Lets just say as the night progressed and the booze flowed she kept bringing out the most delicious tidbits of things to try. Consider this a public service announcement....If you go to Livingston and don't go here your just dumb. Seriously. Her stuff is AMAZING. And I wouldn't suggest it if I didn't feel that everyone needs to go there. So like go. Now. Your inner fat kid will thank you.

A members 66' Airstream. I had a legit RV crush on it.

So after I caught a snootful and Sage and I retired to bed two things happened. Number one.....I woke up in the middle of the night when it was about 42 degrees and realized I made legit poor choices not wearing socks to bed. And number two....around one AM a young lady named Lynsie from Idaho Falls pulled in and parked next to me and also camped out in her car for the remainder of the night. Upon waking and meeting Lynsie we quickly realized we owned Twinsies.

Sage number 1....owned by this gal.

Sage number 2....owned by that gal. 

What are the chances right? Anyway Lynsie (who also has a Y in her name...which clearly means she's rad) was a blast to hang with for the day. And her Sage Monkey was a real gem.

And then there was Sprig. Sprig is owned by an extremely nice woman who due to health issues is not optimally capable of running her own dog in the test. Her owner called me on Friday and asked me would I be wiling to run her dog in it's NA test on Sunday when Sage ran. I agreed to run her dog but explained that since I had no relationship with her dog, had never trained her dog that I could not guarantee that it would respond to me but that I would do my best to help her. And for the record it can be very stressful running one dog at a test let alone two. But I digress.

This is Sprig

12 month old Sprig is incredibly sweet and very loving. She almost melts into your touch when you get your hands on her. Her eyes are so sweet they almost talk to you. I felt after some quick leash work that we just might be OK together as a team. I ran her through her birdwork and although there was a learning curve dealing with a dog I didn't know Sprig and I managed to get through rather well. It was a good confidence booster. We just might pull this off me and Sprig!

A few hours later we had our opportunity to tackle the track. As Sprig and I tromped across the field together in unison I spoke excitedly to her and I felt incredibly hopeful. I didn't release her until I felt she was on track and off she went. After a couple of quick seconds Sprig left the scent trail and began hunting. I knew it wasn't good and the judges after giving her every opportunity to regain her position instructed me to collect my dog. As I walked toward Sprig she kept her distance perfectly. She stopped responding to me entirely and then began to range out drawing me into deeper waters. She was messing with me on an epic level and like a good baited fishy I was long for the ride.

I kept after her calling her, then hacking her in, then desperation set in. My sweet buddy Sprig decided to break-up with me, gave me the paw and before I knew it the entire test was brought to screeching halt as I couldn't get control of her. I ventured out into this extremely high grass that was littered with gigantic holes and every time my foot fell into one and I fell on my face I scrambled to get back up. Eventually Sprig was captured and the test resumed on schedule. I started to think sweet Sprig was possessed by the devil.

After the track we all headed over to the pond in which we would throw some bumpers for our pups. The pond was located about a mile from the parking lot. Yea...a mile. It was a like I rode through the desert on a horse with no name to get there. Sage was a raving mad woman trying to scoop up mouthfuls of fresh cow patties along the way. The entire walk out to the pond I worked in curse words like artists work in watercolor to deter her from the poop fest.

Long story short when I brought Sprig up to the water I got her very excited about the bumper, chucked it in and BOOM! Success.....she went right in after it. Awesome right? Yeah....for about 10 seconds. Then the judge told me to call her in. She came back towards shore and got about 2 feet from my reach. Then she looked right threw my eyes into my soul and then it was almost like her mouth actually moved and she said, "Go fuck yourself" and then she ran away. In what felt like about a thousand yards in a happy get fucked kind of gait. I turned and looked at the judges and they said, "Go collect your dog". I sincerely wish that I had a Polaroid of my face. You know like the awful pictures they take of you on a roller coaster ride and then try to peddle to you to buy it for outrageous amounts of cash. For the record I would have totally bought that photo. So incredibly funny. Anyway after what felt like an eternity to me two other ladies came out and helped me capture good ole Spriggy.

See that tree line behind the tent.....the parking lot was behind that. #mile #Horsewithnoname

So my Sage Monkey had interesting day. She didn't get that prize one we were gunning for but she did do a lot of really good things. She hunts for me, she is incredibly steady and she oozes cooperation. The plan is to retest her Labor Day weekend with the Big Sky Chapter then hunt her all season and get at UT work come spring. I wasn't upset she didn't get the prize one today....we'll get it and I'll learn and become a better more seasoned handler in the process. And considering the day we did just fine.

Follow our shenanigan as Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bozeman or Bust

Three and half weeks ago Sage and I set out on a life changing adventure moving across the country from Bucks County, Pennsylvania to Bozeman, Montana. If your wondering why we made the move please check out my last post Breaking up is hard to do. Thankfully Sage and I had some much appreciated company on the trip as we enlisted the help of my father.

We packed my GMC truck to the gils and set out pulling a 6' x 12' U-haul trailer. We drove a total of 2,338 miles and shared laughs and tears along the way. I got to hear about my dad's childhood, about my mom when she was young, how he got his start in business, the lessons he learned in life, I heard stories about my grandparents that I have never heard before. We took some side trips and cruised the Badlands, we visited Mount Rushmore and very excitedly explored Devil's Tower.

Chilling with George, Tommy, Teddy and Abe

Close Encounters of the Third Kind!!!!

We also took a day and explored some of Yellowstone National Park. We got within 20 feet of a black bear while driving, we saw a peregrine falcon feeding her young, we saw geysers, bison and elk. We cruised through Paradise Valley and saw the Roosevelt Arch. It went from sunny and 65 degrees to 36 and a hail storm as we drove through Dunraven's Pass. It was an awesome and memorable day.

My dad refused to let me pay for gas along the way, he moved me into my apartment, built my furniture, and explored my new town with me. We drank wine on my front balcony and watched the sun set on the Bridgers. I loved and cherished every single second I spent with my father on this trip. He made me feel so loved. I'm the luckiest damn kid to have gotten him as my dad. Taking him to the airport and saying goodbye was the hardest part of the entire trip but he has since learned how to text and we have been talking on a daily basis which I look forward to and love.

Bones for Sage for us!

Sunset from my balcony

Since my dad has returned to Pennsylvania, Sage and I have settled into our new town. We love it here. The constant breath taking scenery never gets old. Sage has gotten to explore all kinds of cover and water. She's been getting out on birds on a weekly basis and has even found some pheasants on our morning runs around town. Saying we are looking forward to hunting season is a complete understatement. She's getting acclimated to apartment living but hopefully soon I will be getting her back into a home with a yard. In the meantime she is loving having that lake across from our digs. She pretty much lives in hunting doggie heaven. Cleo and Luna would love it here.

Sunrise on our morning run

Shooting some birds over a very steady Sage

Sage and I are in a great place (both physical and mental). Every weekend we go exploring and find some other new natural treasure to enjoy. Now that we are getting settled I'll be posting more about our shenanigans.  I also want to thank all you readers for the amazing amount of support you have offered. I have gotten all your messages, kind words and notes of support. Every word was read and greatly appreciated.  I apologize if I didn't respond to them all as the last few months have been hectic to say the least. But were back and ready to return to what this blog is all about!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

This is a hard post to write and to be honest I'd rather not be writing it. But in reality you can't have a blog that follows your adventures for 4 years and not explain to your loyal followers why everything moving forward will be different. Jim and I after 7 plus years are breaking up.

We've had a tough last 8 weeks since we've officially decided to put an end to us. We are very aware and on the same page that dissolving our relationship has had to come from a place of kindness and not from a place of anger or venom. We also have a very high understanding that this decision affects not only us but our families, Jim's daughter, our close mutual friends and our fur kids. Heartbreakingly this means that we will be splitting up the pointer pack. (Insert sobbing while typing).

Cleo and Luna will remain with Jim. They have always been "our" babies but Jim has made the financial investment into their training. I have been and currently am struggling incredibly with this. They have been my babies their entire lives and it hurts my heart on an astronomical level that I won't be waking up to their kisses and hugs, there will be no more afternoon grappling matches and dog walks, no more hours of fetch off the deck or wrestling moles from Luna's mouth. It breaks my heart that at least for awhile I know they will wait for me to come home but I won't be there.

But Jim is a good dog dad and he loves them every single bit as much as I do. He will take great care of them. I'm sure for the next few months I will be sending him text messages to remind him to check Luna's left ear (she sometimes gets a yeast infection in that ear), or reminding him to check Cleo's belly after hunting (since having babies her belly gets a bit more scratched up). I'm sure I'll ask if he's had their nails trimmed lately and checked them for ticks. I'm going to worry and I'm going to cry myself asleep at night for a very long time. But eventually...I know I won't. And eventually we all will be OK because that's what happens. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Guinea Pig size Sage's first selfie! 

5 month old Sage and I with dear friend Raf and Phoenix

From the moment Sage was born she was mine or rather in reality I was hers. She stuck a claim to me early and will remain with me forever.

My best friend Jenny of 26 years who lives in Bozeman

In addition, my situation will be changing drastically as Sage and I will be moving out of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Next weekend we set out on a 2,200 mile journey across the United States to settle in Bozeman, Montana. I have always wanted to move out west and I will have a great support system in Bozeman. Sage will have access to amazing hunting opportunities and I will get to focus on some fly fishing. We have already joined the NAVHDA Sharptail chapter and Sage will test with them this August.

My heart hurts that Sage won't have her Momma Cleo and Aunt Luna. It hurts my heart that I will not either. Next year when Jimmy breeds Luna we have agreed that I will take a female pup so both Sage and I will still get to have a part of her beloved Auntie. And Jim has promised to send lots of texts and video so I can keep you guys up to date with the Pointer Sisters. I have a feeling I will wait with bated breath for those pics. (Insert sobbing while typing).

I know change can freak a lot of people out. Sometimes change comes out of the blue or it happens without notice. This is why they say to write your life plans in pencil.  I know how attached you've all grown to Cleo and Luna (imagine how I feel). But we will push on. This blog will still be about hunting and non-hunting adventures. It will still include witty and nonsensical posts. It will evolve and become something new. Kind of like me through this experience. I hope you stick around for the ride. I hope your still here laughing with me, drinking wine or bourbon slushies at inappropriate times and occasionally at times like this crying with me. There is a magical adventure afoot for Sage and I hope your here to experience it with us.

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