Horarata competition

Heath Smith's once in a life time boar tusks measured 24 5/8

Heath Smith’s once in a life time boar tusks measured 24 5/8

This was to be the second year that Horarata have run this competition as a fund raiser for their local school. When my son Bryce, Matt Simmons and I arrived to help out there was a good amount of rain falling down. We where quick to set up our Ridgeline gazebo to give us some shelter. By the time 12 noon came around at the start of the weigh in the rain had eased and the animals started rolling in.

A good line up of animals

A good line up of animals

One of the organises Heath Smith had caught a once in a life time boar which was to be the only boar at this comp that we did not cut the throat out of as he was going to get the head mounted. I was looking forward to measuring this jaw but first had to get the rest of the weigh in completed. The winning boar was caught by a young woman Hannah Forbes that weighed 194 pounds. Her father Neil is a regular at a few comps and catches a lot of good pigs, he drove a couple of hours down to the comp when Hannah had told him what she had caught just to be there at prize giving as Hannah was over the moon with her catch.

Heath's boar on the left and Hannah's boar on the right

Heath’s boar on the left and Hannah’s boar on the right

There were nine red deer and one fellow weighed in. One of the reds was shot that morning and they were in such a hurry to get it to the weigh in that it still had heart and lungs in it. We had a small digger at this comp which made lifting the animals such an easy task.

One of the many kids in the carrying comp, this time with a hare

One of the many kids in the carrying comp, this time with a hare

As the kids got bigger the animals got bigger, this time with a pig

As the kids got bigger the animals got bigger, this time with a pig

There was the usual pig carrying competition, for the younger ones they carried a hare around the course. There was also the possum throwing competition and a turkey shot where people got to shot a chosen few with a paint ball gun. All good things to get some audience participation.

The possum throwing comp

The possum throwing comp

At the end of the weigh in the skies opened up as the rain came down. We were lucky enough to have a big shed that everyone could fit into for the prize giving. This comp had so many prizes that there would not have been many people that would have missed out on a prize. One hunter that had a mixed day was Tairi Mullen, he had caught a 155 pound boar that his mate had cut the nuts out of so he knew that it would not be eligible so did not bring it.

another shot of Heath's top boar

another shot of Heath’s top boar

However on the spot prizes he seemed to have his name come out a few times and to top this off one of the main prizes sponsored by gun city was a brand new 270 rifle which Tairi won. I was later told that last year Tairi won a twenty two rifle, he will be going for a hat trick next year.
While the prize giving was going on we could hear the ran pouring down outside and when we walked back out there were puddles every where.

inside the shed at prize giving

inside the shed at prize giving

I have not seen the animals taken away form the racks so quick as you could not help but get drenched through.
Results
Heaviest boar open
1st Hannah Forbes 194 pounds
2nd Jeremy clayton 158 pounds
3rd Heath Smith 158 pounds
4th Jenny McMurdo 154 pounds
5th Ben Fitzgibbon 140 pounds
Heaviest stag open
1st Gavin Affleck 236 pounds
2nd Mckenzie Tapp 193 pounds
3rd Jenny McMurdo 190 pounds
Heaviest boar Junior
1st Kyle Horn 144 pounds
2nd Johny Miller 119 pounds
3rd Jake Cleland 80 pounds
Heaviest stag junior
1st Simon Penny 264 pounds
2nd Harry Smith 200 pounds
3rd Ryan Thomas 167 pounds
Average weight
Brad Watson 132 pounds
one either side
above Ben Miller 138 pounds
below Morgan Hesslewood 128 pounds
Best tusks
Heath Smith 24 5/8
Best antlers
Mckenzie Tapp

Evan Best with Blue

 

Blue and Fog on Mr Pig

Blue and Fog on Mr Pig

Evan came to see me with a young blue heeler bitch named Blue. While talking to Evan he mentioned an article that I had written where I had mentioned how many mistakes I had made in the past while learning about pig hunting. This got Evan thinking that he had also made a few mistakes in the past and thought that he would come and see me to see weather he could learn anything from me. We first went to the top of the hill to see how Blue was around the sheep. At first she was a bit shy of them but when I put Jeff around them Blue was keen to join in. Evan was about to panic until I touched the button on the electric collar and Blue jumped into the air and quickly returned to Evan. Evan had not seen an eletric dog collar working before and was very impressed with how well they work. This was to be the only shock that I gave Blue as her temperament was that of a timid dog. With a timid dog you can only encourage them forward not like a full on dog where you have to hold them back.

Blue running past Mr Pig

Blue running past Mr Pig

With our first run on Mr Pig Blue was very stand offish so I thought to encourage her to join in I would be better off with an extra dog and also a boar that just wanted to run. So with Fog Thunder and Blue we went looking for Boris as he loves to run which is good to get most dogs keen. Boris took us right around the block but the best we could get from Blue was the odd bark and she was keen to run into the pig then run back off. It was a wee bit annoying for me to not get her to really light up on the boars but maybe she is just not ready yet. A couple of comments that Evan said to me was that he did not think that a dog could stand back from a pig with out wanting to go straight in to attack. Also the way that he had looked at his hunting up until now was that a dog could only stop a pig by grabbing it. Before Evan left he said that he should have brought a pen and paper as his head was full of so many new ideas.

update on Snow

Snow is not keen on this piece of rope tied to him for the first time

Snow is not keen on this piece of rope tied to him for the first time

Snow has been growing fast and is a quick learner but just recently he tried to hide under his kennel when I went to put him away. This is where a lot of dog owners can go wrong with there training. If I was to chase him to try and catch him I would just end up playing the game of the big slow man chasing the fast little dog.

Snow getting used to the pigs at feeding time

Snow getting used to the pigs at feeding time

What can happen in extreme cases of this game is the big slow man can become very angry at the fast little dog so that the dog stops playing the game out of fear and ends up getting a beating from the big slow man. If you are one of those people that have played this game with your young dog then you will know that the dog will be different towards you the next time you go to put the dog into the kennel. you have just allowed your dog to lose trust in you. The best way to train any dog is first to gain that thrust from your dog and don’t go and loss it simply because you can not think past the first step. Here is what you could do instead of playing the game of the slow big man casing the fast little dog.

Snow taking a break

Snow taking a break

When you go to let your young dog out of its kennel put a collar and length of rope on the dog. This way when you want that dog to come up to you it will have no other options. At this stage with Snow I am not trying to make him sit and stay or any thing else as I do not want to tell him to many things at the same time as that may just confuse him.  Before I call him to me I stand on the end of his rope then when I call him if he does not come to me by the second time that I call I pull the rope towards myself so that he has to come straight to me. I always use a nice happy tone of voice as a dog is very quick to pick up on your moods through your voice tone. When he is at my side I give him a pat and tell him how good he is. I will need to repeat this training a couple of times until I know that he will come to me every time with out fail.

109 pound boar

Lightning air scenting off the side of the track

Lightning air scenting off the side of the track

First day off work and no client in today was a good enough reason to get the dogs out for a quick hunt. Fog done his usual job of tracking away for a look around in the gully that I wanted him to hunt. He spent a good twenty minutes looking around this gully before tracking around into the next gully. It was here that he put up a nice bail.

Both Lightning and Fog running along the track in front of me looking for pig sign

Both Lightning and Fog running along the track in front of me looking for pig sign

I had left Thunder behind for this hunt because he had broken I mob of pigs twice on me a few day earlier so today I had just Fog and Lighting. I watched the GPS as Lighting approached the bail and took it very slowly as to not break the boar. When I approached the bail I had the camera going and was thinking about shooting him when he broke.

This boar was shot in the creek just behind the motor bike

This boar was shot in the creek just behind the motor bike

This was good news to me as I knew that there was a four wheel drive track in the bottom of the gully. Both dogs bailed the boar in the creek right beside the track where I shot him. I only need to drag this 109 pound boar about five meters to the motor bike.

Harrison Pen and Hayden Manson with Rox, sam, Ruby and King

Corey, Bryce Ram and Sloan with a 192 pound boar

Corey, Bryce Ram and Sloan with a 192 pound boar

Both Harrison and Hayden have been in before so knew what to expect. They also had a pup each out of the same litter as my pup Snow, Harrison’s a bitch Sam and Hayden’s a dog King. Before we got started with any training both of my son’s Sloan and Bryce turned up with their mates Corey and Ram and a bloody good boar. It weighed up at 192 pounds, they had done well and were enjoying a well earned beer. It was great to see their enthusiasm and the fact that they had all been involved in a memorable experience that they will remember for a very long time Congratulations boys you deserve it.

The three litter mates down with Mr Pig

The three litter mates down with Mr Pig

Once they left Hayden, Harrison and myself took our three pups down to the pigs while I gave the pigs a feed. One thing that stood out straight away was the size of Snow compared to the others. He looked like a huge dog compared to his siblings. When we took them into the pig block we did not have any other dogs with us as I wanted these pups to get used to the pigs and not try to attack them so we were not going to try and get them worked up. They are only about twelve weeks old at this point. It was good to watch them playing and enjoying themselves. They had the odd sniff at the pigs but did not show to much interest in them but they did try and find an old bone to play with.
Once we put the pups away we came back down with Ruby and Rox, it was clear to see that these two bitches together were a bit to hard on these pigs as they wanted to get right into there faces. If it was not for the muzzles I would have had pigs breaking out and all sorts of mayhem.

Lightning and Rox with the white boar

Lightning and Rox with the white boar

We went and put Ruby away and let out Fog, instantly we could see a different scenario playing out as Rox was standing back a bit more. For some reason Fog just did not want to work the pig with Rox and was just standing back so I put him back into his kennel and swapped him for Lightning. For this run I wanted to get the white boar to get Rox to show a bit more respect to the pig. We had an excellent bail going for ages as the two dogs bailed down in the creek. Beside this bail was Digger eating a dead cow and not even worried about the dogs and beside us was the sow and young pigs having a rest. This was a great situation to be in at peace with the animals and yet having a good boar bailed right beside you. To create a situation like this is not that easy because if it was then everyone would be doing it. I have had to work a long time with these pigs for them to understand that I am not a threat to them and all I ask for in return is that they help me to play the game of let the dog bark at me. The sow and younger pigs do not need to worry about the dogs as I stop any dog very fast that thinks it is going to rip into a small pig or the sow. All of my dogs know the rules of the game. The number one rule that we try to work by is that no one gets hurt. By the end of this workout Rox was ready to have a rest in the dog box.
Our next run was to take Ruby back in with the black and white boar. Even though Lightning had been working on the white boar for the past two hours he was still looking rather fresh so I just used him again, also I thought this will make Fog think about being slack on his job earlier on. The dogs only chased the boar for a short time before he managed to push past my and force his way back into his sleeping shelter. Ruby was working better than she had earlier which was a direct result of running her with a different dog. At one stage young Snow came walking down to the action to see what was going on. I did not want to encourage him as he is still far to young and does not yet understand the magnitude of the situation that he is in. It was almost dark when we stopped training, bugger these shorter days.

 

A quick hunt

I had good intentions of getting out for a quick hunt with the dogs after work. I had just finished a ten hour night shift driving a milk tanker around the central South Island. I had worn shorts to work hoping that it would not get to cold at one point of the night it got down to minus 1 which was just cool enough when you had to get out of the truck. When I arrived home at 4.45am and got out of my ute to open the front gate it must have been minus 10 as it was bloody cold. So rather than go for a hunt I went straight to bed. Luckily I woke at 8.45pm, this would give me about two hours spare before my first client turned up for some dog training. I only had three days off from the milk tankers and every one was booked out.

Fog and Lightning bailing the white sow

Fog and Lightning bailing the white sow

So for my quick hunt I took all three of my dogs but I had both Lightning and Thunder wearing a muzzle each. Fog would be the only dog with out a muzzle. I had spied a bit of pig rooting a couple of days earlier so had a fare idea of where they would be living. As I approached the place that I expected the pigs to be Fog was over the top of the hill working the next gully. So I watched on the GPS as Lightning worked his way through the bracken only to have him return. Once Fog tracked back over to me he went down into the bracken that Lightning had not long came out of and he started bailing a mob that was in there. When Lightning and Thunder arrived they only bailed for a short time before a pig broke out. At this point I knew exactly what would have happened is that I would have had to much dog pressure. If I had only Lightning and Fog I may have been able to keep them contained for me to close in and take a pig if I wanted to. So Thunder would have got to close and forced a pig to charge, as soon as that pig is isolated and with the dogs putting a bit of pressure on them they will run as fast and hard as they can. This pig only made seventy meters before the dogs pulled her up as she turned out to be a good sized sow. As I was making my way to the dogs I could hear the other pigs making there way out of the bracken. The dogs were putting far to much pressure on her and I was just about to get my hand piece out and give the dogs a sound on the collar to take the pressure off the pig when she broke down into some ferns. I got some footage on my camera of this bail and you can see just how relaxed she is when there is only one dog on her and you can also see how her body language changes as more dogs join in. It is Thunder who goes in and stirs her up by putting a physical challenge right to her face so she reacts by fronting up to him as she thinks this is her only option even though she would be scared for herself as very few pigs her size come out of an encounter like this with their lives.

I think I must be getting soft in my older age as years ago I would have taken a pig like this and been happy but now I was more than happy to call the dogs off and walk them back to where the other pigs were to see if they could catch something bigger and of the opposite sex. I watched as the dogs got onto some small pigs and as soon as Fog and Lightning saw them beside them they just lost interest in them and came off. Thunder on the other hand tried to grab one and I was ready so I gaze him a sound on the collar and he came straight off. Fog carried on tracking around into the next gully and bailed up the mob again. There was one big problem with this bail and that was a nice black boar breaking out just across from me with Lightning and Thunder right behind it until they heard Fog and came off there boar to help Fog.
!!BUGGER!!
The dogs once again broke this mob and ended up in the creek 600 meters away with a pig of about the 110 mark. I watched four other pigs walking out form the previous bail. I did not had down into the gully to get the pig that the dogs had as I had to be home in half an hour so I called the dogs off and made it home in time for the next session of training.