Anybody else sick of deer hunting? This year has been especially torturous to me due to terrible acorn crops in the woods and the fact that the 3 deer I passed up early and the one that I shot that dropped on the other side of the property line I hunt were the only deer I’ve had opportunities to put in the freezer. Normally, I would be long done by now, but alas…I feel the need to spend a couple more days and hopefully put one or two down. The end can’t come soon enough. Last Tuesday I did opt to take a quick bird hunt rather than sit in the woods with my muzzleloader…”For the dog”…you understand of course. It was a nice day, too nice to deer hunt anyway. We hit the woods only to find a truck parked in one of my favorite covers. 2 miles up the road I put the dog on the ground for the first time in well over a month. We did a little obedience testing on the way back to the brushy valley I wanted to hunt and it went well. It was the first hunt with the Sportdog 2525. A beep was all it took to ensure compliance when excitement got the better of my partner and it was shaping up to be a fine hunt. We made it about half way through the thick cover with no signs of life when Gus got a little too far ahead of me. I whistled to him to bring him back. I heard him turn and then run by me. As I called again it was apparent he was not able to get a fix on my position although he was looking for me. I shouted WHOA and beeped his collar. Then there was no sound at all. I tried again to get him to come…nothing. I circled back to his last known position and found nothing. This is not terribly unusual for Gus…once in a while he realizes I’m not in sight he keeps hunting while he’s trying to locate me…no sense in being inefficient he figures I suppose. It should be said that even 40 or 50 yards in this cover can keep even a white dog against teh brown background pretty well concealed. It’s THICK. More than once I’ve had trouble finding him after the bell went silent on a point. After 25 minutes I was getting a little nervous. I finished my cast and then walked the fire road back towards the truck calling all the while. As I got within sight of the truck I noticed a white ball curled up by the driver’s door (near where I had earlier relieved myself of the mug of coffee I drank on the way up incidentally) As he heard me, he rocketed to his feet and came to a perfect heel tail wagging furiously. The rest of the day he never got out of sight range of me. I think the garmin and maybe a remote activated locator moved up the “gear to get” list. We did finish the day with one good point on a bird that as near as I can figure was on the run ahead of us. I think he flushed wild but I can’t be certain. Hopefully the coming weeks will yield some better times in the field with birds cooperating, and better dog/handler work.