Outdoors Column: Dog Traders

The weather made it seem more like late summer than late fall as I headed out to make a couple of last-minute food plots. Though the leaves have changed colors, and many have fallen, the temperature was near eighty degrees. My first destination was the far southwest corner of the farm.

 

Jag, the terrier, always game for an adventure, ran ahead of the tractor. As we neared the top gate, he suddenly took off in hot pursuit of a deer. When he is resting on the porch at home, it is too much bother to chase the deer off the lawn, but in the woods, where they are supposed to be, he will chase them until they are out of sight. When your legs are only six inches long, that chase does not take long. On the way, he got sidetracked by a rabbit or squirrel. I could hear his high-pitched bark over the sound of the tractor. I did not see him until I got to the food plot. I could tell he had taken a side trip to the lake to get a drink and cool off with a quick swim.

 

He busied himself with hunting in the area where I was working. I knew where he was hunting when a turkey flew over from a nearby hillside. Jag heard the tractor when I left to go to the next work area. He caught up with me in the long hayfield and ran ahead to protect me from all the wild critters that might attack. It is close to ¾ of a mile to the food plot north of Damon’s house, at the edge of the South pasture. Jag trotted and jogged the whole way to keep ahead. When we got to where I started working, he again disappeared into the woods.

 

When I finished, I started home, expecting Jag to catch up with me somewhere in the first pasture. When I got to the top gate above the lake, the deer Jag chased a couple of hours before was back at her spot. I looked around, but Jag was nowhere to be seen. In his place was Toes, Damon’s coyote hound. Somewhere along the line, I switched out dogs.

 

As I broke out of the timber, something large and white caught my eye, coming in over the dam. Two trumpeter swans were on their final approach for a landing on the lake. That is definitely a sign of the season. The migrating teal have come and gone. Other ducks and songbirds are moving through. When the trumpeters show up, a person knows, it is colder up north and going to get colder here. More swans will show up and many will hang around until the lake freezes over. Hopefully, that will not be soon.

 

Back at the house, Toes got a drink and made himself comfortable. When Jag had not shown up after an hour or so, I called Damon to see if he had stopped at his house. He was just ready to give the tired little dog a ride home. “Good deal,” I said. “I will trade you dogs.” When Damon arrived, a Jag dog was happy to be home, and glad he did not have to run all the way back.