I always wanted to hunt my JRT (the reason I wanted them in
the first place) but had no idea were to start. So I met David
and Mitzi Day at a trial in November 2008 and they invited me to
hunt with them. So about six weeks ago they sent me an email to
set a time on January 3-4, 2009. I explained to them that this
would be my first time ever in the field so I wanted to go with
someone to show me the ropes and teach (most importantly) to do
it safely. I also explained that my terrier (Little Eden Katie)
was as much of a novice as me and they still welcomed us. So I
set about making plans and preparations. My Mother was to keep
the children because my husband Reese, also, wanted to go and
learn. So I went to my parent's ranch to drop off the children
and got to talking to my Mother about my fears. I was so
afraid, that with me and my terrier being green, that the Day's
would get frustrated with us in the field. She suggested that I
take Spade (Conquest Spade) along as a backup plan. So I put
her in the truck and off we went.
When we got to the Day's the next morning I explained that I
also had Spade along in case things didn't work out with Katie.
They told me to take them both out of the truck and let’s go
hunting!!! So off we went...
We hunted most of the morning the whole time the Day's teaching
Reese and I the finer arts of hunting...from using the box to
knowing when trouble was near. The two terriers were working
great…checking each and every hole they came to and returning
when called, to check the ones missed. By late morning we were
at our third spot with still no luck....then it happened…Spade
hit on a scent!!!
Mitzi and I came to a single hole sette where she was teaching
me the different signs to look for when a hole might be
occupied. I called Spade in to check this hole and she
immediately dove in came out and looked at me then went to
ground again and began working. David showed me how to locate
her and the beginnings on how to start a hole dig...she was
about 7 foot from the entrance and 2 1/2 ft down. I started to
dig under my teachers close supervision. About 45 min later we
got to the tunnel and could clearly hear Spade working under
us. David felt that the quarry Spade was working was most
likely armadillo, but we were soon to find out. We broke
through and found Spade working a small-medium size opossum.
David couldn’t believe it and told us that they have not
harvested opossum in the ground for over a year!!!!! My chest
puffed out and I couldn't stop smiling. Watching a terrier work
under ground is such an amazing sight…much more exciting than I
thought. We removed dog and quarry from the hole and after
checking the opossum placed it back in the ground. David then
showed us how to back fill the hole and informed me that Spade
just earned her NHC to Opossum…WHAT!!!! I couldn’t believe
it…first time out and not only did we find quarry we earned our
very first NHC…YEAH!!!! We all went to dinner that night to
The next day
(Sunday) we went out again in freezing weather…which we were
told is ideal because the quarry would be to ground. So bundled
we went out again. About two hours in, I came across a large
hole and called Spade over. She went in then came out…went back
in and stayed a little longer. At this time I bent down to
smell the hole (as we were taught) and got a faint skunk smell.
My heart went to my throat. Spade came out again looked at me
and I tried to catch her but she turned and flew back to ground
before I could stop her and immediately began working….I knew
she was not coming back out. I tore my pack off to find my box
and yelped for help!! David came first, smelled the hole, and
yelled for everyone “To get her out!” The Days and Reese
grabbed all the shovels so I was on my knees trying to dig to
her by hand and removing what dirt was created by the
shoveling. With tears in my eyes…I envisioned the worst…Spade
in the hole gasping for air…clinging to life. My mind was
racing trying to think if I packed everything needed for a
skunked dog in shock and thanking heaven that Reese came along
(he is a veterinarian). We got to her in about 10 min and heard
her still working….that didn’t make sense!!! The faint
skunk smell came out of the hole when we breached it and Spade
was working and sparring like the pro she is. I was closest to
her, so I grabbed her tail and began to pull with all my
might...couldn’t pull her out. David got down grabbed her waist
and pulled also….still she wouldn’t budge. Reese then jumped in
and helped pull and she came out with the largest opossum that I
have ever seen.
Now talk about the biggest mix of emotions ever…first I was
losing my dog…then she was fine…another NHC!! Upon inspection,
we noted that the skunk smell was coming from the opossum….it
was sporting a yellow chest from skunk spray.
After checking the opossum and being sure that no harm was
done, it was also placed back into the ground. Then we back
filled the earth and called it a day.
Now some may call this beginners luck but I would have to put
all the credit to what a wonderful littler terrier Spade is.
The Days commented that they have hunted with Conquest terriers
before but none like Spade!!!!
Thank you for letting Spade come to live in Texas, to teach me
how to hunt, and introducing me to a new passion/hobby. I just
had to share my first hunting experience which wouldn’t have
happen without a Conquest Terrier.
Kindly submitted by
Cristen, TX, USA - Jan. 2009