Trying to figure out which way
A deep dig, from which the wild cat bolted unharmed
As I sit down to write this article, I reflect that it
has been too many years - 6 years in fact - since this
overseas trip took place. Trying to recall all of the details
are impossible but following you will read about are some of the
highlights of this wonderful tour.
A huntsman from England was judging a terrier trial in
Germany. As an attending Canadian, I was invited to come along
on their planned hunting trips. Since this was to be an epic
hunt, at least for me, I brought my camera to take pictures if
and when time allowed. We went out on two different occasions
and had quite a bit of fun hiking along with the terriers
looking for signs of an active sette.
German's countryside is breathtaking and the part we
were in - the large forests reminded me of home, thickly
forested with rolling land. Sadly, I have only very few pictures
of this area to share.
FIRST HUNT - Walking through the forest at last we came to an
interesting area filled with smells and one terrier entered. We
staked out the others to keep them out of the way. The quarry
kept just out of reach of the terrier - enough that the terrier
could see it and was baying, but always just around another
corner that the terrier could not negotiate. Finally after quite
a bit of digging the quarry bolted. To our amazement it was a
"wild cat". Not a feral cat but some type of species
slightly larger than a domestic house cat. It had twists of hair
coming off the tip of it's ears like a bobcat. It was very a
interesting critter but left too fast for a picture. Obviously
we and the terrier had been outsmarted:)
SECOND HUNT - The next day we traveled to a farmer's
field. Our host had been told that there was a badger den
established in one of the farmer's fields and the farmer wanted
the animal removed.
We found an opening along the edge of the field and it looked
like an active den. A terrier was dropped to the ground and he
eagerly entered. It didn't take long for him to "tell" us that
something was occupying the den. Using a locator box we found
that they were moving around a bit so we waited until they
settled in one spot. It didn't appear to be a deep earth so my
initial thought was that this would be an quick, easy dig.
How wrong I was!
As the dig was started we found the ground to be brutally hard.
Luckily there was lots of back-up muscle and they all took turns
chipping away at the hard packed soil. Progress was made slowly
and as they finally broke through into the tunnel but the quarry
moved away another 6 to 8 feet down the tube, with the dog
following. This was not a pretty sight.......there was more
digging ahead of us and blisters were already forming on the
hands of some of the men. Our host went back to talk to the
farmer to see if he had an iron bar which could be useful in the
chipping process. The rest of the men started a new hole. It is
hard to believe but digging this one was like concrete and only
small chips of dirt would fly off, like digging through frozen
Once our host returned he brought back a big, heavy iron bar
which would be very useful for breaking this impossible ground.
He also told us why the ground in the middle of a field was so
hard. The farmer has shared with him that during the war, that
field was part of a main roadway that supported troop movement,
along with tanks and other assorted heavy military equipment.
Hmmmmm, now it all made sense, why it was so hard packed
along with gravel. It took quite a bit of sweat and blood (from
the blisters) before the dog and quarry were reached, but
finally I had a chance to see my first badger in real life.
The dog was removed and the badger was relocated.