Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hunting Season 2013: Day 1

The long awaited day arrived on November 15th (as it does every year here in Chiba prefecture). Now begins 3 months of very little 'work' and lots of walking, running, climbing, and waiting, in the mountains.

I was only able to go out for a few hours on the morning of the 15th since I had to drive 600km to Osaka in the evening. The weather was pleasant, a slight breeze, not too cold, overcast. We headed into the same area where we had found so many boar a week before. With me were Baron (Kishu Ken), and Hime (Shikoku Ken), plus my good friend Mark. Hime has only been out in the mountains a handful of times, and I've found she generally just sticks within a few meters of me even when off leash. Last time I took her out with Baron before he season started, she saw and bayed her first boar.

About 30 minutes in, Baron was on his first boar. He had swung down and around to the tip of the ridge we were walking, and was around 100 meters out. We rushed to close distance, and then did our best to creep closer. Baron was on a solid bay, a 40-50kg class boar had taken refuge in some waist high ferns on a slope. Baron was in front and downhill, the boar's back defended by the slope. The boar moved forward every now and again, but would just not come out for a shot. Due to the steep rock cliffs all around, the only direction I could approach from was directly above. The pressure on the boar was too much, and it bolted downhill before I could get an angle. Baron gave chase, and stopped the boar at the bottom of the gully, where he was given a solid charge and chase from the boar. Too many trees. The boar stuck around for a little while, but while I tried to line up a shot, Mark came up from behind and the noise startled the boar into full flight mode. Hime did nothing this whole time, as she was trotting up with Mark.

Our next opportunity was 30 minutes later. Hime and Baron simultaneously looked up to the slope on our left, and darted in from different angles. A wild rabbit came bounding down in front of me with the dogs hot on its tail. Hime gave up within seconds, but Baron went hard after it, all he way into the next ridge I was planning to hunt. We moved forward on Baron's trail to meet him after he gave up chase, and that was what happened. However, around 100 meters ahead, all hell broke loose when we ran into a herd of boar in an open area. It seems Baron running after the rabbit nearby had gotten them on the move, and we ran into each other. Little boar were running in all directions, into underbrush that made it impossible to take any shots. Baron and Hime were off together, running downhill and north after a large boar. They came back after a bit, and while we ran into a few of the stragglers from the herd over the next 15 minutes, they were all about flight.

As we finished hunting the ridge and headed back to the main trail, Baron and Hime again starting air scenting, and looking up at the slope to our right. After a few seconds of trepidation, Baron moved uphill, and I followed. Baron was being very cautious and quiet, the way he does when there's danger nearby. Halfway up he let out a quiet half bark, and then came back down to get me, I could hear the boar moving up and away slowly, taking its sweet time, but Baron was too tired and not motivated enough to risk going hard on this boar. We tracked it for a while, and got close, but it stayed a few steps ahead of us.

We ran out of time, and had to scurry out of the mountain. The dogs got some exercise, Hime got some more positive experience in the mountains, and we had a nice morning out in some beautiful country. I again failed at capturing anything other than the most boring parts of the day on my GoPro.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good time well no boar, but like you said good experience for Hime. :)