Hank Shelley

Hank Shelley

Column: An homage to our four-legged pals

By Hank Shelley, Observer columnist

The phone call was to be expected, in a way.

As the tears flowed, Kathy said that little Boo had passed.

At deer camp last week we could see she wasn’t as perky as usual. The small Australian Sheltie had been checked out by a vet a week earlier and things didn’t look good. She was always the camp dog, ever jumpin’ logs, truckin’ down the old Native Kluskus trail near Fishpot Lake when moose hunting. Quiet as a mouse while riding in the vehicle, expecting the unexpected grouse or deer.

At home, paws on the dash going through the drive through for a Timbit.

As lovers of animals, we must expect an end, but they know when you’re sad. They also know your very moods. And yes, they bring us joy. I’m referring to the dogs we own and have in our lives. All part of the family. A hunting-fishing friend lost Colby, his black Lab, last fall, just after our last grouse and deer hunt, as well. In the last issue of Outdoor Life Magazine, much was written about hunting dogs .

A photo showed the editor, packing his large female Labrador over a fence, placing her gently on the ground. The next photo showed the dog merrily trotting off to the chap shooting at a raising cock pheasant. Although arthritic she still loved to hunt – with a bit of help mind you!

I recall having to help my golden Lab, Goldie, into the truck in her last few months, as walking streams in the Fall had become too hard on her – plus all the cold water retrieves on geese and ducks she had made.

At the ranch, we hunt on over at Brisco (South of Golden). The crew rely on Border Collies for a good part of ranch work, and it’s not unusual to see two riding in hay in a pick-up, heading out to round up cattle.

Yes, there’s something about the dogs, and yes, cats too, in our lives that enrich who we are. They ask little of us, are always there time of need and bring pleasure to those who own them.

Hunting report: Few deer are being brought into the lockers locally. It is still early in the season for bucks. A few whitetail does have been harvested of late. Bears have been a problem in the Eagle Bay area, getting into garbage/freezers. Predators: Wolf scat can be seen along the 110-1-11 roads indicating there is a pack hunting in the area. There is also a pack of eight taking down game. With hunters reporting few moose or deer being seen. While dropping off a load of wood to a friend up Pierre’s Point road last week, he had two wolves chasing down a deer close to his backyard. Overall, hunters are going to work a bit harder to fill the freezer this hunting season, or go farther afield.

In any case, straight shootin’ and good luck to all sportsmen and ladies out there!