Hunting with Karen

I had a few hours this afternoon, so geared up and loaded up Baron and Karen. Karen's an 8 month old Baron x Tenko pup that's still here with me. She had some digestive issues (never did figure out what was going on), and she was the smallest pup in the litter, so I kept her to make sure she was going to be okay. Luckily the only side affect of her early issues is that she's a tiny Kishu female, but I really like her temperament. She's pretty bulletproof with people and other dogs, and is very adventurous.

I'm not quite sure what all I did right, but taking her out into the mountains today for the first time was a breeze. She kept up with Baron, visibly tracking scents, and checking in with me frequently. I had her off leash for the first 4 or 5 months of her life, walking around the neighborhood etc, and she's seen a few dead boar that I've brought back. I guess all the daily communication and recall work paid off, cause she worked the mountains really smoothly.

About 5 minutes in they took off after something small. It went to ground around 400 meters away, and I got there and called them off. This took us in the opposite direction from where I wanted to hunt, but that's how these things go. I tried to avoid a known badger den, but off they went. Baron took a facial for his trouble, and the only good news there was that Karen was right in there with him, growling/barking. I dragged them away from there, and a bit later they took off to the left toward a known boar nest.

About 1 minute later I heard Baron start baying down in the ravine to the right, and then heard Karen moving after a boar in the opposite direction to my left. Couldn't get to Baron fast enough as it was extremely steep and overgrown. The boar and Baron took off, with Baron following for around 400 meters. I caught up with Karen, but her boar was gone too, and we just waited for about 5 minutes while Baron came back. At this point I was just happy that she'd experienced the dangers of badgers, and gotten onto boar in the mountains on her first day. Figured it was time to start heading back toward the truck.

Of course around 300 meters to the truck Baron perks up and slips downhill toward my right. He got to the bottom and looked up at me, so I started moving down toward him. He just needs to make sure I'm coming, which tells me it's either a big one, or there's more than one. Karen is with me, but halfway down she picks up the scent and is off with Baron. They're around 60 meters ahead when I hear the dogs growling, boar growling and huffing, and some intermittent barks. I move in, and there are boar right in front and to my left, but I can't see them due to the underbrush and bamboo. Karen is actually ahead of Baron, and I can hear an unhappy boar in front of her. Baron's being more careful and moving around from left to right.

After that it's all pretty fast. The sow is breaking bamboo, and I'm trying to sneak in for a shot, Baron and Tenko are in there with her, but at the last moment a little piglet dashes toward us. Wrong direction buddy. There's a mad merry go round race in the bamboo for around 30 seconds as the little striped dude is flying around in circles with Baron and Karen in tow. Then he's caught and squealing. I ran in and picked him up, really cute little guy, and he calmed down as soon he was held. I probably would have taken him home, but checking him out, he had a bite all the way into his chest cavity and was bleeding quite a bit. I sat down for a bit, put him on the ground, and he just sat there for a minute practically in my lap. Baron and Karen listened to me as I told them to wait, though their eyes were like lasers on the little boar. I apologized to the little guy and slit his throat and artery. He was gone in a few seconds.

No matter how many times I do it, taking life never feels good, and I never stop feeling inner conflict when it comes time to do it. I think that's the way it should be. I don't ever want to become numb to the fact that I'm taking a life.