Sew What?


We saw lots of birds last Friday, but they were really jumpy, and – whatever the reason – the dogs couldn’t or didn’t hold them. I sprayed plenty of lead over the landscape (something I pretend doesn’t bother me, but it does, although obviously not enough to cause me to do anything about it, yet). But nothing fell except the shells. A change from the previous several outings. No worries, though. I really don’t mind getting skunked, aside from letting down the dogs.

Peat’s hole

I do mind, though, getting back to the truck and seeing my dogs with gaping wounds on their bodies. Actually, I only noticed Angus’s “hole” in his side (we found Peat’s hole later that night). I’m not sure what caused these wounds, but it’s Angus’s second 20+ stitch job in the last month. The first was stray barbed wire laying on the ground along fencing, which is more common than I’d expect. The second, last week, was either barbed wire again or some pretty stout bitterbrush branches that had been broken and turned into spears, probably by cattle. I’ve run into skewers on bitterbrush plants, and have a scar on my thigh from it puncturing my Cordura nylon upland pants.

Nightshirts to keep mutts from licking wounds until we can get them to the vet

Almost all the terrain we hunt is “multi-use” public land, which means we share it with cattle grazing operations. Except for a few remote areas in Hells Canyon, cows have trod most of the chukar terrain I’ve hunted anywhere. Rarely have I simultaneously shared bird habitat with cows, which might just be coincidental but it’s just worked out that way. I keep the dogs away from them, and don’t shoot too near them. And I’m not blaming cows or grazing for my dogs’ injuries; I understand the dynamic here. And I’ve never worked fence so I’m not faulting anyone for leaving barbed wire on the ground (although I have a friend who has lots of unkind words about this, since his dog has been to the vet many times from lacerations caused by stray wire). Anyway, we’re out of the chukar game for a couple weeks until the dogs heal and Angus gets his stitches out.

Brittany and Hungarian partridges
Angus doesn’t love the vest. Tough.
Reflective chest protector on Brittany
Angus reflecting…

I’m sure others have experienced run-ins with wire and brush injuries, so I’m curious to hear if any readers have special monitoring strategies to keep their dogs out of harm’s way. For me, at this point in the season (now that it’s colder), both dogs will be wearing nylon vests protecting their chests and flanks. I just got Peat his own; a $40 vest is a lot cheaper than 20 stitches (we’re up to almost $500 this season on stitches for Angus). Hopefully the vests will prevent another incident this season. But when it’s hot, in the early season, vests aren’t an option, so I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on “protection” during the early part of the season.

I guess I should feel lucky I don’t use dogs to hunt bears or mountain lions: while the vet was working on Angus he told us about some of the hounds he sees that have tangled with bears. One dog has a couple steel plates in its arm from a bear biting clean through it. My only worry about that level of injury is with some of the bigger traps out there (which we’ve been seeing more of in Hells Canyon the last couple of years).

15 Replies to “Sew What?”

  1. My britt had 1 small injury from barbed wire at 1 yr old. I caution her every time she approaches it. At 3 + she now almost stops as she approaches wire fences and looks for the proper way through it. Last winter she was charging after a dropped bird. It fell inside a farmers equipment yard with good barb wire around it. She stopped , looked around and went half way around the yard to a gate to get into the bird.

  2. That wound on Angus is interesting as I really have never seen one in that area. Do you carry a stapler in your first aid kit? I have found them to be helpful and a $$ saver (gets you back to the truck without a open wound). I just try to keep the bad cuts clean so the vet doesn’t have to cut meat which is spendy. Hope the hounds heal quick so all of you can get back at it.

    1. I thought the location of Angus’s wound was weird, too, which makes me think it wasn’t barbed wire, but who knows. I didn’t see it. I don’t have a stapler, but will look into that. Thanks.

  3. Ouch! Been there, done that type of a scenario. I even got a good gouge in my arm from getting my boot laces tangled in wire hidden by snow which helped me to the ground and find a sharp rock to stop my fall. The wire was in the middle of nowhere. The hardest part for me was keeping dog’s quiet during the healing time. They think when you are with them it’s supposed to be active time. Sorry about your down time but if it will help you can send me coordinates and I’ll be glad to help keep those bird numbers in check for you.

  4. Ha ha, Larry! I don’t think you need any help finding birds! As my students reply when I ask them where they shot their big buck: “It was about halfway up No-Tellum Ridge.” 🙂

  5. we use the Sylmar vests for our Brittanys. When they come back and the vest is shredded, you have to wonder what the dog would have looked like without them.

  6. Ouch. Barbed-wire cuts are routine, but that one on Angus is a monster.

    Speaking of fences, I am pretty anal about keeping my dogs away from them as much as possible this time of year. I never let them run parallel to them, as that is a common snare-trapline placement. Our worst fear.

  7. To all interested:

    Though I have not hunted in Idado for Chuckar I hunt pheasants and quail in ND, SD, NE and KS.

    I always carry in my Centerfire Vest (GREAT VEST) Cable Cutters for snares (hope I never need to use). A narrow leash to use in the event of a Conibear Trap( I never want to have to use) On the stitches, I carry a ROYAL Auto-Suture Disposable Skin Stapler which I get from my Physician Son as well as a OBGYN friend I hunt with. Have used it a couple times and works great and has enabled me to continue to hunt until I am able to get to a Vet and have things checked over..I use Chlora Prep Triple Swabstick(s) to clean cuts prior to using the stapler.

    Another thing I carry (hopefully to never have to use) is a product called QuickClot advanced Clotting Sponge to stop bleeding fast. Comes in a sterile sealed pouch. I get mine on Amazon.

    I enjoy your Experiences, Bob.

    Marry Christmas


    1. Thanks for the great information, Kent. I just ordered the QuickClot. Will have to check with my wife to see if she can get a stapler from the hospital. Angus is aching to have his stitches out and get back out there!

      1. Lots of times unused staplers and package stitch scissor remover are discarded by the hospitals.

        My wife, a 44 year nuse has taken the out several times, even retired you don’t forget how


  8. Wow! I feel traumatized like the kids in the Santa Clause movie after the EMT dad gave a lecture to their class. But I have sewn up a nasty laceration on the tailgate and removed a trap from one dog as the other two dogs were attacking him (his kennel mates: I hope to get better treatment from my hunting partners if I need help), so point noted and well taken. Be prepared

Chirp away

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