Took Gavia out with her daughter Fitz today. Gavia is a month away from 15 years old and Fitz is almost 7. When I got to the farm and let them out they found a groundhog under some stainless steel tanks and ran it into a den. I put Gavia away and Fitz got into the den before I could get her transmitter collar on, not a good situation since she is small and can go pretty far into any den. I lost track of her when I dug a hole ahead of her, in the wrong direction as it turned out. I could hear her bark a few times and I could hear digging but I had no idea where she was. The ground was very muddy with roots and loose rock in it. Not good.
I got old Gavia out of the car and asked her opinion. She's hunted for me for her whole life and knows more than I ever will about locating game. She went to the original hole, sniffed a bit, then went to the deeper hole I'd dug. She listened but she's mostly deaf so she stuck her nose into the soil and sniffed a few times. Then she began to dig at the wall of the hole, but up higher than I thought the den would be. I went to the original hole and opened back to the blockage. I poked my trowel in and there was Fitz's nose. She had turned around and was trying to dig her way out. I put her transmitter collar on her and let her go back in. She began digging again and it turned out the groundhog had tunneled up, not down and was in a side room, just beyond the wall where Gavia was digging. I opened the hole and shot the varmint. Good dog work and a happy farmer.
Gavia and Fitz