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I put out a little gray fox urine over the buck musk, and a fox came and made a visit. Judging from the squat, this one is a vixen.

I put out the Moultrie 1100i, which gets better footage than the little Primos Workhorse:

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Facebook deactivation

I’ve deactivated my Facebook account.

I may be back. The blog  group is still around.

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Into the wilderness

When I started down this venture in 2008, there was an active blogging community that covered dogs. I was an idiot in those days and a far worse writer.

You got hits by being a pugilist. I punched. I got punched in return.

And it was okay.

But then the major blogging networks that held this fractious community together “went corporate, and all the organic aspects of this community died.

What we were left with just competition and vitriolic bellicosity.

I kept this up for as long as I could, but then I either grew up or just got tired of all the bullshit. It’s probably the latter.

I have yet to find a community in the real dog world that isn’t petty and dogmatic. Probably the only exception to this is my own Facebook group that is associated with this blog, but that is like the Island of Misfit Toys, where they are led by the ultimate broken jack-in-the-box (me).

I am never, ever going to be a super dog trainer. I don’t have the skills, and I’m not going to pretend that I have those skills anymore. I’ve tried to learn them. I just don’t have it.

It’s the toughest thing in the world for me to admit that I cannot do something.

Not everyone can read historical documents or peer-reviewed articles either.

That’s what I tell myself.

You may have noticed that the scope of this blog has changed a lot in the past few months. I am trying to find my voice again, and I think I do better as a story teller than what my grandpa called a cross between a prostitute and an encyclopedia: “a fucking know-it-all.”

I may lose readers if they don’t see the latest story about a dog bite or something stupid that a TV dog trainer did.

That’s okay.

There still are places where you can read that stuff.

It’s just not me.

I’ve lost a lot of friends over the years. I don’t think anyone from that community still talks to me or links to me from the early days.

I have a few readers who have stayed with me for the long haul. They’ve seen my various evolutionary epochs.

And I now am the point where it I don’t think I will ever go back.

The conflict that exist because of the problems of the modern dog fancy have been solved in the grand scheme of things. In North America, the main multi-breed registries are essentially ignored. In Europe, there is just so much public pressure for reform that it will happen. It will happen as the older generations die off.

In the mean time, a lot of damage is going to be done, but because the people who are okay with the damage are so certain about their views, it is a waste of time deal with them.

Allow the attrition of the generations to take care of this problem.

I find myself falling into an anhedonic state when it comes to these issues.

But I also know the rightful place for me is in the wilderness.

The battles of dog people will go on.

I’m checking out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Warriors in the hollow

raccoon

It was a bad Saturday night.  My candidate was soundly defeated in the Nevada Caucuses, and I was smarting badly from loss.

Even as the night was drawing in, I knew the only way I was ever going to start feeling better was to go out into the woods for a twilight perambulation.

The Saturday before was a subzero night. Snow was on the ground and each step was hard and sharp and crunchy. This night was much warmer. It was well above freezing, and the sky was without any clouds. The stars were shining. The moon was almost full.

The squabbles out in Nevada now seemed pointless by comparison, and as I walked into the darkness of a stark February wood, I began to revel in the majesty and forget machinations of humanity. This is what I wanted anyway. Peace and quiet and a realization that this is all insignificant by comparison.

My reverie was then interrupted. In the hollow below the the logging road where I was walking came the churs and snorts of warring demons. There were screeches and squalls mixed into all the din. There was a great battle gong on below me, and I knew instantly what was happening.

February brings the raccoon mating season, and two of the local boars were sorting it out over a female in estrus. I guessed the one of them was the resident ridge-running raccoon who found him a sow to follow on this moonlit night, but the warmer weather and the intoxicating odors had brought up a challenger from the creek bed.

For five minutes, I listened to the boars fight. I debated as to whether I should wander down and see if I could get a better look.  But I was certain they would run if they heard my approach down into the hollow.

So I stayed put and listened to the war.

And as soon as the cacophony rose, the air fell silent again. The boars were not fighting now. Perhaps one had beaten the other, and now he had the sow to himself.  Or maybe they were off licking wounds and getting ready for another donnybrook.

I didn’t stay long to find out. My mind was tuned to something else besides politics, of the narcissism that is inherent in being human..

Raccoons have fought these wars long before there was a United States, long before there were Democratic Caucuses and primaries. Their wars were about passing on genes. Nothing more. Nothing less.

As I watch now, in this general election from Hell, I think back to that night in February. I think of the moonlight and the stars and the primitive war of ‘coons in a deep hollow.

The sun will rise tomorrow. The seasons will change. My life will one day end.

All around us are these parallel dramas, ones we don’t often take a time to consider.

We all live in alienation from this world to some degree.

But it’s important to break away from our world and see it in proper perspective.

In proper perspective, we can be fully humbled before the mystery.

 

 

 

 

 

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faith

I didn’t think I’d do another one of these, but my conscience has been dragged back into it.

Jemima Harrison posted this morning (my time) about a friend’s flat-coated retriever who died at the age of 7. Both the dog’s parents were dead before they were 8 years old.

I used to follow this dog’s owner’s blog, way back when there was a more active dog blogosphere. I remember when she was born, and I remember when her mother died.

I’ve always admired this breed. It was once the most common retriever in Britain, and I love all those old paintings and photographs of the dogs at pheasant and partridge shoots.

At one point in my life, I thought I wanted one of these dogs. They were sleeker and more agile than golden retrievers, and I’d always preferred golden retrievers that came in that body type, even if the show ring never did.

But then I looked at the health of the dogs, and I decided that I would pass.

A golden retriever is already a notorious tumor factor. That there could be a retriever in worse shape with regard to cancer was something that really did bother me.

I used to wonder if this breed could be made more viable if they did some crossbreeding, but virtually every breeder in the breed is so opposed to it that having rational discussions with them is like talking to a creationist or someone who believes that Bush did 9/11. Their job, regardless of the facts, is to come up with ways to justify keeping the gene pool walled off.

And at that point, I knew the problem would never be solved.

It’s taken me a while to realize that no amount of explanation will change anything.

It’s that way with just about every breed of dog. If it’s not flat-coats and cancer, then it’s bulldogs and everything that’s wrong with them. Or pugs.

After doing this for years and years, I’ve stopped having any confidence that any of these problems will be solved, and I’m not wasting my time.

So we’ll hold onto closed studbooks, “linebreeding for health” or some other delusion, until we hit the eventually genetic dead-ends of several breeds.

The population of canids known as “domestic dogs” will continue on, because the vast majority of North Americans will choose things other than registered dogs. And the village, street, and pariah dog populations will still be there in other parts of the world.

But as for the Western “purebred” dog, its future is quite tenuous indeed.

And when you’re powerless to stop something, you’re better off giving yourself some distance.

That’s what I have done.

 

 

 

 

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I really haven’t felt myself in maybe a decade. I felt myself here in the taiga.

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