Sunday, December 30, 2012

Kai Ken vs. Wall

What happens when a Kai meets a wall.



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day 10-12

Just got back from 3 days of hunting in a row. My body is broken, but nothing that a good onsen and massage can't fix.

Since I was going to be out there for 3 days, day 10 I left around noon and put in 4 hours. Didn't want to push Baron too hard (or myself!). I decided to check out an area that the boar are only just beginning to move into. Last year we went out there once and found a few boar.

At around the 30 minute mark Baron went after something, but not sure what it was as it was gone pretty quickly. It did come out of a spot that I know boar lay up in. It was another very windy day, and I was pretty nervous sitting in the middle of a dark bamboo thicket where I couldn't see more than a meter in front of me. Baron came back in a few minutes and we moved on. We hunted the rest of that mountain pretty tightly and well, and just as we got to the last non-hunted area Baron picked up fresh scent.

He moved downhill, and around 30 seconds later the commotion started. The underbrush was thick, prey took off with Baron yodeling a little bit. They were running far too fast for me to ever catch up, though I thought of trying to cut them off somewhere. My plan changed when I heard something still moving below me. There had been two of them in there, and one was moving toward me. In the end, I didn't even get a glimpse as the undergrowth was too thick, and I couldn't ID what it was that Baron was after. Boar? Deer? He gave chase for a good 600 meters before coming back.



Day 11 it was me and Baron again, and my plan was to go after the big boar that have been getting away from us. I had an inkling of where they were, on the far side of the high peak in the area we hunt. It took us about an hour and a half to make our way out there, but we found a nice long sliver of a ridge with small branches that looked promising. We've never hunted this spot before, so in we go. Baron's immediately moving around and searching, but branch 1 nothing, branch 2 nothing. Baron moves ahead to branch 3, and then I hear Baron's low, loud bay.

Running forward I get above the gully between branch 2 and 3, and it's war down there. Baron's baying, several boar are grunting, and I can hear them charging him. The boar are coming out of branch 3 now, around 60 meters below and to the right of me, the whole herd being led by 2 huge boar who are intent on chasing off this annoying dog. I've loaded my Benelli and I'm looking for that moment when I get an open shot, but they're still in underbrush and it's hard to get clear looks for more than a second.

Around a minute has passed since Baron found the boar, and suddenly I see the whole herd below charging Baron. He turns and runs at full speed back to where he last saw me on the ridge, then wheels on my scent trail and catches up to me on the high ground above the boar. The sounds from the boar seem to say they are calming now that the threat is on the run, but as soon as Baron gets to me and we make eye contact, he's going downhill and baying again. Each time he goes in, they feint toward him, moving forward around 5 meters or so. Before long Baron has them just under 30 meters in front of me, and the last charge forward by the two big boar is all I need.

At 20 meters the boar charge stops, and I have a clean line on the second largest boar's head. One shot just above the middle of the eyes and the boar rolls. The rest of the herd scatters, though they did stick around close by for a while which was a bit scary for Baron and I. I thought the boar was large, but didn't realize just how big till I started moving it. At 11:30 I started moving it out of the mountain. The gully was one of the worst I've ever shot a boar in, full of fallen timber. Managed to find an alternate route out of the mountain 300 meters through the gully as opposed to 2km back to the truck, but it was back breaking dragging that sow over and under logs. It took the rest of the day, but we got home just after sunset.



We don't have a proper scale for large boar at the moment, but weighing all the parts later, we came out at over 70kg. It was a sow, fattened up for winter with some excellent meat. We had an excellent 'shishinabe' (boar miso pot luck) that night. This is the largest boar Baron and I have taken together.





Day 12 my brother came out with us, and we decided to hunt another new area. There was plenty of boar sign, but we didn't run into any boar for the first few hours. Just as we planned to break for lunch we heard some noise from the ridge opposite the one we were proceeding downhill on. I was starving and wanted to make lunch a priority, but my brother wanted to check it out. So in we went with Baron. He immediately went down into the gully in search mode, and we moved above him on the high ground. The wind was against us.

There was a boar trail around 2 meters below us. Baron looped forward and then up and back around toward us. Just before he got to us, we heard a loud crash. Did sound awful lot like a boar, but no bay from Baron, so I thought it might have just been him. Nonetheless the gun was loaded up, and Baron got to us seconds later. As soon as he saw me he moved back to where we had heard the commotion which was around 10 meters or so in front and below us, and that was when things sped into motion blur. A boar only slightly smaller than the one from the day before came charging out at Baron, giving me a split second to fire at it at around 2 meters away. I missed, the boar ran, Baron chased, hard. He really wanted that boar. He chased for a good 700 meters and try as we might to catch up, they crossed too many gullies for us to ever have a chance. My body was also completely giving up on me. In the end that was all we had to show for the day.


We had a couple great boar sandwiches made by my bro, and found a really interesting piece of driftwood that I gave to a friend who does a lot of wood work, but that was it. Once back on the mountain road walking toward the truck, we ran into some gentlemen walking what looked like a large Flat Coated Retriever. Baron and the dog stood rigid for a second, but as the men moved off and their dog tried to follow, Baron tried to scuffle. Thankfully the other dog was absolutely oblivious and kept sauntering along, and Baron stopped being an ass. Baron escaped from my brother's house last week early in the morning, and got into a fight with a male dog from the neighborhood. This is the first time he's ever fought with another dog, and I was very disappointed with the situation that allowed it to happen as I've found that once a dog has fought, it seems easier for them to cross that thresh hold and do it again.

In this case, the dog that Baron fought with is another intact male that is very vocal and dog aggressive. They've met on walks before with the other dog lunging and barking at Baron. The other dog was injured in this scuffle, and had to be taken to the vet. All in all it was a good lesson in management, for myself and for my brother. A dog is never 100% what we would consider 'safe'. They are living creatures, with minds of their own, and can be a liability if not managed properly. In this case friends who were coming in and out of the house left the door open. Almost every NK male I've seen is either same sex aggressive, or very picky about the dogs they get along with. A lot of this can be chalked up to the way they are kept here in Japan, but they are definitely not as dog friendly as many Western breeds. Even a dog like Baron that's been pretty dog safe his entire life and been raised more in the style of a companion dog, has his moments.

Anyway, that's boar 7 on 12 outings this season.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

NIPPO 50th Anniversary Commemorative Manuscript


Reblogging this one as well since I have finally come across another copy. @Minini, if you're still interested, here it is! This is a rare one. It's an old book, so has a bit of wear showing on the covers.

This monster of a book comes in 2 parts and was published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of NIPPO (the Japanese Dog Preservation Society). It contains everything NIPPO published from 1932-1978, including breed histories, standards, show results, pictures of winners etc. It's extremely hard to find now as it's long out of print. Brad Anderson of Yamabushi Kennel has what is probably one of the only copies in North America, and it is probably one of the only copies to be found outside of Japan.

If anyone's interested in owning a copy, feel free to contact me at kato.the.walrus@gmail.com and I'll figure out how much the shipping etc will cost. I've found a few copies of this, and they tend to cost around 15,000 yen + shipping.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day 9


I was working on a project building an event booth, and little bro and co. kindly allowed me to use their workshop. Well hell if we're down there for a few days we should be able to squeeze in a few hours of hunting right?

Of course we made some time, so good friend Mark who was helping me on the project came with, and by 9am we were walking with Baron. Around 10 minutes later Baron's head jerked high and left, and in a second he was over the ridge and scrambling. 20 seconds later came the now familiar bay. He was still moving around, but as we got into position I could see him coming back toward me with a boar in tow. Mark and I were still moving, boar got spooked and turned around heading downhill through light cover and trees with Baron on her tail.

Mark and I scrambled after them as we heard the bay start up again and as we got halfway there, I heard and then saw 2 more boar moving to our right. One stopped at around 40 meters, and I almost had a shot but shrubbery was obstructing the head and front end. I let them pass since I could still hear Baron on the other boar. Breaking through thicker cover at the bottom of the hill, we ended up at a large grassy opening with a mountain on the other side. On the mountain face around 30 meters above the clearing, a mountain road runs along the face of the mountain. Baron and the boar were moving slowly, bay, charge, dodge, bay, charge, dodge, and I could see dog and boar doing this dance on the road above the clearing.

Got up onto the road behind Baron, and we kept moving forward. Here in Japan we are not allowed to shoot from or over roads, so I had to wait till the boar got off the road. Eventually we got up far enough where the road ends and there is a clearing to the left. All this time Baron kept looking back at me with a bewildered look, but as I kept encouraging him and moving toward the boar, he did his job. At the clearing the boar moved off the gravel and to the left, Baron was holding her nicely as I popped off a round at around 20 meters. Clean head shot through the eyes again, and the boar dropped. 9:30am.



A closer look at the boar showed Baron had taken out its back left tendon, so the boar was unable to run very fast. It's a nifty little trick for a hunting dog to pick up, so hope he learns from this experience. 

We bled the boar, and headed with Baron back toward the truck a mile or so away. After getting there, it was clear Baron was not interested in finishing for the day as he didn't even want to eat his breakfast. I let him out of the truck again thinking he'd wander around close by. Well he was off on the hiking trail stretching his legs. I sent Mark in the truck downhill since I know there are some more medium sized boar in this stretch of mountain that like to run, and always use the same path. Baron doubled back on the trail and as we met I guided him toward a few often used boar nests. In 5 minutes he found one, and started baying. I got to where I could see him baying stationary in front of the nest, but for the life of me couldn't pick out the boar. Baron saw me closing, so he moved in to catch, missed, and boar and dog headed downhill.

The boar was feisty, and the bay/charge/dodge was in full play. I yelled to Mark over the transceiver that dog and boar were headed his way. Nearly at the spot I knew they would spill onto the road, I saw the boar below me running through the bamboo with Baron a meter behind. Too fast for a shot. I scrambled after them as I heard Mark telling me over the radio that they'd crossed the road into the stream. As I got to the road, I got a comedic glimpse of my bearded buddy running down the road after them armed with a shovel. He doesn't have a firearm license, and later said he heard them coming down the mountain making a huge ruckus and the only thing in the truck to defend himself with was the USM folding shovel I always have on hand. 

Baron caught the boar in the stream, but it was too deep for me to get across, and I had to go around. By the time I got there, they had moved downstream and into a bamboo thicket. I thought we had this one in the bag, so whipped out my phone to take a video. Majorly stupid decision.



Baron and the boar were both completely wiped out and over heating. They looked like fighters in the 12th round moving in slow motion, but they headed into high grass where I couldn't get a shot, and it was very hard to get to them. In the end the boar slipped away, and Baron and I headed to the stream to cool off. It was almost 2 boars in 2 hours, a great effort by Baron, and I won't be pulling that video stunt again. Luckily my new GoPro3 should be arriving soon for some hands off hunting footage.

So, boar number 6 for Baron on 9 outings this season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

NIPPO 70th Anniversary Picture Book (reblog)


Put this up on the blog a while ago, but since I've had a few inquiries about it recently, I'm reblogging it. The book is still available.



This is another book I've got on the shelf. It was published to commemorate NIPPO's 70th anniversary, and has pictures of all the winners from the establishment of NIPPO onward. They've got loose pages added to the back of all the winners since the book was published.

It starts in black and white, but the last bit (and all the loose pages) is in color. The book is 90 pages and includes pictures of Shikoku, Kishu, Shiba, and Akita. It's really interesting to see the evolution of the breeds, type becoming more defined as the years go by, and of course it's great to have pictures of some of the amazing dogs of years past.

If anyone's interested in owning a copy, feel free to contact me at kato.the.walrus@gmail.com and I'll figure out how much the shipping etc will cost. Cost should come to around 3000 yen including international shipping.




Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 8

My last hunting post was so long I was afraid no one would actually read the whole damn thing. Hey, looks like some of you got through it, but it did take way too long to write, so here's to shorter more frequent posting.

Day 8 was just me and the Baron again, in the area with the low palms, going after that elusive big one. The wind was blowing at gale force from the day before, so strong that it closed the Aqualine bridge over Tokyo bay. I had to take the long way around through miles of bay traffic. A day with wind like this can mean a lot of things for hunting.

I often contemplate the recent weather and other details as I get my gear out of the truck and get Baron strapped up. It's a habit. So the wind... strong and gusty will blow scents all over the place. Since Baron and I hunt from high ground, I imagine it's easier for him when we hunt on non windy days. As the morning sun starts to warm the air, it rises toward us on the ridge. When there are no fresh scents on the ground, Baron spends a lot of the time tasting the air as we walk. He has a habit now of stopping above ravines and pointing his body into the breeze for a few seconds. I can only imagine what it must be like to have a canine sense of smell, to filter out all the environmental smells, the non prey, and zero in on the boar.

So does this mean we're at a disadvantage on windy days? Not necessarily I guess. Boar don't seem to like sleeping on windy slopes, they prefer the sheltered gullies on windy days. That makes picking spots easier. Also, all that noise of the wind blowing the trees around really covers the noise that Baron and I make, and puts our scent all over the place as well.

Well with the intense wind we had the other day, I soon realized that if the boar couldn't hear me coming, I couldn't hear them either. It was actually a bit freaky to realize that I use my sense of sound a lot to figure out what's going on with Baron and the mountain critters. On a windy day, the boar could charge to within a few feet of me and I wouldn't hear them coming.

As it went, we checked the low palms, but there was way too much wind blowing through that ravine. We tracked back through the area we had chased the pigs into last week, and around an hour in, Baron was on a hot track. Baron picked up speed, nose to the ground, running patterns around me and just below. I thought maybe the boar had hightailed it already, but then Baron was off, around 100 meters below and to the right. I was following slowly and quietly, and then heard Baron's loud deep bay. He was there for around 20 seconds barking while I tried to close distance, but then moved toward the left and stopped. The baying started again. I got to within 20 meters, but the boar was under a crest and I couldn't get a line, though I could see Baron perfectly. At 20 meters, the boar decided to bolt, luckily it ran toward and below me. It was a big one, 70kg class, but at full speed I had one chance at a shot and didn't quite line it up.

At least this time I had enough composure (probably helped that I wasn't being charged) to line up the sights, realize I was high, and realign. Well Baron was off after the boar, and unfortunately the route it took was pretty straight and away so I couldn't catch up. Baron kept on him for around 600 meters before losing him. I caught up, and we followed the track for a bit, but I've found that rather than chasing a boar that's already decided it wants to run from you, the odds are better to just move on and find another boar. This we did. We had ended up in the mountain where we took the little boar on day 2, and all I've seen since then on that side have been little tracks and digs.

Sure enough, little tracks and digs it was. There's a hiking trail back there, so we walked that for a ways, then I picked a ridge to the left to hunt. We had gone probably around 100 meters when Baron picked up fresh scent. He moved downhill around 15 meters and started doing patterns, I could tell from watching him all day that he realized he needed to be careful in this wind, as he could stumble right into a boar if he didn't pay attention. It was a small boar, a 15kg male. It got up as Baron moved in and barked, and just as it started to look like a runner, I popped one shot off. Another clean head shot. A slug at close range is a powerful thing.

I strapped the little guy onto my pack, and then carried him for 4km out of the mountain, all the while thinking that it was terrific to have such a little boar since I was out there alone. I've carried big game long distances before, and it ain't fun. Walking out on the hiking trail since that was easier, we met a local gentleman who thanked us for getting the boar. Baron was his usual friendly self while the gentleman and I talked about the mountains, the boar population, crop damage etc. Baron and I set off again, and he did pick up a trail again right at the bottom of the mountain around 50 meters from the road. I saw him hightail it into more low palms, and two little boar came running out with Baron in tow. They ran into dense shrubbery and lost Baron pretty quickly.

So we ended up at home after walking 13km (me) and 22km (Baron). I left the little boar whole after skinning and gutting as I've always wanted to BBQ a boar whole, and this little one was the perfect candidate. Looks like I'll be stuck in Tokyo this week and weekend wrapping up work before the end of the year, but next week it will be all mountains again. Baron's learning and progressing with each trip out there, and it's a pleasure to see him adjusting to everything the mountains throw at us.

And yeah, I lost my brand new iPhone 2 weeks ago so no pictures. I finally dragged my ass down and picked up a new phone yesterday. Ouch.

Friday, December 7, 2012

We're in Season

3 weeks into the season, and it's been an eventful one.

Day 1 my brother and I headed out with my good friend Kondo-san and his Kishu. Came out of there with one for the freezer, and it took all of around 10 minutes. I dropped it trotting with a head shot at 20 yards, though of course I got a good ribbing from a disbelieving Kondo-san who joked that I probably actually hit it with a bat as it walked by. At noon we took Baron for a short round, but didn't run into anything. I had to hightail it out of the mountains and to the airport to pick up some friends who were flying in.

Pre hunting season Baron was finding and stopping boar fairly regularly, so I was excited to see how we'd do this season. My one worry was that we've been running into a lot of small-medium sized boar, and he seemed to be getting a little too confident.


Day 2 I went out to an area that has a lot of hiking trails and is primarily boar habitat. It's rather overgrown, and unless you are hunting with dogs, you're probably never going to see your quarry. My brother came with, and we had a couple of overseas visitors tag along to get a look at the NK hunting. After a rather uneventful morning hiking around in some pretty unseasonably warm weather, we struck out and over to cover the other side of the mountain ridge. It all happened fairly quickly, but Baron picked up some scent, moved down into a ravine, and caught a young 20kg male boar.

One of the visitors from overseas hunts moose with Norwegian Elkhounds, and mentioned that Baron hunts very close. This is not necessarily true of every single NK, but it's the way Baron and I have developed. He's generally within earshot of me, and checks in regularly. We take a lot of cues from each other as far as which direction to head, and what we want to do. I just have to point out areas to him, and he'll head in to investigate. He's also completely over his gun shyness, gunshot now means look for downed or injured prey.

Baron's stamina has increased, he can do a full day of hunting (does around 20km at all speeds in the mountains), he's as friendly as ever, but of course we've got a few new issues to work on. Baron's developed some separation anxiety, and a fear of thunder storms. Neither of these traits are particularly endearing, definitely not to anyone within earshot. NK are hunting breeds, bred to be tenacious when their 'switch' kicks in. Many people especially in Japan have a misconception that hunting dogs don't make good companions, but I don't feel that's the case. The NK have a fairly good on/off switch, only going into 'go' mode when the situation warrants it. Problems can arise however, when they aren't given the right direction. Nipping bad habits in the bud is paramount, because once they're all in, things can get pretty messy.

In Baron's case, he wasn't getting enough attention, and there had been some recent changes in his environment. We're now having to work on adjusting the situation and his reactions. There has been another change in his hunting behavior that came about after day 4.

Day 3 I headed out solo to the area we hit on day 2. There were signs everywhere of small boar again, but we didn't run into them all day. Either way I wanted to get Baron on some larger boar for the experience. We lucked out when I moved across the valley to the mountain opposite and we immediately found large fresh tracks. In 10 minutes Baron was up and running/whining through bamboo, and I could hear something moving with him. As I was pulling my shotgun out of my pack a 60kg boar charged out of the thicket behind me, quickly changing direction to avoid me with Baron on his tail. I moved up hill to cut them off, guessing which trail they'd end up on, and just as I was below the spot I knelt to load my gun. As I was getting the third slug in, I glanced up to see the boar coming around the corner 3 meters in front of me at full speed. We both had an oh shit moment, I tried to get out of his way, and he tried to stop for a second, and then fully committed to a charge. He was above me, and literally flew through the air the last meter before barreling into the left side of my rib cage. We tumbled a few meters downhill together, and as I rolled up I managed to get two good shots into him. Baron was on him by that point, and caught him, but the boar still dragged him around 40 meters downhill. I caught up by then and dispatched him, 30 minutes before sunset, and then had the exciting task of getting a 60kg male boar out of the mountain and gutted in a hurry. Ribcage was sore and bruised for a while.



Day 4 a couple other hunters wanted to tag along, so we hit up an area that I used to hunt when I first got my license. Again, this area is pretty much all boar. I heard from one of the locals that the boar are everywhere this year, and we were not disappointed. The ridge we picked for the morning was empty, and with the warm weather I spent the day hiking around in a t-shirt. The afternoon however started off with a bang as I picked a spot that is a great boar lair in a bamboo thicket that I almost always find decent size boar sleeping in. 

Baron went in, started baying, and a great amount of noise ensued. It's always exciting when boar are moving through bamboo, the sound is almost explosive. I couldn't get a good visual, but could see a white form moving around (white hunting dogs are great), and I thought I could see something rather large and dark as well. After a minute or so Baron came back to me looking rather frazzled, but as I moved forward, he went back in, only to come charging back out. He had stopped barking altogether. This has never happened before. When he moved forward again, I followed, and saw why. A huge 100kg class boar was sauntering out of the thicket, not even remotely phased by Baron. At around 50 yards he stopped to give Baron a stare, and I took a shot, which I missed. Baron took off after the now running boar, and around 100m later I heard them scramble and Baron give off a couple very high pitched barks (very different from his usual low bay). He was very loathe to close distance with this boar after running around with him in the bamboo.

That was pretty much the end of the day as sunset was approaching, the boar (later from the tracks I found out there was a few of them moving together) were on the run and while it took another 20 minutes or so for Baron to come back, we were done. Baron was visibly a lot more cautious moving through the mountains, it was obvious the big boar had shaken him up.

Day 5 the same two hunters wanted to have a go at the large boar again, so we headed to the same area. We had to switch spots since a group of hunters was already set up there, but we immediately got on some boar. They were runners, and Baron followed for about 500 meters before coming back. We went after them together, with Baron finding them around 40 meters or so away from me. I could hear the boar grunting its disapproval very loudly, and Baron didn't give more than a few barks before coming back to me. He was being very cautious and not very vocal. We were at the end of a ridge, and ended up hunting the fingers of it almost all day. There were several boar and a deer in there, and we ran into them a lot, but with Baron not really applying enough pressure to them, they didn't want to move out into the open where any of us could get a shot. When Baron finally pushed a 40kg or so boar out, one of my buddies missed his 3 shots at him.

We were losing daylight, so decided to hunt the ridge pushing back toward my truck. Baron quickly moved forward, and I heard some solid baying from around 100m out. I ran to catch up, and just before getting to the ravine he had been in, ran into a nonchalant Baron. I knew he had been up to something, and sure enough when we got back to the ravine he moved down and threw out a few barks. There was a herd of boar in there, with a huge one bellowing out its grunts at a volume I've never heard before. I moved in with Baron, but dusk was making it hard to see through the undergrowth. The large boar was moving the herd to my left, but Baron was moving right. Couldn't figure out why, but in a moment he reappeared in front of me with a boar charging him. I had 3 meters, and took a shot that went high, and as the boar moved broadside, my shotgun jammed leaving me to watch in frustration as the boar and Baron disappeared. Baron gave up after getting charged once and doing his high pitched bark.

I was pissed at myself for missing the perfect opportunity. While imperfect, Baron had done his job, and I'd utterly failed at mine (twice now). I was determined to get him a boar, so day 6 my brother and I headed out to the site where I had taken the 60kg boar. Baron was off fairly early on after a 40kg or so runner that kept doing circles and going through bamboo. Baron wasn't holding him, but wouldn't give up. After losing most of the day rinsing and repeating, we ended up on the road at the bottom of the mountain with a choice of how to get back up top to the truck. There was one ridge that we hadn't hunted, so I moved up through it while my brother walked the road up. Baron was supposed to stay with me, but wandered off with my brother. Around 15 minutes later I get a call from my brother saying I need to hurry there as Baron had a boar bayed up below him. It was grunting away, and from my position on the ridge I could hear them, but there was a large pond between us. I made my way around it nearly stepping on a boar in the process.

Getting to the spot, the boar had run Baron off, but we went back in after him. After 30 minutes or so we trailed it into an area that is shaped like an amphitheater and planted with 1 meter tall palm trees. Baron went in and started baying, and I hear the boar start grunting. Loudly. Then all hell broke loose. Around 10 boar started grunting back, and pretty soon the area was reverberating. It sounded like a chorus of frogs in the rice fields on a summer night, only these were boar. Baron came charging back out to me fairly quickly, and I heard a boar coming after him. It was in the bush around 5 meters away grunting, but I couldn't see it. I was ready with my shotgun trying to a get a look as Baron went back in and started baying. In a flash he came flying out toward me with a huge 100kg class boar charging behind. Again, at 2 meters or so I managed a haphazard shot that missed. Fired off another 2 shots that also missed. I started to feel like I was firing warning shots just to get the boar to stop their charges.

We went after these boar for a good while, as it seemed I might have grazed the big one with one of the shots, but after 3km and several hours, we gave up their trail. In the last 50 minutes of daylight, and 5 minutes out from the truck, Baron dashed back into the palms around 10 meters below me and started a solid bay. It's really thick stuff, and impossible to get into without crawling. Since he'd been pretty unvocal and cautious since the big boar on day 4, I was surprised by such a solid hold. Come to think of it though, he was doing pretty good this day. I thought he might be baying something else like a badger or something, and I tried to crouch down to get a look. Couldn't see anything, till a second later, Baron whirled around as a boar came charging out. There was some bustling and yelping as they moved downhill, and Baron came out of cover back to me. I thought the boar was gone, but a few seconds later, Baron went back in and started baying again.

Every once in a while a dog will get it wrong and bay just because the scent is still thick, and they think the boar may still be in its nest, and for a second I thought this was the case. I decided to honor his bay though, get over my willies, and crawl with my shotgun in front of me toward Baron. With Baron baying a few meters in front of me, I saw him back up quickly as a boar feinted toward him. I had a nice line on him and took the cleanest head shot I think I'll ever get. The boar was down instantly, and we had a nice 40kg male for the freezer.

This was probably the best 'hoedome' I've ever seen Baron pull off, and he really stuck with it perfectly. It was the best combination of human and dog that we've pulled off together yet, each of us trusting each other to do our part, and it was very rewarding.

Throw in another little boar on day 7, and Baron and I have now solo'd 4 boar in 7 outings this season. One gun, one dog: it's something that I've aspired to since I started hunting, and with Baron now 3 years old, we're starting to get there. Knock on wood for another injury/accident free hunting season.




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

www.shikoku-pedigree.com/



I'd like to congratulate everyone who was involved in getting the www.shikoku-pedigree.com/ database up and running. 


We have a database here in Japan, in fact it's at NIPPO HQ, only it's on paper which makes it impossible for anyone overseas to look at. Any NIPPO member can ask to look at any dog's pedigree, and NIPPO will make it available for a nominal paperwork fee. Computerizing the data and making it available free of charge to breeders is useful not only in breeding today, but in deciding which dogs to import tomorrow.


Positive dissemination of information. I'm all for it, and I heartily recommend that anyone with a Shikoku takes the time to enter their information into the database.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NIPPO National 2012

The 17th/18th I made the trip to Tochigi for the NIPPO (Nihon Ken Hozonkai) National Exhibition. The weather the first day was grey, cold and overcast, the second, sunny, cold and windy. Luckily the rain forecast for the first day held off till after dark.


The opening ceremony at 9:00am.

   

The first day is traditionally for the medium sized breeds. Since there are generally next to no Hokkaido, Kai, or Akita at NIPPO shows, this day is for the Shikoku and Kishu. We had 97 Kishu entries, 89 Shikoku, and 9 Kai.

 Shiba entries for the second day totalled 562.


The winner of the Prime Minister's Award (Best in show), a Shikoku male named Iyo no Gakushun. There was a bit of drama at the end of the second day when the best in breeds went up against each other. Gakushun's handler collapsed in the ring and had to be taken away on a stretcher. After a short pause, the judges went on to award Gakushun the Prime Minister's award.

The Shiba best in show was a male named Daigorozakura.


I went on to visit my good friends at Sai no Kuni Inoue So, a Kai kennel, on the way home. I was treated to their always amazing sushi, and got to look at some of their new dogs.

It was a busy, but definitely exciting and eventful weekend, with people from all over Japan, and overseas, in attendance.  I showed a female in the 'waka 1' class for one of my friends, and though we did pretty poorly as far as substance goes, the bitch is excellent, and we placed 5th. 2 of her siblings were also in the ring, with one of them taking 1st place. She was shown by a friend and fellow NIPPO Chiba branch member.

We had some other successful placings out of the Chiba branch, and some disappointments, but I think we managed to drink enough to melt the weekend into its proper place.

I had the pleasure this year of meeting the members of the Norwegian Shiba Club, some of whom were attending the NIPPO national for the fourth time! I have an immense amount of respect for their efforts in making such a long trip to learn and see the Nihon Ken in its native country. Their respect for Japanese culture and the NIPPO members who have spent life times preserving and protecting these breeds was evident to all, and it was a true joy to help translate for them. My good friends from the Shikoku kennel AKASHIMA, Katja & George, attended the exhibition as well, and afterward went on a whirlwind tour visiting many of the best Shikoku kennels in the country. See you all again next year?!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 2012


Yes, it's that time of year again. Hunting season opened on the 15th.


The beautiful countryside of Chiba prefecture. Rolling hills.


They've lit up the streets near my house, like they do every year for the Christmas season.


Out with some friends grabbing some excellent food at an izakaya.


Friday, November 16, 2012

NIPPO Gunma Branch Fall 2012

Not too exciting, iffy weather, got there late, took last place in group (haha). Yup. These things happen. I was showing a friend's female, but I just couldn't get her to stack at all. Oh well.

This was the 28th of last month. Been busy.


And I sent this little guy to California.



Available Shikoku Male


This 2 year old male out of Izumo Yano So lines (sire Ungaku, dam Unshunme) is currently available.

He took first place in his group (male waka 1) at the NIPPO national exhibition last year. It's definitely not very often that a dog like this becomes available, but due to his owner's health, the kennel that produced him is looking for a new home for him.

He's the dog pictured here in the photos from last year's NIPPO national, at the top of the page.


Contact me at kato.the.walrus@gmail.com for information regarding this male.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Recent Videos

Since I got the iPhone5 I've been taking more pictures and video. It was one of the reasons I got the phone, and I haven't been disappointed.

Here are some adult Shikoku males waiting to go into the ring at the NIPPO Gunma branch exhibition.



And some 2 month old Shikoku puppies. These guys were loads of work, loads of fun.


Black Shiba

Proper color in a black Shiba was the topic of discussion among a few of us at the NIPPO Gunma branch exhibition yesterday.

The guard hairs are not black to the root, and not just tipped either. As luck would have it there was a young male that was a good example of a black/tan coat. You can see that he looks fairly solidly black from the front, but you can see some lighter color when you look at him from the back.

On his neck, around the collar area, you can see just how light he is underneath.

And, the black coloration on this dog was pretty good. None of that red tipping going on.


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Puppies Everywhere

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Happy Halloween!

So my friend dressed up his French Bulldog 'Senna' for Halloween, and this is what happened.




Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gonta

In NIPPO once a dog is 'finished' it is called a 'kansei ken' (finished dog). Gonta is a male Kishu owned by some friends of mine and he became a kansei ken in May, though I only heard about it last month. Congratulations Gonta!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Radiation

Seriously disturbing news... got word from local hunters that a wild boar was taken last month near the area I hunt that tested at twice the legal radiation limit.

Not something you want to hear before the season starts. Numbers are negligible further south, but the radiation is slowly being carried into Chiba prefecture from up north.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

NIPPO Fall Exhibitions 2012



So a few of the regionals have already come and gone, but here are the remaining exhibitions for the Kanto area.

10/14 Tokyo
10/21 Ibaragi
10/28 Gunma
11/11 Chiba (all Kanto)

And then of course there's the NIPPO National Exhibition on the 17th & 18th of November in Tochigi.

I'll be at the Tokyo and Chiba exhibitions, and the national as well.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Baron

I can't believe Baron is 3 already. I took him out for a bit of a birthday run the other day to stretch his legs. I've been busy over the summer, so he didn't get out as much as he would have liked. It was too hot anyway! My brother and I were out there with no gear, and in t-shirts, just going for a walk, but of course Baron had his own plans.




After picking up some fresh scent, he was off to the right of the ravine. I noticed he was wheeling back left in a circle, and during last hunting season I learned what that means. We moved to cut off the boar, and Baron drove the boar to within 20 meters of me, allowing me to get a good shot of the little guy.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Shikoku Puppies: Fall 2012

There are two litters with some available pups, and here are the pictures.

Litter 1


Top pup is the female, bottom pup a male. The litter is just @ 2 months old now.

Litter 2

Male 1

Male 2

Female 1

Female 2

Female 3

Litter 2 is @ 45 days old now.

For anyone interested in these pups, I do have a waiting list, and people on it will have priority picks, but do feel free to contact me at my email kato.the.walrus@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kai Puppies At Gotenyama

So last week I visited my friend Ogawa-san to take a look at two recent litters of Kai pups. He told me there was a lot of brindle in both litters, and he wasn't joking.

These two pups are only a few days old, but they already had a lot of brindle, of a very deep red.

This is Hide, the sire of the next litter.


This entire litter is full of brindle pups. The darkest will probably still end up a chu-tora. The lightest pup is a female, she's the little one in the back.

I was treated to a terrific lunch.

This is Koyuki, a kuro-goma Shikoku female. She's still under a year old, but is a really friendly, relaxed dog. Terrific temperament.

Another pic of the little pups. I'll have to go see them again soon once they're more mobile.