Completed Hunting With The Dogs

The puppies join the hunt to watch and learn

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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Hunting With The Dogs

Postby Merevaika on August 25th, 2015, 8:02 pm

78th Summer 515
Pheasant hunting wasn't something Merevaika often did. It required quick shots, accurate enough to take a bird down with one shot. Something she wasn't the best at. However, it was the first animal or bird she could think of that required lots of work with the dogs, something she wanted the puppies to get used to as much as possible. They would need to track the birds, flush them out on command, and retrieve them without mangling the bodies too much.

At least the dogs were either obedient or born to hunt, which made the job a lot easier. Grey did everything he was told, following each command within seconds, while Mika was constantly chasing animals, trying to catch stray rats or rabbits that had happened to wander too close to him. He was stealthy too, when he tried to be, although he wasn't the best at tracking, not yet anyway. Freya was the intelligent one, who learned quickly, although she didn't always do as she was told. She usually kept close to one of her brothers, and seemed to sniff and chew on anything that she found.

In addition to them, she had Denviel, who was years old and more experienced. He listened to her, watching her body posture and signs for more information. The two had always worked in harmony, as if they could read the other's mind. Now, the puppies could watch and learn.

Hunting, stay close, she signed, leading the dogs out towards the fringe of woodland that separated them from the Sea of Grass. She had debated hunting there, but the puppies would get confused when they would have to change scenery. Better to stick with what they would normally hunt in.

She put all three puppies on leashes, not trusting them to follow her and not get lost. However, she continued to make the sign for heel, so they could learn to do so when she could trust them without the leashes.

Merevaika hurried through the woodland, letting Denviel lead the way. Dirt slipped under her boots, marks forming in the mud. She climbed small hills and slipped down ditches, constantly communicating to the puppies, telling them to stay close and quiet, despite there being no purpose to it. Denviel watched her hand signs, confused, but followed them as well, giving the younger dogs an example to follow.

Mika started to pull at the leash, and she pulled back, overpowering the small pup. He gave a few annoyed barks, trying to reach a bush on the side, pawing at it and sniffing curiously. She pulled him back, not interested, and he eventually seized the noise, hurrying to catch up with his siblings.

The huntress wondered if that was the best approach. Perhaps it would have been better to let the dogs discover something, and reward them, encouraging hunting and tracking. But then again, she needed to show that she was the alpha dog, and that they should hunt what she wanted to. After all, it wouldn't be helpful if the puppies started to chase rabbits in the middle of a chase with a gazelle or deer.
Last edited by Merevaika on September 3rd, 2015, 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Hunting With The Dogs

Postby Merevaika on August 30th, 2015, 3:58 pm

The scenery changed slowly, the trees and bushes of the woodland slowly merging and shifting towards little bluestem and switchgrass, a multitude of shades of grass that marked her homeland. A little further was the location Merevaika assumed the pheasants would shelter, with lots of tall grass and cattails, bordering the most prominent water source: the Bluevein.

Now she hushed the dogs even more, getting them to trail behind her carefully. Soon, she would have to let them free, as she couldn't use a bow while holding their leashes. The dogs sniffed curiously at the foreign environment, letting their senses assure them that there was no danger in the surrounding area.

Freya's ears pricked up, and she tilted her head in the direction of the noise, before sniffing at the ground. Merevaika dropped to the ground, looking at the spot she seemed focused at. A pheasant track, a simple bird foot. A little further down was a feather, brown and camouflaged. It must have been a female, as men always were the more brightly coloured and showy.

Good, gratitude, came the reply, joined with a pet on the head. She looked towards Denviel and a nearby shrub, with a strong wooden base. Securing the leashes there tightly, she beckoned for the dogs to stay, watch. Then, turning to Denviel, she pulled out her bow and arrow, a sign to him that she was ready to hunt. He sniffed at the tracks before moving around, following the scent through the plants, lost behind greens and browns.

Merevaika moved cautiously along the pheasant tracks, casting several looks at the puppies, who had their eyes trained on her. A sudden movement moved her eyes back to the grass, and a pheasant emerged from it, flapping its wings with a struggle to escape the dog which had flushed it out.

Drawing back the bowstring, she let her arm loosen, swinging the arrowhead to face the fleeing pheasant. She moved it a little further, mind naturally adjusting to allow for the time it would take for the arrow to reach the bird. Release. The arrow flew in an arc, missing the pheasant only slightly. She sighed at her miss, but still praised Denviel, in clear vision of the puppies.

Now, their turn.
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Hunting With The Dogs

Postby Merevaika on August 30th, 2015, 3:58 pm

Merevaika carefully undid their leashes, watching as Mika automatically sprinted off into the grass, disturbing another pheasant. "No!" she barked at him, ordering him to return, "Wait." He bounded back, tilting his head in confusion. His eyes spoke his thoughts: That's what Denviel did.

"Wait," she repeated, moving away. Her bow was resting in her hand, as was the arrow, but they needed to learn that she wasn't ready. A slight wind picked up, spreading their scent across the area. Sinking to the ground, she wiped the mud on her, attempting to mask her scent. Making a sign for the dogs to follow, she began to move around, until she was facing into the wind.

Finally, it was turn for the puppies to find and flush the pheasants out.

Nocking the arrow, she made a sign for the dogs to ready themselves, before whispering, "Go."

They bounded off into the tall grass, and instantly she regretted her order. They would get lost, fall in ditches, be bitten by snakes. And now she had to pick one to follow. The three had scattered in different directions, meaning Merevaika had to move in an uncertain direction, hoping that she would be going in a good one.

Another pheasant erupted from a tuft of little bluestem, feathers flying with the rapid wing movements. Once again, the huntress aimed and fired, this time holding her breath in anticipation. It knocked into the wing, causing the bird to start plummeting towards the ground. A small silver shape bounded towards the fallen quarry, and she turned at the noise of another pheasant. It was Grey's work, a male bursting out of the grass.

It was too late for her to get ready to shoot, but she didn't have to.

Almost immediately after the bird flew out, Mika pounced, somehow managing to knock it to the ground. It was chaotic.

"Mika, Freya, Grey, come," she called out, joined not long after by the two boys, with Mika holding a pheasant in his mouth. She wrestled for it with him, before congratulating the two for their work. She called for Freya again, and after several calls, the puppy rolled up, another pheasant, albeit half chewed, in her mouth. When asked to hand it over, the puppy ran back and forth, constantly chwing on it.

"No," Merevaika muttered sharply, snatching the bird off her. It was nothing more than scraps now, but she could always feed the dogs with it. There was nothing left of it that was salvageable and she could sell. Taking the two birds, she tied a length of rope around their feet, slinging it across her chest and back, and securing it into a loop with a tight knot at her shoulder.

This time, she let Denviel join the puppies, who, as she had hoped, didn't leave until her bow was ready and she had given the command. They followed Denviel, sticking close to the older dog in the way a pack of wolves would walk - not separately but as one unit.

She followed them, letting them wind in an "S" shaped path, searching for a pheasant to take down. They stumbled the muddy plains, wind bringing scents to them, not from them, and she swung her bow slowly from side to side, following the movements of the dogs, who sniffed everywhere and examined everything.
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Hunting With The Dogs

Postby Merevaika on August 30th, 2015, 3:58 pm

They weren't pheasant dogs, not really. As far as Merevaika saw them anyway. Luvanor Grassland Hunters were used to chase down deer, that's what her father had told her anyway. Strong and fast runners, they joined large hunts and chasing following herds of gazelles or antelope, helping bring down the animals by taking them down themselves or driving them towards the hunter. Smaller dogs were used more for pheasant hunting, as they didn't need the size and strength of a Luvanor.

However, they could hunt, and that meant that they could help her with pheasants.

They trailed down the side of the river, no pheasant in sight, until Mika suddenly darted into the distance, flushing out a pair of female pheasants. Merevaika chose the nearer, letting her arrow fly towards the quarry. Another miss, but it seemed to be closer than the miss from before. It soared high into the sky, disappearing behind dark clouds.

It seemed that it would rain soon. Merevaika picked up her pace, urging the dogs on. She wanted at least one more bird before it started raining. The events of when it last rained still burned in the back of her mind. She didn't want a repeat of that. This time she didn't have Eryunt.

They scoured the switchgrass and buffalo grass, Merevaika trying to spot some sort of trail amongst the plants and weeds that coated the floor. A light drop hit her head, and another her hand. It wasn't heavy, just a light drizzle, but it caused her to speed up, pushing the dogs forward.

Another pheasant darted out of the grass, and this one she managed to hit, as she had drawn her arrow back in preparation, saving time. Grey darted for it, rolling as he caught it in his mouth, gripping the neck tightly. He hurried over to her and dropped it by her feet, looking up expectantly. She rewarded him with a pheasant leg, letting him chew on it happily. The rest of the dogs continued their search, and she followed them reluctantly, tying the pheasant to the rope strung around her.

Denviel hurried through some buffalo grass, flushing out another bird, but Merevaika missed that one. However, when he passed through the area, there was the sound of an egg breaking, and he stayed in that area, not moving further to find more pheasants. She hurried over quickly, spotting a fairly large nest hidden behind the grass, sheltering eight creamy brown eggs, and one broken eggshell, where Denviel had stepped on it. He licked up the spilt egg while she gathered the eggs, glad for her discovery.

The huntress tucked the eggs in the backpack she wore, bundling them in her cloak that she always carried, just in case. When she returned to Riverfall, she would add these eggs to the pheasants she planned to sell. So far, she would only sell one pheasant, and that was the one she had just caught, but Merevaika hoped to add a few more to that amount before the rain picked up. Continue, she signed to the puppies and Denviel, adjusting the direction they were heading slightly to adjust to the shift in wind. They still had time, and she was certain that they would find another pheasant.
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Hunting With The Dogs

Postby Merevaika on August 30th, 2015, 3:59 pm

They were slowly nearing the woodland, which was good and bad at the same time. The good thing was that they were nearing home, so they would have less to travel when they decided to return, but that very fact meant they didn't have a lot of area left to find the pheasants in. She still kept to the decision of not hunting in the forest, so once they reached it, they would have to stop, or backtrack a long way to become upwind again.

The only alternative to going back or stopping was to spread out and cover a larger area. She made the gestures, urging the puppies to spread out, wider. They did so reluctantly, not wanting to leave the safety around their alpha dog. They still didn't trust the surrounding area well enough to leave her, and she respected that. They had been raised around Riverfall, and that had been their home. They still needed to adjust to their new one. After all, they would be spending a lot more time in it than they expected.

Finally, one stumbled across a large male pheasant, which took to the air immediately, crying with fear. Another pheasant followed it, a little further away, but startled by its cry. Merevaika drew back the already nocked bowstring, feeling the muscles across her back and shoulder tighten as she brought the feather to her cheek. A pheasant feather. How fitting. With that thought causing a small smile, she released, piercing the larger bird through the chest and pinning it to the ground.

Freya leapt towards it, and the huntress, not wanting another bird to be ruined, called her back. While Freya didn't listen to the order, she looked towards her owner, stopping a little to process what she had said. This left Merevaika enough time to sprint towards it, slipping and sliding across the mud. She snatched it up before falling down, the arrow still through the bird's heart. Another, final catch.

Merevaika called all the dogs back, her voice becoming coarse with the shouting for them. Freya had taken time to return, and Mika was still out searching, the sliver of silver appearing amongst green occasionally. She needed a better way of calling them, one that didn't alert the nearby prey of her presence. And she needed to train the dogs up better so they followed commands instantly, rather than several times later.

But that was a project for another time and another day. At the current moment, she just had to concentrating on getting the dogs back, and taking them home. She slipped the leashes over their necks, once all had finally arrived, and put the arrows and bow away. The pheasants, two to sell, one to eat and one for the dogs, hung limply around her chest, and the eggs lay safely wrapped in her cloak. Hopefully it would stay that way by the time their reached her tent.

And by the time she did, the rain that had picked up a few moments before had stopped. Completely.
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Hunting With The Dogs

Postby Konrad Venger on March 6th, 2016, 9:18 pm

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Nice job, Merevaika! Your work has pleased The Sloth!

Rewards

XP:
Hunting - 3
Animal Husbandry - 4
Observation - 2
Tracking - 1
Weapon: Short Bow - 3
Wilderness Survival - 2

Lore:
Pheasant Hunt: Requires Speed and Accuracy
Animal Husbandry: Hand Signs
Wilderness Survival: Pheasant Roosts
Hunting: Masking One's Scent
Animal Husbandry: Get Them Back BEFORE They Eat The Prey
Wilderness Survival: Watching The Weather
Hunting: Pheasant Eggs

Additional:

Click Me! :
I really enjoyed this! I've been looking to up Konrad's own Hunting/Tracking/Wilderness skills and using the dogs was a brilliant idea on your end. I don't know anything about hunting with them either, but you made some good, solid, logical points that definitely helped you.

Next time, just Google! That's what I always do when I need to research a thread.

Oh, and please make sure you go back and edit your post in the Request Thread to reflect the fact this one is now done and dusted. PM me with any questions and later 'tater!

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Note: As of Fall 517AV, Konrad is known only as "Hansel" in Endrykas
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