Watching my dog work foot scent of a pheasant yesterday, I realized where the term doggedly comes from. Dogs don't quit.
The pheasant ran inside thick brushy undercover beneath stunted twenty-foot oaks, traveling fast. Chara pushed under or jumped over tangles with almost every step. My legs ached trying to follow and the oaks clawed at my clothes.
We were hunting in a wildlife management area where hunters earlier chased all the pheasants out of the fields and into surrounding woods. The land is lumpy, not real hills but rather rolling crevasses, some twenty feet deep.
Repeatedly Chara pointed and I did my best to rush ahead, only to find no bird. Then she would take off again, nose to the ground, trying to sort out the scent. Twice I caught glimpses of the bird before it disappeared into the brush, encouragement enough to keep me chugging on.
We came to an open tote road and Chara locked up solid about thirty feet from its edge. My spirits soared, thinking we might finally have the pheasant cornered. I dashed ahead to the road and pushed back into the mess toward the dog, hoping for a flush.
Twenty feet to my left I spotted the pheasant, crouched low and long like a torpedo, dashing back up the hill, staying low to the ground beneath the tangled brush, and then it disappeared over the crest.
I called Chara to heel and we left for the truck, already twenty minutes past when I promised myself we would leave for an appointment. Chara came along, but with protest in her eyes.