Kovu leads a Private Truffle Hunting Event 22nd July 2018.

The weather was a stark contrast to last weeks truffle hunt, a beautiful and sunny Melbourne winter day. Although I brought my gumboots today, I probably didn’t need them.

Today was a extra special truffle day for Kovu as he was the star of the show (who am I kidding he is always the star of the show). But today he lead his first truffle hunting event. We had two people who had booked a private truffle hunting tour so we got our boots, gloves, the ball and of course the dog and set off to hunt down those elusive truffles hiding under ground.

The truffles have been getting deeper in recent weeks thus it has been more work for the us, the humans. But that didn’t stop Kovu from showing us where they were and once he did our VIP’s got to have a dig and find it. It ended up being 20 cm under ground but we could all smell how strong it was and the smell just kept getting stronger the more they dug. Once it showed its face there was a collective sigh of relief, we were all getting quite hot in the sun, digging for the truffle we could smell but couldn’t yet see. All the while Kovu was having a rest under the shade of the nearby tree, probably enjoying watching us do some hard work.

It was a lovely truffle about the size of a medium potato and weighing around 200 grams (valued around $350)

Once our VIP’s had had their share of hunting we continued on to the rest of the truffiere. He found a decent amount of truffle, a little less then previous weeks, as we are getting into the middle of the season. The recent rain fall unfortunately had damaged a few of the truffles we found, they had some rot on them. But there was still enough ripe truffle for Kovu to alert us too.

Kovu works best off lead, which is a good way to let a truffle dog search as you are not preventing them from taking you directly to the source of the scent. Although the down side to this is you have less control over where he walks. Kovu is very attentive to suggestion though and if he is walking towards another row and hasn’t finished his current row of trees, I can easily call him over and wave my arm in the direction I want him to search. He instantly moves to where I have indicated. But ultimately you have to trust your dog if he walks away from a tree and is completely not interested he is telling you there is no ripe truffle there.

This is Kovu’s fourth time at Truffle Treasures and I noticed today that he, on his own accord, has changed his searching pattern. Instead of walking/trotting down the center of the rows where the grass is (this is where us humans walk), he has decided to leave us and weave between the trees. He has worked out that the truffles are closer to the tree’s roots (not bothering with the grass areas) and has decided to search both sides of the tree this way. He found the quickest way is to weave through them.  I didn’t teach him to do this, but I am very happy he worked this out on his own.

I feel more confident in his searching knowing he has walked on both sides of the trunk.

We are looking forward to visiting two new farms this coming weekend on both Saturday and Sunday. Kovu will need to rest up as we have a big weekend ahead of us.

 

Image 1: The tools of the Truffle Hunting Trade.

Image 2: Gumboots, toolbox,  gloves, a spade, knee pads, coffee, ball, and some small truffles to take home for training.

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