Monday, September 29, 2014

Fantastic Sept. weather

You don't get much great September chukar hunting weather but we got some the last two days, with another to follow tomorrow. Sadly, Jake and I need to take tomorrow off to get a few things done. I mean, when was the last time you hunted chukar in the fog in September?
That was on the 28th and today we got to hunt with a strong breeze after a night of rain. Both days should have produced good hunting, but the birds were hard to find. Yesterday produced four or five small covey's of chukar (no more than six birds per covey) and our first hun encounter of the year. Three birds in the hun covey. Jake had some great points and retrieves and ranged great, but I felt he deserved more action for putting in 26 miles. I did see enough sign to think there were birds somewhere that we were missing.

Today he pointed a three bird covey and I proceeded to miss the two easiest shots of the year. This was with an 18 mile jaunt around the mountain. The area we hunted today showed no sign of better things to come and we'll cross it off the return list for 2014.

With the negative new I just gave, I do have one positive note. Unlike Matt, I at least had my shotgun with me while I was hunting.

 Don't get disgruntled too soon, though. The areas I've hunted so far this year are local areas and aren't prime chukar areas even though I usually find more birds than I have the last two years. We'll soon be heading out on some trips where hopefully Jake will be able to have ten or fifteen encounters a day with bigger covey's of birds. The kind of day that makes your dog dream of points and retrieves at night.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Women got the right to vote. What about dogs?

Barbara just got through fixing a great dish from the chukars the big guy and I got yesterday. She aroused the big guy from his normal prone position on the couch with a come and get it, I cooked the chukars you got yesterday. Immediately the hair raised on my back. "What does she mean that he got?" I believe there was a team effort on the birds. In fact, if you look at the miles traveled and vertical feet gained, I worked a lot harder than he did.

So, I decided right there and then, I was going to share in the feast. I immediately climbed up to the table and claimed my doghood. I agreed to take only 1/3 of the portion, since fats there weighs almost three times what I do.
All you other hunting dogs out there need to join in with me. Yes, we finally got to ride in the front of the truck with our human partners and get to sleep in the house with them, but let's not let it stop there. We work hard and deserve more equality. If we don't start standing up for our rights, it won't be long before they have us driving and carrying our own water.

Hit the dinner table you studs and bitches, it's a new world out there.

Season opener

After sitting out opening day to watch Conner play football, Jake and I woke up early on Sunday morning and headed for a favorite chukar spot. Knowing it was going to be warm, we headed up the hill at first light. It wasn't long before Jake showed his style with a fine point on a small covey of chukar.
The birds flushed without me being able to get off a shot but it was still a great way to start the season. From that point things changed. We went the next hour and a half without seeing a bird. There were occasional feathers along the trails and tracks in the dust that told us there were birds around, but Jake was having a hard time finding them for me. Finally, I came around the corner to find Jake on a motionless point at about twenty yards. As I reached for my camera a small covey of chukar exploded from the brush in front of him. I picked out a bird and fired. The shot shell filled with 7 1/2 shot and ashes from Tucker, Dakota and Riley did it's job. The bird fell to the ground. Jake hustled to pick up the bird as I grabbed the camera to get a picture of him retrieving through the dust of my previous hunting canine companions.
After taking the bird from Jake we sat on the hill with respect for the three dogs that showed me such a great time in the past and hoped that we would be going through this same scenario for at least another dozen years. By then, it might be time for gentler slopes, admiration of what God has done for me, and just appreciating the great life I've been given.

As far as bird numbers, I have to admit some disappointment. Although we found plenty of sign that there were birds around, we couldn't seem to find them. With the conditions as dry as they are, not finding the birds didn't surprise me, but the age of the birds did. We didn't see any young birds and the birds I got were definitely adults from last year.

BUT, I have talked to three friends who made it out opening morning and had different results, seeing lot's of birds, and mostly young ones. Bob McMichaels in his Chukar Hunting blog also opened his season with a better outlook for bird numbers than last year.

It sounds like it's going to be a fun year. Hope to run into some of you guys on the hill this season. I love to watch these dogs doing what they love to do. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

2 days

Well guys, here we go. Another chukar season is upon us. If everyone else is as excited as I am all the necessary issues are taken care of at least twice by now. The collars as well as the gps's have been charged, the packs have been double checked for essentials such as first aid and a multi tool, extra protein bars for both you and your canine partner are packaged to keep as fresh as possible in your vest, and you have provided space for plenty of water for your upcoming hunt.

I'm sure the pups are fired up also. I've had Jake out some since the grouse opener on the 30th of August and there is no way I can get out of the house with a gun without him going with me. I showed him this picture of Ava (Jordan Oyler's gsp) from a previous hunt he took her on earlier this season and he is now expecting the same from me with chukars. Thanks for the picture Jordan.
 With all the excitement for the opener, I hope everyone remembers to be safe. Another chukar hunter posted a comment on my preamble post, I'd suggest everyone read. The heat problems seem pretty obvious but every year you hear of someones dog overheating. Once this happens the dog is never the same. Also, as the hunter pointed out, there is lot's of blue green algae at Brownlee. I have no first hand experience, but I understand it's a killer.

Because of the heat, Jake and I will only be taking short hunts. The morning hours on shaded sides of the hills will offer us enough time to have some fun together and possibly bring home a few birds. With the temperatures predicted we'll be off the hill early. With a season that goes for 132 days there is no reason to take the chance of hurting or ruining a great hunting companion.

I hope everyone has a chance to get there dog's out soon for a good time. The pups have had a long wait. But, keep it safe.

Some of you guys that post comments don't leave your name. I understand if that's how you want it, but I'd like to give you credit for your comments and scouting efforts, if you desire. Also, I'd love to post stories and pictures of your hunts, if possible. If your reading this blog, you obviously love dogs and chukar hunting and we all have a lot in common. I'm trying to figure out how to get this done. I can usually get the pictures done if they are the right size. I've tried to get several pictures posted but they are too small and I can't make them larger without making them blurry. If you don't want me showing the pictures let me know. I know how hard good spots are to find and a picture might give that spot away.

I love chukar hunting with my dog. I know most of you do too. So, let me know how your opener is and those great stories of you and your partner. Be safe out there this year and have a great season.

Excuse any misspelling or improper  literature, my editor (Barbara) took the summer off.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

2014 preamble

With under three weeks to go until the chukar opener Jake insisted I get him out for some action and work a little summer fat off me. So we picked a few cooler mornings and tried for some grouse. The first morning we went for blues but only got one point. It was a nice adult male that held very tight and helped me start the season with a perfect shooting record.
We usually see plenty of blues in this area but not so this year. The good news is that we saw three covey's of chukar and one covey of huns on our way down the hill. None of the covey's were real large but there were enough birds to make me think we'll be having a decent season. I've also been hearing from some other bird hunters of better chukar numbers being seen.

My second outing was for ruffs with Conner. I can't think of a more enjoyable hunt than to watch a 12 year old and a 19 month old dog hunt together for birds. Conner followed Jake like a guide and client and although we had several unsuccessful opportunities the end count was Conner and Jake with his first two grouse ever.
The next day was opener for dove season and Conner loves hunting so I took him out to a spot where I'd seen dove's flying in the past. Jake wasn't invited on this hunt, since the doves aren't much of a pointing bird, but Conner did pretty well without him.
Yesterday found Jake and I back on yet another blue grouse mountain. We found a few more birds and brought a couple of nice eaters home but the most exciting thing for me on the hunt was hearing several chukars welcoming the rising sun and one lone distant bugle of an elk. The season is definitely around the corner and coming fast.

Congratulations to Alan and his dog Mays, in Alaska, and Jordan and his dog Ava, in Utah, on your ptarmigan hunts.  I wish I could figure out how to get your pictures transferred. They would make other upland hunters envious. 

As I mentioned earlier, I've had nothing but good reports about the chukar and hun numbers. I think it's going to be another great year to be on the mountain. The numbers may not be great, but there are going to be enough birds to make an eight bird limit possible to those who don't mind putting some effort in. Good luck to those who are going to venture out on the 20th.