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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Appreciation

 Things haven't quite turned out the way that I hoped this hunting season. My leg hasn't healed the way I hoped and my back operation seems to be not  successful. None of it is due to nothing but me. Everybody involved did their best, but each step on the hill is painful and it is getting harder to stay excited about the next hunt. That's the bad news. 

The good news is two chukar dogs that love to hunt. They are the reason I get up at least three times a week and travel to a chukar mountain. I owe it to them to get them out as often as possible. After all, I'm the one who introduced them to this excitement that they love. So out we go chasing the dream. Like usual, it's a long hike before we finally find some birds but the dogs are willing to run and cover the ground looking for that wonderful scent. Outside of me being much slower, every hunt seems to be the same as before for them. I have become use to not seeing birds for the first hour or two but this year it's bothering me more because from the moment I step out of the truck I hurt. Somehow watching the dogs do what they do helps to forget about the pain. And even though we don't seem to be working as well together as we have in the past, I haven't lost my love of seeing them in action.

Take yesterdays hunt. After the collars were put on the dogs, they immediately headed straight up the mountain. Being cold, I had some muffs over my ears and maybe they had heard chukars high up on the hill that I couldn't hear. My leg won't let me go straight up so I have to side hill back and forth to gain elevation and most of the time the boys are out of sight. But they know we are a team and every once in a while they will come back and get a peek to make sure I'm still with them. I am amazed at how many times I check the Alpha and they are covering a different area but than show up right in front of me. They have an instinct to not lose me. 

The first birds I saw were swinging around the mountain about 100 yards to my right at a high rate of speed. Shortly after, Grady came down at a fast trot. My first instincts were to correct this bad behavior but I quickly remembered I am the variable that has changed on the mountain this year. I gave him a quick no and he headed back up the mountain. Not long after that I heard Jake excitedly yipping as he does when he is following some running bird scent, and just as I see him the birds flush way out of range. It is something he has done all his life, without the flushing so I let it go. But still, I'm hurting and would just like to get a shot. 

About an hour and a half into the hunt I had my first point, or should I say dual points. Grady was 250 yards to my left and Jake was 47 yards to my right. No brainer here. Jake's point was flawless as I walked in front and busted the covey. After the shot Grady was there before Jake had retrieved the bird to me. I don't know what happened on his point but he wasn't about to miss out on action. Bird in the vest we moved on.

The rest of the day went about the same. We had some more blunders along with some great dog work. At times, when I could see the dogs, I stopped to rest and just enjoyed watching the dogs cover the ground. Taking the weight off my leg and back was welcomed. It was amazing to watch them work the area in their different ways. Grady going 100 miles an hour and Jake methodically using his nose. Watching them I really got an appreciation of what they do for me. 

Later on I heard Grady wildly yipping and suddenly a large covey of chukars dove over my head with Grady not too far behind. I didn't know why the yipping and chase but figured that maybe someday when I could actually see the action I can correct it. We had plenty more blunders, some I can understand, and also more good dog work. It ended up being one of those good days in spite of me limping around and the dogs doing some bird chasing. I'd say if someone was watching from the distance and saw my boys chasing birds they might think I had some pretty wild dogs and at times they might be right. But they would have to see the many points in between those wild moments to really appreciate how special they are. They know how to find birds and many times hold them so that even a crippled old man can get some action. That's pretty darn special.


A side note back to the last post and old pictures. This ram was obvious hard asleep on this hunt. Tucker and I were chukar hunting when we got about twenty yards from him and he jumped up. He seemed startled before he quickly disappeared.



10 comments:

John Burley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sorry Larry that recovery is coming slow for you but I do admire that you get those dogs out. Guess we will have to find flatter ground for awhile. Hey, I can drive you to the top and you can work down hill. Let me know if I can help. Take care of yourself,see you when you come through this big town.
Alan,Gracie, and Piper

Pat, Marcus & Alexis said...

I'm sorry to learn your recovery isn't going as well as hoped, and I'm very sorry about the back surgery.

I'm not facing anything like you, but after years of living as close to being a subsistence hunter as my wife will allow, I'm finding that this year. . . 2020 you know, has me so worn out that some weekend mornings I'm at the "maybe I'll just stay home". But then what would the dog do? He's waited all week.

Tuckers Chukars said...

It's hard to imagine what we would be like if it weren't for the dogs. They seem to be the catalyst we need at times.

Unknown said...

Larry,

I also am sorry for the lack of progress you were hoping for with your knee and back. But, you are a fighter and circumstances aren't going to keep you from the things you cherish most! Those two dogs live for the trips afield so I salute you for pushing through the pain to get them out there..

What a blessing to have such great numbers this year in your hunt areas.

I too am committed to getting the dogs out even though they are running through LOTS of birdless miles. Horrible dip in population here. Sometimes not finding a single bird where we once shot limits. Never the less we go.....

Tuckers Chukars said...

Sorry to hear about the birdless miles. I'm hearing that from a few others. That's as hard as anything. Not being able to see a point now and then. The good thing is that chukars are very resilient and hopefully the next year or two will see a big rebound. I know that doesn't mean a lot to our pups who only have 12 or so good seasons of hunting. One lost season is a lot.

I almost feel bad mentioning the fair number of birds I am seeing and complaining about my condition.

But, complaining I go. Three days ago I came down with covid and the dogs are stuck at home with me once again. I don't even see that many people and spend more time on the mountain than most people and still got it. It has me feeling pretty puny but it too will soon pass and the boys will be thanking me for getting off my dead butt.

No matter how many birds we find, the end of this season is going to be dynamite for me and the dogs. We're just going to be happy to be on the mountain.

Unknown said...

Covid?....CRAZY.!..lay low and let it go. Hope it's over soon for you as it was for a couple people I knew with it.

Fun thing about folks like yourself that are humble and honest is we get to enjoy your experiences with great numbers as you share your stories here. Thank You for your effort here. I have followed over the years and always enjoy!

Anonymous said...


Larry, so sorry other about the covid you are experiencing. l hope it gets behind you quickly. As strong and determined as you are l am confident it is a mere bump in the road and you will be back out there shortly with those dogs.
Gentleman from Tennessee

Tuckers Chukars said...

Thanks guys. Just getting it all over with before 2021. Me and the dogs are going to make up for all the set backs this year.

Anonymous said...

We may be slow following the dogs but when they check back in they will see we are dedicated! Keep on trucking, you are a tough guy.
Alan,Gracie, and Piper(see you out there soon)