Monday, November 8, 2010

Boot Leather and satisfaction

Kirklan, defines the ability to find chukars as "boot leather". In other words the more ground you cover, the more birds you find.
Greg Allen, defines the ability to find chukars  as "getting satisfaction". Satisfaction to Greg is getting to the top of the mountain, no matter how tall it is.
Boot leather and satisfaction are why I believe some people are more successful in finding chukars than others. It doesn't mean that they are better hunters or have better dogs, it just means the drive is there.
I'd like to add one more factor to the equation. My dogs deserve birds. They work hard for me, so I should be willing to walk the extra ridge for birds.
I know that different strokes for different folks applies to everything, including chukar hunting, and I respect that.  But  I had a talk with an ODFW official this weekend and he made the response that he had heard some grumbling about low bird numbers are again. He said opening weekend seemed pretty good but the birds have been hard to find since. When I told him of my experiences over the last four days he was very pleased. Without exaggeration, I saw at least 150 birds every day and I hunted four different locations.
He also explained that most of the hunters he had conversations with were back to their rigs by noon and ready to call it a day. Once again, I understand that. Different strokes for different folks. But that doesn't mean the numbers are down. Remember, "boot leather and satisfaction".
I can't count how many times I walked for two hours without seeing a bird, only to find 5 coveys in the next half hour. These four days are a perfect example. I put in 18 hours of hunting. That's actual hunting time. No driving or enjoying the scenery. In those 18 hours I covered 29 miles, Riley covered 72, and we gained 6710 feet in elevation. My rewards were multitudes of points and retrieves and a happy dog. I was smiling pretty big myself.
This isn't for everyone, but it's what I believe is necessary to consistently find good number of birds. Chukars aren't always easy.
With that I'll get off my pedestal and show a few of the pictures from the weekend.

The first picture, although not a great photo, is what you get when you get away from the beaten path. Chukars in between you and the dog makes for good shooting opportunities.
The fourth picture is the country I hunted the second day. Yes there were some birds on the ridge I went down, but there were four times as many on the other side of the canyon and up in those bowls as Riley proved on the last photo.
Good luck in your hunts.


Pete said...

Awesome photos. Man, that looks like beautiful country. I know what you're saying about boot leather and persistence. I have no idea how many miles we usually put in, but I do know we put in a long day.
I spent some quality time in our local high desert hills this past Saturday. Only one covey flushed and one chukar to show for it this time, but the previous few weeks resulted in many more coveys being busted, so I can't complain. I'm sure I'd get more opportunities with a good dog, but unfortunately I can't work that these days. Guess I'll have to burn through more boots (I just sent out another pair to Danner for re-soling...)

larry szurgot said...

Thanks Pete. A good dog saves a whole lot of boot leather and sore legs. Not only in finding the birds but chasing those cripples down.

Shawn K. Wayment, DVM said...

You're so right about satisfaction and boot leather! I'd walk all day just to have my dogs point one covey...and be extremely satisfied!

I'm a covey junkie and just need one covey explosion!

larry szurgot said...

Covey junkie. That's another term I've never heard before. A dose of that a day would work just fine for me.

Kirklan said...

I couldn't agree more Larry. I can't resist that next ridge or the good looking slope just a few hundred yards away. I'm always looking for and anticipating the next covey. That's what drives me to hunt, to walk over the top of the far ridge and find my dog on point.

Anonymous said...

He who walks the farthest wins...