Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Age, conditioning and shooting

Getting older has it's advantages. It also has some disadvantages. For the main scheme of it all, there are a lot more advantages than disadvantages.

One of the advantages is getting smarter as you get older. In other words you hunt smarter, not harder. I haven't quite grasped that one yet but I'm not alone. I hunted with Greg Munther of Missoula, Mont. the last two days and at 68 he has me by 7 years. I don't think smart is in his vocabulary when it comes to hunting chukars. He looks for the hardest hill and goes for it. He is in fantastic hunting shape.

I pride myself in being in chukar shape. I feel the best way to stay fit is to be on the chukar hills at least 150 days a year. Half of the time hunting and the other half just hiking. Outside of having a good bird dog, conditioning along with shooting are the next two major parts of chukar hunting. So what has that got to do with age?

I shoot aproximately 1000 rounds a year practicing at the sporting clays course or just with my automatic thrower and I keep in fairly good shape. I also have a great hunting dog so I should bring home lots of birds. It doesn't always work that way and today was one of those bad days. It wasn't that I just shot bad. It was that I crippled more birds today than the previous twenty trips. Usually you know when you make a poor shot, but today I felt like I was in slow motion when swinging the gun.

Greg hunted the same hill and he shot just fine so what could the difference be? I knew I was shooting behind most of the birds but just couldn't seem to catch up. It was kind of like the feeling when you're all bundled up in clothes. As I sat in the lounger watching the football game this evening it suddenly hit me. I couldn't even twist around to get my favorite beverage off the coffee table without moaning. I felt like rigamortis had set in.

I felt a little like this the last two days but not as bad as tonight. The problem is, this was the fifth day in a row of hard chukar hunting. When you're young that is no big deal but as you age your body doesn't recover quite as fast. As you age you have to give yourself a little more recovery time for the muscles to recover.

So, in short, what I'm trying to say is that I shot behind the birds because at my age I hunted too many days in a row which made me stiff so I couldn't swing fast enough on the fast escaping birds. That is going to be excuse #753 in my new book of 1000 reasons why I miss chukars.

Did I tell you I had fun today?


Anonymous said...

I live in Boise and in the market for a new chukar dog. I had an English setter but thinking about a GSP. Where did you get your dogs? Do you think they have a little closer range and do you think they are easier to train to retrieve?

larry szurgot said...

Bob, I got my latest GSP from Oklahoma 4 1/2 years ago. Tucker was from a local kennel (no longer around) and Dakota was Tucker's son.
All of my GSP's range around 300 yards in the open country and closer if it's heavier brush. I feel if you hunt with them enough they learn to hunt the cover appropriately.
They have been super easy to train to retrieve. I don't make them deliver to hand but require them to bring the bird to within a step or two.
Good luck in your search for a hunting companion. I might be looking next year also. There is no reason, but I'm kind of partial to the solid liver males.

jc said...

That's because you've never had a lil' ticked up fireball female Larry. ; )

larry szurgot said...

Very true JC. My problem with the females is my heart. They're your little girls and when they mess up you can't look them in the eyes and explain what you want. Bull headed males just look you in the eye and say let's get it over with. Kind of like a father son relationship over a father daughter relationship.
Am I a softy or what?