Thursday, July 11, 2013

Early season forecast

Crazy Uncle Larry asked in the last post how the chukar population was doing? I have to admit to being a little lazy in this hot weather. I haven't really hit the chukar areas very hard yet. In about two weeks, Jake and I will be traveling a little further into the chukar hills and hopefully seeing lots of the little buggers flying around. My personal opinion is that most chukars are hatched in July and flying by the end of July to mid August. The bird biologist say mid June is the middle of the hatch for chukar.
Although it's been hot, the conditions seem to be good for chukar, a high desert bird. Jake and I took a shorter hike yesterday over in Gem county hoping to find a few chukar. We didn't see a chukar but as we got lower on the mountain and closer to  the cultivated land I was tickled to find a couple of big covey of quail (maybe two to three weeks old) and two covey's of young pheasants that were probably six to 8 weeks old. I was surprised to see how big the young pheasants were and both groups had at least ten young ones in it. I did see two young chukars, three to four weeks old crossing the road, going from the creek back up the mountain. I'm sure there were more ahead of them since I didn't see mom leading them.
A couple of weeks ago we found a group of blue grouse with at least 15 little ones that were probably 4 weeks old or so.
It's hard to imagine that if these birds are doing well, the chukar and huns won't do the same. There are plenty of insects out there to keep them healthy. I'm still pretty optimistic about the year to come.
The only negative I can find out there is the amount of snakes I'm seeing this year. Although Jake had snake avoidance about a month ago he walked right over the top of this one.
Luckily, the snake wasn't very interested in Jake either. It was the biggest rattler I have ever seen and wasn't too happy when I started poking a stick at it. I'm sure Jake didn't even know the snake was there but I was wondering whether the snake avoidance class had sunk in. About ten minutes late,r I saw Jake almost do a back flip off the trail about fifty yards ahead of me. There was a shed skin on the trail and Jake wanted nothing to do with it. Evidently the class worked.
Anyhow, let's keep our fingers crossed for the Sept. 21st opener. Hopefully all the young chukars will be filling up with grasshoppers and gaining the strength to give our dogs a great fall work out.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Riley and the vet.

Although we got another set back today I thought I'd give thumb's up to Dr. Warner and crew for helping to make Riley feel at home while recovering. It's becoming our second home and Riley has the routine down. We walk in the door and Riley walks right over to the scale and weighs himself.

Sherry escorts us into the back room
where Dr. Warner is talking dogs and the rest of the crew are waiting to start their healing process on animals.
Riley then is prepped for his laser therapy treatments by placing sunglasses on. Looks like a cool dude don't you think.
Now down on the floor for the treatment and than an x ray to make sure things are healing right.
The x ray showed another broken screw so back into surgery today. The good news was this screw was more accessible and the operation won't be quite as intrusive as the last two.
It's 6:30 and Barb is bringing Riley home from the vets. She called me with the instructions from Dr. Warner. I try hard not to be a rain cloud, but the news was not what I was hoping for. I have probably lost Riley for this hunting season. That hurts, because I know how much he enjoys being on the hill with me but even worse than that, we are back to square one for the next three months without any interaction with Jake and only walked outside for relieving himself. I have to believe that his poor recovery is my fault, because it has been so hard to keep Riley in prison. People have games to play, TV to watch, or many other things. What does a dog do, but wonder what he has done wrong to be punished like this. 
As for the hunting part, I don't have to miss a beat. I have Jake to take me through the season. Jake is an upcoming chukar hunting star and I should be thrilled with the prospects of the upcoming season with a new pup.  But, I feel guilty even thinking about hunting while Riley lays at home wondering why I left him again. Riley has always been there ready to go whenever I needed a partner and now there is nothing I can do to return the favor.
The day Barb and I picked up Jake he became family just as if we had a new child. I have introduced him to the wonderful world of bird hunting and now he has it in his blood. Jake deserves all the same treatment that Riley, Dakota and all our past hunting dogs got. Lot's of time on the hill pointing birds. I would gladly give up the 2013 season if it would help Riley recover but that wouldn't be fair to Jake.
Jake will carry me through the season with all his excitement and new discoveries and it will be exciting for me to watch him develop. But don't let the smiles you see on my face for Jake fool you. Although I'll be happy for Jake's progress, there'll be a knot in my gut and a lump in my throat because Riley is not able to enjoy it with us. Those who love their dogs as much as I do will understand. Please say a prayer that I can be strong enough to do what is right for Riley in the next three months.
I don't want to pretend that financially this has not had a big impact on Barb and I but we've made these dog's a huge part of our lives.. I planned my retirement for these years. If my hobby was golfing or trap shooting, I could just buy new clubs or a gun if they broke. But that isn't what you do with a friend, just put them aside. Time in the field together is of the utmost importance and that is what Riley and I have lost. The only upside to this is that it makes me glad I never wasted an opportunity to be out with my boys in the past.
And to think I used to think I was a tough guy.
Update. Barb just got home with Riley and some better news. The total confinement has been lowered to eight weeks and then there will be an evaluation. So, if he stays in this room (our master bedroom) except to go outside on a short leash for bathroom breaks we may have one month less of down time.