I know Matt Hutt and his PP Jack have been getting out on some training missions, with some success I might add, but most of the hunters haven't put their boots on since January 31st. Most hunters quit quite a while before that because the birds were harder to find. That's alright because there are lot's of other things to do outdoors besides chasing birds. But, what about your dog? Do you sometimes wonder why your dog doesn't find birds except on those years when the bird numbers are up and blame those who keep hunting them when the numbers seem down for taking too many birds? I'm not standing on a soap box right now, just defending the position I took with a good friend of mine over a cup of coffee a few days ago.
Several years back, this friend introduced his brit to chukar hunting. It was the best bird year I have ever seen. He had great success that year and was hooked, so he said. The next year wasn't quite as good and it didn't take long before he decided to kennel his dog while he fished for steelhead. The fish count was high. I understand how sportsmen feel and how many opportunities we have to be outdoors doing something different in Idaho. I just hope that ? understands that people like myself, who dedicates his or her time to one particular activity, aren't being selfish because he didn't see enough birds to keep hunting them. If the bird numbers seem down, it's because of Mother Nature, not the dedicated hunter that relentlessly chases his hounds.
With that being said, today I had another great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with Jake while ? was on his way to Riggins for some fish. What made the day even better, was, a good friend of mine, John Carter, went on a business trip to Chicago and left his GSP, Neka, with me for a few days. As I mentioned, it wasn't raining so we took the opportunity to head up on the hill. Although I have had the good fortune to hunt around Neka, I have never been able to hunt behind her, nor has Jake. So I didn't really know what to expect.
First off, these two dogs spent the whole night last night playing grab ass and again this morning but, as soon as I put the collars on them and hit the mountain they were nothing but serious. To make it worse was after about five minutes Neka busted a small covey of quail, sending her into intense hunting mode and covering the ground like a grey hound. The astro's came in very handy today, having the two dogs three hundred yards to each side of me at times. I knew that was about the far end of Jake's range but wasn't sure about Neka, but was pleased to see her return with a quick whistle from me. From that point I was just interested in honoring from both dogs.
Our first chance came with this precarious point by Jake.