Wednesday, April 23, 2014

149 days

It's 149 days until the chukar opener in Idaho, but who's counting.? I've decided that nobody loves chukar more than I do. Everyday Jake and I aren't on the mountain I'm looking for some kind of new entry about chukar hunting in the internet. It's pretty dull theses days. I get  about two views a day this time of the year compared to 25 or more during the chukar season. If I post the words "chukar count" all the sudden it jumps to over 100. Chukar hunting to most is just a fill in season. It hasn't always been this way, but I now would rather spend a day chasing chukars than hunting a big trophy bull elk. If I could find something to say, I would post everyday Jake and I go on the mountain but that would become pretty darn boring to most.

But, like everyone else, I need to find different ways to pass the time until bird season opens. Having a outdoor grandson helps a bunch. Conner not only goes on hikes with Jake and me, he also likes to challenge me to a rock chuck shoot or show me how to down a gobbler.
He then likes challenge me on being first to get back to the truck a mile away while he packs the bird. He might have been a short hair in his former life the way he can traverse the hills at 11 years old.
But I got the last laugh on him. A few days after he shot his turkey, I took advantage of him being at school and took my own little hunt. It took me a lot longer than it did him but I finally got a bird at 11:35. Conner had his shortly before 7:00. But I think mine was bigger. (So I tell him.)
I have to admit to the excitement of calling a big Tom in. Hearing him gobble time and time again, sometimes getting closer and than getting farther again, is nerve racking. Trying to make the right decisions of moving or staying put is a challenge in itself. Move at the wrong time and you're busted. You finally know he's close enough by his spitting and drumming sounds, but still can't get a shot. It seems like forever that the bird has been within range but he never presents a shot. Your barrel moves ever so slow towards your target, because you know from past experience that any fast movement will alert the turkey and he'll be gone in a flash. At the shot, the bird goes down. You feel the rush of adrenaline rush back through your body as the bird flops around on the ground. It's almost hard to stand up to retrieve your bird because you've been sitting in this cramped position for so long, but you finally do and walk to your trophy. As you pick up the turkey and admire the trophy you appreciate the accomplishment of your success because of your past many failures.

Even at that, my mind had many flashbacks to chukar hunting. I located this turkey area while chukar hunting. It's 3 miles back into this area and seems straight up most of the way. In fact, while walking in I had the crap scared out of me by a flushing chukar in the dark. His chukar cursing left me even shorter of breath than the hill had already done. As the light started gathering over the mountain I heard the first gobble and then several other birds gobbled back to him. Wow! Here we go. I found a likely ambush spot and set with my back up against the tallest sage I could find and began my calling. Suddenly I heard a sound that seemed to drown out the turkeys gobble. Chuk, Chuk, Chuk, Chuk, Chukar. It couldn't be more than 50 yards away with another one calling from the other side of the draw. My mind suddenly went to thinking "hey there's some breeders for the coming season."  I started visualizing Tucker, Dakota, Riley and Jake running these mountains as they all have many times before. I could see each of them locked on birds. I even wished for just one moment I could have all four honoring each other on this magnificent mountain.

After the hunt was over, I was even more excited to bump three pair of chukar on the way back to my truck. I'm not often in chukar country without a dog and once again my mind wandered to the many points of previous canine friends. As I traversed down the hill, I noticed the green grass and many colors of flowers surrounding me on the hill. The spring is a beautiful time of the year, but I have to admit to yearning for fall season when this same mountain looks dry and full of chukars.
That is where my true heart belongs. I'll never forget any trip onto the mountain whether spring or fall, but my heart has a urge to be there with my dogs and other companions while the chukars are singing their song and throwing out scents that thrill my dog. With that scent, Jake will be thrilling me with the many points I hope to see in the future. Points that thrill me in the same way that the monarch bull elk use to.
Oh, did I mention I got a turkey?


Anonymous said...

Nice birds you and the grandson got there Larry. Nice piece of writing too. I'll bet Jake was pacing the whole time you were gone turkey hunting. He might even have used your name in vain a few times.Glad you are taking the grandson out hunting. Most kids are glued to their I phones these days. Hope all is well with you and Barb. I never did find those ptarmigan again.I sunk in the snow so deep I had to have a friend help me out of the hole.
Take care,

larry szurgot said...

My legs handle the steep hills better than deep snow, even before I got knee replacements. On our trip this Sunday we got rained on, snowed on, sleet and wind and Conner kept me going for 11 hours before I told him we had get off the hill and try again another day. He's hooked and loves the walking part.