Monday, September 22, 2014

Season opener

After sitting out opening day to watch Conner play football, Jake and I woke up early on Sunday morning and headed for a favorite chukar spot. Knowing it was going to be warm, we headed up the hill at first light. It wasn't long before Jake showed his style with a fine point on a small covey of chukar.
The birds flushed without me being able to get off a shot but it was still a great way to start the season. From that point things changed. We went the next hour and a half without seeing a bird. There were occasional feathers along the trails and tracks in the dust that told us there were birds around, but Jake was having a hard time finding them for me. Finally, I came around the corner to find Jake on a motionless point at about twenty yards. As I reached for my camera a small covey of chukar exploded from the brush in front of him. I picked out a bird and fired. The shot shell filled with 7 1/2 shot and ashes from Tucker, Dakota and Riley did it's job. The bird fell to the ground. Jake hustled to pick up the bird as I grabbed the camera to get a picture of him retrieving through the dust of my previous hunting canine companions.
After taking the bird from Jake we sat on the hill with respect for the three dogs that showed me such a great time in the past and hoped that we would be going through this same scenario for at least another dozen years. By then, it might be time for gentler slopes, admiration of what God has done for me, and just appreciating the great life I've been given.

As far as bird numbers, I have to admit some disappointment. Although we found plenty of sign that there were birds around, we couldn't seem to find them. With the conditions as dry as they are, not finding the birds didn't surprise me, but the age of the birds did. We didn't see any young birds and the birds I got were definitely adults from last year.

BUT, I have talked to three friends who made it out opening morning and had different results, seeing lot's of birds, and mostly young ones. Bob McMichaels in his Chukar Hunting blog also opened his season with a better outlook for bird numbers than last year.

It sounds like it's going to be a fun year. Hope to run into some of you guys on the hill this season. I love to watch these dogs doing what they love to do. 


Pete said...

Man I wish I lived up there. I'm in SoCal and it's been dry as a bone down here for a few seasons now. This upcoming season looks terrible.
We were vacationing in northern Idaho a few weeks ago and I joked with my wife that we may need to move to Idaho one of these years...

Anonymous said...


Glad to hear you guys made it out in part to remember the past pups. I made it out on Saturday morning for a couple hours. I didn't expect to see much and didn't. We saw one small covey but really didn't hunt too hard with the heat. Based on the past couple years, I am really trying not to put too much pressure on myself and Jack early in the season because it is always 100x better once it cools down. The birds I saw seemed pretty old when they flushed, but the bird we took seemed to be an early first year (fully colored but too small to be last year - even though full of seeds and insects).

I hope we are able to connect again this year once it cools off!

- Matt & Jack

Mr. McMichael said...

What a beautiful tribute to your past partners, Larry, and the best argument for reloading I've ever heard. I love reading your posts because of the deep connections you show with your dogs. It's inspiring. Angus did have trouble locating birds because of the hot, dry conditions, so we definitely got some of the medicine you tasted last weekend. Other reports from these parts echo that, too - not many birds bagged, but they are around in better numbers than last year. Good luck on your next outing. I look forward to reading more great posts from you this year! If you ever fancy a trip up here, let me know. I'd like to hunt with you sometime.