Friday, September 18, 2015

The opener (Jake's view)

Okay guys and gals, the opener is tomorrow. I've been listening and I feel your pains. I too, have concerns with conditioning this season. No, not the shape we are in, but the shape of our gun toting partners.

Nikki, Trudi, and Katy, I'm with you all the way. I don't know how Greg thinks he is going to keep up with you ladies when he road his mountain bike through the hills while you girls ran. I understand he was breathing pretty hard even while coasting down some of those steeper grades. Now , he's up chasing elk. How can you work the cardio system sitting and calling an animal to you? I can't wait to hear your stories about getting him back into chukar shape.

I understand Neka. John brought a new dog(Loki) into the family and the two of you have been running like crazy waiting for the season to start and now you're wondering if John is going to make it up the mountain to your points. Trust me, I'll let you know some tricks on how to get him up the hill quicker and get him back in chukar shape.

Taffy, your job is going to be a little tougher. All those grey hair's on your partner's chin are giving his age away. Your first step is to pee on his golf clubs and make them stink bad enough that he never wants to use them again.

Fergus and Aster, you also have a tough one to compete with. Two young men who are keeping dad pretty active along with his job. Don't fret, I also have some tricks to make him focus more on the chukar birds.

Lucy, we don't get to hear much from you clear over in Montana and I understand you have the same problems as Greg Allen and Jeff. A partner that has too many activities. Like Jeff, your Greg needs to find more focus on the important things.

Mays, you have the toughest job of all. It's one I don't have any experience with but we'll sit down sometime and see what we can come up with. Ptarmigan hunting in Alaska and actually having to wear a jacket sounds pretty fun to most of our hunters and convincing Al to come down to Idaho and chase chukars straight up hill in 70 degree weather will take some doing. I'll work on getting some great photo's this year in the snow and maybe that will make Al feel more at home.

Abbie, I know you also have to wait until after big game season but we'll compile enough great chukar pictures that Claire will be chomping at the bits to get you back on the mountain.
Colt, you have more than conditioning for Eddie to work on. You being a first year dog probably don't know much about rattlesnakes but Eddie does and he doesn't much care for them. The only thing that will put them away is cool wet weather. Maybe if we can show him how many birds are out there to be hunted he might put his fear of snakes aside. It's a thought.

Jack, you're competing with a new baby and that's a tough one, but I'm sure with a couple of good outings and plenty of chukars we'll have Matt huffing and puffing again.

As for me, I have the same problem as most of you guys. We've been on a few grouse hunts already this year and I have to say I'm ashamed of the Big Guys physical condition. I'm going to have to pull a lot of tricks from the play book.

So let's make a plan of attack on our hunting partners. First let's hope that they have it together mentally and bring the necessary provisions, like food and water. Oh yeah, I've seen them forget shells and even a shotgun before but that usually results in a return home for the day. When they forget food or water, we end up hunting up the hill anyway and one of us usually pay for it.

The most important part of human conditioning is right at the beginning of the days hunt. As soon as they let you out of the truck start running around all excited, like it's the first time you've ever been in a place like this. After they put your collar on, cover as much country as possible looking for birds. The steeper the country the better. I mean really cover country. If you find birds in the first fifteen minutes the rest of the job is easier. When you find the birds resist the urge to point. Bust through them and scatter them everywhere. Sure you may get a quick shock from the collar but the results will be worth it. All of the sudden the hunters will be moving uphill as fast as possible. Even though you busted only a dozen birds or so you'll be hearing them say "let's hurry and get up there, there are birds everywhere. Those busted birds just got you through the first phase of cardio training.

After they get up to the spot where you busted the birds, slow the pace a little. We don't want to kill them.  They are our ride home remember. Keep them moving as you search for birds. Hopefully, you'll find another covey soon. If so, hold this bunch tight and let the hunter shoot. He probably won't hit anything because he's out of breath but then it's time to give him a break. Humans sometimes need to regather themselves. Put on a fake retrieve and look back up at the hunter like "man a thought you hit one." If you don't find a covey right away, give a false point. The hunter might be a little disgusted with you but you will achieved your objective, a little endurance training.

The biggest asset you have to this training method is the hill. Keep them going up. Sure, you'll get the scent of some birds down hill from where you are at but avoid the urge to point and go on. Don't give any sign that you smelled birds down there. Human's legs burn more going uphill. The more they burn the better we are doing.

Don't fall for the taking a break routine that our partners try. Do little things to make them think there are chukars near by. Tweak your ears like your hearing chukars. Walk or perk your head up high and act like you see birds running uphill. Humans are sucker's and there ego to get more birds will get them right back on their feet.

Try and get the retrieve back to them as quickly as possible. They always use this time for a break. If they deserve it, give them a break, but if their just pussing out, drop the bird and head up the hill making them follow. Use the false point method if you have to.

Remember, don't hold tight on all of the covey's. It makes our shooters become complacent and they will take their time getting to you knowing you'll be holding the birds as they slowly get there. For conditioning purposes you have to keep them guessing and moving faster.

After they have had enough they usually start down hill. If you feel like they have worked enough than head back with them. If not, head up and find another covey or false point until you think they have worked enough. Remember, it's a long season, so we don't want to push it too much at first. The big thing is to get the hunter out again as soon as possible. Don't let him think too much about the pain.

Going down hill will be a good cool down period for our partners. You might give them a point or two if you find birds, but don't overdo it. They'll want to hunt down hill more often. Besides, humans trip a lot going down hill when they are tired. They have a hard time lifting their big feet. More than once I have seen the Big Guy stumble over sage brush coming down hill to my point.

Remember, even if your partner didn't do very well, be positive. You want to get back on the hill soon,don't you? Put your head in his lap and stare into his eyes like he's the most important person in the world because actually he is. Let him know how much fun you had with him or her today. Humans need affection too.

So dogs and bitches, this is the start to a fun season. I hope you all have luck with your partners and most of all have a good time. Hopefully it will be a short conditioning season and we can start working on some of their other problems, like shooting and how to approach us

Good Luck,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To Jake from Mays,
You are probably up in the hills hunting those chukars right now with the big guy.
I always try to point up the hill as that helps my master lose some more pounds as he has to walk uphill to flush. Serves him right for eating all those cinnamon rolls right in front of me while he watches football on Sunday. This year he brought my mom along to shoot at some ptarmigan. I do mean shoot at as a lot of those birds just kept flying. Of course my master had instructed her on how to shoot a shotgun. Talk about the blind leading the blind. I know I could have taught her better than that. I hope to get down that way this fall if my master can make some money. If he didn't have to buy all those shotgun shells we probably would already have reservations on Alaska Air for Boise. I hope you have a successful opening day and keep pointing up the hill. Don't worry the big guy will make it up there to flush and if he does hit one he'll want you to go get it and bring it back to him while he sits down for a break. Have fun!