Monday, November 16, 2015

Great week and very tired dog

One week ago, Jake and I embarked on a longer trip to hunt both Idaho and Oregon and see if we could fix some chasing problems as well as get some birds. Putting my camera deeper into my vest was probably the best thing I could have done. Instead of trying to get the perfect picture I worked on letting Jake know we were working together on putting birds in the bag. So many times this year when Jake has been on point I've been so concerned with getting a photo I haven't been able to see what was causing the wild flush and just assumed Jake was busting the birds. By concentrating on Jake instead of the camera I think I have solved a lot of my worries and realized that not every covey is ready to be pointed, no matter how good the dog is that is hunting them. Most of the time, when the birds flushed with Jake in hot pursuit, it was because they were just wild and Jake's chase was a short forty yard chase and than he was back to making sure there were no stragglers.

There were the times, when I saw Jake hunting above me and could tell the way he had his nose to the ground and zig zagging quickly up the hill, that he was chasing a running bird. Even though the bird would fly straight towards me, I resisted the urge to shoot and strongly urged Jake to "whoa". After thirty seconds or so I released him to "hunt em up". It seemed to work because by the end of the week we were having some pretty darn good team work. I try to keep the "whoa" to a minimum because I know how I hate hearing another hunter yelling at his dog on the hill but at times it is just necessary. Jake knows that the word means stop no matter what and has nothing to do with birds.

Another drill I did a lot this week was move to the front of Jake's point and stand there longer instead of just moving in for the bust. There have been a few times this year when Jake has tried to relocate on birds after I move in front of him by circling around and trying to trap them in between us. This is a normal pack animal instinct but more often than not it cause the birds to flush premature. By standing there for a while before making the flush, I believe that I'm reassuring Jake that we will get the birds without him having to relocate. The second part of this is don't miss. A few repetitions of this with the dog getting the bird in his mouth solidifies the team relationship.

The training part of the trip was very successful as well as getting some birds. We found good number of birds just about everywhere, some more cooperative than others. Not only did Jake find a lot of birds, he wore himself out putting on 133 miles in five days of hunting. He's laying on a heated blanket as I type licking his feet.

The hunt also had a diversity of weather. This is what the weather looked like as I headed into my hunting area Monday night.
And what it looked like from camp Tuesday morning,
I was fortunate enough to get to hunt with Brian Dierk on my first day and this is what we found where we began our hunt.
Brian was better known as shrthrcrzy back in the days of Upland Idaho. We decided to hunt down lower towards the snow line. Shortly after we separated Jake was on point and I snapped one of the few pictures I took during the week. 
It was one of the few hun covey's that we encountered.
I also snapped this picture of Jake on point as I headed down the hill to get out of the heavier snow.
Both Brian and I had pretty good days below the snow but after ascending back up hill to the rig I realized that we would have probably done better staying up in the snow. Jake had a long distance point above our starting point and with the report of my shotgun blast several other covey's busted even higher up the mountain. Jake and I returned up the mountain on day two and did very well in the snow except for the aches and pains from tripping over snow covered rocks.

Jake and I spent day three relaxing and driving to Oregon where we had another three days of great hunting as well as a rendezvous with Barbara. I know that a lot of people aren't impressed with tailgate pictures but I enjoy them. They are usually proof of great dog work, which I am very proud of. Each day produced lot's of good action.
One other story I like to tell. Greg Allen came over and hunted with me on one day. We drove to one of our hunting spots and went in our own directions but not before deciding to add a little flavor to the hunt. I decided that instead of hunting back to the rig I would hunt back to our camp and Greg would pick up the truck and meet me there. 11 miles later and over 3000 feet of elevation gained I finally showed up to camp. I didn't know a senior citizen had that many muscles left in his body that could hurt so bad.


Jay Hanson said...

Never apologize for tailgate pics. Some wingshooters might think that they are above it, but some day when we are in nursing homes, it will be more enjoyable to see how we did that certain day rather than stare at a picture of a fancy gun receiver. Keep walking uphill, life is short. And chukar hunting is free; once you get there.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Thanks for the great report! I was schooled by the chukars yesterday. Hunting has been good, lots of opportunities. I am really impressed that you and Jake are able to hunt 5 out of six days especially with a huge mileage day in there! Larry

Lord Mountbatten said...

Holy cow, Larry! I've never come close to 11 miles, or 3,000 feet! You're the man! Very impressive. Interesting to read you found more birds up above the snow line than below it.

Anonymous said...

eleven miles in that country is a real haul. But i don't think any of us "older guys"should do those kinds of treks by ourselves. Not that l lack confidence in me or you, its just an added burden on those who would have to find us if we break an ankle somewhere. Maybe you had phone coverage all the time, but my territory is "phone less". Keep up the tailgate or end of hunt pics….