Saturday, January 19, 2019

January hunting with pictures

The weather outside today is a rain and snow mix and tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same, so we decided to pass on the hunting and hang out at home. That's our excuse but the real reason is we are whipped from yesterday's excursion. Thank God for Barbara's patience with us laying around moaning and groaning.

I finally pulled myself off the couch and decided to post some pictures of our last two hunts along with some descriptions of how Jake and Grady's year progressed. With me having only 9 more possible hunting days so I probably won't be taking the camera out of the vest much, but doing more late season training. Unless something unusual happens this will be my last hunting post for this season. Did I hear someone say "hooray"?  I'm going to punish you more by showing off lots of pictures of the boys on my last two hunts.

You already saw the video of the elk, we had the same kind of encounters with deer but I only took still pictures of them.

Jake turned 6 on the 15th and has become quite a machine.
At first he was a little reluctant to honor Grady's points but now has no problem with it at all, knowing that he is still going to get into the action.
Outside of running a stick through the webbing in his foot he has had a healthy season and performed like the champ that he is.
Hunting the two dogs together was a great experience. It was a little harder than I had remembered because Grady had no fear of covering country and didn't check back as often as I like. That could possibly be because as long as he could see Jake he felt in contact with me. That is one of the training areas we are going to be working on.
Grady has come a long way from his uncertain points early on and very seldom fools me with a false point.
His biggest fault is his speed. He goes so fast he often outruns his nose and bumps birds. I'm hoping the more trips into the field the sooner he'll figure that out. Or else maybe I could kill myself and take longer hunts with them as I did yesterday. After about 30 miles, Grady's pace slowed quite a bit.
Once on point, Grady stays steady, allowing me to walk around him until the flush. On this point in the snow I spent a couple of minutes out in front of him trying to get the bird to flush without a bit of movement from him. Just about the time I figured Grady was wrong the single chukar flew from the brush right beside him and I proceeded to miss with both barrels.
At the beginning of this same hunt, Grady locked in on a large bitter brush. Learning from last years experience with Jake and the porcupine I kept my mouth shut and was glad I did.
Sure enough, there was a porcupine hidden deep in the brush just as there was last year not 200 yards from here. I wonder if it was the same guy. At the end of that hunt we counted up our birds and were pretty happy with the outcome.
Jake added a new wrinkle to our hunts this year. If the birds are running up hill from him or randomly taking off around him he does this whining kind of bark. I don't think I'll try and do anything about it because it usually seems to be birds he can't get pointed. In fact sometimes I get a passing shot from birds he's chased a couple hundred yards up the ridge.
Once in a while I also get a passing shot because of Grady. I usually have no idea whether he is following running birds or just out ran his nose but I am willing to just accept it from a 11 month old pup who is just super excited to find chukars.
I probably will have to work Grady on stop to flush. He has a tendency to follow hard after a flushed bird hoping to see where they go and before long he is too far away from me looking for them. I allow a short twenty yard chase looking for a bird to go down but not a 200 yard chase.
I can't say enough times that wild birds are the best training for bird dogs . Luckily for me I live in a state where there are lots of birds and I have plenty of time to hit the mountain. It's like producing a good gun dog while you are having fun.
By the end of January I hope to be close to having 70 trips with the dog's this year. I've hunted 34 different locations, which is fewer than my normal year, and have only had poor results in two different hunts due to lack of birds. The other poor results were due to very poor shooting. My excuse for those days is a very stiff back that prevented me from swinging through.  Works for me. How many times did I get to walk around a hill to find both boys locked and wondered who is honoring who? A lot more than I probably deserve but it sure is rewarding.
For the last month one thing I found was pretty consistent. Even though the dog's were solid, most likely the birds were out a ways. This point here found the birds flushing about 100 yards down the draw as I moved to the front of the dog's.
I never got a shot which happens as often this time of the year as not. But we stayed with it and put in that long day with lot's of positive things happening and plenty of not so positive things and came home with a pretty generous bunch of birds.
So this is pretty much a wrap up of my late season hunting with a couple of great dogs. We're going to try and get out a few more times with Greg and by ourselves and enjoy some time trying to improve our techniques for next year. Jake and Grady can use some tune ups but more than anything else I need to have someone walk behind me with a two by four and hit me in the head when I pull some of the dumb stunts I have pulled this year. The best way to clarify that statement is to say that February is dedicated to getting my body and my truck worked on.

I sure hope everyone had as successful of a season as I did and are rewarding your dogs for their good performance. Appreciate chukar hunting for what it provides for us. Great scenery, viewing a variety of animals, great dog work, good friends, good eating and great conditioning are just a few of the assets of our sport. Let's keep it here as long as we can. 


Burk said...

Yesterday, 1/18, was another of our warm January days and I wonder if that's why I saw paired up Huns. I can't remember seeing paired up Huns quite this early, although I have seen them in late Jan.. Burk

Tuckers Chukars said...

I've seen a few paired birds also but for the most part I see covey's of 10 to twenty smart birds. I'm amazed at how far the birds will run this time of the year compared to earlier in the season.

Calton said...

Looks and sounds like an incredible year! I've been super happy for you watching Grady's progression. Enjoy the last of the season!