Just when I start wondering if things are going to ever get any better for me the dogs show me the good side of the mountain and things aren't quite as tough as I thought they were. Yesterday I had that day we all dream of, the day you just trust your dogs and let them lead you to chukar/hun heaven.
I should have known from the beginning it was going to be a good day. The area I hunted had two ways of getting into: legs or atv. There had been snow on the atv trail for over a month and I could tell there hadn't been a vehicle on the trail since the first snow fell so I figured hoped it hadn't been hunted much. I never saw another human track or old dog tracks, so I was hopeful for a fun day if my back and leg could handle it.
Quickly, the dogs took care of my health issues. They urging me up the hill with multiple points and honors. The dogs were fantastic. Not once did I see birds flying high above flushing from dogs. Not saying it didn't happen but if it did I never saw them. What did happen though, was my Alpha constantly telling me one or both dogs being on point. Sometimes not as close as I wanted but it didn't matter, they held the birds tight until I got to them. Sometimes it was quite a while. Two particular times I'm guessing it took close to 30 minutes to get to their point and honor. While you are huffing and puffing up the hill you don't take time to clock yourself but it sure seemed that long.
Both times the boys held to the flush and got to retrieve some birds.
Although the two of them have always hunted well together they worked exceptionally well yesterday.
The only time one of the boys broke honor was on this point when I moved 30 yards below the point. Jake couldn't handle it any more and swung below wanting to make sure he was in the action. Grady never moved a muscle and I could tell by his intensity the bird was between us. As I moved back up the hill towards him, the single chukar flushed and flew straight up so close I didn't dare shoot and blow him apart. He finally swung to my left, which is my bad side and I fired twice watching him sail away without even a feather falling from him. Of course the dogs made a short follow to make sure I didn't get lucky but were disappointed in my shot.
Every time the dog that was off on another point showed up soon after the shot to see if I had done my job. I never knew what happened on the other point but moved in that direction hoping to find those birds and often the dogs found them for me.
We hunted for five hours and covered five miles which isn't much for many chukar hunters but these days it is great for me. Besides my grandson, Conner, there is no therapy better than these two dogs to push me into shape.
As tired and sore as I was at the end of the hunt, I was already wondering where we going to hunt next time out. I just can't get enough of watching these boys work. In my eyes they were flawless. They are perfect in my eyes.
This is a great January to be out on the chukar mountain. As you can see from the pictures there are plenty of burnt off slopes to hunt as well as some steep snowy north slopes to test your ability on frozen ground. Yesterday I got my taste of both and have to admit to liking the slopes with soft dirt for good footing even though I found as many birds on the bad stuff.
I wasn't going to take a tailgate shot feeling that it couldn't add to the great day we had on the mountain, but decided to take a picture for encouragement that there are plenty of birds out there. I saw as many birds, both huns and chukars as I have ever seen on a January hunt and there are plenty left for carry over. More than anything else, this hunt showed me we are there. Jake, Grady and I are at the point where we know each and every hunt is going to be successful. Sometimes we may not get birds but we are at the point where we trust each other to cover the mountain with very little said and know that if there are birds there we have a good chance of finding them.
Most of all, I have total confidence we have the same goal on the mountain and I trust these two to perform to the best of their ability to make me look successful. I only hope that all chukar hunters can have days like this. The kind of day that really shows the dogs worth.
Good luck the rest of the season and give your dog an extra treat for working so hard for you.