Angus was phenomenal today, and I was even better. He found lots of birds but not more than normal. And I actually hit everything today, which was very abnormal.
I went with my friend Dan, who has a young, amazingly energetic springer spaniel (Kacie), who seems never to stop moving at full tilt. She’s incredible, and really fun to watch. But her nose is still learning how to hone in on specific creatures; soon she’ll be more selective and impossible to out-perform.
Instead of doing my normal solo routine of bee-lining it straight to the top, I did a more diagonal route and tried to stay close to Dan and Kacie in case Angus pointed early; we wanted to get Kacie into chukar since she hadn’t been exposed too much to that species yet (Dan has lots of great pheasant spots that he’s focused more on with Kacie).
Somehow, as it’s easy to do in this terrain riddled with ridges and draws and hogbacks, Dan and I lost sight of each other. Just then I came around the spine of a ridge to find Angus locked up about 50 yards away. I maneuvered to the far side of Angus so that I could flush the birds toward Dan, hoping he was just behind me. I got right up to Angus and waited a little thinking I’d see Dan. And then the birds exploded.
Before I knew what happened I had knocked down three birds. Angus couldn’t believe it, either. Within a few seconds he’d retrieved the first one, and I pointed him in the area I thought the second bird went down. Angus heard it ruffling below him in a sage brush, bolted to it and pounced on it, and made the delivery back up to me before I sent him toward the third one. He found its scent and then started running straight down the steep slope. “Uh oh,” I said, “this will be interesting.” As he got farther away and hotter on the trail I noticed the chukar bouncing through bitterbrush and sage before Angus was able to get a hold of it at least 150 yards below me. With two birds already in my pouch and the third in his mouth on its way back up to me, I’d already taken more chukar than I got all last year. I was ecstatic, and incredibly proud of my puppy.
Dan was used to me missing, and when I found him above me a short time later he said he’d heard the shots and was surprised to learn I’d gotten a triple. We mapped out a plan so he could get Kacie into birds and maybe have Angus find some between us. But we got separated again, and then again, and I kept lucking into the birds while Dan and Kacie didn’t. On the very next covey Angus pointed, I got a double with one shot. Something weird was going on, but I wasn’t fighting it. At the end of the day I’d limited and Dan was skunked, which slightly mitigated my excitement. It was then that Dan informed me that he planned to nominate me for a membership in the AGS: Asshole Guide Service. He said he and his friends have a club that requires its members to take their friends out to find game birds and somehow manage to limit themselves without their friends getting more than one bird. Dan said I was a shoe-in.
I’ve yet to hear if I was admitted, and am a bit concerned about the hazing that might be involved. But until I know, I’ll keep trying to get my limit. After all, I only really do this for Angus.
Here’s the video I made about today’s great adventure: