After the last couple of goofy posts, I’m not sure I should post anything for a while. But today’s outing was such a great way to end the year (not the season; still another month!) that I can’t help it. The good news, and much of the reason for today’s goodness, is that I saw lots of chukar. It was like 2012 instead of 2013. Chukar were where they were supposed to be. Chukar guano littered the hillsides. Angus false pointed more than normal I think because of the plethora of poop and scads of scent. In fact, his first two points were falsies, probably because he wasn’t used to smelling such rich scent trails. Once he recalibrated his olfactory office he dialed in numerous coveys and singles. The cover and overall habitat was of such quality, too, that the birds held instead of busting long before we got to them.
Another thing that made this day really good is that the reprehensible miasma of spastic shooting I’ve displayed over the past, well, season somehow got spiffed up. Maybe this season’s one practice session I had a few days ago (accompanied by an outraged, shrieking Angus attempting to claw his way from the inside of the truck to see what all the fuss was about and maybe see if I managed to hit something for once in his life) had something to do with it. If so, yesterday’s disastrous shooting should have been better. But today I couldn’t miss. And, unlike some scenarios when Angus, who’s not even remotely steady to wing, watches the rising birds and misses the one I knock down, resulting in a panicky bird recovery operation, he saw every bird fall today, went right to it, and brought it right back to me. It was like the Chukar Edition of the Twilight Zone.
For more intrepid, experienced chukar hunters who are – naturally – much better shooters than I, today’s hunt might have sucked because I didn’t limit (and, actually, I did miss once). But in terms of birds sighted per hour and shooting percentage it was the best day I’ve had all season. Yippee!
One drawback to today’s fun was that my wife wasn’t there (she has a real job). But I did have the pleasure of taking a friend on her first chukar hunt, and she did great. I think she’ll go again.
I also tallied some of the data from the GPS for this season, which gave me pause because the numbers spoke loudly to me just how fortunate I have been to get out as much as I have this season. My body’s held up, my feet don’t hurt (despite the 102+ miles and just shy of an ascent of Everest they’ve carried me since September 21; 30% more than all of last season). And Angus, bless his soul and knock on wood, has held up marvelously. His feet were tender today because of the 3+ hours he ran through crusty, icy snow yesterday, which made it doubly tough to discover that we’d parked in a literal field of puncture weed (we call them “goat heads”). Before we even began today, I pulled at least 30 of those thorns from his paws. Once we were off the road and up the hill, though, he was fine. But he’s dreaming now as I write this. I’m glad I could end the year by giving him the opportunity to put a bunch of birds in his mouth. After they’ve aged a bit, I look forward to putting them in mine.
Happy New Year!