They said it couldn’t be done. They said it was impossible. They said, well, they said lots of things I can’t repeat. But the one thing they didn’t say was, “She’ll never give up because she’s as stubborn as an Appalachian mule.” So today, Leslie proved them all right and wrong and bagged her first chukar. Two months into her first season, at age 55 and never having shot a gun until August, any chukar hunter will tell you this is an accomplishment-and-a-half.
Both dogs were birdy, and Leslie was above me. Peat flushed four chukar just in front of Leslie, who – because she has learned to decipher the degrees of birdiness in our dogs – was expectant. I saw the birds go at the same time I heard the shot, but didn’t see it fall. It took Leslie a few moments to say to me, “I think I got one.” It was almost as if she couldn’t believe it. Then Angus made a beeline down the slope and lifted his head with a mouthful of feathers. Initially he headed to me, but Leslie called him and he changed course and brought it right to her hand. What made me feel even better than the pride I felt for Leslie was seeing her smile, like a curse had been lifted. She looked at the bird, which she’d killed instantly with her 20-gauge, 1 oz., 7-1/2 shot load, and thanked it for its life, something I’ve gotten away from doing, regrettably.
We continued on for another 2 hours or so, and she got off a couple more shots but didn’t connect. I managed a Hun and a Dusky grouse, so a three-species day in mid-November on a year that was supposed to be meager from last winter’s massive snowfall ain’t bad. Yesterday was a good day, too, in another spot where we saw lots and lots of chukar and bagged a couple. So there you have it!