The culture of chukar hunting in our neck of the woods is pretty evident all-year-around. Go to one of our fall 8-man home football games or a local cross country meet and you’ll see your share of Chukar Culture hats on the sidelines. We’re wearing them, parents are wearing them, the out-of town Virginians who come here every fall to hunt are wearing them, and the kids who think their English teacher Mr. McMichael is pretty cool and want a Chukar Culture hat just like he wears are wearing them.
We’ve given more hats away than we’ve sold; it’s okay, we’re not selling hats to make money anyway. The students are curious about chukar hunting and have gone through four years of high school living vicariously through the adventures of Peat and Angus.
One kid, a local 12-year-old, who completed the hunter education course a couple of years ago asked us to take him bird hunting this past weekend after hearing stories about Peat and Angus from his older brothers. We’d taken kids hunting before and the theme it seems when we pick them up at their home is that they’re usually not wearing terrain-appropriate footwear. We’ve had kids tag along with us wearing anything from colorful moon boots, rubber rain boots with no traction, or sneakers. The new kid yesterday, was wearing his Mom’s old running shoes.
We hauled the new kid up and down steep hills yesterday in the pouring rain looking for dusky grouse in the big stands of pine trees next to the sea of fragrant wet sagebrush. We all got drenched, and Peat and Angus were soaked to the bone and covered with stickers. We found lots of birds down in a deep draw but the uphill climb back to the pickup was challenging even for me in this early season. All of us were tired and wet but the kid never complained, despite the fact that his feet were soaked and he’d been slipping up and down the hills in them all morning. Like his older brother before him, he was a bonafide trooper. He asked lots of good questions about bird hunting, and hopefully he’ll want to tag along when the chukar season opens soon.
On the drive home, we asked him what size shoes he wears, but kids’ feet grow like weeds. This week they’re a size 6. We’ve got a crap-ton of old boots on our shelves in the garage, sizes men’s 9 and women’s size 10. We save our old boots as back-ups just in case, but usually they just gather dust until we eventually donate them to the thrift store. I wish some of our boots would fit the kid. We can take care of getting him a hunter orange hat to wear in the field but if any of you out there have any smaller sized, old boots also gathering dust could you send them our way?