I live for this moment. This sequence.
My dogs look like they’re onto birds. I sense it from subtle nuances and have learned from training and experience how to read their body language. If I’m hunting with just one dog all my focus is on that one dog. If both of my dogs are in the picture, I have to decide which one to trust more and which one to follow more closely.
I remove my shotgun from my shoulder and hold it in ready position and carefully pick my way through the loose rocks without trying to look down. I see Angus through the thick sagebrush. He has stopped and is motionless. He’s on point. Out of the corner of my left eye, I see Peat rushing up and stopping just behind Angus.
Angus with his beautiful show dog gait starts creeping forward. Peat stays put. Scanning the tops of the sagebrush, I’ve consciously made myself focus softly, not knowing which direction the birds might bust. I slowly start moving into position in front of Angus.
Like a flash of lightning, more to my left than I’d anticipated, a small covey of chukar busts flying at top speed away from me. I quickly mount my gun while taking the safety off, then point the end of the barrel with the fleeing partridge’s arc, my index finger goes onto the trigger, and I squeeze. Everything happens so fast I don’t have time to think, relying on muscle memory from past experiences.
The dogs hear the noise of wing-whirr made by the covey of chukar taking off, and the sound of the single shot, and they get excited and run in the direction of where the birds flew hoping to pick up some scent on the ground of a downed chukar. They run back to me and give me that look: why did you miss? The sequence of usual events gets messed up this time and we don’t have a retrieve to make it complete.
I berate myself, making up all kinds of excuses and asking questions. Was it my stance and posture, my gun mount, or that I didn’t focus on the bird and follow through? Some or all are true. It messes with my head.
The three of us move on and we’ll try this spot again next year.
12 Replies to “The Sequence”
That country you hunt is so different from the treeless habitat I am used to.
Larry you need to get out more. Wink.
Oh and thanks for the new location and restaurant tips. Open invitation to join us anytime.
George Bird Evans coined a phrase “mobile point”. I have watched videos of Angus and believe he has perfected the mobile point. I keeps the birds from moving off and very few dogs ever get the hang of how much to pressure the birds. Angus has the technique in spades.
I like that. I’d never heard that term “mobile point.”
Angus has it dialed in for sure. I’m going to miss that dog.
Thanks for the comment Ron.
It’s a good thing dogs don’t count. 80 degrees here in South Texas. Bad news is the humity is 60 plus.
Sam, if you get tired of the heat it was -7 below here yesterday morning. I ran past your place and it looked even colder.
Enjoy sweating! Hugs to Hannah and Susie for me.
Sorry, you looked at your gun instead of the bird you were trying to shoot. 🙁
Thanks for pointing that out. I really didn’t look directly at the bead…just in the direction of it on the end of the barrel while picking out one bird from the covey. I edited the post. Thanks again for your comment.
I am absolutely love that you share your “oops” experiences as well as your successes. It really helps newbies like me feel better about making blunders and being able to learn from them. Thank you! I love following along with Chukar Culture’s adventures.
Callie, thank you for your comment and thanks for reading our blog.
You get my post. It’s about the reality of hunting. Today, I missed a chukar on a super easy shot and Bob missed hitting a chukar on our first covey and he’s a great shot. It’s a tough sport. Just getting one in your first season is awesome! There’s a lot to think about when your dog goes on point. Good luck out there for the rest of the season. Leslie
That’s upland hunting, Leslie. It wouldn’t be fun if we were to hit them every time we fired a shot at them.
That’s true, it’s all about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Those little victories keep you going but if the chukar hills don’t kill you they’ll make you stronger. Leslie