Leslie’s Day

A friend responded to a Facebook post I made the other day in which I stated that Leslie made two of the best shots on chukar I’ve witnessed. This is my account.

Since you asked…

The first shot was at a single that busted wild about 25 yards above Leslie on a steep, steep basalt ball-bearing incline. She was moving the opposite direction of the bird, and by the time she moved her feet 180 degrees and swung on it (not easy when you’re side-hilling), it was at full speed and heading away fast. I was just about to yell, “Don’t shoot” when she triggered the shot and I watched the bird fall like a sack of spuds. It was probably 40 yards away when it dropped.

This was her first bird of the season, and using the new 3″ 1 oz. #6 20 gauge steel loads buffered with Angus’s ashes (FPS is probably around 1300-1350). When I asked her how she made that shot, which I definitely would have either missed or passed on, she said that she looked at the bird and swung the barrel just past it and squeezed, keeping the barrel moving. Easy peasy.

The second bird Peat pointed in the brush near the creek. A big covey (maybe 25 birds) busted at a really wide angle fairly close to her, and she picked the farthest left bird, and hit it going away just before it cleared the Hawthorn trees. Like the one before, it fell like a rock, but right in the middle of the dense vegetation. Peat had no trouble retrieving it, though.

Both birds were very large adults, super healthy looking. The second was the easier of the two shots, but what made it tough in my opinion was that so many birds busted at the same time right near her but pretty spread out. I always have a panic-hesitation response to these wide, big covey busts and usually take a flock shot and miss because I can’t pick out one bird. But her focus and patience was excellent, especially considering we haven’t practiced at all this year. These two shots were probably the 6th and 7th shots she’s fired since last January.

I’m shooting 12 gauge steel loads now, too, and pretty happy with them so far (1-1/8 oz., 2-3/4″, #6, about the same FPS as Leslie’s). I was also quite impressed with the number of birds in this spot, which was a place we’d never hunted before. I followed her with the camera and had a great time watching Peat hunt for her.

Starting out
A little bit of ground out there
Peat is learning to be THE dog
The first bird
Almost 58. She can kick and stretch, too.
Second bird just before the bust (Peat’s pointing lower left)
It’s hard to imagine Peat stealing from Angus and eating the first 6 birds I shot during his first season. He’s a retrieving machine.
Peat’s last point of the day — the covey busted wild before Leslie could get in position. All in all an excellent day.

9 Replies to “Leslie’s Day”

  1. Curious as to why you are shooting steel instead of lead? I switched over a few years ago on my wife’s nudging about eating birds that have lead in them. I don’t hear of many folks shooting steel for chukar besides myself.

    1. Same as you, Casey. The bonus is that I’m putting less lead into the environment, and I’m honestly not seeing much difference ballistically. If anything, the lethality so far is superior to the lead loads I was shooting (so far this year, not a single live bird has come back to me in Peat’s mouth; last year it was about 50%).

Chirp away

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