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.