Tuesday, October 16, 2012

To Load One Shot in the Chamber

Taking a break in the heat of the day.
There’s something to be said about the drive of an obsessed bird hunter and what we’ll go through to load one shot in the chamber. Similar to the hundred casts an angler will make for one Steelhead. It’s the beginning of the bird hunting season and I'm on my first chukar hunt of the season. Bruised toes, twisted ankles, 1300 thousand miles, a chipped wind shield and whooped dogs and still no shots fired, it’s a small price to pay to have the best excuse in the world to get out and play.

Good Dog!
My past experience is that wild chukar run in the heat and don’t hold worth a dam (sometimes you can get lucky if you make it to the water before they do) and with the lack of moister on the ground, it makes it hard for the dogs to pick up a solid scent, so the birds get up wild. The heat penetrates my bones and by noon, sweat drips from my brow, and Nelly not use to the heat has almost drunk the water I’m carrying. I must be crazy to come out here this time of year, I remind myself, till next year.

Nelly taking a break.

 I've grown to love the endless space, rugged country, dry air and solitude. There’s no cell
towers, traffic, or Starbucks on every corner just a drive on a dusty, shale road for about an hour and a half, turn right and keep going, then make another right till the road ends.

I park the car and hop out, the dogs are excited, Nelly licks her crate, boots and vest are put on, water bottles filled and the dogs are let out.

Immediately, noses are in the air and on the ground. I’m hunting with a couple veteran Chukar hunters and we decide to walk the south facing slope that will require some ankle turning, side slipping, if not grounded.  A slight breeze blows gentle in our faces but the first covey we see gets up wild, I never see a bird just hear the whoooo of the take off, similar to the sound of wind turbines turning on a windmill, must have been about 20 birds. About an hour later, a shot is fired, a covey of 25 birds fly over head and Paul loses his footing, he gets up and by then the birds are gone, then one single flies over, he gets in position and shoots, the bird is down. Moments later his dog brings back the bird.  We keep hunting and see one more covey later in the day that gets up wild. With one bird in the bag, we’ll call it a day, the dogs are tuckered and the sun is hot. Till next time.