It's been another good month.. We haven't been bagging very many birds but I've enjoyed some good days in the field. The weather has been good for the most part but my brother and I had one day that was like hunting in a typhoon. Windy, Wet and muddy, Nothing like coming home with 2 muddy dogs. Poor things were so covered that their undersides were caked in it and by the time we got home the mud had dried and they could hardly walk. I tried brushing them off before we headed home but there was too much mud and nothing to clean them with. Baths for everyone!
Oh well they needed a good bath.
Had another couple really enjoyable days at the pheasant farm. Chief is really coming along nicely. I really enjoy hunting with him. He has a ton of drive and just hunts hard for a young dog. Hazel tears up the farm birds and is so much fun to watch.
Had some good moments in the chukar hills. The birds are getting wise to us so you have to change your tactics some to give yourself a better opportunity. With late season chukars you need to get above the birds and then hunt them from above or the side. This is always a good tactic with chukars but late season its even more important to do so. Otherwise the birds will just run up the hill ahead of you and it becomes difficult to get on them. You need to have a dog that is very careful around these birds or they will just fly once they feel pressured.
Hazel my pudelpointer is a great dog and is a good chukar hunter but she has one fault that drives me batsh!t nuts. If Hazel is pointing scent and the cover is hiding the birds she will remain steady for good long time. But, If she can see the birds all bets are off especially if they are moving. In that situation you have maybe 30 seconds tops before she feels like she needs to move in on them. Chukar cover is probably the thinnest, sparest cover there is. Not much for the birds to hide under. Hazel has so much prey drive that she has a hard time controlling herself in that situation. Training and and e collars improved the situation but it happens quite a bit with these birds. She's 4 now so I've decided it is what it is with her and there is so much good that Hazel does that I can live with that fault. It's her intensity that makes her special and a good hunting dog. I wouldn't change a thing. But this one thing has led to some frustrating moments.
I will pretty much let my dogs range naturally when chukar hunting. I argue that chukar country is so big that if you have a close working dog, say a dog that stays within 40 yards I don't think your going to see many birds. I've had people argue however that a close working dog will give the hunter better shots. Well that depends on whether your big ranging pointing dog will hold the birds for you or not and with a slower dog, if the birds will let a hunter and a dog get right up on them. It does happen but my experience is chukars are smart, especially late in the season. If they know your coming they will usually try and move out of the area. By the time a slow dog finds where the birds were at the they are usually beyond their reach.
For me it's a give and take situation. I believe I see more birds and have more opportunities because my dogs are ranging out. I personally believe that a big running dog finds more birds and I believe that those birds would never of been seen by a closer working dog. So, even if my dogs bust a covey or 2 they are still creating opportunities that I never would of had in the first place. Be it a long shot on a bird or seeing where the birds fly to and getting the opportunity for another point on the same birds. Yes, heaven help me, I will shoot at busted birds, I'm a hunter not a field trialer. I've been beat up so many times online about this subject. These are wild birds they don't have a rule book and as long as my dogs aren't charging through them like a springer I will shoot a bird that comes up prematurely. I will pass up a shot if it's a blatant bust though and believe me there has been many days when I see 50 plus birds and didn't fire a shot because the my bird dog decided to go into flusher mode. Hazels first year hunting chukars was a trial in patience but she came around.
My old wirehair Gretchen was a very careful hunter but she still had good range. I didn't realize it at the time that what a good chukar dog she was. Oh how I miss that girl. Its been over 15 years since she died. If only I could go back in time and actually train that dog and hunt her the way she deserved…..….. Partying, career, music all got in the way of what I truly enjoy and I'm afraid Gretch paid the price and wasn't hunted as much as she should have been.….. Regrets of an upland hunter. Live and learn.