I received a couple of comments today on my site and figured this as a good opportunity to post what I feel to be a very important topic. How we hunt.
The first comment came from a fella that all chukar bloggers are familiar with. He has some pretty negative thoughts. But he still brought up a very important point. By the title of my blog he says I must think my dogs are the best on the hill. The reason for this title was hoping to get more people involved and showing me how their dogs were the best. We all should think we have the best dogs and be proud to talk about the great things they accomplish.
The second comment made is what this post is about. The commenter said there was a rumor that I shoot more non pointed birds than ones that are properly pointed and held by my dogs. Not that it matters, but I figure about 95% of the birds I shoot are off points by my boys. That’s how I like to hunt.
But what matters is, who would worry about starting a rumor like that? Why would it matter? It seems like sometimes we forget what our objective is. To enjoy a good outing, hunting chukars. Outside of the fish and game regulations is there some rule out there that says you have to accomplish the job in a certain way? Did I miss the chapter that said if your dog didn’t do it like this you’re not really chukar hunting? Those of us who think that our way is the only way are some pretty self righteous buttheads.
Let’s start with the human part of the hunt. Can a person enjoy driving a road until birds are flushed or seen and then park and chase? Can it be any fun to sit at a water hole and wait for the ambush when birds come to drink? Is it fair for one person to chase birds off the ridge tops to a waiting hunter below? There are hundreds of scenarios that I could come up with and most of them don’t interest me at all. But who am I to say it’s not how it should be done. My way of hunting is how I enjoy to go at it, but that does not make it any better than your way? When did we become so perfect that we could set around the coffee table and chastise someone else’s method? I can hear the discussion at the round table now. “I heard Larry got some birds yesterday up on no tellem mountain. Yeh, but I’ll bet he drove to the top of the mountain and hunted down to a waiting vehicle. To top it off he probably never shot a pointed bird.” Sounds to me like those guys should be on the mountain enjoying themselves instead of worrying how I might have gotten my birds.
Then comes the dogs. Things can really get wild here. What does properly pointed mean? Are we concerned about style points when it comes to chukar hunting? Jake is getting older and quite often on points that last a while he ends up almost sitting by the time I get to him. Do the purest not flush and shoot at those birds because the dog wasn’t in the classic three legged and tail high point? I’ve found that not training stop to flush works better for me but that’s called a unfinished dog. I’ve never had a dog fetch a bird, sit at my side and deliver the bird to my hand. They all have wanted to drop the bird at my feet and get back to finding more. I can’t see how doing those things would make my hunt any more enjoyable.
I remember back in the 70’s, a rancher friend hunted upland birds with his cow dog. He was perfectly happy watching his dog run into the thick stuff and chase everything in there out. One time I saw Robert come out with a racoon wrapped around his head. Didn’t matter to the rancher. He was having a ball.
Go to a dog trial event and become invisible. It’s amazing to listen to people rip the different breeds or the breeder. I heard one guy say “that dog will never be a bird finder because he hunts with his nose to low.” The dog ended up scoring well. I have to admit to being very impressed with some of the dogs and trainers and I admire them for the time it took to get to where they were at.
I once heard a guy say that so and so’s dog is a boot licker. In other words, it hunted real close. The only person that should care is the owner. If he’s happy hunting that way that is all that matters. Range is different for everyone and I’m happy with 300 yard max. It takes me forever to get 300 yards.
I could go on forever on this topic because I have heard so many self righteous people tell me how it’s done right. Anymore I don’t hesitate to say “who cares”? I hunt the way I do because I love hunting that way. It’s that simple. If people are sitting around worrying whether my dogs are pointing right or whether I’m shooting unpointed birds then they have the problem, not me.
Quit worrying about how someone else hunts. The only thing that matters is that you are enjoying your hunt. If not, then maybe you should find another past time. For me there is not a better day than being on the mountain with my boys and trying to get some chukars. What someone else is doing and how they are doing it is the furthest thing from my mind.
Get out there and enjoy the mountain, your dogs and doing it your way.