Showing my age, I’m taking the phrase from Jackie Gleason and “The Honeymooners” to start the 2021 chukar season. My season will start out much differently than any of my past 25 seasons. Many seasons I don’t even go out on the opener because of the weather and I’ve never gone camping and hit the hills two days in a row on the opener. I usually pick the right cool day to start and know that I’m going to have to go into the season gradually for both my dogs sake as well as mine.
I also try to go to this special spot on my first day in hopes of shooting a chukar with my first shotgun shell which is filled with ashes of my past hunting dogs. It’s a spot that Tucker, my first GSP, pointed his first chukar. I’ll still be firing my first two shells of the season with ashes in them, but will be in a different location.
The reason for the change is cabin fever. Since I broke my leg, March 2, 2020, I have been camping only two times. Last year my leg and back operations wouldn’t allow me to hunt two days in a row and I had a tough time on the steep hills, so it was one day at a time hunts and many miles on my truck. Than this summer heat came along with other circumstances and our only trips camping were at the first of June and again a couple of weeks ago to Bear Valley.
Barb’s birthday is the 17th and she’s chomping to get out camping, so we’re heading out to chase chukars on the opener. We’re leaving the 16th for a couple of days of relaxation before the dogs and I try our luck on the mountain. We’ve been out a couple of times chasing grouse but that’s quite a different type of hunt than we are use to. Especially the ruff grouse. When they weren’t darting through the thick cover they were flying and landing in the trees. My dogs learned to yip at them as they stared eye to eye with them from ground to tree. I did get a few shots in the sparse openings and actually hit a few and the boys were tickled to get feathers in their mouths again. But more than anything we learned how bad of shape we are in.
It’s going to be a challenging opener for us because of our lack of hitting the hills this summer but with the lower than normal temperatures and a slight chance of rain we are looking forward to the challenge that chukars provide. No matter what, I am excited to see how the dogs handle the challenge of so much time off from the chukar mountains. I’m sure they will have mistakes, as will I, but I’m so looking forward to that first solid point and honor and praying that when the ashes settle to the ground the boys have a bird to retrieve back to me. What a great way to start the fall and help to clear my head from the rough summer Barb and I have had.
So, away we go, Thursday morning on a new season. There will be a few more stops on the hill this year. Not only to get my breath, but in reflection of the daughter I lost and will be guiding me throughout my hunts. I hope everyone has as good of a year as I plan on having and will pass on the stories of your hunts to this blog. Be proud of what you and your canine partners accomplish. Successful or not, chukar hunting is an accomplishment in itself.
Lastly, if you are a family man, don’t forget to give your family a hug and tell them how much you love them each time you leave. You never know when the last time will be the last time.