Conner, my grandson, is at that stage in his life where he wants to hunt anything and everything. His favorite is duck and goose hunting but when I asked him if he wanted to chase some hounds he couldn’t get here fast enough. The kind of hounds I’m talking about are bear/lion dogs. With the recent snow we’ve had a friend of mine was interested in trying to tree a lion that had killed a couple of goats at a neighboring ranch.
I chukar hunt in the area a couple of times every year and have always seen lion tracks there. In fact, about 20 years ago I shot a cougar that was on the tail of my shorthair, Dakota. I wrote a post on that hunt in Tuckers Chukars way back when. So, Matt and I loaded up his two hounds and his son, Hunter, and Conner and we headed out. It was a little more than I had expected for a work out. Matt is about 50 and the two boys are 19 years old.
I was hoping we might find a track early but that wasn’t the case. Matt likes humping the hills and he doesn’t mind going up and down the chukar mountains with his yellow lab. Needless to say, he is great chukar shape and, of course. 19 year old young men have an abundance of energy. Matt’s plan was to side hill across the ridges on a different trail hoping to cut a track. He’d point to this far mountain and we were to meet at that distant saddle. I was thinking to myself, ouch. The hounds just walked with him and almost reminded me of a bird dog the way they just covered the ground about 200 yards from him looking for scent.
Hound dogs are no different than our chukar dogs when it comes to loyalty and affection. It was cool to see their interaction with Matt and how much they wanted to please him and how eager they were t find scent. Yes, they bumped several covey of chukar with no excitement from them, but had me wishing my boys were there. It amazes me how these dogs can be so loving and yet turn into a killing machine once they smell a cat track. The only difference between those dogs and mine is that they would crush you if they sat on your lap as often as mine do. They are really cool.
As far as the hound hunter themselves, they are every bit in shape as chukar hunters. They go and go and go. Every time we would hit the meeting spot, Matt would point to the next mountain that we were to meet on. Pretty soon we were in about 12 inches of snow and timber. No more chukars up there but still some deep canyons. Luckily the snow was still powder and the ground under was not frozen so traction wasn’t too bad. The hills were still steep and without my two boys going on point to help urge me on I was flat getting beat. I was always the last one to our meeting spot and was the happiest of the four of us when we finally hit the rig. We hadn’t cut a track and I was at the point of hoping we wouldn’t.
I didn’t have my Alpha so I don’t know for sure how far we had gone but I would guess close to ten miles. Although we gained a lot of elevation, I don’t believe it was as much as when I chukar hunt this same area. I didn’t have to go up and down to points all the time.
Yes, I got my butt kicked, but what a pleasure to watch his dogs. We all love our chukar dogs but not a bit more than all those other hunting dog out there. It don’t matter whether it’s flushing, pointing, retrieving, treeing or just flat chasing, they all have their place and are appreciated for the jobs they perform.
I think the next time Matt wants to chase cougars, I’ll let them take off with the hounds and I’ll hold back until they’re up the hill a ways. Then I can let Jake and Grady treat me to some of those chukar covey’s we saw. I honestly think it would be easier on this old body. At least my heart would be more into it.