Jake and I are getting near the end of our tenth year together chasing chukars. I can’t compliment this guy enough. Many of the guys I’ve met while hunting that were familiar with my blog know him better than me. Out of those ten years, I don’t know that I ever appreciated him more than I did today.
The first day of the year was much too beautiful to sit at home, so Jake, Grady and I decided to take an adventure to chukar country. The snow had receded from the lower elevations, but the cool 15 degree temperatures over the night had froze the ground. Needless to say, covering the country was going to take some slow moving. Not for the dogs though. Grady, as usual was off and running to cover as much country as possible. Jake started out that way also. But after a half hour or so, it was obvious that I couldn’t move very fast and Jake started hunting closer to me.
The chukars were very vocal today and, as normal, were trying to coax me up a hill I wasn’t ready to take on. Grady was though. He had several points up high. I could see him, but wasn’t able to cover the 250 yards to get up to him. I tried something I have never done before and it seemed to work. I hit the tone button on my Alpha and he broke and headed back down to me. Sometimes the birds flushed and other times I assumed the birds held. I use the tone button as a come response and so far I don’t think I screwed anything up by doing it while he was on point.
Meanwhile, Jake was working hard quite a bit closer and finding birds.
Most of the time he was within 100 yards or so. The frozen ground was hard to navigate for me, but those close points made it a lot easier for me to get to. Of course Jake didn’t move a muscle before the birds would flush. But the yipping would start as he chased cripple birds down the slope. A good chance for me to sit down and catch my breath.
Grady would be high above but at the sound of the shot he had no problem sprinting down the hill and help retrieve.
But, after he handed me the bird, he was back off into the distance to find some of those chukars talking from above. The old pro stayed with me to point birds I could get to.
Not one time was he in a spot to difficult for me to get to. And not once did he not hold the birds for me to get a shot. It was almost like he was saying, “let the young guy run his legs off”. There was plenty of action down here. I’d see Grady honoring Jake from a distance but he was letting the old guy have the show.
Today was probably the first time I shot more birds off Jake’s points than Grady’s for a couple of years. It was fun to watch the old boy do what he had done for me thousands of times before. The only thing different today is that he has added a little yipping afterwards to show his excitement. I have to give some credit Grady for some good points also
but this bluebird January day belonged to the old boy, Jake.
Thanks to these boys, as well as their predecessors, I have lived a lifetime of thrills in the chukar mountains. We’re praying that 2023 gets my health back and we have many more thrills to come.
Speaking of thrills, here are a few pictures from Steve Smith in Utah. Looks like he finished the year up with some great fun and some good dogs.
Looks like he hasn’t heard the saying about not spoiling your bird dogs.
Aren’t we about the luckiest group of hunters in the world.