A strange urgency seems to grip me as the close of bird hunting season approaches. Rational decision making is abandoned as I try to get in those last few hours following my setters. Today was perhaps an extreme example: I got up at 4.00 am and drove 220 miles in order to hunt chukar in the Mojave Desert mountains on the last day of the season.
The weather was perfect and the birds were there - we found several coveys in a bit under 4 hours of hunting. Unfortunately, Rosie was not on her game, pushing the birds too hard, and flushing them before I could get close. I'll try to offer an excuse for her: we've been hunting Valley Quail for the past few months and those birds hold much better to a point. But I should have delivered an electric telegram in order to get her head back into the game.
Fortunately, Silk is a cautious old lady who would feel deeply shamed if she pushed a bird too hard. As we headed downhill towards the car she pointed rocks near the top of a slope and a single flushed as I walked up to her. I was pleased with myself when I hit the looping bird just before it dropped out of sight, and Silk appears to be very pleased with herself in the picture below.
And that, I think, was the perfect end to the season.
James Lee Mansell, RIP
1 week ago