Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In the flow - or not

I got out hunting several times before and after Christmas, looking for chukar and quail across much of southern California. Had a great time, and very much enjoyed a few days with Mike, but never quite got into synch. A variety of things big and little kept going wrong. I approached several coveys of birds from upwind (resulting in wild flushes and tough shots), generally shot poorly, and endured The Lost Shotgun Blues. Can't really say what caused it - the winter solstice doldrums? - but it was real.

Thankfully, I broke out last Saturday. Went out locally for quail with my pups, found two good covies in less than 2 hours. Fired a half dozen shots and bagged 4 birds, so the shooting precentage was back up where I want it, and a few things really went well ...

  • After breaking up a big covey I flushed a single bird that was visible for only 25 feet before getting behind tall a big clump. I fired just as the bird disappeared, and did not draw feathers, but the trajectory seemed to change. After a 10 minute search I found that bird about where I had expected.

  • Later a single got up wild and flew over a rise. Such birds are usually long one, but I followed the most natural course, flushed the bird again, and killed it with a nice shot. Clearly saw where it fell but could not find it after 15 minutes of searching. Gave up on the 'runner', but continued on a likely path, and Rosie emerged with the dead bird in about 50 feet.

That's the way things go when they are going well, and it felt great to be back in synch.

Cannot say much about dog work. I'm pretty sure Rosie locked onto at least one of the covies but in the thick chaparral, I just know that she was not visible, birds flushed, and a moment later she reappeared. The weather was dry and warm - a Santa Ana condition - and that does not produce great scenting. But they had a great time.

Next Sunday I hope to visit my Secret Spot - only place I know in Southern California that consistently yields a limit of quail. I'll let you know how it goes.

I hope all of you can stay in the flow for the rest of this season.

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