I’ve been granted an unexpected break in my normal life and it had given me some time to look back on a busy fall and winter. If only this shutdown had come when it was still bird season, but you can’t have it all. Our first full season with our first bird dog has been a learning experience. Part of that has been learning how to train her correctly. The other has been training ourselves to listen to what she is doing and trust her nose to find the birds. This has also been the beginning of trying to understand the often fickle upland birds of Arizona, specifically those that dwell in the high country.
We started the year searching all over the AZ high country for Dusky (Blue) Grouse. Despite covering a lot of ground we were unable to find any. Still the dog was doing great, we just needed to get her somewhere with some birds.
As temperatures dropped we transitioned from ice cold mornings up high into beautiful days down in the upper reaches of quail country. This is where she began to figure things out. From finding coveys to relocating scattered singles, Sage had a nose for these crafty desert birds. If only our shooting followed her success…
We did manage a few birds, but mostly I had the privilege of watching the dog do great work and saluted the quail as they flew away. She pointed quail, doves and even cottontail and jackrabbits, so far she is shaping up to like this high desert hunting thing.
All this season has done is get me fired up for the next. I’m looking forward to training days this summer and more walks in Arizona’s Backcountry this fall. Only four or so months till we can get back out there!