Don’t Disappoint the Dog

If there’s one thing I try to live up to when bird hunting, it’s what my dog deserves. She will runs over hills and through the multitude of spiny plants the state has to offer, find birds in heavy cat claw and all I have to do is walk over to her and take a good shot. Unfortunately for the pair of us, it doesn’t always come together that way. Ten times out of ten though it’s my fault for not putting it all together, the dog did her job. Sometimes after a missed shot she looks back like she’s saying “C’mon man!”. After all I think her favorite part of hunting is the excitement of the shot and jubilant calls of “dead bird!” that should follow. Plus I think she likes a mouthful of feathers every once and again.

Hackberry and desert willow lined washes
Watering the dog
Sage pointing in the thick cover

The first birds of the day came after an hour or so of pushing through scrub oak and over the rolling ridges that hide these elusive quail. The dog went into a hard point about 130 yards to our right and we began to go that direction. One bird darted over the ridgeline and to safety but the dog held firm. We got to the dog and right on time birds began to fly away in ones and twos. Scattering pretty much any direction. I missed two straight away from me shots, how? I don’t know.. Sorry Sage!

They are around here somewhere

We kept on those birds and Sage managed to find another hidden on the backside of the ridge, which I proceeded to miss again..

Wash bottom and thick cover for the birds to run and hide, beautiful country
Erosion control structure someone installed to try to bring the wash bottoms higher and store water better, cool to see people trying to make the landscape better
Hackberry growing from the rocks

We decided to call it quits on my bad shooting and headed back to the car. But as luck would have it I spotted another covey making a sprint down a wash. A shot at redemption. Fortunately this time I was able to connect with a Gambel’s hen just as she came above the brush. One bird to hand and a dog that forgot all about the misses early. As content as could be with a mouthful of feathers.

Sign of success
Beautiful desert bird, grateful for the opportunity to harvest one of these elusive high desert dwellers

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