Today was opening day for partridge and sage grouse hunting seasons, and with our gear loaded, Mia and I were off and hunting before sunup. I took Mia for a couple of reasons – first, when I take Doc hunting I want to make sure he gets into some birds from the start; second, Mia’s had her share of fruitless hunts and I can rely on her to hunt hard from morning to night. Like today.
We had to wait about half-an-hour for it to be light enough to hunt, and I fully expected to run into a number of birds given the good spring we had this year. It’s one of my favorite hunting areas because we normally find partridge, however in three hours of hunting, Mia never even became birdy. Not only didn’t we find any birds but Mia lost one of her hunting boots and another kept twisting and tripping her, so I removed them when we returned to the truck.
From there I headed out into the desert where we’d have a chance of running into some sage hens as well as partridge. On the way I met up with a bow hunter who was hunting elk and he told me that he had run into two large flocks of about 40-50 partridge. He gave me the locations but I’m not familiar enough with the area to have found them.
I found a nice looking area and we hunted it for an hour or so before breaking for lunch. Although the temperature was not excessively hot and there was a nice breeze, it was hot for Mia in spite of the cooling vest. She drank about two gallons of water during the course of the day and became adept at drinking from the water bottle I kept full.
After lunch we hunted another area for over an hour and although I found three fresh feathers, no birds. In fact I heard only a couple of faint shots all day and that early in the morning, so there were either very few hunters or they were all having the same kind of luck that I was having.
Our final hunt of the day was in a new area and while it looked promising, the ground cover was too sparse for birds. Still, we hunted at least an hour just to get a feel for the area and perhaps find some pockets of brush that might have birds. By now a stiff wind was blowing and a cloud cover led to the temperature dropping a little. Other than about two hours of driving between locations, we hunted from roughly 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and Mia, my little huntress, was all-out hunting the entire time even a sign of birds.
Soon after we finished hunting for the day and I just started driving back home, a flock of partridge ran halfway across the road in front of us and then flew onto the lawn of a nearby farmhouse. But today my respect for Mia grew immensely; while grooming her this evening, I noticed that she had a partially slipped pad on both front feet, yet it didn’t slow down the entire day. After dinner we gave her some alfalfa and then a lot of extra special care.