I took Doc and Mia out for a late afternoon Pheasant hunt following Elvis’ therapy visits and the guys did a great job in spite of a challenging stiff wind. I’ve trained them in windy conditions and although they’ve struggled with it, it’s helped when hunting under those conditions.
Most of the other hunters were giving up for the day by the time we hit the field so we had the area pretty much to ourselves. When I lose sight of the guys for a few minutes, the first thing I look for is to see if they’re on point somewhere and that’s exactly where I found Mia. Not long after we began hunting, Mia went on a nice point which Doc honored. I kicked through the grass without flushing a bird, got a photo op, then told Mia to “track”.
Mia went into track mode but didn’t come up with anything, and we eventually parted ways which was a big mistake on my part; I need to trust her more. I followed Doc towards some cattails and Mia went out into the tall grass. Presently I saw her go bird wild: jumping, backtracking, working the wind, you name it. I immediately started in her directions but didn’t make it before a large ringneck flushed.
It was a long crossing shot and I missed with both barrels; it was also one of those rare occasions when I wished I had a pump shotgun because no sooner did I shoot my second shot than Mia went on point. I broke my gun but didn’t get it reloaded before another big rooster flushed and flew directly overhead with what would have been an easy shot.
The sun was setting and we were running out of time. We began working our way back to the truck when I saw a rooster fly over some distant cattails and land in a patch of sagebrush. Mia was already working the cattails so I took Doc to go after the rooster. I brought him downwind from where I saw the bird land and Doc immediately caught scent and began working into the wind.
I came around some large brush and saw a picture-perfect sight. In a small clearing, there was Doc on a beautiful point with the rooster 20 feet away, standing tall as if posing for him. It flushed upon seeing me and flew directly overhead, far too close for a shot. Then missed the shot when I took it.
Returning home, I felt that I had let the guys down in that they had worked hard under difficult conditions and should have been rewarded with a bird or two. But then there’d be another day.