If Friday’s hunt was tough, Saturdays was exponentially worse. The weather service clocked winds at 30 mph with gusts of 40 mph in town however several friends living out in the country saw weather reports of wind gusts over 60 mph. Add the occasional rain and snow flurry and you’re talking tough hunting conditions.
Doc started the day on a self-imposed diet; he didn’t eat breakfast and wasn’t interested in lunch, so he went hunting on an empty stomach. Not long after we began hunting, Doc stopped and buried his face in the grass. When he looked up, his nose was covered with blood and at first I thought he had hurt himself but then I saw a small piece of lung matter hanging off his beard. He had found pieces of a fresh kill and had eaten it.
I called off the hunt and we returned to the truck where I fed him. I always keep small sample size bags of dry dog food in my hunting locker for such an occasion, and he happily wolfed it down. From there we went to another hunting area where I lost Mia for a few minutes. She disappeared in the sage brush and no way could she hear me call or whistle in that wind, but she eventually returned so we packed up and left. It’s an area with a lot of Pheasants but is now on my “hunt when you get a GPS collar” list.
We then returned to the same area that I hunted on Friday about the time the sun started sinking. With the wind blowing like it was, the guys didn’t have much of a chance with pointing. They had so much trouble just trying to lock onto a scent that the birds flushed before they went on point. The wind didn’t help my shooting either.
The first Pheasant they flushed rose high in the air but was unable to go anywhere against the wind. For a few seconds it hovered, stationary about 20 feet off the ground, and I missed my shot. A few moments later, Doc flushed another rooster and I missed that shot as well. We went after them and came to a small spring running through cattails. No sooner did we cross the spring than a rooster flushed and this time I dropped it.
Both Doc and Mia searched for the bird without any luck so I walked up to help them find it. As the video shows, Doc caught its scent and went on point and retrieved it as well, no thanks to Mia. I didn’t want her retrieving the bird for two reasons: 1- Doc pointed it and I wanted to reward him for pointing, and 2- Mia should have honored Doc’s point when she came upon the bird.
Hunting hours technically ended as we were heading back to the truck, and we came onto another rooster trying to hide in the grass rather than flush. I took the opportunity to work the dogs rather than bag the bird, and as the video shows, they had a tough time scenting and pointing the bird. This led me to wonder how many birds we’d passed up because the guys couldn’t scent them. Back home Doc happily ate his dinner and Mia not only ate her dinner but insisted on two additional cups before she was satisfied.