Dang, I wished my shooting was on par with Mia’s pointing, because Saturday she brought her A-game to the hunt and I left mine at home.
We got an early start and had to wait for a bit until it was light enough to hunt. No sooner was I out of the car and loaded my gun then Mia went on point and a moment later 4 partridge flushed. These birds weren’t allowing any dog to hold them on point.
We set out with Mia working the bottom of a lava ridge while I followed along the top. Within minutes I flushed a lone partridge and missed the shot. Not long after that, two more flushed from somewhere unseen and disappeared off into the distance; I just saw them crossing in front of a distant rise.
Not long after that Mia went on a textbook point that did me proud. This time I screwed up by misinterpreting the direction of the breeze, and instead of bearing down the hillside to the left towards the birds, I went right. About 8 or 10 partridge flushed behind me, then a straggler which I took a shot at.
We hunted for another hour without seeing any more birds; Mia took off chasing a jackrabbit until I nicked her with the e-collar. That was the last rabbit she chased, but when we kicked up 4 more throughout the morning and while she watched with keen interest, she didn’t give chase.
It was beginning to warm up and I decided it was time for a break, so we hunted our way back to the truck. Once again Mia was below and downwind of me hunting the sagebrush while I stayed on top of the ridge. I flushed 6 birds that could have been part of the covey that I flushed earlier and the results were the same: I missed another shot.
During our break I put cooling packs in Mia’s vest and doffed my windbreaker – the temperature was in the 30’s when we started out and was now in the 60’s. I also put another hunting boot on her, since she had lost one of them within minutes of starting out. After hunting another hour or so without seeing another partridge, I took Mia home and grabbed some lunch. Even though she had cooling packs in her vest and the temperatures were in the low 70’s, she was becoming hot under the direct sun.
After lunch I loaded Elvis into the truck and we went to a different area where I’d had luck in the past. By now the temperature had reached the upper 70’s and a stiff breeze was blowing, which felt nice to me but Elvis didn’t get much benefit from it, being down in the sagebrush as he was. We hunted for over an hour without any sign of partridge, roughly following the fence line of a large field going out and a ridge line coming back. I decided to call it a day, since Elvis’ cooling vest had heated up to where it wasn’t doing him much good, and we hadn’t seen a sign of partridge.