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I had the opportunity to take an old high school buddy and his 13 year old boy out Chukar hunting on Black Friday. His boy has only ever hunted pheasants and he hasn't hunted Chukars since high school. It was very cold and the wind was howling in the 25 - 30mph range. Didn't take long before the dogs caught wind of some birds up ahead. The dogs steadily tracked the birds across a long open ridge before locking up as we crested a wind sheltered ravine. We moved in and an initial rush of about 10 birds took flight. I missed my first shot and another flush of about 20 birds thundered off. I swung to the left and dropped a bird. I saw it hit the ground and run into a nearby bush. I quit looking to shoot at that point as I was keeping an eye on last place I'd seen that grounded bird. As I moved in to try and locate the bird my friend starting yelling that there was a bird on the ground. I thought he had seen the one I'd shot but then saw a different bird running to my right. I turned towards it as it flushed and took my shot hitting the bird. Both legs dropped but the bird did not. It locked it's wings caught the wind and rapidly sailed off the mountain and out of sight. I turned my attention back to my left and towards that first grounded bird. I saw it dart out of the Bush and run up n over the next ridge. I ran after it when Ruger saw the bird and took chase. I reached the crest and could see neither dog nor bird. I continued to search when suddenly here comes Ruger with bird in tow. I had to dispatch the bird when Ruger placed it in my hands. I turned back to the rest of my party asking If anyone else had hit the mark as I'd heard much shooting beyond my own during the episode. To my disappointment the answer was negative. We continued on and the dogs located another covey of about 15 or so several hundred yards up the ridge in another wind sheltered ravine. They locked up tight and we moved in. This time the birds didn't sit long and we were unable to knock any down as they thundered off. As we moved up the hill Bronco went on point about 100 yds down the hill. Again the bird didn't sit and flushed well out of range taking another bird with it. We continued up the mountain. As I came to the top my dogs crested over the top and out of sight. As I reached the top I could see both dogs locked up. Bronco was down in a ravine and Ruger was honoring his point at the head of the ravine. I called to my compatriots and waited for them to catch up. We covered both sides of the narrow ravine and moved in. As we came into range Bronco relocated. Shortly therafter my friend across the ravine says he'd just seen a cottontail near where Bronco was tracking. Bronco continued to track down the ravine for a good 100 yds before locking up again. This time we saw that he was intensely focused on a large dense bush right in front of him. At this point I was convinced that he was pointing a bunny and began to call him off the point. He didn't want to and took a step towards the bush and off goes another 15 Chukars. I crossed the ravine to join my party and crossed right through where Bronco was initially locked up. I couldn't believe it but there were fresh chukar tracks headed down hill. Not very often that you see Chukars run down hill. Doesn't seem to matter how many times I've been taught the lesson to trust my dogs I'm stung when I fail to do so. At least the long cold hike produced an opportunity for the new pup to get some feathers in his mouth.
 

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