Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sally's Birthday Hunt

The Birthday Girl
This post is a bit late, but Sally insists I do it, anyway, as we had such a lovely time together.

On Wednesday, 12 December, I took the day off from work to spend the entire time hunting with Sally.  Instead, I spent half the day getting my shoulder looked at and x-rayed and some of it buying dog food.

Split Tree With Core Exposed
Sally and I finally hit the trail in the afternoon and enjoyed a three mile hike.  We only encountered three birds, none of which provided me with a shot.  We were approaching an intersecting trail when Sally slammed to a halt on the left side of the trail.  She was pointing slightly back in my direction, so I left the trail well in front of her and looked for any movement.  Nothing.  I looked at my dog.  No movement.  She was solid.  I started working closer.  When I got closer than she usually points them, I heard the bird flush from her far side.  Darn.  That bird was pretty stealthy to not have alerted Sally to its movement.

Broken Tree Growing Toward the Sky
The next bird was my find.  I hadn't noticed many tracks and started paying more attention to the snow.  I became quite excited--birdy?--on discovering a beautiful line of partridge tracks crossing from right to left.  I began following them and, just as I began moving to avoid running into a rather large tree, the bird left said tree in a thunder of noise!  It had, I believe, been perched at about head-height, observing my blundering progress and well aware of the dog's distance from us. 

Woodpecker Work
The Trail to Adventure
As with any good handler, Sally did not get upset with me for mismanaging the bird.  She did decline to believe me when I told her where I thought it might be, but otherwise she gave me lavish wags and a few licks on the hand.  Then she went off in search of another bird.  The only other bird I heard flushed very far away from us.  We had a lovely time, regardless.