Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Big Covey(s)

Later that afternoon we found a spot so full of good looking cover that it was almost overwhelming. Our eyes were filled with lush shortgrass prairie interrupted by the small fingers branching off a large coulee. I wish we had found it earlier in the day; it would have taken all seven dogs and a couple days to hunt it all. There didn't appear to be much biodiversity in the grass, it looked rather uniform, but it should hold birds.

As we did that morning we opted to run Dottie and Ike. Very quickly into the hunt, while coarsing the edge of a ridge, Ike and Dottie crept into points, a shared find, just ahead of us. The wind was stiff into their noses and that meant the birds would either have to fly straight into the wind or peel off and give good crossing shots. As before, the birds didn't let us reach the dogs before they flushed and flew straight away. Even into the wind they accelerated very quickly and I barely managed a sporting shot. I saw Ted's bird drop but I was unsure if mine had found it's mark. Then Dottie, as she usually does, pointed my dead hun.

I had watched the large covey circle way back behind us and sit down out of view in a cut wheat field. We doubled back to the truck to put another dog down, Vegas, and continued our hunt on our original bearing. Ted took the bottom of the coulee and I tried to stay on the ridges. We made a big circle and oddly didn't see another bird, or even any sign of birds. On the final leg of the circle I convinced Ted to try to find the huns again. Still a few hundred yards from where I thought the birds landed Ike went on point on the edge of the wheat field in a rather sparse pasture of sage and heavily grazed grass. A covey lifted between dog and guns and again we each took a bird.

Back at the truck we inspected the crops as we cleaned birds. The first pair had crops full of greens and grass seeds. No wheat at all. The second pair had nothing, which left us confused. Either the covey processed the contents of their crops in an hour, or it was a different covey. I'm still undecided, but I guess it doesn't matter. It was a great day to be in Montana.

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