The season at HIHP is coming to a close so I headed out today for one of the last hunts this spring. It was a sunny and warm spring-like day, a far cry from the cold we’d experienced just three days ago. The weather put me in a good mood right from the start and by the end of the day, with birds in the bag, I had a big smile on my face.
Not every point, flush or shot makes a story worth telling but here are two quick ones from today.
First, Patty locked up in some reeds along one of the big canals. It took me a while to find him but when I did I could also make out two hens in the cattails just fifteen feet in front of him. I couldn’t get at them and I don’t like releasing Patty in those situations so I left him and walked all the way around to the nearest bridge and then back along the far bank. When I got back to his location I realized that the canal was wider than I’d thought and I was further from the birds than before. I walked all the way back around again.
I didn’t want to walk Patty off of the point. It didn’t seem fair after he’d already been locked up so long. So I got down into the 10′ tall reeds and resorted to tossing dirt lumps to flush the birds. I was determined to try for the double so when they did come up, I rushed the first shot. She was too low and still covered by the tules. The second bird went higher and I had a clear shot up through an opening.
Patty made a great retrieve including a brief swim but I was most proud of him for holding the point for at least ten minutes while I hiked back and forth and tried to work out a solution. Good boy Patty!
The second story ends with a laugh and a miss. To avoid other hunters, Patty and I often head out onto the edges of the club. There are less birds out there but the solitude is worth the extra work. Patty hadn’t found a bird for about two hours when suddenly he did a hard turn and slammed to a stop.
I’d been carrying a GoPro and filming him a bit. I thought that this might be a good photo opportunity so I approached with shotgun in one hand and camera in the other. My plan was to hold the GoPro low to the ground and then just drop it when the bird flushed.
As any one who’s been through hunting 101 could tell you, this was not a recipe for success. While I was thinking about filming and keeping the gun safe, the bird flushed and flew away. I fumbled the camera, stumbled to stand-up straight and struggled to mount the gun. Needless to say, I shot well behind the long safe hen.
I had a good laugh at myself. Patty, as always, forgave my lack of focus and went right back to hunting.