When you hunt solo as much as I do, there is an oversupply of window time with nobody to talk to but yourself. As I drove home today from Kings Landing, I had two wiped out pups in the back seat (their reward for hunting hard), and I thought to myself, I’ll bet five large that when Macho was a little, week old ball of fur, his mother Blue said ìLittle Macho, what do you want to be when you grow up?î In his toughest wee little voice he replied “I’m a gonna be a Rolex wearing, kiss stealing, limousine riding, champagne drinking chukar dog! WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”
For those who don’t recognize that line, I pilfered it from Ric Flair. And by all accounts, little Macho at just shy of six months as I write this, acts just like the Nature Boy himself. In the first month of his red-shirt freshman hunting year he has hunted in three states. He has had contact with Sharpies, Huns, Chukar, Pheasants, Quail, and Sage Grouse. He has pointed and retrieved a variety of birds in training. In the wild, lill Macho has tracked, flushed, pointed old scent, and retrieved some wild birds, but that elusive pointing of a wild bird, and holding it until the bird decides to flush and be shot has been elusive - until today.
Hunted Manny and Macho hard yesterday, and Manny got the morning run today. So I decided to let Macho run by himself all afternoon for better or worse. We were checking out a location Cousin Brian had advised us on, so what the heck. Within five minutes of heading up the draw, I had my first Washington chukar in the vest (thank you little 8 lb., 13 oz., baby Jesus). Macho was up the canyon to my left in hot pursuit. Most likely a chukar sprinting up the mountain like Ben Johnson. The wind was at Macho’s back, so figured it would end with him rooting the bird up and no shot. I scrambled up the side of the canyon to get a better perspective and watch Macho do his thing. Upon reaching the top, I was suddenly hit with a sense of urgency, I had to pee, like right now! I had been holding it for two hours. As we do in the mountains with nobody around for miles, I slung my shotgun over my left shoulder, and commenced with the business. During this process I thought it would be wise of me to at least have my scatter gun in hand just in case, so I unslung my gun and continued my process while watching little Macho work back down into the wind and then BOOM! Macho was locked up on point so staunch that I knew this was for real. Three seconds later the Megalodon of all chukar explodes from the sage 40 yards from me screaming down canyon from left to right. I focus on the beak, the barrel catches up, lead is established, squeeze, no sound is heard, the birds folds and crashes to the earth. Macho is running faster than I have ever seen and locates the fallen Boss of all Upland birds. This was his moment of perfection with all of his genetics rising to the surface, this is what it’s about. Uh oh, one problem.
Being an ex-collage athlete, my instincts took over and I made the shot, a perfect shot. However, I was still in the middle of my, er “process.” I snapped back to reality only to look down to see, then feel that I was still processing and had done so all over myself. Inside, outside, belt, zipper, shirt, “How’d I get the beans above the franks!!” What a mess. I went down and obtained the bird from Macho, then spent about ten minutes taking dirt, sand, and finally sage to clean myself as best I could. The remainder of the afternoon we moved several more coveys. One pointed covey, an amazing find and fight to the finish with a crippled that would make his namesake proud. Macho ended up with five birds in the vest, and memories that I won’t soon forget. He has a long way to go, but he is on the right path following his big brother Manny Pac. WWCFD.
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