Cap and I just returned from chasing blue quail at Black Gap WMA. What an amazing trip, with epic scenery and history! It was Cap's first wild bird hunt, since we don't have any bobs in Shackelford Country anymore it seems. I didn't think he'd be ready for such a trip at 8 months old, but he's done so great in traiing we went. He did amazing! Climbed those rough, rocky, cactus strewn mountains like they were nothing, never quit, never lost his puppy enthusiasm. He's got some tough feet and skin for a city boy! Never needed boots. After jumping a few coveys and singles, he figured it out, and as we circled around an old dry tank with an ancient, fallen down net wire fence, he hit the cross wind, turned ninety degrees and started up the mountain with intensity and 50 yards later locked up. I walked in, gun ready, not knowing if this pup knows his game yet, and up went 20 blues, his first covey find and point! And to all amazement, I swung and dropped one!
He couldn't resist and followed the birds up the mountain. We climbed and again he got birdy and locked up. I walked in, hopeful that this pup is this good already and sure enough, a single blasted out, and again, this one dropped at the shot. He wasn't quite dead and I though Cap pounced on him, but when I got up the hill, he didn't have the bird. After a quick search, we marked the spot and went p the hill after the now calling singles. Since we had our trophy birds, my first blues too, I practiced conservation shooting (i.e. missing them just for the fun of shooting and to wild them birds up a little to help them survive) on the singles that Cap again found and pointed. Do you believe that conservation shooting bull?!
We went back to the prickly pear patch I was sure that last hit bird was, Cap got birdy but as I looked and poked in the pear he wandered off. After a minute or two, I looked up to call him back in and he was standing there with the dead bird in his mouth. Folks, I think I'm gonna have a bird dog!
We drove all over Black Gap's 100,000 acres, saw a monster mule deer buck, and just relished in this treasure. Oh, and I binged listened to a new podcast I LOVE, Mountain and Prairie, check it out. Sorry for the long, but this trip was inspirational!
PS The last evening, in the tent, a covey of quail apparently had surrounded us and flushed. The next morning as the sun rose, after the season had ended, they were calling their "chip chew" gathering whistle. It was a great ending to a blessed trip.