I’ve been looking for, and finding, birds. I’ve seen chukar, Hungarian partridges, and “dusky” (formerly “blue”) grouse (which makes the statuesque, elegant galliform sound like a porn star trying to make a comeback). But I’ve also seen lots of horned deer while holding my Benelli Ultra Light 12-gauge loaded with 1-1/8 ounce 7-1/2 lead shot. Deer season ends soon, and my freezer’s empty, so I’m kinda hoping to run across (or over) a li’l forkie while sporting my .270. The thing is, though, that I see deer when I’m looking (with the Benelli) for birds, and I see birds when I’m looking (with my Remington 700) for deer. This weekend was a comedy of erred firearms.
I’d bet there are a few folks out there in the same conundrum. You can’t realistically carry two guns with you. I don’t even know if it’s legal. Once I had my poor wife carry my rifle on a bird hunt, and my shotgun on a deer hunt (she doesn’t hunt). You might guess that on both of those occasions we saw lots of sparrows and squirrels but no galliforms, dusky or otherwise, or ungulates, horned or otherwise.
As far as the chukar go, it’s been a little frustrating. We’ve taken the boat out and kept to our goal of hunting new ground every time, but the birds have proven elusive. This past summer, while fishing on the nearby reservoirs, chukar serenaded us – it seemed – constantly. We’re finding more evidence of them now, however, than the birds themselves. I’m thinking it’s a timing thing, mostly. I know they’re moving, and it’s been unusually warm, so they’re near the water. Exactly how near, I think, has been the issue. Arg. After doing this for a while now, it’s bizarre not having a better idea of what to do where and when. When it comes down to it, luck seems to play as big a role as anything else. If I were bionic, and Angus, too, we could hunt all day (we’re no Larry of Tucker’s Chukars, after all!).
As much as it pisses me off to admit it, and as hard as it is to remember it, we do this for bigger reasons than killing birds. I’m so grateful I have Leslie to shoot pictures to remind of why I shouldn’t care if I don’t shoot birds.