Have you ever had virtually everything go right? For almost three weeks? When the equation included two dogs, four TV cameras, crew, vehicles and a squeaky-tight schedule?
As the saying goes, I’d rather be lucky than good. In this case, good planning was complemented by better luck. This year’s Awesome Upland Road Trip was a vestful of highlights, which you’ll see starting next summer on Wingshooting USA. I’ll do my best to recall some of them here between now and then, starting with the warm-up chukar hunt in southeast Oregon.
It was warm, dry, and where we hunt that’s a good thing. (The roads turn to gumbo with a light sprinkle; if you’re up a canyon you’ll slide into something on the way down. If you’re at the mouth, you won’t be going uphill any time soon.) Mike got there early and staked out our favorite spot. I followed, paying a visit to my favorite town, Fields (pop. 9) and proprietors Tom and Sandy Downs. There’s always a new or old friend in the cafe’, and the Friday before the opener was no exception. It’s one of many reasons I hunt that area, and there’s been more than one occasion when I’ve seen folks there I haven’t seen in town in years, adding spice to an already tasty serving of high country adventure.
Dave rolled in late (he’s got a respectful day job – actually, two) and we finally got some shuteye. Dawn came early and cold, with the crack of shotguns down canyon. A neighboring camp had the jump on us, scattering the home covey of valley quail before we’d finished our coffee. They didn’t stay long, though, as their principal quarry was mule deer.
We mobilized and headed for higher terrain and chukar partridge but our walk was interrupted by Buddy’s first point and the whir of quail wings … apparently the other hunters hadn’t broken up the covey completely … or was it another bunch, headed down the same canyon?
Dave’s young Lab Buster was enjoying the tantalizing scent, the excitement of gunfire, and a playmate in my wirehair. He’s got potential. Singles flushed sporadically, and we pursued. How we did is the subject of a future installment.