Heat: moist, smothering dusty conditions were the order of the day at Little Canyon Shooting Preserve. The sun, a white-hot ball searing dogs and hunters, was still low against the north ridge but sapping energy already.
Under the tangle of head-high wheatgrass the temperature was at least ten degrees more oppressive than the 75 degrees the porch thermometer showed. The thatch of grass suborned any whisper of breeze and locked in bird scent, but Sonny Hairston’s dogs have been there and done that, undeterred by the brutal conditions.
Thanks to cut strips every few yards, gunners were able to quickly reach the first point by Sam, a pointer. A ringneck rattled his way through the tangle and quickly fell to Bernie’s first shot of the season. Berne Moore and friend Jim James came all the way from Kansas City, winners in a sweepstakes we did last year (And this year, too. Go here to enter.)
Later in the morning, Manny made his debut in the field and what a proud owner he has! This 23-week-old progressed through the steps you’d expect over time, but condensed it to about an hour. Birdy on old scent, then a tentative point on the next pheasant, then solid on the next, and even part of a retrieve on the last! Proud and excited (so were we!), he carried that ringneck all the way back to the lodge.