Saturday, September 25, 2010

Montana 2010: The First Day, Hail Mary Edition

I'm much too tired to write this cleverly, but here's the deal.  Jon, Wes, and I (along with six dogs) left Kansas at 5:30pm on Friday evening.  We drove straight through, all night long, to Carbon County, Montana.  We arrived at 10:30am Saturday morning and put down Doc, Dottie, and Sage.

For those in the know, Carbon County is one of the few counties in Montana that hold a population of chukar partridge.  It was a longshot, to say the least -- we called it our "Hail Mary" attempt at punching our Montana card for a new species of bird.  In fact, none of us had ever shot a wild chuck anywhere.  Hell, when Jon called the Montana FWP, they advised him not to waste his time searching for these crafty birds.

That, of course, was taken as a challenge.

So imagine three corn-fed flatlanders, hitting the biggest, ugliest hills we could find.  And we tackled them.  As best as three dog-tired dudes could do, somehow feeding on the deprivation of sleep, energy, and a couple thousand feet in altitude.  Nothing though.  As the sun reached it apex, we headed down a drainage and back to the truck, birdless.

And then, as any bird hunter knows, luck changes on a dime.

Dogs got birdy.  Locked up.  Relocated.  Locked up again.  Solid this time.  Wes went in to flush Doc's find, and all hell erupted.  Ten birds, probably.  Three died.  A fourth fell when Dottie pointed a single, her tenth upland bird species of her ten year career.

Hard to beat today.  But we're gonna do our best to try for the next 14 days.


  1. Those birds are tricky ones. We have them all over our hills in Utah. They are where you find them. I'm looking forward to the updates on the remainder of your Montana Trip.

  2. Wild Montana chukar? I'm jealous, very jealous.

  3. I hope the rest of the trip manages to be as rewarding. Looking forward to reading about it, too.