I feel bad for Chaos. She worked really hard last year, her first hunting season, but the birds just weren't there. Or worse yet, maybe I just didn't put her down where there were birds. But then if it was me, it was a lot of guys.There were few good bird reports from all of the states that we hunted.
Chaos is my little black & white female English Springer Spaniel. She's a cute little hellion at just 30#s, and she was a year-old on her first hunt in Arizona.
It was supposed to be a short circular walk from my campsite to familiarize myself with the area and maybe even a Mearn's quail or two. I took both Bo and Chaos along for the romp. The Sky Mountains of southeastern Arizona are as beautiful as you've heard, but they aren't a very hospitable place to get sorta lost in. I'll relay all of that story and the friendly Phoenix quail hunters who helped me find my truck in another story.
But here Bo, Chaos and I were, finally on a road. Not knowing the game laws, I unloaded my old Weatherby and hadn't strolled more than a few yards when both dogs became animated and dove over the small berm and into a brush clump. WHIRRRR! Little, must be Mearn's quail, dispersing through the tree tops!
I didn't mention this was my first hunting trip to Arizona and I had only seen Mearn's in videos and photographs. It appeared that there was a curve in the road that would lead me closer to their flight path. I noticed a small grassy opening about 50 yards from where the covey flushed, stepped a few yards off the dirt road, and loaded up.
Bo and Chaos were already cutting through the grass and brush when Bo bumped a single that flew straightaway. I hit that bird hard with 1-1/8 oz of 7-1/2's from my cylinder bore barrel. As Bo was running deeper into the timber for the retrieve, Chaos flushed a quail of her own I shot as it cleared a treetop a little further out and hit it well.
Good ol' Bo and good little Chaos, very reluctantly releasing their birds.