This is why you need a bird dog

Brittany Chukarman

Well-known member
Dec 16, 2003
This is Ranger. He's over 14 years old, has had discoid lupus that erodes his nose inside and out most of his life, is blind to the point of running into you and can only hear loud or sharp noises. In spite of all that he is pretty spry and has a lot of heart. In his day (and mine) he did a lot of chukar hunting, quite a bit in those hills in the background. We still go on short hunts walking from the house in ground where his chances of getting hurt are less, mostly we stay off the rocky slopes. He'll run ahead 20 yards then come back to locate me then go again. If he gets side-tracked and veers off I have to go after him until he winds me or hears a hand clap. Lately we've been targeting pheasant. There's not an abundance of them here but we usually get a couple a season. This year they've given us the slip the few times we've tried, either jumping way wild or just not there. One of our easy hunts is walking along a narrow irrigation ditch coming out of a canyon. If birds are there they will usually run ahead to where the ditch splits and hold. Today we were 70yds from the split when Ranger froze and put his nose in the air. He worked below the ditch then went up in the sage on the slope above. He eventually got on the scent and started creeping. I thought the bird would hook behind us when he flushed but he went straight away with me being below down on the ditch. A big sage had me screened off for the first 30 yards but when he cleared I shot him going away as he cleared another big sage. He was hit hard and crashed into a blackberry patch but a going away shot usually means a runner. I hustled over to the patch and looked in the best I could but it was thick and stickery. Ranger was getting kind of winded but he circled the patch and didn't seem too birdy. I hate losing game and decided to go back to the house and get the gas hedge trimmer. Before leaving Ranger went up the ditch to the next split but he was breathing pretty hard and didn't show any sign of being on the bird. I came back with the trimmer and left Ranger home. I cut into the patch and hollowed out an area where I could see good and no bird. He must have run further. So back to the house to get Ranger and try to get him on the scent. 40 yards from where the rooster went down up at the second split Ranger locked up on a clump of dried grass. I tossed a rock, Ranger moved in and the rooster came hobbling out right under his nose. He didn't see it but it only went about 5 yards and tried to hide but he has done for. No way I would have found that bird without him. Love that little guy.



Well-known member
Jan 14, 2012
Had my ten year old GSP Rudy out your way today. He is slowing down a bit, but is as good as ever for the first half of the day. Then hunts close for the second half, which is probably a good thing as I don't have the legs to chase down a point on a chukar that is three hundred yards above me by the mid afternoon. It is amazing the heart that old hunting dogs have for the hunt. Great story Chukarman, and way to go Ranger.

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