Solstice Day hunt this afternoon. The noise from the crunchy snow had Ruff on edge and busting out ahead of us. Five minutes into our hunt, I lost a crack at two birds that went out behind me and across the road just as two vehicles crossed. The drivers must have seen both birds cross. 😳 Then I couldn't find Elk for five minutes ( I was running sans bell, beeper only). As I was still a bit close to the road I got a little nervous, despite his being a reliable checker inner. I dropped my guard and called him and, as soon as I did, Ruff blasted out from Elk’s point within the treeline not eight yards from me. He showed himself out of the woodline for a piece of a second before tucking back in eighty or so yards ahead. I had forgotten to turn on the Lovetts beeper collar--DOH! 🙂 Good thing Elk holds no grudges!
We had a few more contacts, all birds getting out well ahead, almost all from trees. I only had a few points from Elk (though he didn't bump a bird). The flushes do keep it exciting.
As the shortest day wound down we hunted a bench with ground cover and dead falls upon a ridge, above a good stand of dense hawthorn from which maze I'd moved a couple of birds on our way up, though no shots. I was about to turn back as official sunset was approaching. Then, one last point and a bird rocketing out before I quite got there but I was fortunate in my hail Mary shot and felled the jumpy woodlander and closed the day in the failing light with a nice fat partridge in hand. Elk worked very hard and was as pleased as I to have that lovely hen in his mouth. A great afternoon. It's all uphill from here.
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