With apologies to Joyce Kilmer, “Birds are chased by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.”(Please click on the photo for a good look at the action)

Why this tree? I was at the game club with my friend Jack and his great setter Chappy. We put out a chukar and the game was to get Pride to back Chappy on the bird. Being unschooled in “backing” I was not surprised when the clever little rascal stole Chappy’s point!(I sorta’ hoped he would clean her clock, which is a great method to teach backing, but alas, Chappy is much too much the gentleman.)

Your ever-alert gunner, me, flushed the bird. Now you wild chukar hunters will all wrinkle your noses at this because how could any PEN-raised(!) bird ever be so challenging as a wild one?? I have found that the birds we shoot will usually do one of three things when struggling to put lots of air between me and them: straight up and then angle away in about a 45° climb; straight up like a woodcock, pick a direction and then scoot; or, straight up, angle up and then a sharp turn left or right. I was moving left when chukar moved right.

I caught him hard enough to pull a few feathers but on he flew, in fact he went about 300 yards and we saw him cruise down around a big cottonwood tree.

Jack said, “Let’s go get him.” Off we went and Pride got there first. Hence the two pictures of her pointing under the tree. What made it memorable was Jack’s exclamation as we approached, “She looks just like a Robert Abbett painting!” And she did.(Later on I found one with exactly the pose she struck.) The bird was hurt pretty bad but when I approached it ran out and then Chappy swooped down on him and retrieved to Jack.

Earlier this week Jack decided to put a bird or two out by the tree; hence, the rest of the pictures. Some great action grabs from video his wife shot of bird flushing and Jack and Chappy reacting.

This is what led to the appellation: Pride’s Cottonwood. We have decided to name it in honor of her. Jack and Chappy both voted for her too!

This is probably not the most informative post you’ve ever read but then I don’t suppose any of you would go nuts over your bird dogs the way Jack and I do. Not you folks. All you sophisticates. Grin.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kim Sampson says:

    Walter, those are great pictures, thanks for posting them! Nothing better than spending time with good friends and good dogs!Kim

  2. Looks like fun! Do you know the breeding on that setter? Both dogs are beautiful!

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