Sophie's Choice


New member
I asked my girl this morning if she wanted to chase roosters. She immediately went to the door and waited. That is as strong a "yes" as you are going to get from Sophie.:p

We head to western Iowa and Donna's place. Many of you will remember this one of a kind creek with cover and the drainage ditch. As good as it gets. I figure the birds will hold tight today as occasional sunshine is mixed in with cloud cover and occasional mist. The air is heavy and damp--best conditions for the nose of the dog.

We begin on the western side as it is into the southwestern wind. Our first point comes quickly--I notice the soggy ground as no snow is present with the upper 40's temp. Rooster one is a low straight away shot. Did I mention I am sentimental today and carrying my dad's humpback Browning he purchased in the 60's? Seven and 1/2 pounds of arm-straining hell but I wanted to relive some past today. Clean miss and thank God Sophie is not one to dwell!:p

Point two is a beauty facing the creek at the edge. I close in and see the grasses move just a little. One swipe of the foot and up pops our first hen of the day. We continue on to our first willow thicket. As we approach two does erupt from the backside and continue down the creek. We hear a rooster cackle in the grass and he is off to our right. A good move as we close in. Sophie locates him very quickly and I am right behind her. Rooster two pops straight up at first and then decides to cross from right to left. At the shots he tumbles into the second row of picked corn. After a little encouraging, Sophie brings him to hand. Her two biggest achievement this year so far are the ever-improving nose and bringing the birds back to me. Last year the retrieves were few and far between. Our next point is another classic. You will remember we had one the other day as well. As we are working the edge of the creek she stops and the nose goes high to the air. We are staring at the other side--about 8 and 1/2 feet away when in the air we go to the other side. Four steps later we go to solid point--nothing moving. I release her to the command but she doesn't move. I have worked very diligently with her to hold on the points which she continues to do very well. I take a few steps back towards her but I am still on the other side of the creek. Another release command and she takes to the grass. Rooster two is out--right at me and low. I let him pass and turn for the straight away shot. I recall seeing the muddiness of his feet as he is going by me. He was that close. A load of prairie storm copper 5's put him in the bag. As I pick him up I marvel at Sophie's nose and that twice in the last week I have seen her pick up scent from what I consider a longer distance than my previous pointers had ever done.

We have two more points--hens prior to reaching the crossing point and bring the other side back to our starting point. We encounter another doe--how we walked by her earlier I do not know--and then reach our snakeweed patch that I know from previous hunts is a prime roosting spot. I know these birds have been hunted previously by now but did not expect what we saw next. Sophie spins on a point and holds staunch. She is facing the creek. As I close in a younger rooster flushes and takes off to the right. He is gaining altitude when I hear more flushes. A cackler with a longer tail catches my eye heading out to the left. I see multiple birds in the air. We flush 11 roosters from this snakeweed patch and 10 hens. My first shot on Mr. cackler is a clean miss--I realize I lift my head to see the shot connect and that is why I miss--shot two finds its mark and our day is done. I unload the 5 shot capacity Browning and give Sophie her second "choice" of the day. I muse about how I like to carry lighter o/u shotguns now in the 4 to 5 pound range. She has three more points--a hen and two of the roosters we previously flushed prior to reaching the truck. Two choices and a bit of sunshine at just after 2 when I took this picture. Donna received her Webster City ham and my many thanks for a fine hunt. Happy Thanksgiving all!:)
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