15 quail for Zone 4. Got there at 12 pm, left at 3 pm. Bagged 11 quail and 1 chukar which was a bonus bird.
Tessa started things off by taking a dump and then transitioning smoothly from the squat into a point because the first bird was right...there! We were then entertained by a quail that huddled by a tree, pointed by Shane, but played some sort of "Ring Around The Rosies" game with Chris who tried to flush it. Round and round the tree they went in both directions, the quail predicting Chris' moves and always remaining on the opposite side of the tree, while Shane held his point, watching.
Tessa was the one who found the chukar. We didn't know what she was pointing until we flushed it and were a little startled at the size of that bird, expecting a much smaller quail.
Towards the end as we were tending to Paul's gun, Tessa ran out of range and I could no longer hear her bell. My fault for not keeping a closer eye on her and darn it, she was gone. Although she regularly drops out of bell range every so often, there is something extremely disheartening about standing on the top of a hill and scanning the land for your dog, to no avail. Not a sound, no movement anywhere, no orange collar flying by in the distance. I called once, I whistled once, nothing. We all agreed that more than likely she was on point somewhere but where? I started walking. We are talking many acres of high grass, shrubs and woods. Thankfully, I spotted her a few minutes later, on point in that last little field which we had not covered yet. I don't know how long she had stood there. 10 minutes? Turned out she had found herself 3 quail. Unfortunately, she jumped them just as I was approaching and they flew off in three different directions before my gunners could even get there. Argh! One of the birds took cover in the pole barn which Tessa continued to work until we left without success. Lesson learned (if only!): Do not jump birds. Wait for gunners. Or else, the birds are swallowed by the pole barn.
Overall I would say it was one of her better days. Her cooperation was excellent, and she searched methodically and tirelessly. Not as steady as she should be, and still flagging though.