From 500 yards away, sitting atop his horse, John Zeman watched the beginnings of his â€śperfect scenarioâ€ť unfold, as if the entire drama before him had been choreographed for some higher purpose.
This was early last September in northeast Montana. Zemanâ€™s 4-year-old German shorthaired pointer, Liza, locked up on point in an overgrown alfalfa field. For several minutes she stood frozen in time and space, her stubby tail canted at 45 degrees, her sinewy, white-and-liver-colored body glistening in the sun. The distance closed, Zeman jumped off his horse, grabbed his 20-gauge over-and-under from its scabbard and flushed a covey of sharp-tailed grouse.
â€śI knocked down one bird, but the most gratifying part of that whole deal was that Liza was completely steady throughout â€” on point, with the flush and then the shot. She didnâ€™t break until I released her for the retrieve, which she brought to hand,â€ť said Zeman, 54, of Zimmerman. â€śSome guys want to shoot a lot of birds, and thatâ€™s completely fine, but what Iâ€™m looking for is that perfect scenario where all my training with my dogs comes together. As a bird hunter, thatâ€™s what really gets me going.â€ť