Hunt Diaries – Black Partridge Shoot on Indus
Brig (Retd) Azam agha, Islamabad
We crossed river Indus opposite Jhaker Immam near DG Khan and dismounted all our luggage on the Kacha Pattan. Two donkey loads of sleeping bags, utensils, spare cartridges, clothes and what not was sent on its way under a guide to a far off Bheni (dera) of our hosts. The luggage was supposed to reach by afternoon and await our arrival by evening, while we took a more leisurely route and pick up whatever black partridges we could flush on our way. By 1130 we had collected 17 very black partridges, mostly flushed from Tara Mera fields. Whitish yellow flowers were in full bloom and the crop was so thick that partridges flushed with difficulty and their momentary ” bharrr” gave the guns ample warning before they exploded skyward. Males’ flight pattern was distinctly different from females as they preferred to gain height before leveling off while females adopted a lower, sneaky getaway.
Taara Mera fields flanked by ” koondar” and ” lai” produced better game and was fondly referred to by Agha Jan (my father) as “Burfi ka tukra”. I was barely three and a half feet tall at the time and found the thickly intertwined crop almost as difficult to negotiate as was the case for partridges struggling to flush. Needless to say that such fat and lazy Blacks were easy picking for the hunters more accustomed to Pothohar rockets zigzagging through ” Phulai”. Despite persistent denials to the contrary, we realized that our guide had lost his way and in his exuberance for shikar had veered off course by miles.
It was nearly 12 by which time we reached a Bhaini and after consultation we found out that our host’s place was so far off that we d be lucky to reach it by night fall. A council of war was hurriedly called and it was decided to have lunch first and then take up the long journey to our destination. We sat down some distance away from thatched houses out of deference to the ladies’ presence and sent our guide to try and buy some food from them. While some of our city dweller friends were figuring out how to sit and get much needed rest, Agha Jan found a large Saroot Boojha and leaned against it in such a way that it collapsed and turned into a most comfortable reclining sofa. And soon he was well into dreamland as was testified by his loud snoring. Such a seat has multiple advantages as by stretching your legs and pushing a little a sofa can be turned into a comfortable bed and overhanging strands of Saroot make an excellent awning against direct sun rays.
After about an hour or so our guide returned qith another in tow carrying large “Changairz” and a dechka. I wouldnt be far wrong to claim that the desi choozas with ” lamma shora” definitely out shined brace of black partridges if our shikar was allowed to be cooked. I think it was because young chicken spread around that Bhaini lived and ate out of similar habitat as that of partridges. With our tummies full and tired legs wailing for more rest we found it prudent to say Labbaik to the black partridges which had started to call in nearby fields.