California quail and chukar dogs

A good friend of mine invited me on a couple of quail hunts this year and wanted me to bring the dogs. I declined and tried to explain the difference between quail hunting and chukar hunting. He didn’t quite understand how a hunting dog would act different from one game bird to another since he had never hunted behind a pointing dog. His lab had died and that was the only dog he had ever hunted behind. “Ol Boon would hunt anything”, he said.

I remember when I was young and chasing quail. The action was fast and furious and shooting 2 boxes of shells and still not have a limit of 10 birds was common. I also remember taking my son, Doug, quail hunting and he loved it. There was constant action. Doug wasn’t quite as fond of chukar hunting. What teen ager wouldn’t take shooting 50 shots on an outing over shooting 10. Chukar hunting and quail hunting are both very challenging and can be equally as exciting.

My reason for not wanting to take my dogs quail hunting is because of how they end up handling quail and my fear that they might start trying to handle chukars in the same way. I’m sure that many good dog trainers can handle their dogs to hunt both but obviously I’m not a great trainer. So I took my dogs on a hike today in an area I hoped to find both quail and huns (substitute for chukars). I videoed Jake and Grady on both species and I hope that maybe the videos will do my talking for me.

The first video is of the quail. Jake went on point and Grady honored. As I approached Jake broke and started moving into the thick cover where he could hear the quail. That was Grady’s clue to move. That’s not all bad, but from that point on Jake might as well have been a hound dog because all he did was bark at the birds as they ran thru the heavy stuff or flew to a branch above him. That was Grady’s clue to run around the brush and flush as many as possible. For many, that could have been some great fun but for a pointing dog enthusiast, that becomes frustrating. Here’s what it looked like.

As you can see they kept the dogs excited in the thick cover but did enough dancing around to keep them off point. Huns and chukars will definitely run further than quail and often run ahead of the dogs and take flight. More often they will run a ways and hunker down. Sometimes I approach Jake or Grady’s point and there is nothing there. They might have already flown or just ran a ways. The dog soon figures that out and relocates and than it is up to me to move in on the dogs and flush the birds. The dogs have learned that by staying motionless they might be rewarded with a dead bird to retrieve.

Usually in chukar hunting the birds take flight at close to the same time and you empty your gun. Than you head off hoping to find another covey. With quail you can sometimes stay in one spot and shoot many shots as the birds keep randomly coming out.

This next video is of Jake honoring Grady on some huns and shortly after the reverse happens on another covey.

Both look like they could have some fun shooting. But with my limited training ability I will keep my dogs away from the quail draws and stay where I believe the chukars will be.

Published by jakeandgrady

Hunting has been a favorite past time for me for 55 years but the last twenty five years I have been consumed by chukar hunting and more specifically chukar hunting with fantastic dogs. In this blog I hope to pass on any information I can about chukar hunting but more than anything I want to showcase what will probably be my last two chukar dogs, Jake and Grady. I am 70 years old, Jake is 8 and Grady is 3 and I'm hoping to stay on the chukar mountain until I am 80 when Grady will be fetching my final chukars.

2 thoughts on “California quail and chukar dogs

  1. I hunt quail with my pointers every chance i get, always when chasing the chuks, have done with all my pointers, never a problem going back and forth,! My pointrrs did a great job this season on chukars, huns, pheasant, quail and forest grouse, not once has one the the other screwed eith them for hunting chuks, as i am a chukar hunter first and last, but nothing is any more fun than scattering 100 valley quail on a hillside and having your dog point single after single fast and furious

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree when you get them scattered they’ll hold great for a pointing dog. The few quail I shoot are just like you pointed out. But usually the dogs find them in the thick brush and it’s almost impossible to get the birds to flush and when they do they stay together and land in the next bunch of thick stuff. My dogs immediately head to where the birds are and through the excitement of hearing them run through the brush and fly from limb to limb they decide flushing and yipping is more fun. It could real easy be that I’m not a good enough dog trainer to help the dogs remain steady on the quail.
    To your point, my dogs will and love to hunt them all and when it comes to hunting chukars after chasing a bunch of quail they still usually hold the point forever. I have the same problem with Ruff grouse. Sometimes they fly up into a tree and Jake just can’t handle it and starts yipping at the bird. At that point the bird is not going to get shot anyway so I get Jake away and hope for a bird that will hold on the ground.
    One more point on the quail. If I have a young hunter along there is nothing better than the action the quail can provide. I’ll let my dogs do whatever it takes to help the new hunter feel some success.
    Thanks Joe for the great input and information.


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