It’s 101 degrees in Horseshoe Bend as I type this post. The forecast is for five more days of 100 degree temperatures. I hate to be negative but this heat ain’t good for nothing.
I did get up early and head west this morning for a scouting trip. The dusty trails and heat seemed worse than ever. By the end of our hike even Grady was walking the trail behind me. He never quits but was whipped by the hike. We even found some water to supplement the water I was packing, so that wasn’t a problem.
I heard a grouse flush but didn’t see what type it was. It didn’t sound like it flew far but we never found it again. I’d like to tell you that was one of many game birds we saw but it would be a lie. That was the only game bird we saw. In fact, except for a coyote running from us like his tail was on fire, that was the only wild animal we saw. We usually see deer, elk, chukar, an occasional bear and more in this area but saw nothing. We didn’t even see a hawk. I know earlier this summer they were here because this is my second trip into the area but you wouldn’t know it now. How can all those animals just disappear by 7:00 a.m. in the morning?
The only positive sign of the day was some vocal chukars from high above. The pictures don’t do justice to the steepness of the hills. Grady could hear the birds and showed no interest in going up to find them.
There were at least two different birds chucking up high on this mountain and another bird up this draw.
I’m hoping my leg and back will carry me up these steep hills once the season comes but me and the boys have a lot of work to do. We’re going to spend more time the next couple of weeks high in the timber getting in shape. I never thought I’d get tired of hiking the chukar mountains but this heat has got me beat.
As far as a chukar forecast, I don’t have an honest opinion. It’s hard to compare to other years when the dogs and I have only covered half the country as we usually do. I will say I’ve seen enough to know it’s going to be a decent year. It may take some work to find the birds at times but they are out there. I’ve heard good reports from all over the state as well as a few dismal reports. Like always, the fisherman say they are seeing and hearing chukars everywhere. But a lot of chukars is different for a fisherman than a chukar hunter.
Animals have only one job and that is survival. In extreme weather like this they must move to where survival is most optimum. With only 19 days to grouse season and a little over five weeks to chukar season it looks like we might have to work a little harder to find those areas. First off, you got to believe they are out there and secondly be ready to work for them. There’s one constant about chukar hunting, they don’t come easy.
Good luck this year.