,Some will take odds with this post depending on the type of a hunting season they have had so far, but I’ll post it anyhow. How many times have I heard hunters talk about chukar hunting and what it was like in the good old days?
Although there are several chukar hunters out there older than I am, but I think I can qualify to be able to say what the good old days were like compared to today. Maybe I’m just a chukar optimist, but I’m having a hard time finding the difference between today and fifty years ago when it comes to the number of chukars out there. The season started out a little slow, but I’m seeing bird numbers now that resemble the good old days. To be honest there have only been a few years over the past twenty that weren’t good. But there were years back in the good old days that weren’t so good also.
Now, if you want to talk about the number of people out in chukar country or how the roads have changed and access has changed, it’s not the good old days. Those places I used to go to and have it all to myself are now full of many different types of recreationalists. Trying to find a chukar in those areas becomes pretty tough. But the birds didn’t just vanish for good, they just moved to a more conducive area. The hard core chukar hunter finds those spots, while the casual hunter just assumes it’s not worth it.
Another thing that has changed is the ability to get to where the chukars are today. Especially for us older gentlemen. In the good old days it seemed like there was no place our legs couldn’t get us, even though we didn’t have to go far to find those big coveys. Many of us don’t want to admit that we can’t get there anymore and use low bird numbers as an excuse to not get out as much.
I am a chukaholic and can’t wait for the next trip into chukar country. I know the chukars are there. I have to just get to them and there is the rub. It’s starting to hurt more each trip and I have to admit to not being able to get to them, rather than saying the birds aren’t out there. Yesterday’s trip with Greg Allen was a perfect example.
Let me preface this hunt with saying that I haven’t hunted the same location, yet this year and the last few hunts have provided loads of bird opportunities. Greg and I still wanted to try an area that we hadn’t seen yet this year. As usual we parted in our separate ways, not to see each other for 5 hours. Here’s my half of the story.
I started up the steep grade the best I could with lot’s of side hilling. As usual my back and leg hurt, but got better as the day went on. There wasn’t much bird sign at first and we only had a couple of encounters with wild chukars and not many. After about an hour and 1000 feet of elevation we started seeing all kinds of green chukar poop and Grady locked on point.
From this point on I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking. It seemed like the further we went, the more birds we found and the bigger the coveys got.
Some of these pictures don’t depict the steepness of the country. Maybe it wasn’t that steep and my body just hurt enough to make me think it was.
Like chukar country is, it just goes on and on and the dogs do the same.
Of course Grady got most of the action, but Jake once in a while would find the birds while Grady was out 300 yards away.
It was quite entertaining for all of us. These are only half of the pictures taken to represent how many finds we had.
The only problem was the old man on the hunt was beginning to hurt again. Usually the sign of the dogs on point help to make the back pain go away.
But it wasn’t on this day.
And when it came to a covey of chukars trapped between the two dogs and a no miss situation
I managed to miss with both barrels and finish getting a limit of chukars. They were the easiest shots of the day but my back hurt so bad I couldn’t swing in the direction they flew. As usual, the dogs did there job, I just failed to do mine.
Luckily for me, there were plenty of birds behind me and I knew there was still a chance for a limit.
But with all the good dog work, I couldn’t make it happen.
I managed one more chukar, making one shy of what I needed. Plus I could still shoot five more huns for a double double.
I’ve done that several times over the years but not in at least the last two that I can remember. I knew there were at least two covey’s of huns below because I had seen them jump wild off Grady’s point.
I was on a nice cow trail that was leading down hill towards the truck and I wasn’t about to get off it. Heck, I’d probably miss anyway.
I got back to the truck and was disappointed that I had only covered 4 1/2 miles and 1600 feet of elevation gain. I was sure I had done twice that. Our final count was 7 chukars and 3 huns, which is a super day. I couldn’t help thinking how I might have done if I were five or even ten years younger.
I was back at the rig an hour before Greg showed up from the other side of the mountain. It must have had good number of birds also because his bird count ended up the same as mine.
This hunt was every bit as good as the good old days, I’m just not the same guy as I was in the good old days.
To add to the good number of birds out there, Mark sent me some pictures of his hunt in a different part of the country.
This is his Munsterlander, Oakley, who made a fantastic retrieve on a crippled bird
and the rest of his crew.