Of course, I could use a bunch of those four letter words to describe chukar hunting and the obstacles and so on that goes with it. But I’m going to try and keep it clean.
First off is a word coined by my hunting partner Greg Allen. He started it way back when we were young. Satisfaction. He used to point at the highest chukar mountain we could see and said we could get a lot of satisfaction out of that hill. We always found a way of getting there back then. Now, at least for me, it’s called pain.
Chuk up. Doesn’t mean throw up, but toughen up and get up that mountain to where the dogs are.
Wild birds. Any time birds take flight from you and your hounds the birds are wild. If it’s another hunters dog, the dog is running wild and busting birds.
Creeping. When a dog on point relocates as the birds are moving.
Long ranging. How far the dog gets away from the hunter. Each dog has it’s own range and every hunter has his like and dislikes. One of those topics that can get real heated. Of course my dogs are perfect, so that is the range I like.
GPS dog collar. There are those that love it and the old traditionalist that won’t have anything to do with them. I think they’re the greatest thing invented since chocolate. I don’t panic every time my dogs are out of sight and I don’t have to look all over for a pointed dog. I do have to admit that they probably are as responsible for more bird kills outside of the bird dog and shotgun.
Steep. Doesn’t need much explaining. Just go where the chukars are.
Versatile dog. A dog that will hunt and retrieve a variety of game no matter whether it is on land or water. As soon as the temperature drops below about 40 degrees, my boys place a toe in the water and say no way. I’m fine with that.
Cover. Where a chukar can hide. Means something different to each hunter. Of course the more cover the better a bird will hold, but it’s amazing how a chukar can hide on an overgrazed hillside. It may look overgrazed but the birds love that short new grass just sprouting.
Hard point. When a dog locks up on a point and he doesn’t move. Only the dog owner knows his dogs style and what looks like a so/so point to one might be the real thing to another.
Honor. When a dog will honor another’s point by stopping and pointing at the original dog. Once again every style is different. I’ve come upon Jake honoring from the sitting position once in a while. He’s getting older and I suppose his hips are getting a little sore. It means the same to me and I’m ready for action.
Retrieving. The dog returning the chukar to the hunter. Once again, a good retrieve is different for every hunter. It is very impressive for a dog to return to the hunter with bird in his mouth and sit beside the hunter until he takes the bird. Pretty unrealistic for me and my dogs. If he gets the bird back to within a step or two, I’m tickled. They usually work super hard retrieving chukars.
Yard training. Something else that is different for the individual. None of my dogs have ever been trained the formal stuff like sit, shake, roll over, jump through hoops or many other things you can train a dog for. My only yard training is come, whoa and heal. For me, those are the most important commands for my hunting dogs. Not only for hunting purposes, but for safety purposes. Oh, I also make sure they know how to take snacks gently. I don’t need one of grandkids getting a finger bit while sharing goodies and my boys have always loved sharing goodies with them.
Soft footed. Every dogs feet are different. Some dogs callus up good and some don’t. Some times the way a dog covers the rock chukar slopes requires the owner to boot the pup. I’ve never had to resort to that but I have to admit to seeing a little blood in the snow from the pads of my dogs at times.
Snake wise. Usually means a dog that has been through a snake avoidance class. My boys have all taken the class and it seems to have worked well. That doesn’t stop that incidental strike, but it helps to be assured the dog won’t go after the snake and I assure you that the snake doesn’t want to go after the dog. Knock on wood, in over fifty years I don’t even know of a close encounter.
I’m sure many more words will come to mind, but the last two words are the most important to me.
Bird Wise. I have been asked many times of my training methods. Before I got my first GSP, Tucker, I trained my Britts to be machines. They did all those things a good trainer would want. We got birds and it looked impressive but something was missing. Tucker came along and I was introduced to a dog being bird wise. The only training I did was some basic yard training. I let him go on hikes with my Brittany, Rookie, and never did anything but let him learn about how much fun birds were. Yes, he would see Rookie point and would act curious but he was learning the fun of wild birds and how to find them. I found the more I took him to the quail fields or chukar mountain the more he would find the birds. From that point on the next four GSP’s were trained pretty much the same way. Hours and hours of time on the chukar mountain. Sure there was some fine tuning with a whoa here and there but they all have become fantastic chukar dogs because first and foremost they knew how to find birds.
So, on this boring day of sitting at home, I’ve come up words often used by the chukar enthusiast. I started with satisfaction and ended up with bird wise dogs. I truly believe if you have those two attributes you will be in for some unbelievable hunts. Filling in all the blanks in between can be however you want.