I knew better, but I thought I’d give it a try anyway. When it is snowing at my house there would surely be snow where I usually hunt. Most of the places I hunt are about 100 road miles away from where I live and although there was only about an inch of snow on the ground the roads were slick. But hell, I woke up early, why not check it out?
I wanted to hunt a spot I’d hunted once this year already. It had a good number of chukars that flipped me the middle finger as I slipped on the hill trying to get shots. This is what the country looked like on that hunt. This is where I was headed and about 1/2 way up the draw.
This is where I had come from.
And the hill side I hate to hunt but the bird’s love.
Those of you that chase chukars a lot can relate to this slope on the right as you look at the picture. Why do chukars take to that degree of difficulty in stead of the more gradual slopes? I remember that hunt well. All the way up that draw I didn’t see a dropping and the dog’s never acted like they smelled birds. Oh ya, we heard them calling from way up. We kept going until we had gained about 1800 feet. Then we side hilled to the ridge top.
There was plenty of sign up there and it wasn’t long before I had a point 200 yards down the back side of the ridge. It wasn’t the side of the ridge I wanted to hunt but I had a point and was committed. The birds flushed wild and swung around the hill and the dogs wanted to go after them but I knew once we got any further down that side we were committed and it would put us a long way from the rig. So back up to the top we went and hunted the steep slope we started on.
I had to stay a couple of hundred yards below the top to keep the boys from wandering over and dragging me there. It worked with several points and retrieves but I have to admit to getting my butt kicked. Also, the dogs worked extra hard on the retrieves. It seemed like every bird rolled or flopped way down the hill. Grady even chased a rock I kicked up all the way to the bottom, thinking it was a dead bird. It had to be close to 500 feet of elevation loss. But we had a good hunt despite of my lack of getting a good stance on most of my shooting.
Anyhow, that was the location we were headed for. As we got closer things weren’t looking to promising. We had to go over this summit about 6000 feet.
Usually not a problem but when the road is already looking like this at 2500 feet I started considering going home. Not only was that good hunt in the back of my mind but the many times I had gone into places like this and got stuck was there too.
As I got further up the hill, the snow got deeper and it was obvious that three rigs were ahead of me. There is only one way out and I was trying to convince myself that if I got stuck I probably would have some help getting out. Hell, I have four wheel drive and a winch, what could go wrong? The memory of my younger years and all the digging I have done finally got my attention and I turned around. I stopped every once in a while to let the dogs savor over other wild birds along the way.
Grady’s whining told me he’d be just as happy going after them as a chukar while the old boy just laid in the back seat perfectly content to stay dry.
I used to love hunting these birds but somehow it isn’t the same for me.
Tomorrow is supposed to be in between storms and I’ll give it another try, but not on that steep slope. Hopefully, the snow will melt and give me one more shot on that hill before the year end. If not, those public land pheasants will be looking better. Neither of my boys have ever had a pheasant in their mouth.
Yesterday it was 56 degrees at my house. Almost 20 degrees above the normal high and today there is 2 inches of snow on the ground. I think it’s time to prepare for winter hunting.