Although most of our trips were looking for new chukar country, we mixed in some other fun out in the country.
It started a couple of weeks ago when Conner, Ashley, Barb and I went on a horn hunting jaunt. Of course Jake and Grady accompanied us. After a while, Barb found the first antler. It was a hog. Here’s a picture of Conner packing the horn and it was even bigger than it looks.
With that find, Barb was hooked on shed horn hunting. The second part of that trip was the dogs having a ball locating quail and huns.
Than, Conner, his buddy Wyatt and I went on a carp shoot. Although I didn’t do any shooting, I believe I had almost as much fun watching the two of them as they did shooting carp. My excuse was not having a left handed bow for shooting. I didn’t want to admit that I didn’t want to get shown up by these two knot heads. Here is a picture of the two of them with the first half of the trip on the Snake river.
The carp barrel was full so we had to unload these before heading out for round two. The biggest fish were around 18 pounds and put up quite a fight with a bow and arrow.
The next morning Barb and I were headed for Malheur county to do some serious scouting for new chukar country. Of course with Barb’s new found passion, she was off looking for shed’s while I was hitting the ridges and following the dogs.
Although she did quite well, the boys and I did better on finding chukar pairs. Every where we went we found chukars. Not a lot but enough to be confident that we had found new places to hunt. Another reason for not finding as many birds this time of the year is lack of scent. As nesting season approaches it becomes extremely hard to find chukars. It’s time to let them be and pursue other activities until after the hatch.
Our findings were very positive though. I scouted this country hoping to find birds in areas that weren’t quite as steep as the Snake river canyons. I failed in this regard. The areas we found the birds were as steep but not quite as high. I could actually get to the top of some of the ridges without finding another ridge higher up that could hold birds. So elevation gain isn’t as drastic over in Malheur county but the amount of rocks make up for the difference. For the most part you have to keep your eyes on the ground for each step. Stiff boots are a must.
Every bird was paired and we didn’t see any groups of chukars. Good sign for nesting. Also, we didn’t hear any chukar talk, which is another good sign for nesting.
I was very impressed with the lower country and the amount of quail. It seemed like every brushy draw had a covey of quail in it. They definitely haven’t started pairing up yet and the dogs had a ball barking at them as they hopped from branch to branch refusing to fly from the thick cover. But they sure held well when they got out into the sage brush. I had many points where I had to kick the sage to get the bird to exit from a pointing dog.
Being that it was new country for me, I don’t know if the dryness was normal. Although there is plenty of green up the country seemed awful dry and finding water was tough. It seemed like to me that the country needs some good Spring rains to keep hatches going strong.
I did spend the last two days of the trip in a familiar area. Mainly just for comparison. It was an area I’ve hunted many times with good results. It was equally dry and I found about the same amount of chukars. It looks like we might be needing some help from Mother Nature.
The end of the trip ended a little comical. Barb and I got back from our last hike and I couldn’t find the binoculars in the side by side. I was thinking I had to drive back to where we had parked the rig when Barb noticed Grady standing with the bino’s around his neck. He evidently got them around his neck while riding between Barb and I and then jumped out when we got back to camp. Or maybe it was just his way of saying, maybe we ought to hunt using these instead of me running all over the place looking for birds.