Tomorrow is the first day of June and I can’t remember when the hills were this green and the cover as thick. It’s still up in the air as to how it’s going to affect the chukar hatch, but I believe that if the nests handled all the moisture we had in May we’re going to have a very good number of chicks on the ground in the next month.
Another chukar fanatic, Steve S., called and gave me some interesting stats about the May temperatures and moisture. This year compares very similar to the Spring of 2005. That was the best year he could remember for chukar hunting and my records show it was the second best year I ever recorded. Let’s hope for similar results.
Look out big game hunters. I covered some country yesterday and found several bucks about. Horn growth seems real good and I saw this guy from a distance with extremely good horn growth for this early in the season. They came through the winter in good shape and most of this great forage is going into horn growth.
He’s going to be a dandy.
Barb and I also found some calf elk. These calves have to be over two weeks old since they have already joined the herd. Mom usually keeps them separate until they are strong enough to run from predators.
We also watched another elk calving. Although we didn’t see the actual birth, we saw her lie down in the tall grass to where we could just see her head. After about 20 minutes, she got up and walked off 100 yards or so. She got up and down several times and two magpies kept picking towards her rear end. After about an hour of this she went back up towards the spot she had originally lied down and a wobbly calve stood up and walked over to start nursing. It was cool for Barb and I to watch.
The next two weeks will see most of the deer and elk babies hitting the ground and the dogs and I will hoping to get some good pictures.
I do have a question about quail though. My sister in law, Jana, who lives in Meridian, saw a pair of quail with about 15 babies in tow. I’ve also had a few other reports of baby quail in the valley. It seems like every year the quail down in the valley hatch way before the birds up here. Our elevation here is within 100 feet of Jana’s house but the quail here rarely hatch before the first of July. Go figure. The good news about the quail she saw was they somehow survived the rainy days. Great news.
I’m looking forward to checking on the chukars while up looking for baby big game. Hopefully in a couple of weeks that will start happening. For those that wonder, I only go into chukar country if it’s dry. That way if I do luck upon some and they get separated from mom, they won’t succumb to the damp grass. They, just like big game, have no problem of reuniting with each other but they have to be able to stay dry.
Watching game animals is an exciting way to spend a day, but when I do have an encounter with babies I try and make it short and move away to let the animals get back together as soon as possible. Sometimes I’ll get far enough away to watch with binoculars as they get back together. Usually the birds reunite right away. Many times a doe or cow will stand off 100 yards or so away from the baby for over an hour. I’ve never heard the sound, but something stimulates the baby to jump up and run to mom.
Nature is cool.