Sitting at home watching a steady rain coming down, I’m wondering about the chukar hatch. The negative part of my brain says that any chick hatched in the last week will surely get wet and die. The positive side of my brain says that the grass is so thick and laying down providing dry spots for the hen to protect her chicks. Also in my researches over the past couple of decades, I believe 90% of the first hatch is past this date so we still could have a fantastic first hatch. But, those biologist that are much more knowledgeable than I say the mean date for the first hatch is June 10th. That means that half of the chicks are on the ground now and at least 50% of those are in the critical first week stage. Not a good deal.
So, we’re at that critical point, but only for the first hatch. If I’m right, most of the hens are still sitting on nests and the hatch will be coming soon. The weather is supposed to start being more favorable starting tomorrow and successful hatch rate should improve dramatically from that point on. If I’m wrong and most of the hatch is sooner than I believe, then we have to hope that the total clutch dies. If only one chick survives, then the hen does not renest but spends the rest of the summer raising that one bird.
The second hatch almost has to be very good. The cover will still be very good and the insects will be around all summer. There will be more natural springs this year than we have had for many years, which will help all the wildlife.
Either way, the hunting season should be average at the worst and if the hatch is just starting the season should be above average or even very good. It’s going to be hard to get any good numbers until the season actually begins this year. The cover is so thick it’s going to be hard to find the birds. Half of my scouting is done with binoculars and spotting scopes which will be useless for chukars in later July and August.
Another real downer, especially for the out-of staters is the price of fuel. I filled my truck up with diesel for the coming up camping trip and it cost a little over $260 dollars. It’s a 48 gallon tank, but that’s still ridiculous. I’ll be doing a lot more camping this season to cut down on day trips of 250 miles or so. I’ll do my best to give an honest opinion of the bird numbers for those hunters coming over to Idaho from those states to the east.
The mountains look beautiful for this time of the year, but it’s still a crap shoot an guessing bird numbers.
A few pictures from yesterdays walk.
These two buck have pretty good growth for this early in the growing season. A good sign of the nutrition out there for the animals.
Notice how high the vegetation is. Usually the cows are moved into this range by now but they probably can’t keep up with what they have wherever they are now.