My Oh My

One thing I have always tried to do is to keep a positive attitude on writing about, talking about and pursuing chukars. It’s always been easy to stay that way because of the country, the birds and the dogs. But this heat has really got me down.

Spending the first two thirds of September with Conner chasing elk had me fired up to reunite with my dogs and pursue chukars. I checked on my emails and read some of the other chukar blogs and was very excited about the great hunting success I was hearing about.

The dogs were definitely ready. I was ready. But the weather wasn’t. The hills looked as dry and dusty as when I had left for the elk hunt. I even took the boys on a short hike in Hun country without a gun just to get them some exercise to get our juices flowing and they never acted like they came across any scent, even though I could see plenty of tracks in the dusty trails. After 45 minutes they were both looking for shade to sit in even though I had packed plenty of water for them. The happiness of being on the mountain just wasn’t there.

Of course, like most of you, I felt like I could just make it happen and figured I had to give it a try. So I took Jake and Grady out early this morning on a grouse hunt. It was 46 degrees when I left the house and by the time I had drove 3000 feet up it was still that temperature. We departed the truck and headed up the creek bed and the boys were ready to do some hunting. The sun hadn’t hit the mountain yet and the boys were covering every inch looking for scent. Twice I heard the beating of grouse wings through the thick brush but never saw a bird. I assumed one of the dogs busted the birds but the cover was so thick I couldn’t see dogs either. But we were hunting and having fun.

About a half hour into the hunt I hear the high pitch barking of Jake in the brush. I knew that was the sound that meant he had treed his quarry. Before I moved in Grady had joined in with a different pitch. I guess he figured that was what you do when a grouse is staring at you from high on a branch. I climbed through the brush but couldn’t see the bird. I knew it was there because of the actions of the dogs but I couldn’t find it. I climbed out of the thicket and got above it. Sure enough, there was a Ruff sitting on top of the thicket watching the dogs.

I’m not into shooting treed birds so I tried to make it flush. At about twenty yards I could almost hit it with the rocks I was throwing but it wouldn’t fly. After five rocks I finally tried a short branch. The spinning motion hit the brush and off the bird flew just to meet up with a load of 7 1/2 shot. Grady was first to the bird and he brought the mangled bird to me.

I gave the boys a drink and we headed off looking for more birds. The sun was peeking through the trees now and I could feel the temperature rising. So could the dogs. Every time they would run across the open I could see the dust kicking up. Every once in a while one of the dogs would stop and give about ten sneezes before carrying on. One more grouse flew through the trees unseen by me. It was time to start heading back to the rig.

Taking a different route back put us out in the open more. It soon became hot and the dogs were just hunting for shade. They drank all the water and were ready to go home. Even Grady, who doesn’t usually know how to stop. When I arrived at the truck, both boys were laying underneath in the shade. As I loaded them into the back seat I noticed how their noses were covered with a greenish brown crust from the pollen and dust. I thought, “gosh, how would you like to try and smell birds through all that crap floating in the air?” No wonder we are going home with only one bird. And he was treed not pointed to boot.

Once back at the truck the outside temperature said 72 degrees and it was only 10 in the morning. Grady usually sits and watches as we drive out while Jake lies down on the back seat. This time both boys were lying down. They were spent after only two hours. Not the way grouse hunting usually goes. I can’t imagine how beat we’d have been if we had tried a chukar mountain.

So, that’s my depressing start to the bird season. Not too impressive. This will be the first year of not having at least one successful chukar hunt in September. There always seems to be a couple of cool cloudy days to take advantage of, but not this year. But what I have been reading and hearing it’s not that bad for everyone. People are finding birds and having some pretty good success. Both grouse and partridge. So if you are a lot more tougher than me and my boys, there is some fun to be had out there. Just pack a lot of water.

A very good note, was the bunches of quail I saw coming down the mountain. I could have spent a lot of shells firing at those little buggers but I choose to leave them for those guys that love hunting them. They are a super fun bird to hunt but just not my thing. They also looked like they were mostly full grown birds.

Have fun out there but be careful with that heat on your dogs. They say that overheating a dog is one of the worst things you can do. I’ve never seen it and hope I never have to deal with it.

Published by jakeandgrady

Hunting has been a favorite past time for me for 55 years but the last twenty five years I have been consumed by chukar hunting and more specifically chukar hunting with fantastic dogs. In this blog I hope to pass on any information I can about chukar hunting but more than anything I want to showcase what will probably be my last two chukar dogs, Jake and Grady. I am 70 years old, Jake is 8 and Grady is 3 and I'm hoping to stay on the chukar mountain until I am 80 when Grady will be fetching my final chukars.

3 thoughts on “My Oh My

  1. Larry,
    I believe there are quite a few of us waiting for sweater/jacket temps. I did get out last week and found plenty of birds with the first covey of 20 young Chukars. I paid dearly hiking back up the Mtn side w/temps of 75 and out of water. So, I’m gonna stay around the house, work on the trailer…just not that interested in chasing the Mtn grouse, but may anyway to stay busy.


  2. Larry I have a question for ya. How do you get over the loss of your dogs? I just got into chukar hunting 10 years ago and just had to put my first ever hunting dog down. It has been very hard to loose such a great hunting buddy especially since the season was just about to start. My dog ended up getting cancer and had to be put down a week and a half latter. While we wait for cooler temperatures could you write about this in the blog. Thanks for all the great stories and info.


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