It’s been tough watching September go by without at least one chukar hunt, but I ALMOST didn’t get out this month. With today only supposed to be 70 degrees for a high and cloud cover this morning I got up early for a local hunt. My expectations weren’t too high and here’s the way the day went.
I started up the mountain pretty early hoping to hunt some of the southern slope before the sun got very high and then swung around the ridge to hunt the shaded northern slopes as long as the dogs and I could handle it. Handling it wasn’t a problem for the dogs, but was a huge problem for me. I was gasping and hurting from the get go. The hill was steep but I’ve been on this slope dozens of times and it never hurt like this year. In three hours I covered three miles and gained only 1000 feet. Far short of what I had anticipated.
The very good news is that my first shot, which was filled with ashes from three of my past shorthairs, hit it’s mark. Every year but one the ashes have helped me make the first shot of the year a success.
More good news. There were plenty of chukars. I can’t give an accurate count but it was somewhere around 100 birds seen. I had a couple of other chances at shots, but passed because the birds were a very late hatch and we will be able to enjoy them later this year. I believe the birds I saw were pretty evenly split among 3 different hatch times.
More good news. There must have been a rain that I wasn’t aware of in the last month or so. There were green sprouts in most of the hoof prints and cupped out areas under the heavy cover. I’m sure the chukars are eating that up as well as the bugs on the mountain.
More good news. The cover is just like we predicted. Heavy to very heavy. Great for getting the birds to hold, but not so great for an old man to wrestle with. Also, on those steep slopes, it’s very slick when it bends under your boots making it hard keeping upright. But that’s not unusual when chukar hunting.
I was a little disappointed at the dryness of some of the springs. There was still water in them but not as much as I had figured. But chukars don’t need much.
Jake’s first point of the chukar season.
Grady’s first point.
Both dogs on point on some five or six week old birds that didn’t want to fly until I almost stepped on them.
Not great points or pictures. Just a chance to see how thick the cover is going to be in most places this year. Couple that with the amount of birds I saw and it looks like a recipe for a lot of fun. And I wore out way before what I consider the good area for chukars. Hopefully I’ll muster up the energy to get back there when it cools down.
Oh, can’t forget our success shot.
I don’t have that tailgate picture of birds of plenty but trust me that they were there. Young birds and a wimpy old man kept me from at least getting more shooting. It’s a flip of the coin how the shooting would have gone. But I think it’s going to be a very good year.
There is some bad news. Fires. We had a thunder storm go through the area last night and I’m hearing about some fires. Mark texted me of three fires in chukar country. One north of Squaw butte. I believe I saw a retardant plane heading that way. Two more over at Brownlee reservoir. One in Rock creek and one in the Dennett creek drainage. All are areas of interest for both big game and chukar hunters. Let’s hope that they are put out fast. If anyone has any more information it would be appreciated.
I’m very excited about the upcoming season. I just have to get over this back issue and into chukar shape and then maybe my dogs will like me again.
Good luck out there.