I remember back in the 70s when I use to hunt ducks and geese and how many birds we would see. At night, after a hunt, I would close my eyes and all I could hear and see hundreds of birds coming into the decoys. That happened to me last night. Only the difference was it was chukar tracks I was seeing.
On our hunt yesterday, it seemed like every where I went there were chukar tracks in the snow. Greg said he saw the same thing. I had several points where there were lots of tracks but no birds. Don’t know if the birds had just flushed before I got there, or if the tracks were several hours or days old but they were there. Last night when I closed my eyes I was seeing chukar tracks in the snow.
That’s good news. And to add to it, we did see lots of birds. This is definitely the best year I have had in the last 7 as far as finding birds. The rough thing is getting on the birds. Yesterday the thermals were bringing scent from below and Grady had several points from 100 yards or more and the birds are now acting like late season birds and flushing out of gun range. Being beat up, it’s taking me a long time traversing down the slopes, or up, through the snow and rocks and the birds get a little nervous.
Thank Kennetrek for stiff boots. They are protecting my achilles from further damage, but I still feel muscles in my calf pop each hunt. I try and keep my foot as flat as possible on each step, but that’s not always possible in the snow covered, steep, and rocky terrain. But the boys convince me to keep going.
Barb can’t understand how I call it a good day when I have to crawl out of the truck after the long ride home and ask her for help in unloading the truck. But we’ve all been there and that’s part of the love of chukar hunting.
We have all heard the saying “you should have been here yesterday”. That’s pretty much how the rest of this post goes. This is for those who don’t live here in chukar country but still love chasing them. Those that live thousands of miles away, but travel here each year hoping to find chukars every where. They don’t have a choice of picking whether to hunt or not on particular days. They only have a short time so they have to make due with what mother nature has given them.
This is the time of the year that you don’t just pitch a tent and sleep with the dogs. It’s cold and snowy. You need to make sure you have chains to get into some of the places. To be honest, some times it seems like more work than it is worth. If I traveled over 1000 miles to get to chukar country, I don’t know if I would feel it’s worth it this time of the year. I would choose early November as more of a compromise. But here is one of those guys that took the chance and it paid off.
I don’t know Darin Rice except for this blog and he kindly sent me some pictures and information from his hunt this last week. He is from North Carolina and made the trek to Idaho and Oregon to shoot some of the greatest game birds there are. Chukar. He evidently stopped in one of those states famous for pheasants and shot a few of those as well as some quail and ended up here. Here are a couple of the pictures he sent me. Punkin(left) and Dixie(right) with his take for the day.
And his 20 month old, Scout.
He was ready to head back east because he had filled his possession limit. Congratulations on a great trip. You have to love your dogs to make a trip this time of the year like this. As I said, we natives don’t know how fortunate we are to live so close to such good chukar habitat that we can pick and choose which days we want to hunt.
Today is one of those stay home days. It’s snowing and supposed to drop 4 inches here which means maybe 8 in the higher elevations. That’s too many hidden obstacles for me to trip over so I’ll wait for another day. But here is what my boys produced on my last few hunts.
I always like Jake’s sitting point. He’ll only hold point for so long before his hips start bothering him. So he finishes the point from the sitting position.
Every once in a while we even find a couple of huns to add to our take.
Don’t let the little snow in these pictures fool you. There is plenty of that 6 to 8 inches of snow that you have to wade through along the way.
Good luck, there is still 58 chukar hunting days out there.