Like most of you, I love chukar hunting. I am no better of a chukar hunter than anyone else and although I believe my dogs are the best chukar dogs out there (the reigning chukar champs), they are really no better than most other chukar dogs. I am by no means an expert on chukar hunting, chukar dogs or methods a person uses to hunt. What works for me is not best for everyone. What works for someone else is what’s best for them. Brings me up to the range of a chukar dog and what works for you.
Thanks to Steve Scwhinn, I learned a new function of my Alpha. The proximity alert. It tells me when the dogs have hit a certain range. I set mine at 300 yards. On a six hour hunt last month, Grady reached that limit twice and Jake never hit three hundred yards. That’s what works for me.
What made me think about range was a recent post on another site where the hunter showed the result of an almost 800 yard point. Very impressive by the dog to hold the point that long and the hunter should be proud of the dog for doing so. Shows good training. But how does that work in chukar country? Country like this in the Owyhees?
Or this mountain on Brownlee reservoir?
The way my Alpha works is by showing yards in a straight line. It doesn’t account for the elevation change or how many times it may change in that distance. It’s obvious that even 300 yards in this terrain can be much greater. The time it takes to cover a certain distance in this terrain is much different than on flat land with no obstacles. Not to mention the amount of energy taken. I know most 250 yard points take a good amount of energy to get to for me.
I remember talking with a very successful chukar hunter about thirty years ago who ran English Pointers. He talked about how far they ranged. We were at a New Year’s Eve party and I asked if he was ever concerned about losing a dog? He commented that it happened all the time. In fact he had lost a dog that day and was going to return to find him the next morning. The next day I called and asked if he had any luck and he said the dog was right there where he left the crate. I know my heart couldn’t handle that. And that was before the Astro days.
In those days I hunted my dogs with a collar that would beep when I pushed the button on the receiver. If I couldn’t see the dogs for more than a minute or so I would push the button and if I couldn’t hear the sound I’d start panicking. Thank you Garmin. I like my boys to make eye contact with me often, and if they don’t I can look at the Alpha and know the direction and what they are doing to help ease my mind.
Also the terrain and cover makes a huge difference in range for my dogs. If they go over a ridge top they usually don’t range as far as when we are in a big bowl like canyon. The dogs seem to know the difference and will venture further. Just like in thick cover. The more open the longer they’ll range. I think that is more because we have use to making the eye contact and one area is better for doing that than others.
On flat land, most humans cover four miles an hour at a brisk walk. Meaning they can get to an 800 yard dog in about 7 minutes. Now put a canyon full of rocks and other obstacles in the mix and the same distance might take up to an hour to cover. That’s very impressive for a dog to hold that long, but hard on the hunter. I’d get maybe three points and I’d be ready to take it home. For some that would be a great day and great dog work. That’s all they need.
But for me, the more points the happier I am. And that doesn’t always mean dead birds. I remember a hunt a long time ago when I was 0 for 19 in shooting. I was really down on myself but proud of the dogs. I still had a great hunt with lots of action and good dog work. I don’t believe I could have had that much action behind a dog that was always out 500 yards of me. But maybe I’m wrong. I’ve never hunted behind a dog that ranges that far.
As I age, I’m wondering if a fifty yard flusher wouldn’t be easier. I’m sure there some out there that are very successful that way. On second thought, maybe not. I love hearing that sound of pointing dog. Actually, in my case I use treeing dog so that I know they have already been on point for about 45 seconds. Then the heartbeat picks up pace until I get to them and take the shot.
That’s what works for me. What are your thoughts?
12 thoughts on “Just interested”
So for huns and chukars I like my dog at between 110 to 250 yards. I don’t care if I can see him or not, because I hunt with electronics. The longest cast of the year was 700 yards and that was way to far for me. He routinely makes 350 yard casts. I will watch what he is doing at between 250-and 400 yards. I start to get nervous after that and depending on the situation may beep him back.
The biggest issue on superlong casts is if he points it takes me a while to get to him. I seem to have the best luck at getting birds when he points in the 150 to 300 yard range.
Just my thoughts
This wirehair from your buddies three devil kennel hunts real close, like hundred yard max, great for quail but not chuckar, we mostly hunt quail down here so it’s fine.
David. That is pretty similar to what my dogs have traditionally done. Grady one time was 700 yards off by the time I had noticed. He was on a bunch of turkeys running up the trail and didn’t stop until they flushed.
Steve. 100 yard max is too short for chukars. It can be done successfully but I think a dog needs to cover more country than that in chukar country. Saves the hunter from a lot of wear and tear.
I used to have a pointer that would run big. Not sure of exact yards (before Garmin days). I’m sure it was 700-800 yards though. My experience was that even if he held point that long the birds would be gone by the time I got there. Not a very successful way to hunt. My last several dogs stay under 400 yards and usually much closer (150-200).
In my opinion, it was not a very enjoyable way to hunt when you spent the day trying to figure out where the dog was out at 800 yards. Even having a Garmin point the way, it takes too long to get to the dog. Just my experience.
I’m not much of a chukar hunter being from Iowa, but I have made trips to ID/NV/OR for the past dozen years. I hunt with labs and springers. Had my best trip on my first ever chukar hunt to NV. Shot 15 birds in 3 days with a limit one day.
Hunting behind a flusher is hard work as well. In some areas it’s difficult to even keep a flusher in sight. A fast working flusher is tough to keep up with on slippery slopes. Some trips I’m convinced I need to cross to the dark side and get a setter, but I just love chasing springers too much. I don’t think there’s such a thing as an easy way to hunt those birds, just an occasional easier day. I do know, that I’d never hunt out there with a dog that ranged more than 300 yards. That’ can be a long, hard way to verify an unproductive point.
150-450 my dogs range , and one is from the same place as Steve’s 100 yarder. The points are what it’s ALL about . Shooting birds behind a flusher is of zero interest to me personally. I love walking to points that take 20-40 minutes to get too , and yes , thank you Garmin!
Larry, I set my alarm at 150 yards. Depending on the cover and terrain I may not recall my dog (tone button means come back to me). I also let the dogs roll on out if we aren’t finding birds. The tracking GPS systems have really helped getting to pointed dogs and steadying dogs for longer periods because they know the old man will eventually show up.
Great comments guys. They show how each hunter is different as well as their dogs. Randy, yes hunting behind a flusher is just as hard in chukar country. The hunter has to follow his dog and cover more country a lot of times. As you mentioned, the pointing dog sometimes waste a lot of footwork going to an unproductive point. But than again, sometimes that 200 yard point creates lot’s of excitement and anticipation for a little longer. Another thing I worry about on long range is “what if the dog is hurt or in a trap”. Time could be important. In fifty years of hunting I’ve never experienced that problem, but as I have aged, my affection for my boys has increased and I know it would be hard on me.
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Got my gsp out of a snare in MT one time, that threat is real
Very real. Had a friend who’s dog fell in between some big rocks and hurt her shoulder. she couldn’t get our and never made a sound. Once again, thank you Garmin.
We had a dog in a leghold trap this year in ID. And one of mine in a wolf snare in Ak. Both dogs survived but glad for my garmin!