Thursday, August 9, 2018

Grady's august progress

With this super hot weather we're not getting much mountain time but the little we're getting is producing some birds. Grady knows what we're out there for and is searching hard but has yet to scent point. We've had some sight points on grouse and he has a beautiful point. He's got the retrieving down and is used to gun fire so all we have to do is put a point with a downed bird after the shot and from that point it will be just time in the field to make him a good hunting companion.

There were probably close to thirty young chukars in both of these video's all though I didn't get most of them with the camera. The few times we are getting out right now is just for an hour or so first light. The temps are still in the 60's at that time and the dog's sneeze a lot but it's better than sitting at home. The high was 107 today and supposed to be the same for the next two days so we won't be doing any training or scouting. Also we are seeing more birds from the roads than usual so if we don't burn up we're still looking real good. Huns, chukars, quail and grouse all are looking good. There are even birds in the burn.
Just a small sample of what we are seeing on the road.
They usually get off the road before I can get the camera but these chukars are pretty much a common sight this year.
Sometimes the chukar just hang out and allow some good photo opportunities                                                                                                                         
while this young quail was very interested in finding out what I was.
These birds were a later hatch
and if we get a third hatch we'll be looking at that block buster season we've been waiting for.

Grouse season opens in three weeks and chukar in just over five weeks and fire is all that can limit this season from being very good and like I mentioned if we have any kind of a late hatch it is going to be fantastic.

Hopefully by the next time I post, Grady will have pointed by scent and retrieved either a frozen shot bird or the real thing if the season is open. With this heat like it is, it's hard to imagine being on the hill with my boys but because of the generous season in Idaho I don't have to go until the weather cooperates. It's just nice to know that when it's time the birds are going to be out there.                                                                   

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

uplands biggest enemy

After telling everyone about the great hatch all hell has broke loose. Our number one enemy is starting to attack. Right now there are three fires burning in chukar country with the biggest burning down in the Owyhee's.

What hurts me the most is a fire burning in one of my favorite early season area's. It's where I shot my first bird many years ago over Tucker and also an area that holds lot's of blue grouse. The area has been wiped out for hunting this year and the saddest thing for me is that it's a place Conner and I have spent many hours together hunting. The video is only an hour after the fire started and this is what I saw as the moon came up tonight.
Although it's always sad to lose this valuable resource, Idaho is full of upland habitat to hunt and we'll find somewhere to fill this void in our schedule. I just wanted you to realize that there is still the possibility that the season coming might have a few flaws. By the end of August I'll try and map out a the larger fires and post about them in case they have an impact on an area you might be heading for. It's scorching hot over here right now so keep your fingers crossed.

Went up and took a peek this morning and it wasn't pretty.
But there were some survivors

Saturday, July 21, 2018

upland scouting 07/2018

It's been an interesting month to say the least. Working with Grady has my camera in the truck most of the time so I can't prove the number of birds I'm seeing so you'll just have to trust me when I say we should have a great year.

First off, Grady is coming along okay and if we ever get some cool weather and possibly some moisture I think he'll become a hunting dog by hunting season.

Chukarhunter50 posted a great report and I have to agree with his findings. We're still finding lot's of older chukar hatches and also some very young ones. Along with that we're still seeing pairs that possibly may be having a late hatch to just add to our chukar hunting obsession.

Huns are showing up with fairly good chick numbers along with quail. I typically don't see many quail chicks this time of the year but this year seems to be the exception.

Blue grouse are everywhere with big chick production and we're finding some rough grouse in the timber.

Unless something drastic happens (like fires) I can't see a downside to this year. I even scouted the Owyhee's and found good number of birds and a better number of insects than I had heard.

It may be a little early but I'm predicting a five star season for the upland birds in Idaho and eastern Oregon. So stock up on shotgun shells and start working on the lungs because it's only 55 days till the Idaho chukar opener and 15 days less than that for the grouse. I'll try and get some better video's of birds in the next month to help get you fired up but until then think positive.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Larry's a happy man.

Things have progressed even faster and better than I thought. Although Grady has yet to point a wild bird, he has honored Jake several times and loves the smell of upland birds. It's as simple as getting him to point, than a flush followed by a shot and a thrown dead bird. A few reps of that and we'll be ready to start the season and with patience by me to only shoot pointed birds and hopefully some good shooting Grady will be on his way to being a top notch bird dog.

I put in a 2 1/2 minute video showing him honoring once and getting a little ahead of himself on another flush.

I told you about Grady first and saved the juicy stuff for the end. Our last couple of trips have come up with more young birds this early in the season than I've found in the past. Blue grouse hunters should especially be excited. Lot's more blue grouse broods than I've seen in a long time. Chukars have exceptionally large broods and every bunch I have seen has two different aged chicks. Most covey's only have one adult. There's a theory about that and I only hope it's true.

I haven't got much footage but have seen baby grouse, turkey, chukar, elk, deer and coyote so far this year. I'm still looking for some baby rough grouse, huns and quail and will passing on what I see when it happens.

I hope you enjoy this short clip and it helps get you excited for the upcoming season. Some how I'm out of touch again and you'll have to look at the upland babies of 2018 post to see the video. Sorry.


Upland babies of 2018

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

93 days and all's well in southwest Idaho.

I've been getting several requests about Grady's progress, so before getting into our last couple weeks of scouting I'll share a little bit about him. He is very intelligent  and has learned all the commands I require of a hunting dog, but with that intelligence comes the ability to figure out when he wants to comply and when he doesn't. What he doesn't realize is that I have just ordered an alpha which has the training ability as well as tracking. He just thinks he has the upper hand.

Jake has learned how to play and play hard thanks to Grady. He doesn't hold back and knocking Grady half way across the room is a lot of fun because Grady keeps bouncing back for more. They have become best buds. Grady no longer follows Jake on the mountain but does his own searching but reacts quickly to anything that Jake may show interest in.

As far as progressing in hunting talent, there hasn't been much. He still retrieves dead birds shot with a blank pistol but only when he has the desire. No point on a wild upland bird yet but he has a stylish point on the kill deer and robins around here. It always amazes me how the flushing sound of an upland bird can excite a bird dog and Grady loves that sound and chases with exuberance. This last week he has bumped a rough grouse, a blue grouse with chicks and some chukar and his excitement rivaled mine.

Last week Barb, Jake, Grady and I spent four days in Stanley Idaho hiking the mountains and we got to watch Grady get initiated to many new experiences. The most comical was watching him sprint back to Barb and I with a cow elk in hot pursuit. His legs have grown faster than the rest of his body so I don't need to say any more about his style. We never found the calf, but the cow stayed around keeping an eye on us. We also got into some pretty deep snow and he and Jake both took to some otter like playing.

Grady showed a little sign of flinching at the sound of a twenty gauge so we're backing off that until we get into more birds.

Now, what most of you really care about. The birds. Not much to add over my report a couple of weeks ago but the condition's seem optimum to me. Yesterday, we hiked a familiar chukar mountain and were pleasingly surprised at how green everything still is and the amount of grasshoppers. They were literally everywhere. Although we saw several chukars, there was no sign of a hatch yet. However, we did have two blue grouse flushes and with them were about 12 or so chicks strong enough to fly 75 yards or so away. Things are progressing right on schedule. We always see the turkeys hatch first followed by the grouse and then chukar seems to be just shortly before the huns. I can't give scientific proof, but that's how I usually see it.

As far as the out-of- staters planning your trip over here, I'd say this is a pretty normal year as far as precipitation and if you usually depend on certain waterholes or seeps that is where the birds will probably be heaviest this year. Remember last year followed a very wet winter and the birds were scattered as was the water sources.

I have not been to the Owyhees yet this year but I heard the grasshoppers aren't doing as well there but I also heard the crickets are. Chicks don't care what kind of insects they eat so hopefully that area will be good also.

We'll be hitting the hills as often as possible for the next 6 weeks and hopefully will be able to pass on some good news, but for now we're looking towards the end of July and first of August to find the large young covey's of chukar to train Grady on. That's when I'm going to find out whether putting up with his cockiness is worth it.

I hope the rest of you training new pups are having as much fun as I am and everyone is as excited as I am about the upcoming season.

Monday, May 28, 2018

111 days and the count down begins.

With 111 days until Idaho opener for chukars I've had a few inquiries  from people living out of the state as to what we might be expecting. The short answer is to keep your bags packed because conditions have improved and a good hatch is likely.

A month ago I was worried about maybe having a dry spring because the mountains were already showing that mid June look. Well since then we have had many good wet storms come through and help get the grass growth going again. The hills are green with lot's of growth and the hoppers are starting to hatch everywhere.

Although a couple of the storms have had quite a downpour, I don't think the chukar/hun hatch has happened yet so there would be little chance of wiping out newborn chicks. Along with the rain has been warmer than normal temperatures that are helping promote good growth and insect hatches.

Jake and I haven't been able to get back in as far as normal on our scouts because Grady has been accompanying us and his short legs tire out a lot quicker. The hikes we are getting in are looking very positive though and hopefully in about two weeks the hatch will be on. Come August I hope to be showing you lot's of huge covey's of chukar/hun and possibly a young pup pointing some of them.

As far as planning a trip to western Idaho and eastern Oregon for upland birds I would definitely start packing my gear. If my notes from the past and my memories are right this is shaping up to be another perfect spring for the birds and with the great carry over we should see some high densities of birds.

We'll be hiking around a lot trying to find babies to take pictures of for the next month or two and will try and keep you posted on what we are seeing. Keep your fingers crossed and your shotgun and dogs ready, it's looking like fun times.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Grady and chukar update

The good news about chukars is they seem to be everywhere. I even saw chukars in fairly flat range land yesterday running with quail. Flat land chukars, wouldn't that be nice.
I don't believe most of them are sitting nests yet because we usually see two birds together. When the hens are sitting on eggs you usually only see one bird. It won't be long though.

The not so good news is the weather. We haven't had a lot of spring moisture and the chukar hills are already showing dry spots. The green grass is not even close to what we had this time last year. If this trend keeps up we'll be losing chicks to lack of insects after the hatch but we still have plenty of time for mother nature to correct this problem.

The snakes are leaving their den's now with the warm weather and it's time to start watching for them.
It's also tick season and we pulled our first one off Grady. We'll be putting on tick and flee treatment for Jake and Grady.

Now for Jake's student. He turned 10 weeks old yesterday and he is doing quite well. He is almost house broken and already best buddies with Jake. They have some pretty good wrestling matches even with the size difference. He is the hit at the grandson's baseball games and loves being around other people and other dogs. He now knows the come command and his boundaries in the house. 

Getting him to this point was my job. From here it is up to Jake. If he get's screwed up, it's Jake's fault. We've been retrieving a sock and having great success so we went to bigger game, a hun. He shows no signs of fear at loud noises so I packed the starting pistol for our retrieves. Grady doesn't even acknowledge hearing the pistol so we'll probably go to the twenty gauge next. Here is his first retrieve of a frozen hun. Of course the coach had to show him how it is done.

I know a few of you have gotten pup's this year and would love to hear an update from you. Let's hope some favorable weather from here out.