Monday, February 20, 2017

Pairing birds and training

There must be a lot of stuff coming out about people in the field while birds are starting to pair up because while I was on the mountain yesterday I got four comments about the subject and two messages left on my phone. If you don't want to read my bunch of B.S. on the subject you can stop here knowing I think that not being out there training your dog or just hiking because the birds are pairing up and courting is a bunch of hog wash.

Once again I'm compelled to say that I definitely am not an authority on the subject but do spend enough time on the hill to have an honest opinion. Also my opinion is based on a heck of a lot of observing. I have eight spots that I try and go and observe the chukars each month of the year except June and July. Most eggs are hatching at that time and I prefer to save gas these months.

Although I'm not a good reader, I do read up and find as much as I can about the specifics and studies done on the survival of chukar populations. Most of the material is from Nevada, Utah, and Colorado but it applies to Idaho and Oregon just the same. Also most articles are pre 2000.

Pairing birds start showing up as early as February in most of the 8 areas I keep track of. It seems to me that the huns pair up earlier than the chukars, but I'm finding a lot of paired up chukars already this year. I can't even speculate as to why they are starting earlier than in past years but only hope it's for a good reason. When these birds are in this pairing process they are not nesting but courting and establishing their territory. By training on these birds you are not making any impact on the bird. In fact I find these pairs are great birds for training. They hold good and fly as if being shot at. Even when they fly different ways they soon find each other again. Remember, they're in love and the bull doesn't want another young man messing with his girl. Also, once they start pairing covey's of chukar start dispersing. While training you're not going to find pair after pair but usually your dog has to work to find the next pair because they scatter out so far.

In one Nevada study, out of 100 chukars located in a mile square area, only 7 pair and 1 single remained in the area and the rest dispersed outside of the one mile zone. That's maybe why chukar numbers in certain area's vary so much from year to year.

Just because birds are pairing does not mean they are nesting. This courting and pairing process may last for two months before a nest is established. The egg laying process usually starts between mid March and mid April. Even once this period comes there is no problem with being out their with your canine. The hen lays an egg and than goes off to feed and enjoy her mate until time to lay another egg. They are seldom close to the nest and by training on these birds you are doing no harm to the nesting site. Even though the birds may fly what seems a long distance, they have internal gps's that find them right back at the nesting site when need be.

Chukar nest will average between 15 and 16 eggs in a normal season. I found one nest with 28 eggs in it, I don't know what the survival rate was but wouldn't it be great to have them all survive. Usually one egg is layed per day until the hen has finished laying eggs. Then the incubation process begins.

Now, the hen sits on the nest continuously for 24 days. This incubation period usually begins in May. Although I don't spend as many days on the chukar hill in May, I still believe with a well trained dog you're not endangering the chukar population. Unless your dog is wild and uncontrollable, when he or she hits scent (if they can even hit scent this time of year) the male chukar will try and attract the canine by flying a short distance and than the female will do the same if necessary. I've found several nest by sitting off at a distance and watching for the chukar to sneak back to the nesting site.

Late May, June and the earlier part of July is probably the worst time of the year to be in chukar country. That is when the majority of chukars hatch. In Idaho and Oregon they say June 10 is about the average of when most eggs hatch. My observations believe it is a little later but I don't have the research tools that they have, so maybe there research should be a little more adhered to. Unless you have a very well trained dog it's best to leave the birds alone. Babies don't fly until about two weeks old. If you approach a covey that is less than two weeks old the hen will fake injury to attract attention and you know what a hunting dog is supposed to do when seeing a wounded bird. Once in a while the hen will fake too well and get caught. That's not good, even though the male is close by and will probably take over the rearing process since the pair stays together as a family unit.

While all this faking is going on the little birds freeze and blend into the landscape. The theory is that they have no scent at that time but I know that's not true. I have had my dogs point a less than five day old chick and the chick lay motionless under his nose. Luckily for me, I'm supposed to be the flusher, so with some stern whoa's I keep him still until I can walk him away. I quickly leave the area and let the family reorganize.

After about the 15th of July I figure most hatches are done and the chicks can fly. There are still going to be some late hatches, but the majority of the hatch is done by now. At this point I treat my training and hunting grounds like normal. The birds fly well and can avoid the hunter and dog almost like normal. I may be doing the birds a favor by being out at this time of the year. Mama chukar has a chance of imprinting upon her chicks that dogs and hunters are bad before we have a chance to go after them with a gun.

Hopefully, I've touched upon some of the biological aspects of what is happening with chukar/hun breeding seasons without sounding like an authority. From this information and your knowledge of your dog you have to make the decision of whether you should be out in the field. My honest opinion is that if you don't go to the same place and train in several different places you aren't going to hurt the bird populations. I, unlike the journals or blogs that are saying don't be out there when the birds are paired, believe in our outdoor enthusiasts to do the right thing. Most chukar hunters have a lot more common sense than some give us (even though we are thought to not be to smart to even take on chukar hunting). When I run into a situation that might be harmful to chukars or any other animal for that matter I'll back out and try and minimize my impact. So would almost all other hunters and outdoor enthusiast that I know.

 So, my opinion is get out there training and enjoying the outdoors. Listen to your heart and use common sense. Those guys out there saying you shouldn't be out there are usually making those comments because they don't want to be out there and would rather be doing something else. Let them do what they want and you do whatever it is you want.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pics to go with Bold Predictions


A few pictures showing a positive outlook for 2017.
It's going to be a long 7 1/2 months if you don't think positive. The animals are out there.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bold prediction and rebuttal

Before getting into my early chukar prediction I'd like to address an issue that I'm hearing more about every day. That's the issue on the land transfer. If there is anything we can really do to keep our chukar hunting good it is to make sure we have public land to hunt. We lose that and we won't have to worry about the chukar counts anymore. I'm not real savvy on that type stuff but I'm sure most of you are aware of what you need to do to keep our hunting grounds public.

Next, although it was a tough winter, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Every once in a while Ma Nature decides to do some culling and I believe this was one of those once in a while's. A great example happened at my front door this year. For the past ten years the white tail have chased the mulies from there wintering grounds around here and we have about thirty white tail and forty elk that feed on our place. Two of these white tail were runts. Although Barb and I tried and get them food the other deer always chased them off. The other deer would go out of their way to chase them away even when they weren't eating in proximity to them. Well as you might guess, the two runts died. That was even before the big snow came. After January, the animals all left because the snow was too deep here. This was the first January in 21 years we haven't had deer and elk feeding in our front yard. Now that the snow is receding they are gradually coming back.

So what's that mean to the chukar population? Not a darn thing, but I felt compelled to tell this story since I had so much junk shoved in my face about harassing big game animals while chukar hunting. If we use are heads things usually turn out the way they are supposed to. I don't know one chukar hunter that hasn't the brains to avoid wintering game animals when hunting and if there are some I don't care to know them. In fact I trust that almost all outdoor enthusiasts (horn hunters, snow mobilers, hikers, etc.) are aware of their responsibility when it comes to avoiding game animals.
Closing the chukar season or any other activity would have not have had any affect on winter wildlife survival except in those area's that the Fish and Game are already aware of and they do put closures on them. If someone wants to help save a deer, go patrol the road between Horseshoe Bend and Emmett. I've seen more dead deer and deer standing on that road than ever before.

Be careful before you trust my opinion of it being okay for you to go up on the mountain because you might end up being classified as a unethical hunter. I only bring this up because my post back on Jan. 1 was the most read, the most commented on, and the most phone calls of any post I ever made. I don't want to go that route to hear from other chukar hunters but it was great hearing all the different opinions.

Now to my very early chukar predictions for 2017. I've never made a prediction this early in the year but I've never seen as many birds this time of the year. Remember, I don't know any more than any of you, so it's still finger crossing time. Some will say it's because there was very little hunting in January but I think it was the lack of predation. The avian predators were taking many chukar/hun early in January but later in the month I was seeing very few predators chasing birds but filling up on the dead carcasses of big game animals on the frozen ice or side of the roads. I even saw two golden eagles, one red tail hawk, and a three other type of hawks hit on the road next to carcasses.

Although I did see some chukar in January that looked pretty weak and didn't want to get off the road, they were few in number compared to the healthy birds I saw.

Jake and I have been in the hills 8 times this month and we're finding birds that fly and run as good as birds we were hunting in November. Surprisingly we are already seeing lot's of pairs. We are seeing very few huns but that is normal for the spots we go. We are able to cover a lot of ground now and the training opportunities are endless.
We even get some practice shooting with the camera.
So the winter wasn't as bad on the birds as many thought it might be. I'm looking at it as an optimist for now and am hoping for an "I told you so" come September. A normal spring should give us the best year this century. You can either believe that or believe those that think this winter set us back five years. Either way there's nothing we can do about it. When it comes to chukar, Ma Nature controls the variables. About 212 more days and counting.
                                                                  

Friday, February 3, 2017

COS and BDBU by Jake

Are you bones starting to stiffen up from laying around too much? Are you tired of smelling the same old perfume smells, cooking smells and all the other odors of the interior of a house? Do you get bored bringing that smelly old hunting sock back to your owner just to have him give you a short two minute session of tug of war? Do you find yourself running from door to door hoping someone will open it up and let you up? Does your owner ignore your constant nudge with the nose as he sits and watches the television?

Are you tired of hearing complaints about all the snow? Does your owner promise to take you for a walk and five minutes from the door he turns back because of the cold even though he's got four layers of clothes on? Sure the cinnamon rolls were great for a while, but have you noticed the few extra pounds? Are you tired of barking at the door and other tricks to get your owner off the easy chair and outside?

Well, you're not alone. There are millions of dogs that suffer the same affliction. Especially in eastern Oregon and the state of Idaho this year it has become an epidemic. Dogs across the western U.S. have become very familiar with the disease. But don't fear there is an answer. It isn't a pill or one of those special diet and energy clubs and it doesn't happen over night, but it is a proven procedure that has been performed on thousands of humans with a 98 % success rating. Dog's all over the world have given the training program a five star rating.

The program has a money back guarantee. If you don't lose four pounds and your owner doesn't get out at least 8 times in the first month your money will be returned. You have nothing to lose, your owner is just sitting there right now isn't he? The trainers have been trained by accredited colleges everywhere and have a degree in COS (canine owner stimulation). The course is much more intensive than the course they took to use their stimulation on you (thirty second version).

We here at GHOTA (get humans off their ass) use only accredited trainers and have only hired from the top 10 % of the members with a COS. So you are sure to get the best benefits for your money. It's a simple program that you will be involved in on every step. There will be no pain to you but plenty of running time. If you pursue this program for multiple months, the benefits will be unbelievable. You can expect up to twenty four days of activity in a single month if you take the 6 month version of this course. One GSP, Cavin actually had to start faking injuries because Jeff, the owner was taking him out every day of the week until Cavin finally got bored with it.

It cost a little more but if you need to speed the process up some, you can apply for our BDBU (break down and build up) certified trainers. They have a master's and can do unbelievable therapies on our owners to expedite  compliance.

Without giving away all the secrets, the program simply encourages the owner to get out with you. The first steps are showing him how he can walk trails, snow mobile tracks, logging roads, etc. while letting you run and cover what country you desire. That way he learns to walk without hurting himself. Later we get into the off road stuff. Usually there is some stimulation involved. We set it up so that the stimulation fits the human. We put probes on the human butt and waist with the stimulator on the throat. We used to put the stimulator on the back of the neck but found humans began hitting the back of their head at times after training, with the throat they just kind of stiffen up. Our accredited consultants will make sure we have the right stimulation on your human. We wouldn't want to see his feet come off the ground three feet. Unless we have a completely uncooperative human, the high level is never used. After the first month or so you will have complete control. You will simply turn the stimulator on or off by a switch that we will mount on your collar. The switch has a protective cover so that you can't activate or deactivate it by accident. Just a simple push of the front paw toe and your in control.

Say you're at home and your human hasn't been out for a while. Turn on the switch. Every time he sits he's get a stimulation. Depending on how long you have the stop function set for, whenever he stops moving the waist sensor will set the stimulation off. Soon you'll be out walking.

So, what are you waiting for? Haven't you wasted enough time already? We have several dogs just waiting at the phone to help you out. If you have any problems at all, Jake, the president will be there to help you through it. Just call 1-800-dog help or contact us at gethumansofftheirass.com and we'll get you started.

For those who call or connect on line within the next hour we will also send you a dog brush or bird wing of your choice. Call now.

Call now to discuss price.