Tuesday, August 22, 2017

It's official

This heat has finally done me in. There's no more hiking the chukar country until we get some moisture and the temperatures drop. After only 2 1/2 miles for me and probably 2 to 3 times more for Jake I was ready to throw in the towel. Jake had downed over five quarts of water and I had sweat half of that. It showed by the towel I'm ready to throw away. On the way back up the road to the truck I was at a crawl pace and I thought Jake was going to make me carry him. My mind was thinking of my genius neighbor and wondering if he could make a remote control for my truck.

With only 8 to 9 hundred feet of elevation gained, I wanted no more of the chukar hills and for the first time Jake looked like he felt the same. It was only our findings that kept us on the positive side for later on in the year. Doggone it we didn't find some birds. Last week we found great numbers in Oregon and today found the same.

There's one thing I overlooked last week on my trip and figure other hunter's will run into same trouble this season. With the rough winter a lot of those back roads had some good run off and are impassable. I don't think the county and state departments would be willing to spend those thousands of dollars to repair roads for us upland hunters so be prepared to put on some extra foot miles to get to those special places. The spot in Oregon left me about 5 miles from where I wanted to be but as luck would have it Jake and I found a place we had been driving by and found a plethora of birds. (Plethora; pretty big word for an uneducated chukar hunter. but sometimes I even surprise myself.) I can only imagine how many birds I would have found further up the road.

Over the same way but on the Idaho side of the pond I had even better luck today. It was too hard to count the number of covey's because we were seeing so many birds and once we got the first group up they were consistently running into each other and were soon on a hillside with well over a hundred chukars all split up. They were calling and flushing everywhere and it was more than Jake could handle. He was constantly running between birds and either pointing or chasing the highly visible birds. When he'd come back to me for refreshment I'd try to slow him down but there was way too much excitement to go slow.

As we headed up the hill I took a snap shot of the hill we were going up hoping that maybe some of the flying birds would show up but they didn't.
There had to be some water somewhere but we never did locate any.

When Jake would point it was usually a low head point that told me the birds were really close and he was probably making eye contact.
The birds wouldn't let me go to the front before they would flush.
It didn't matter to either of us though, because we knew there would be more birds to have fun with shortly. Jake gave me several opportunities to take pictures as he ran past birds to locate others and the chukars would jump up on rocks to watch him.
Several of the young birds seemed to be trying to warn their buddies of what was coming up the hill.
The plus side was that almost all of the birds were this year's, making it fun to look forwards too. The big boys never stood around long enough for me to snap a shot at.
I didn't see any real young birds but you can see by the pictures of these birds about what there age is.
Jake and I drove into this spot in the dark so we were pleased to see these guys as we drove out.
Shortly after that we had to let another group run off the road.

To add to the craziness of it all, this was one of the places I had been into that had several pairs of birds in  March but very few birds in July. Maybe I can carry this lesson into my future years in scouting and save some heart ache.

I also got two phone calls that reported good finds. Both in chukars and huns. Both calls were reports on different areas than I scouted and from each other, promising even wider spread of good upland hunting. Thanks Steve and Greg, mums the word for their locations. Oh, that's right, you didn't tell me where. (What's with that?)

With this, the calls, and the other positive posts, I'm calling it an end to the scouting for the year. I think it is going to be a real fun year with lot's of action and hopefully a lot of good dog work with better than average shooting from the handler. To the gentleman in Tennessee, things have turned quite a bit since I spoke with you on the phone and I believe Jake and I were just missing the birds. If you do make it to Idaho, give me a call and I'll try to make it up to you.

Now let's hope for cooler weather, some moisture, and lack of fires. We've been real fortunate with the amount of tall grass out there this year that we have avoided a rough fire season. 

Keep posting your finds. I love hearing from you.                                 


steve said...

Awesome! Thanks for the report and visuals. I'm sure there are quite many of us that had feared the hard winter had put a "Hurting" on the population.... pictures are worth a thousand words.

Larry Semmens said...

Thanks for the great report! Son Travis, Annie and I hunted ptarmigan for the first time this season. Very nice sunny day. One of the warmest this year - truck thermometer said 67. Heat wave!! Walked 7 miles with 2000' of elevation gain. No birds. There were breeding pairs here when I did a survey for fish and game in April. No telling where they were today. Nice time outside though and it was great to be out of the rain for a change.

larry szurgot said...

Sorry you didn't find the birds. 67 is about the low for around here right now. great hike though. I hope I can get some of those good hikes this year.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like another year of wishing I had a dog to hunt with! I guess that was the case even before hearing this great report. Enjoy the R&R before you are back in the hills - hopefully with some cooler weather.

-Matt H.

Anonymous said...

Hi Larry, I stumbled upon you're blog last year during chukar season. You do a great job posting reports and capturing what true chukar hunting is all about. I am from Oregon and cant think of anything better to do with my time then follow my dogs around the chukar hills.It is great to see some positive reports coming in. I have seen some good numbers of grouse and this past month have really been seeing the results of a good hatch of Valley Quail. I haven't made my way into the chukar hills yet but will make a couple pre-season scout trips before the season begins. Good luck this year and appreciate you're effort in maintaining this blog!

Steve said...


Thanks for the report. This is a great blog and I'm glad you are continuing to post great content. My opening weekend was a bit rough this year - I usually do a triathlon in late August to help keep in shape for the upcoming hunting season and gauge where I am. This year I had an acute asthma attack on the course and ended up in the hospital in a medically induced coma. I'm out and doing good now but will be taking it easy for the next couple of weeks. I wanted to let you know that reading your blog and thinking of getting back out hunting helped me through some rough times in the hospital. Thank you for your hard work and persistence in keeping this site going over the years.


larry szurgot said...

Thanks guys for the nice comments.
Steve, ending up in the hospital after a hunt is not anything any hunter wants. I'm glad you're doing good now but are there any precautions you might suggest to help any of us other hunter's avoid this happening to us or was this because you had previous asthma conditions.
I went out early on the grouse opener and had to come off the mountain early because of my lack of energy. Kind of took the excitement out of it. I can only imagine what you felt like.

Steve said...


This was related to my previous asthma conditions, so I don't have any suggestions for others without asthma. For those with asthma - I've had it for over 20 years now and never had an incident where it didn't respond to medicine. It snuck up on me and I'll be sure to renew my SPOT membership this year and stay on top of daily medications.


Anonymous said...

Your latest Oregon experience is right in line with what we saw on the opener. We have hunted the same area near the Idaho line for the last 20 years. Last year was pretty grim. This year there are definitely more birds, but it is spotty - some drainages have a bunch, others - no sign, no birds, nothing. There was a little bit of cheatgrass green-up in the better places. Enjoy your blog!