Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Public land

Next to the chukar being a challenge to hunt, another aspect to making them fun to hunt, is the vast amount of public land they can be hunted on. Most upland game birds live around or on private property. The best property has, over the years, been bought up by ranchers and farmers because it is the most productive land. There is usually water and good soil to grow a crop or feed cattle. Most of this land is now closed to hunting do to both selfishness of some ranchers but also because of the stupidity of some hunters.

Even though many times land owners will allow chukar hunters, most of the best chukar hunting is still on public lands. If you've hunted chukars much you know why. The land isn't much good for anything else. Chukars are high desert birds and seem to thrive in areas that other animals can't. Give them a little water, some cheat grass and some insects in the spring and they thrive.

Pheasants and quail are also found on public lands but not in the numbers that the chukars and huns do. It's even getting to be more and more like that for ducks and geese these days. In many states it's almost impossible to hunt without being on a hunting ranch.

I hunt in Idaho, Oregon and Nevada now and hope to add Montana and Washington to my list next year. All of these states have lots of public land. All of them also have different trespass laws so make sure you check that out before you go. The public land that I have hunted is so vast that even if you happen to run into other hunters on the hill, it's usually just a matter of changing directions to stay out of each others way.

Remember there are no secret hot spots anymore. If you've found it, there's a good chance someone else has too. Also, even if you think it's a secret, don't over hunt it. I try to hunt spots no more than four or five times in a year. Some spots I only hunt once or twice, depending on the amount of birds, bird sign, and conditions of the terrain. We have to be our own stewards of the land.

If you wanted, you could park your truck, take off walking and walk all day chukar hunting and be back at your truck that night without ever covering the same ground. The next morning just go a different direction from the truck and do the same again. The next morning again, and again and again.

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