Wednesday, May 7, 2014


I was looking at another site today and saw some facts that might interest chukar hunters. It was a survey of upland bird success in Oregon. It looked like just about everything was down last year, but I just wrote down a few notes from the chukar counts.

To my recollection, the survey was a phone survey of upland hunters. I have to agree with the surveys results in the fact that it was the worst year for me since I have been keeping records. But I was amazed at how poor it evidently was.

The total chukar harvest was down 44.8 % from 2012 which was the second lowest chukar harvest year between the years of 1993 and 2013. I hunted equally as much in Idaho as I did in Oregon and I'm sure the numbers probably are similar.

There were 22,826 chukar harvested in 2013 compared to the high of 221,418 in 2005 and an average of 85,619 birds per year between 1993 and 2013. I have to say that the Oregon stats mirror my stats as far as year by year success goes.

What shocked me the most was bird numbers compared to days hunted. In most of Oregon birds per day was less than one. Malheur county was slightly over one. With those kind of numbers it can't get much worse.

I am a little luckier than most and have been fortunate to have higher chukar harvest days than the average. In fact, many of the people on this site and many of my friends have far better days than the average. I have to wonder how much higher the stats would be if the question was number of birds shot at instead of harvested. I just can't imagine it being that bad.

I like to be an optimist. So if those statistics resemble what you saw last year and you still enjoyed being out there following your dog think of how much more fun it's going to be this year. The chukars are bound to have a rebound this year. The Spring is shaping up to be a great bird producer and if the weather cooperates for 45 more days or so the bird numbers might double or better. For me that's a recipe for a lot of fun times on the hill.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Those numbers really showed a decline.I hope the weather is cooperative for the hatch. If business continues to pick up, I may be able to make it down this next Nov. I have to figure out how to get Mays and the jumbo crate down to Portland. From there, I rent a car and drive to Idaho.Most of the airlines only take a x-lg crate. Maybe I should look into a livestock hauler...

larry szurgot said...

If you do get down here make sure you contact me. I'd love to see that tiny GSP of yours chasing some birds. You have a place to put a sleeping bag in my camper anytime.
A chukar hunting friend from Utah (whom I haven't visually met yet either) sent me a lot of interesting facts on the bird counts also. If I can figure out how to get his e-mail transferred I'll do so.
It's raining now and fairly warm so the green up should last a while longer. We're heading over to Brownlee for the next three days to check things out. Hopefully the birds are putting down about 18 eggs per nest. (I wish)

The Noisy Plume said...

This past year just got me excited for the upcoming season - I kept hearing it was the worst year ever - and it was a harder year than most but I personally still saw enough birds to make it a blast. I just kept thinking, all season, that if this is the Worst year ever I can't even imagine what a great year is like!!! Love your optimism Larry.

Unknown said...

Interesting statistics. I would speculate that the harvest statistics paint a worse picture than what the actual population was. Chukar hunting can be a frustrating life style and I can see where many hunters hunted much fewer days and covered less ground per hunt because it wasn't always reasonable to find birds in the first couple hours (just my speculation). Glad to hear you are optimistic for this year. It seems everything is shaping up perfectly. I remember last year there were hill sides that were bare that are now covered with knee high vegetation. I would think that would correspond with bug production? Jack and I are keeping our fingers crossed for the next couple months.


larry szurgot said...

Thanks you. Here's more optimism. We just got back from three days over at Brownlee and we saw and heard plenty of chukars hopefully laying lot's of eggs. When we got home we had a pair of geese with 23 young ones in tow. Boy, if the chukars could duplicate that we'd really be in business.