It's a known fact, that to qualify at being a true chukar hunter, is that you must be brain dead. Only someone who lacks intelligence would continually chase these devil birds up and down the steep ravines that they tend to like. That being said, I think most hunters who decide to chase the chukar think too much and put them at a disadvantage. I've been trying to think a lot lately, about the why's and wherefore's of chukar hunting, and my bird vest has been a lot lighter because of it. I figured as dry as it's been, the birds must be near water or they might be close to any green up. I've looked over the mountain range and said, "If I were a chukar where would I most likely want to be?" I'd then let Jake loose and head up the mountain.
Tuesday the alectorus chukar smacked me on the side of the head with a piece of sage brush. Jake and I were driving down an old cattle road in a dry ravine that I never would have thought held chukars. The only reason we were there was five miles further on this rocky road was a great place to find birds. You can imagine my surprise when about fifty birds flushed off the road. They split up and flew up the canyon walls about forty yards or so before landing. Jake saw them too. It didn't much look like a place I wanted to hunt, but Jake wanted to give it a try. We drove up the road a quarter of a mile or so and after putting the collar on Jake we headed off. Jake knew exactly where the birds were and I had to persuade him to stay in contact with me.
I flipped a coin to decide which side of the canyon to go on and started up. I knew the birds would probably be running uphill, which soon proved to be right with Jake hot on their tail. I'm not sure, but with Jake being three months shy of two years old, I don't know if he has ever seen this many birds running in the wide open. After I had gained about 300 feet in elevation and Jake about 600, the chukars flew across the canyon to the chukars talking on the other side. Ten minutes into the hunt I was already sweating and discouraged. As I said, I would never have picked this spot to hunt and was ready to head back down when my astro said "dog on point". I couldn't see Jake but suspected maybe he had a straggler on point and it was my duty to get to him. As I crested this arm of the canyon there was a little more cover and Jake had a point on a piece of sage. To my shock, about fifteen birds took off and I managed to knock one down.
I have to admit to not hearing chukars. The first birds I found were chucking, but I never heard another bird the whole week.