Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Outdooor adventures

I returned home from my chukar hunt today and found a catalog from Cabela's in the mail. It was their 2015 edition of Outdoor Adventures in which they show legendary worldwide hunting and fishing trips. I must admit, I used to dream about those trips, especially a Brown bear hunt with a bow. But as I aged, my bank account forgot to keep up, and The modest amount of around 20,000 dollars isn't what this retired hunter can afford.

For curiosity, I checked out the bird hunts and found that most hunts were about 1800 dollars for three day hunts. Probably not too expensive for most, especially since you are usually guaranteed birds. But, after doing the math, I figured out how great we have it living in western Idaho or eastern Oregon when it comes to upland birds, especially huns/ chukars/quail.

Over the years I've done kept records of many different aspects of chukar hunting. A couple of years I've kept records of cost per bird. Those of you who try keeping your wife away from the mall might be better off to not keep those records around. Even at that, I'm sure my cost per bird is way lower than the cost after traveling east to some of these legendary locations.

As I said, most of those hunts are for three days. If you buy both a resident Idaho and non resident Oregon hunting license you have spent about $200.00 for 4 and a half months of hunting. Even if you only make it out on weekends and holidays you have about 40 days to hunt. Cut that in half for family functions, etc. and you still have twenty days. The lodging is a wash. The $1800.00 you spend to go east includes your lodging but your lodging is your home when you hunt Idaho/Oregon borders.

Everywhere I hunt is within 150 miles from my home, but that still takes fuel to get there. I get a lot of trips each year and most of them are solo and I spend somewhere around $2000.00 in diesel per year. So now I have $2000.00 in fuel and $200.00 in license for over 50 days of hunting in my case. Compare that to $1800.00 for a three day hunt which does not include fuel or plane fare getting there and it makes it pretty clear why this retired boy chooses my own legendary hunt right here in the west.

We have literally thousands of miles to hunt so we can hunt with a group or venture out on a one on one hunt with our chosen guide.

Most everything else becomes a wash. You already have your gun, shells, and other hunting gear. You choose your own guide. You don't have to tip the guide on our hunts either. He's just happy to guide you for a drink every now and than and maybe a treat or two.
The only thing the guide requires is that you don't try and second guess him and follow instructions if you want to be successful. He's even happy to carry your trophy for you.
There are no trophy fees on our hunts. After you retrieve your trophy from the guide it will be your responsibility to care for the animal. Even larger trophies like this one.
The meat, when prepared right, will be a testament to a great hunt.
Let's say that you might average 10 points a day on your eastern extravaganza and only five per day on a western chukar hunt. You have a budget of $2500.00 for bird hunting expenses. Which trip is the best bang for your buck. I know which one I will choose for the next twenty years. The same trip I've been on for the past thirty.


Anonymous said...

You are a lucky guy living so close to a great area to hunt not just chukars but other game birds as well. Someday I will make it down that way again.In the meantime Mays and I will explore some areas for ptarmigan. I hope to get out soon.I'm giving him a few days to heal.I got my wife one of those little cams so she can do some videos.we ordered a headband with a mount. She is excited to get started. Keep having fun.Supposed to be 47 degrees Thursday.
Alan and Mays

larry szurgot said...

Alan and Mays,
Glad to hear you're on the mend and getting ready to hunt again. I'm excited to see some of the videos on that new camera. I've been tossing that idea around some myself.
Today was one of our best days out in a while. Temperature was 32 degrees when we started up the hill and 42 degrees when we returned. If it hadn't of been for the muddy roads coming out I'd have to say today was pretty close to being perfect.

Larry and Jake

Anonymous said...


I'm a new follower to your blog. I hope to run into you someday in the field as some of your photos resemble places I like to visit (i.e. I think you have good taste in locating productive chukar grounds). At any rate, I couldn't agree with you more that we have it lucky. Factor in your $35,000 4 wheel drive diesel rig and the cost of dog food for 2 dogs per year. Ah---scratch that. I feel safer in the big truck and I need a companion who understands me when my wife says I hunt too much so I'm going to have the dogs regardless.

By my calculations, the cost per bird is horrendous and chukar hunting is a crazy way to spend our free time. Why would anyone walk 5-10 miles per day following a dog up and down hills in some of the most grueling terrain on the planet??? Because it is rewarding and for those who live and breathe it, it's our passion.

I applaud your efforts and great job on the blog. Happy New Year to you my fellow chukar enthusiast. May your 2015 bird excursions be spectacular.

Unknown said...

When I got my first griffon I thought I would be going to SD to hunt. Then I went chukar hunting 13 years ago and still haven't made it to SD. I hope to go sometime, maybe when I no longer can climb those mountains.

Every time I look at your pictures I say to myself 'next year in Idaho'! I love the challenge of the chukar, the beautiful views, the abundance of wildlife, the dogs and the fraternity of the few people that chase them.

larry szurgot said...

Amen to that Larry. There will be a time my body will appreciate SD over these chukar mountains. And the fraternity of chukar hunters and dogs is the best.

Anonymous said...

On top of that you and your dog get to know a landscape and feel "at home", which to me is worth more than any trip. It isn't just shooting birds but seeing the seasons, and all the other critters that find a way to get by out there.