I've never been one to down play chukar numbers, even on the low number years. Hunter's have little effects on chukar survival. Nature is the main culprit in determining the yearly outcome of the birds. Even though I'm sure that in some area's the cold weather might have had some effect on chukar survival, most of the areas I hunt have fared well. I can honestly say that I haven't seen many birds on the roads driving into my different hunting areas, but I don't spend enough time on them to give an honest opinion of how many birds are down that low. You have to be there to give an honest opinion.
My expertise comes with the latter scenario. The one that takes humping the mountain. Expertise doesn't mean success, it just means what I have done for year after year. It has worked for me through all of the years and always has given me chukars to CHASE. Sometimes the success isn't very good, but I'm still out there doing what I and my dog love to do. Matt Hutt, a much younger chukar hunter than I, pointed out the fact that he also hunts a lot like I do and that the small chukar hunter brain is born into a person and you don't have to get old to lose the smarts of a normal person.
I probably don't hunt any harder than the hunters that hunt lower on the mountain, and there's a good chance I don't see more birds but it works for me. Besides, that's where Jake likes to go. With the weather warming some, there is a lot more open ground now and it is finally softening up to get a foot hold. About a week ago I was getting so beat up by the deep snow and frozen ground I was about to give it up for the year. I thought that maybe age was catching up with me. Luckily for me, Jake made me give it some more tries, and with the ground letting me get a foot hold, I'm able to cover more ground and feeling a lot better chasing the birds. Yes, the birds are pretty savvy now and hard to hold, but every once in a while you can get a covey or single to hold, especially when they are between you and the dog.