Saturday, September 17, 2016


The chukar season opened today in Idaho. After Jake's performance the last couple of weeks hunting grouse I was a little skeptical about what his performance would be like today. During our grouse hunts Jake very seldom ranged out past 50 yards or so and was logging just over a mile more than me on our hunts. Normally he covers over 3 times the distance that I cover on a chukar hunt. His pace was even slow.

I guess I forgot how great our hunting companions are. From the first step out of the truck Jake's demeanor changed back to the chukar hunter of the past three years. Suddenly, 200 yards was his average range and at times ventured out to 300 yards. His pace was back to mach 1 and I was now hoping he wouldn't bump the birds before he got scent. I was soon reminded how well a hunting dog will adjust to the conditions given the chance.

The season opener was better than I had expected. The weather was a bit warm but an overcast sky kept the sun from beating down on Jake's brown hair and burning him out soon. We made it up the first long ridge and found our first covey of chukars. On Jake's cue, I moved in with my over and under loaded with shells of ashes from past hunting companion's and some lead. For the first time since I started this tradition, I missed the first shot but luckily knocked a young bird down on the second barrel. After Jake's retrieve we hiked over to the rock I've sat on every year since Tucker's death and gave thanks for the great hunting companions I have had.

From there we traveled further up the hill. My lungs and legs were hurting some, but the number of birds we were finding made walking through the pain a little easier. I am very excited about the 2016 season especially after seeing the number of birds we saw today. I didn't see a hun, but we some blue grouse holding tight on the hill along with the chukars to make things even better.
Every bird I got, except for the blues, were young birds pointing towards a good hatch this year.

Be careful with your dog's in this hot weather and take lot's of water. Good news, Ed, I was on the hill for 4 1/2 hours and never saw a snake. With the good number's will come more hunter's but don't despair, they will burn out soon. Their dogs don't know what our seasoned dogs do.

First retrieve of the 2016 season.

On a side note. I got a new vest last year at the end of the season. It is the Q5 centerfire vest. Bob McMichaels suggested it to me and wrote a review in his "Chukar Hunter" blog. He nailed it in his review and I thank him for turning me on to such a good product.


Anonymous said...

The gentleman from Tennessee wishes you the best fro thereat of the season. Great Start!

thechukar said...

Hey Larry...I really enjoy your posts. Say, have you ever hunted down in the Jacks Creek area south of Bruneau? I was in the Duncan Creek area a couple years ago ( a tributary to Big Jacks)and after hiking around for half a day in the most perfect looking bird habitat I've ever seen, didn't see one bird. I thought I'd give it a second chance yesterday. We hiked the evening before through every kind of cover and didn't see one bird. Yesterday morning we picked another canyon close by and again, not one bird. What gives there? No fresh deer sign, no birds, no CP (chukar poop). We did notice that there were absolutely no hoppers. But plenty of water and plaentyof everything else. We probably covered 6 miles.

I'm baffled. It almost felt sterile. Maybe hey don't like sonic booms. Lots of them over there when Mountain Home is going strong.

Any ideas?

larry szurgot said...

I haven't been in the Jacks Creek area for almost forty years. In the 70's I spent a lot of time hunting coyotes there and remember always seeing chukars on the rims. I didn't hunt chukars back then like I do now but many times we'd shoot a few for dinner. I also remember hearing them all the time over there. That is an area that shouldn't get too much pressure so I can't imagine what would have happened to eliminate the birds.

You're right about the sonic booms. I crapped my pants several times sitting in front of a sage bush calling coyotes and then suddenly "BOOM".

Sorry I can't help you out in that area.

Good luck on you hunts.