Friday, July 7, 2017

It's beginning

Jake and I took the two hour ride over to one of our Oregon hunting locations yesterday and had a pretty nice hour and a half hike before we had to get back to the truck and some shade. With the early sunrise this time of the year we had to leave home at 3:30 in order to get a little quality mountain time. Especially for Jake who goes through the water pretty quickly.

Although we didn't see lot's of birds, we had two situations with new birds on the ground. Both groups had chicks not more than two or three days old. I can't say how many chicks were in each group but can say the tall grass was moving from something making a high peeping sign while an adult was playing the crippled bird game. That kept Jake's attention long enough for me to spot a few of the chicks. In one case there was only one chukar playing hurt (I have to assume it was a female) and in case two there was a pair with only one playing hurt. The second bird flew only 20 yards or so and disappeared. Like earlier, I could hear the peeping but had a tough time locating them without taking the chance of stepping on one.

I also saw two other single chukars that flew a distance and a pair that also flew a ways. It's only speculation but I can't help to believe the singles were hopefully males who's mate was still sitting a nest and the pair were also sitting a nest somewhere. I did not see any adult covey's which is a good sign that the birds are either still nesting or trying to renest. Covey's of full grown chukars are usually a sign of unpaired birds that either were unsuccessful  with their hatch or never paired up.

I still want to stay positive about the upcoming season even though I haven't seen a lot of proof yet. I've seen many blue grouse but no chicks yet and on my return home yesterday I saw several loan bull quail along the dirt road. Their female partners had to be somewhere close by and I prefer to believe they were sitting a nest or hiding the little ones close by.

Although this winter was a very harsh one, I believe the game animals fared very well through it. I remember winters similar to last years back in the 60's and we accepted them as part of the culling process of Mother Nature. It seems like today people want to view everything with a negative tone, posting press releases like the one posted July 2 claiming harsh winter took heavy toll on western U.S. I'd rather post the press release from Idaho Fish and Game on June 22 that said the winter kill was less than expected for mule deer, and elk fared even better. Jake and I have not had a trip since the first of June where we haven't found several fawns, calf elk, or turkey babies. The upland rearing season has just begun and I want to believe there will soon be lot's of positive signs for a good season. So far I think Mother Nature has provided us with a lot of positive clues.

We've also seen a few ruffs out there in the timber country.


Chukarhunter50 said...

Good to hear there were some chicks in the area. I also went out on a quick friday afternoon scout trip. Wanted to get a feel for the brood stock population. I was pleasently suprised at what i saw both on Hun and Chukar brood stock numbers and hatch sizes. I saw 10 day old chicks up to 6 week old chicks(half grown). Im gearing up for the days spent out counting populations beginning in a few weeks.

Greg said...

Thanks for another upbeat field trip Larry. From Montana I hear NE MT is in a major disaster area drought so bird production will likely be bad, especially since USDA is allowing haying and grazing the shrinking acreage of CRP.....which are key to pheasants and sharptails. Western North and South Dakota are in same drought condition. I am headed backpacking into the mountains with Lucy checking a new elk spot tomorrow and later this month to British Columbia flyfishing king salmon, and then in mid August to float AK river.

Dave s said...

While I have heard rumor of quail broods, until tonight I have not seen a brood. Today that changed. I saw two broods while driving over to swim Kola. My friend Rock had seen another brood earlier in the day. He had a picture of the brood. All three broods were between 2 and 4 weeks. Each brood had about ten chicks in it. Tonight was a very good sign, and hopefully we continue to get good news.

larry szurgot said...

Thanks for the update guys. I still haven't seen a quail brood around here but I see several single male quail which makes me think maybe the hen is either sitting on a nest or has some little ones hidden away. I went over to Utah last week to watch a grand daughter compete in a triathalon and saw two broods of chukar off the freeway. Maybe I need to invest into a Utah license. I didn't get a great look but guessing the chicks were about three to four weeks in both cases.