I have to use the excuse of tough scouting conditions much like early hunting season. Jake very seldom finds the birds this time of the year with a high heads up point but rather hits the scent and than tracks them as he would a wounded bird. When he gets his nose close to the ground I wait and either he bumps a covey or gives me a point. Usually he just bumps them making it hard to get a picture.
What's baffling me is first of all, the number of paired birds I found this March. I was sure there would be covey's of birds everywhere this time of the year. Secondly, the great spring we had. Not too cold and enough moisture to keep the insects coming. I can't count the number of grasshoppers that have hit me in the face while scouting this year. Thirdly, the number of chicks the turkey's produced this year. There were successful hatches everywhere and most of the groups averaged more than 12 chicks per group. Although they hatch earlier than the chukars the conditions were pretty much the same.
I visited with a rancher last week and he pretty much echoed what I just said. Although he was seeing birds while riding he hasn't had any of those large covey's that take off with so much noise it spooks both him and the horse.
The grouse I am encountering also have small chick ratio's. The most chick's I've seen on Blue grouse is five and 3 on Rough grouse. The Rough grouse are hard to count because of where they usually are and there is usually more noise than what three chicks and an adult can make but I only count what I see. Quail still aren't showing up like I expect but I have neighbors that say they are seeing bumble bee sized quail now.
There are some great reports out there. Chukarhunter50 is finding some great numbers and Calton in Utah put up some great numbers for the grouse. Look back at my last couple of posts to see what they have seen.
I'm still confident that we are going to have a good year but maybe not the stellar year I predicted clear back in March. It's very possible that Jake and I are just not covering the hills right and if we would have zigged instead of zagged we would have found more birds. Cooler, wet weather and the season after Sept. 16 will provide the answer for the huns and chukars while cooler conditions and some rains will be a good excuse to chase some grouse after the 30th of this month.
Jake and I will still be getting out because that's what we love to do. We will try and keep you informed of any progress and excited for the upcoming season and I hope that the rest of you will keep reporting what you are finding out there.
On the lighter side, if I ever get tired of hunting chukars, Conner will teach me how to fish work out style.
The hook up,