Wednesday, January 3, 2018
It's getting to be that time of the year again. I'm starting to see those posts about the low bird numbers for the year and how last winter almost devastated them. Of course some of the post blame the F&G. I'll be the first to applaud the F&G for the job they do, even though there isn't much they can do when it comes to chukars. They are definitely a self regulating bird and can survive conditions a lot harsher than pheasants and quail from the lower valley. In fact, I believe the big game animals did a lot better than was expected.
As far as the chukar numbers being very low this year I have to call hog wash. This is turning out to be one of the best years in my recent memory. Even in Oregon where I zeroed out on opening day and didn't even see a bird, things turned around, A week ago, I went back to that same spot and found a very respectable number of birds.
I worried earlier this year about all the young birds with very little fat but every bird I have cleaned.
Since then they have been very healthy and if they can escape all those predators from above will be going into the spring strong. Every once in a while Greg and I get the same day off from work and grandkids to chase some chukars and this was his take last week on an Oregon hunt.
I've been keeping records of my hunts for the past 25 years and I have to admit to putting on a few more miles this year then in the past and maybe that's because there are fewer birds, but I believe that they have just relocated for one reason or another. It seems like when we find them they are everywhere. Also, people have quit hunting, which is one of those self regulating parts of chukar hunting. When the birds aren't easy to find people stay home. Also last week in a popular hunting stretch in Oregon, Jake and I spent the day chasing chukars that did not want to cooperate.
We didn't see another human track and the snow had been on the ground for at least ten days. There were plenty of birds to be had and the only shots we heard were from my newly stocked citori. Which worked as good as it use to when the birds would hold.
Jake and I ended up a bird shy but it wasn't for the lack of birds but more because of my shooting. I usually drive past this spot because of the hunting traffic.
And then there is Idaho. The greatest state to hunt that there is in my opinion. Where else is there a possibility to shoot both 8 chukars and 8 huns in the same day? It doesn't happen very often but it's fun at least having that possibility. I've hit the Idaho slopes once since the Christmas break and had what I would consider my best day on the mountain so far this year. It was kind of the same old stuff for Jake
It was a cougar, which I failed to get a picture of. A little later we saw an even bigger one striding through the sage where it looked like elk had been laying. I have encountered numerous cats while chukar hunting which is just one more of those great reasons to be out chukar hunting. The closest I could get to a picture was of old tracks.
This last picture is Jake's take on our last hunt in Idaho. Although the temperature never got above freezing the sun made it a long sleeve t shirt type of day. How can you beat a day like that in the field?
Although it may seem that I am bragging by posting these tail gate pictures, that is not my reason. I'm proud of what Jake and I accomplish and I'm sure Greg Allen is also. I'm not a great shot, probably not much better than average and I'm definitely not a weight pusher or into aerobics or other work outs. My only exercise is the mountain and I'm very fortunate to have the time to get out at this stage of my life. If I can find the birds then anyone else with the amount of time to spend in the hills can find them.
So to those who say there are no chukars out there this year, once again I call hog wash. Although last winter might have done some damage to the populations the great spring we had made up for it. Don't use lack of birds for an excuse to not be on the mountain.