Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Fire and chukars
This summer someone asked me what the effects of brush fires had on chukar populations. My answer was that probably most of the birds succumbed because of the speed of fires and the young birds would probably hold until it was too late. This fire was in early August and the winds picked up and ripped the fire across the hills wiping out every thing.
I had the camera on the wrong setting so the pictures are a little dark but at the time the points looked great to me.
Although most of the time when I got a picture of both dogs on point the birds got up a little wild it was exciting to watch them work together.
This picture has the dogs with a bird in between them. I looked hard but couldn't find a bird but as I approached two chukars flushed and I crippled one and dropped the other.
Grady was off chasing the cripple while Jake was taking the easy way out.
Okay, boring, let's get back to fire and chukars. After watching two different good chukar hunting spots burn this year I have decided I don't have any idea of what I am talking about. They obviously can outrun fires and even though the heavy vegetation is gone they will stay in the area. I don't know what they eat before some moisture comes and the grass sprouts show but they were there. They don't like fried grasshoppers because we found several diners where the food hadn't been touched.
Also, these birds had more fat reserves than most of the other birds I've shot this year. I figure maybe the fresh green sprouts with whatever the fire puts back into the soil is responsible for that. I don't know how these birds are going to fare if the birds of prey find them but they seem to be fine with the lack of cover. We found this same thing in the Owyhees a few years back. The sage grouse didn't do well but the chukars and huns did well, not needing the sage cover as much evidently.
I know many times hunters get a little upset with how game is regulated but I believe chukars and huns pretty much do their own regulating. They have definitely had their good and bad years but for as long as I can remember (back to 1970) chukars and huns bounce back without any help from humans. Although they'll use water sources provided they need very little and will find a water source in the most arid area's and survive without a provided guzzler. And now it seems that they can find food even in what looks like a totally black environment.
Remember, this is coming from me, the guy that quite often get's his brains beat in by doing stupid things, but don't completely ignore those fire areas or areas seemed overgrazed. The birds might just be there. It's just up to you to keep positive about what might look like poor dog work until the right point comes along and than keep hustling for the next good point.