Thursday, August 8, 2019


It's a little early for predictions but I thought I'd describe my day and let you make your own predictions.

Before I begin, I want to welcome a couple of new chukar dogs. First is Elsa, a female GSP. She is the one sitting under me and is owned by one of the best chukar hunters I know, Greg Allen.
Next, is Breezy. The spelling is wrong but easier to pronounce this way. She is a Bob Farris Poodle Pointer and Eric Bullock's first bird dog. Eric is a long time friend and I'm hoping we get some time in together this fall.
It's been a little warm for the last three weeks and I've had a hard time getting excited about taking the dogs out in chukar country but I finally mustard up the energy today. We did a lot more driving than walking but came up with some good observations that I thought should be passed on.

I didn't get the pictures or video's I would like to have but I got enough to get the juices flowing.

First off, I was thrilled to see many pheasants in the grain fields with young ones chasing insects. I even saw four young roosters with just a little head coloring already.

Next came the turkey's. It seemed like almost every likely spot held a decent flock of turkey's. They grow fast and many of the little ones could be mistaken for full grown birds.
If there is a real success story to tell, it would have to be the California quail. They are every where. It seemed like almost every other corner in the road produced another covey.
The size difference was amazing. They went from bumble bee size to almost full grown.
It amazed me how the little ones could fly from the road and straight up into the trees or bushes. I can't remember ever seeing this many quail.

Another observation today was the amount of sun flower's I saw at all elevations. Wild birds love the sun flower seeds and I'm sure the birds will be using them as the seeds drop.
Also the ground cover is tremendous. There were times today that I couldn't see the boys because of the tall cover.
This was the area that the dogs and I hiked today. We were out for 1 hour and ten minutes and saw a good number of birds. Good dog work was nearly non existent with Grady covering the country at mach 10 and not getting scent until birds took flight. It didn't help much to bump about twenty huns 100 yards from the truck and a second large bunch of huns five minutes later. Getting camera action was almost futile. In the next hour we saw at least 7 covey of chukar and one more covey of huns. The only down side is that the coveys of chukars weren't large and I guess there was an average of 8 per covey. The only filming I got were of the birds running up the hills while the dogs were in search of more in a different area.

I have no formula to say how many birds per square mile but describing my day might give a clue to whether the birds are out there or not. I was pretty excited and this area is a fairly popular spot and easily accessible.

Steve Schwin over in eastern Idaho says he believes the cover is preventing people from seeing birds over there. He told me that if the birds don't do well this year it's time to throw all the data away and get back to the drawing board. I agree. This could be the perfect year.

I'll try and get out one more time before the grouse season and hopefully get some good footage of some large coveys.


Chukarhunter50 said...

good news on the groups and hope you see more later. big lake chukar count on my 30 mile route. group count down 28% from 2018, total bird count down 19%. huns were WAY off in my observation, just hope tall grasses, bugs and lots of water had them hiding. all still looks good with hatch ages scattered from 3-9 weeks.

Unknown said...

I check your site daily, this time of year. Retiring this fall and i have 2 Setters and a brittny. Love southeast oregon and chukar hunting. Love your blog, p look please continue.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting.Love seeing those birds. don’t work too hard,save yourself for the hills. hiking seems to get harder each year.
Alan and Gracie

Calton said...

Good to hear! I agree that the conditions seem very good this year. I haven't been able to check the hills in northern Utah this season yet as my wife and I had a baby just a few short weeks ago and she keeps us quite occupied -- she's cute so it's okay. The dog is getting anxious and we should get out this week to at least check on grouse numbers. Keep up with the posts! At least it lets my mind get out there in the hills!

Tuckers Chukars said...

Calton, Congratulations on the little one. Some of my fondest memories are with my daughter in a back pack hiking the hills with me.

Alan, we had our fiftieth reunion Friday and Saturday night and than I was foolish enough to try and chase my dogs through the hills this morning. That was the hardest hiking and most sweat I've put out in many a years.