We just finished our Chukar season in western Idaho. With bird numbers still low and weather (fog) and road (mud – at one point we lost control of the truck at 10 mph in low gear and 4WD) conditions conspiring to keep us away from most areas it was really tough to find birds.
By the end of the season it felt like spring. Temps in the 50s, Huns were paired up, grasshoppers were out and flowers were blooming.
Roads dried out enough so we could get around better the last 4-5 days of the season and we found a few more birds. We had to work REALLY hard to get our young dogs into birds. Like 4-5 hours a day climbing hills like this:
We had six 8 & 10 month old pups with us that had never seen wild birds. We worked them a few times on training quail and got them shot over in October and they looked really good so our expectations were high. But the proof is in how they handle wild birds so we were intent on seeing how they would do. They not only met our expectations, they exceeded them, and they’re easily the best batch of young dogs we’ve had. 3 out of 6 (Prince, Blaze, and Iris) made points on the first wild birds they found and Brook was pointing Chukars by the end of the first hunt on which she saw birds. We even managed to shoot a couple over those first points. We weren’t fast enough to get photos of them pointing but here are some videos of retrieves:
Iris (River x Spice) retrieving the first Hun she found, and pointed:
Brook (Doc x Camas) retrieving the first Chukar she pointed – this is actually the third time she brought it to me:
Here’s Gen (Heath x Pepper) on the first bird we shot for her. She wasn’t quite sure what to do with it at first but the early play retrieving lessons paid off and she recognized the fetch command:
And this is Violet (River x Paint) retrieving a Hun:
We had one hunt that’s good for a laugh. Every day we see a different truck parked in the same spot and we always hear shooting there. We’ve never hunted it but we decided to give it a try. So we climbed up and crossed a ridge over to a big canyon that’s hard to reach from other places so we thought we were on to something. It was very steep dropping into the canyon so we were walking very slow when Lisa says “there goes a covey of Chukars”. It took me a while to find them – hopping up a huge cliff 100 yards ahead of us in short steps all the way to the top. They’d obviously played the game before and there was no hope of getting them. This is the spot:
It was like one of those old cartoons and we were Elmer Fudd. It did make us notice this Golden Eagle nest though:
All in all we had a good time and were especially happy with the performance of our youngsters. Seeing them put it all together under such trying conditions with only a few bird contacts was very gratifying. Since we took more photos we’ll just put them in here for fun. Hope you enjoy them.