Chukar Hunting Trip Report

camp2We 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.

Visibility at times was under fifty yards
Visibility at times was under fifty yards

 

Ten minutes after this photo was taken the fog rolled up out of the valley and engulfed us (again!), forcing us to bail on hunting this hillside.
Ten minutes after this photo was taken the fog rolled up out of the valley and engulfed us (again!), forcing us to bail on hunting this hillside.

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.

Pink Campion
Pink Campion

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:
lisa in canyonWe 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:
lisa in canyon2It was like one of those old cartoons and we were Elmer Fudd.  It did make us notice this Golden Eagle nest though:

 Golden Eagle nest - the pair was courting nearby

Golden Eagle nest – the pair was courting nearby

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.

Lisa with Prince (Heath x Pepper)
Lisa with Prince (Heath x Pepper)
Cliff with Violet (River x Paint)
Cliff with Violet (River x Paint)
Close up of Violet's Head
Violet
Ruby (Doc x Suzie)
Ruby (Doc x Suzie)
Cliff's Bernardelli
Cliff’s Bernardelli
Candy (River x Spice)
Candy (River x Spice)

dogs in truckcliff fog

Brook (Doc x Camas) with Chukar
Brook (Doc x Camas) with Chukar

3 thoughts on “Chukar Hunting Trip Report”

  1. Great pictures. I love the videos of the youngsters – so proud to carry their “prize”. It sounds like a great bunch of young setters. Congratulations!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Sue

  2. OMG, Gen is *so* Dart on a retrieve! Ermagerd this is awesome! Wait, what? Oh yeah, I’m supposed to bring it to you!

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