The Beauty of Chukar Hunting

Angus and Leslie
Two of my favorite creatures in one of my favorite places

Thanksgiving is coming, and since I’ve been complaining about the scarcity of birds I thought I might refocus a little here.

I think one of the reasons I love chukar hunting so much is that the landscapes I get to inhabit are particularly compelling to me. I remember driving through dense alpine forests on some forlorn road trip, anxious to get to my destination, and wishing I could stop the car and crawl into the deep, dark woods. That was before I got a dog and discovered the arid high desert habitat laced and punctuated with bromus tectorum, bunch grass, and bitterbrush. Basalt steeps. Lichen walls. Vistas unlike any I’d seen except in eastern Turkey long ago. It’s almost as if the birds don’t even matter (while they’re precisely why I’m there).

Anyway, I have lots to be thankful for, including my wife Leslie for being so good with the cameras and such a wonderful companion. And my new friends, young and old, who’ve decided I might be worth putting up with out there. And, of course, Angus (who redeemed himself in tremendous fashion last night, just as it was getting dark, by retrieving a sure-to-be-lost winged quail from the densest of slough-thickets).

Enjoy a few of the sights I’ve been blessed to experience this season:

 

5 Replies to “The Beauty of Chukar Hunting”

  1. Bob (and Leslie), thanks for this blog. I’ve been reading for a while now and it’s been a pleasure seeing how your affliction has progressed. Being a rookie bird hunter myself, your descriptions of Angus’s work and bird behavior are particulary compelling. You’ve got me considering a Brittany myself now, although I’m probably still leaning towards gsp or vizsla given the warm weather here in Sacramento. While no chukar this year so far– the lack of moisture has been limiting to recruitment this year (that sounds like pretty savvy talk, eh?)– I’ve enjoyed some valley quail as proxy. Anyway keep it up.
    Hey consideration for a blog– boots. I’m having a hard time being convinced the big Danner type leather boots are right for running uphill. So far what seems to work best for me best are the light hiking 3/4 trail runners with gortex. They don’t have the same sidehilling grab that more rigid boots have, but I go faster, longer, have better groundfeel, and can be more dextrous in the hills. I almost feel guilty going nontraditional, but it works for me so far. What do you all wear?

    1. Thanks for the nice comment! I talked about the boots I wear in “Down Time.” I hear what you’re saying about your footwear choice, but with the intensely rocky, loose ground where we hunt, stiff boots with lots of ankle support work better. Mine are pretty light for what they are (designed by Asolo for the military), so I’m really happy with them and my feet have never hurt after a hunt (knock on wood!).

      As for dogs, I’d get what breed you like most. Angus’s coat does pick up lots of stickers and ticks, but if we’re diligent about shaving him, it’s not too bad. And it gets blazing hot in the summer here and we still run him and go on lots of long hikes and – as long as he gets water – he’s fine. I’m stuck on the Brittany, so can’t really say much about other breeds. They’re all dogs and if they provide you with what you’re looking for (and vice versa), it’ll be a good relationship. If not, well…?

  2. If your dogs aren’t barking after a long hunt, then let sleeping boots lie, or something like that. I too have got some solid old leather Asolo boots I keep in the truck just in case it gets too nasty for the light hikers.

    Keep up the good blogs.

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