Lulling, or How to Carry the Wrong Gun All the Time

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Hunting for chukar and deer

I’ve been looking for, and finding, birds. I’ve seen chukar, Hungarian partridges, and “dusky” (formerly “blue”) grouse (which makes the statuesque, elegant galliform sound like a porn star trying to make a comeback). But I’ve also seen lots of horned deer while holding my Benelli Ultra Light 12-gauge loaded with 1-1/8 ounce 7-1/2 lead shot. Deer season ends soon, and my freezer’s empty, so I’m kinda hoping to run across (or over) a li’l forkie while sporting my .270. The thing is, though, that I see deer when I’m looking (with the Benelli) for birds, and I see birds when I’m looking (with my Remington 700) for deer. This weekend was a comedy of erred firearms.

I’d bet there are a few folks out there in the same conundrum. You can’t realistically carry two guns with you. I don’t even know if it’s legal. Once I had my poor wife carry my rifle on a bird hunt, and my shotgun on a deer hunt (she doesn’t hunt). You might guess that on both of those occasions we saw lots of sparrows and squirrels but no galliforms, dusky or otherwise, or ungulates, horned or otherwise.

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Sometimes, birds don’t matter, right?

As far as the chukar go, it’s been a little frustrating. We’ve taken the boat out and kept to our goal of hunting new ground every time, but the birds have proven elusive. This past summer, while fishing on the nearby reservoirs, chukar serenaded us – it seemed – constantly. We’re finding more evidence of them now, however, than the birds themselves. I’m thinking it’s a timing thing, mostly. I know they’re moving, and it’s been unusually warm, so they’re near the water. Exactly how near, I think, has been the issue. Arg. After doing this for a while now, it’s bizarre not having a better idea of what to do where and when. When it comes down to it, luck seems to play as big a role as anything else. If I were bionic, and Angus, too, we could hunt all day (we’re no Larry of Tucker’s Chukars, after all!).

As much as it pisses me off to admit it, and as hard as it is to remember it, we do this for bigger reasons than killing birds. I’m so grateful I have Leslie to shoot pictures to remind of why I shouldn’t care if I don’t shoot birds.

Elysian Fields
Elysian Fields

10 Replies to “Lulling, or How to Carry the Wrong Gun All the Time”

  1. Thats the way of the hunting gods, If its not one its the other, if you are covered for both you will see neither.
    The best grousing I have ever experienced was a week where I flushed 143 ruffs and blues ( they were still blues back then) in five days. As luck would have it all I had with me was a 3006 and a deer tag.
    As worse luck would have it the next season the timber company where I had seen all the grouse closed its gates to public for good.

    1. That’s a pile of grouse. See my comment below about a friend who used her rifle on a “dusky” with great aplomb. Bummer about the timber company. I wonder if the grouse population is still healthy there…

  2. There were a couple double barrel over/under guns made years ago just to fit your requirements. Sort of. As I recall there was a .22/ .410 combo, and another that was a .44 magnum/12 gauge that tempted me. I used to hunt the breaks of what is now the Columbia Gorge National Scenic area for both grouse and deer, and like you it always seemed that I had the wrong gun in hand. Truth is many times while chukar hunting I have thought of those guns, and how I would have liked to have the rifle option for taking a poke at some sentinel chukar clucking at me from far away.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Larry. Those guns sound heavy! Swiss Army Shotrifle? I friend just shot a blue grouse with her .22-06 from 80 yards away, right in the head. First thing she’s ever killed. Vegetarian. Life is truly weird, but hunting is weirder.

  3. If I had a nickel for every time I saw the exact opposite of what I was hunting for, I’d have a crap ton of nickels. I suppose we could all dress in tweed, knickers, tall socks, and carry those combo O/U guns (20ga/.223 or 12ga/.30-06…there are tons of options) that are popular in Europe.

  4. I jumped a nice size buck on the Rocking M, and saw some elk this weekend. Go figure. On that note, it might be worth it to check the Rocking M area if you’re not getting into birds. Its been good for me every time I’ve been out there. The huns outnumber chukar probably 3:1, but there are good numbers out there.

  5. Bob, you mentioned luck has as much to do with as anything, and it surely does. Since I retired, I can be a lot more picky on days to be out. I went out last week for four days and the days I was lucky enough to have some moisture and cooler temperatures were great and when the weather warmed, well, you know what happened than.

  6. Velmet made combination guns. Rifle over and shotgun under. Unfortunately only one shot each. I carry a 5.5 lb Velmet 16 ga o/u. Was up at 4 am looking for Chukars.

  7. Look at a eberlestock mini me with scabbard. It will allow you to carry a second gun on your back. It’s got a bird bag built into it although you have to take the bag off to stuff a bird in it. It’s got a bladder but it doesn’t have any shell holders. You can get those ones that attach to a belt and put them on the belt strap of the mini me. It’s not really an ideal backpack for bird hunting but you won’t find a more comfortable way to carry that extra gun. I do a lot of coyote hunting and often choose to carry both a shotgun and rifle into the field and I’ve walked a lot of miles carrying two guns.

Chirp away