I learned yesterday about a chukar hunter in the area who hunts nearly every day (from what I’m told) with numerous dogs and often with many other people, and apparently almost always limits. According to a trustworthy source, he and five friends killed 96 chukar over opening weekend. There’s nothing illegal about this (although I do wonder how he gets around the possession limit). But it bothers me, so I thought I’d ask what others think about this.

For me, just because something’s legal doesn’t mean it’s ethical if taken to the extreme. Someone who doesn’t know me might read this and conclude I’m spewing sour grapes here. Honestly, I like cleaning birds even less than I like killing them, but I do both as part of the deal. I certainly wouldn’t want to clean 10 times more than I already do. In other words, I’m fine with my bag stats.

What do you think?

31 Replies to “Limited”

  1. I like to work my dogs. I love seeing them progress and grow as gun dogs. Limiting is not a goal I’ve ever set for myself or my dogs (plus my shooting skillz take care of that issue). I live in a state where the limits are low, and I like that simply because some people insist on shooting limits every day. There isn’t anything illegal about it, but not my cup of tea. I guess I think about the birds, other hunters that might hunt next week, and so on…

  2. I come from a tradition that believes all life is sacred. When we kill a bird or animal to sustain us, we honor that life by giving thanks and using every part. Killing for the sake of killing may be part of our reptilian DNA, but those with higher thinking honor life by taking only what we need and no more. We also recognize inside us the thrill of the hunt. We modify that thrill by respect for all of life. Limiting out each hunt is a sign of immaturity and a lack of respect. Ultimately it desecrates life, itself.

  3. Because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes it seems that the number of kills is all some folks care about. Don’t get me wrong I love to shoot birds and eat them. But Every hunter reaches a stage where there is more to hunting than just the kill. It takes some folks longer to get there. I also think you need to adjust your limit to what’s going on with populations. 10 to 12 years ago getting a limit was not difficult because populations were so high. For the last few years, getting good dog work and shooting fewer were birds was more important.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Chris. This particular hunter has been doing this for years if not decades, so I doubt he’ll reach a stage where the kill takes a back seat to any other consideration.

  4. I have hunted birds for 7 decades. When I hunted as a youth we hunted to get what we could get(limits).Birds were plentiful and was taught to never waste anything you killed. If we had more than we could use we gave them to other who we knew appreciated them. As an adult and raising my kids to hunt. I changed on my view of this type of hunting. I taught my kids to appericate the privilege of the hunting and to be conserative with game. It bothers me to hear or know of hunters that have the “kill’m all attitude. Stories of over killing is a badge of honor to those hunters. They are not bad people just hunters that have a different view of the sport. I choose to have respect for the game and other hunters.

  5. 96 chukar for 6 guys in one weekend. All six guys limited out both days. Seems a little suspicious to me. Party hunting is illegal.

    I’m old enough now that I can say I’ve been around a little and I know ethics are different for each one of us, but if this guy is doing it like this time after time I’d have to question not only the ethics but the legality of how they get it done.

    That being said, I do hunt for limits. Not saying i get it done very often but that’s what Jake(my dog) and I are after. My ethical way of hunting includes my dog. I want him to be part of it so I don’t USUALLY shoot flushed birds. To me part of the process is good dog work and the other part of the process is good work from me, which includes shooting. So yes I do have to down a bird and see the retrieve to complete the process.

    That doesn’t mean that the person that shoots flushed birds from the water hole isn’t as ethical as me, we just enjoy the hunt in a different way.

    The truth of the matter is, although I enjoy getting a limit of birds, at the end of the day I feel just as satisfied with myself and my dog whether we get 1 or 8 birds just because we made it the five or so miles up 2000 feet in elevation to get a good point or two. When I don’t enjoy the burning lungs or don’t get the shakes from Jake being on point I’ll try and find the name of the guy at the beginning of this article and see if he’ll bring me a couple of chukar each week to eat while I sit in front of the T.V. I do love eating them.

  6. Beside chukar and Huns, I hunt sharptails and pheasant in Idaho and North Dakota. The biologists set different limits based on current numbers, mortality and recruitment. I haven’t shot a limit of chukar for some time but it’s because I don’t have stamina of my youth. I would if I could and did many times in prior years. Out respect for birds, I stay within limits, and do no wanton waste of any game harvested. I guess I’m okay with a large harvest bag. I do hope the gang of hunters think what a privilege it is to hold just one chukar, let alone an allowable limit.

  7. W hat is your limit there? Is he guiding with many customers? In CA if you suspect someone is poaching or taking over limits, you call fish and game. They go to his house and check his freezer. I am a pointer guy and will not shoot a bird that was not pointed. Myself as you do not go out for the meat, but the hunt. Guides in AZ charge $100.00 per day per hunter to hunt Mearns quail.

  8. I have so much enjoyment working the dogs i dont always shoot .
    I am a exclent shot and shoot sporting clays all summer , above average shooter. Nothing to prove by maxing out the limit .
    In my youth i have shot plenty of birds and the dog work is where my joy is .
    I was out with some guys who shoot poorly and was riping on me for not filling the bag limit (allowing them to shoot first) so on the next point i shot a dubble taking the head off the first,
    Just because i can does not me i have to.!

  9. That is nearly 1000 birds for this person per year, not including his buddies, and if they shoot huns, then they can double that #. Obviously he is on unemployment or overly privileged, either way, the game dept should take a look at their ethics and freezers.

    Possession limit is 24 in idaho for each, huns and chukar. That is alot of chukar chili, chukar breakfast burritos and bbq bacon wrapped chukar breasts, on a daily basis to stay within the legal possession limit after day 3.

    I hope they hunt 120 spots around idaho, oregon and nevada so they dont destroy local populations of birds. Over the past 40 years ive convinced myself you cannot hunt chukars to extinction as they get to smart and live in tough country. But this group appears to be trying.

    Dogs are part of the keys to hunting success and great to watch perform in the field. Be it a great point on upland birds or a retriever marking a tough retrieve and placing it in your hand with a tail wag. Hunt to live, spoil your dog, let your dog ride in the front seat and have a vanilla kids cone for their birthday. Dogs dont care If we get one bird or 10, they love the sport they were born to do, and I hope they like hanging with us humans as we climb the slopes in pursuit of living.

    Age catches up to and educates all of us, it will do the same to this group one day, hopefully.

  10. I have never seen more than one limit of chukar taken on a given day so it is very surprising to hear of six limits two days in a row. Unfortunately where I live it is possible to shoot ten ptarmigan but the population will not sustain that level from many hunters most years. So I stop shooting before the limit. If I am hunting away from home when there are fewer hunters, shooting a limit would be fine with me. Some parts of Alaska have a 50 bird daily limit. I have ever hunted there and wonder if it is possible except in winter when hunters use snow machines and .22’s.

  11. Just because you’re allowed to take a limit doesn’t always mean you should. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always nice to shoot a limit, but it’s not what I set out to do every time I go out with my dogs. Idaho views possession limit of upland game differently than waterfowl. From page 14 of the Upland rulebook: “The possession of upland game birds/animals taken by any hunter shall be deemed to have ceased when such birds/animals have been delivered by them to: 1.) Another person as a gift when accompanied by a proxy statement (see page 40). 2.) Upon reaching the final place of consumption or storage.” You can go out and shoot a limit three days in a row, drive them home and toss them in your freezer – your possession limit is then reset and you can go out the next three days and do it all over again. I think it would be wise to reach out to IDFG as an RV probably isn’t considered the “final place of consumption or storage”.

  12. I suppose I really don’t have much to add here. Most of the comments above sum it up quite well.
    Yesterday a good buddy and I were hunting ruffs here at home in western MT. I can drive 10 minutes in any direction and find loads of birds. In the land where elk is king there just isn’t much pressure on what montanans call “mountain grouse.” September can be a tough month for a dog to properly work the grouse woods. Just too damn thick. But the pups were eager and within an hour we saw about a dozen birds and heard at least a dozen more. It was hell tromping through aspen thickets and alder swamps. I loved every second of it. I guess it’s that childlike excitement of busting your own trail and seeing what you can see. At 31 years old I can still justify this lapse in maturity since, well, I’m (ahem) doing man stuff in the woods. You know, hunting. Serious stuff. We could have both “bagged out” in an hour and been done with the cold steady drizzle and flesh tearing thorns. But then how could we justify the childish urge to follow a couple dogs through the woods all day? Better just to shoot one bird a piece and keep busting brush until we can no longer walk. We’ll pretend that we grew up years ago and now we’re in the serious business of bag limits and freezers full of meat.

    1. I enjoyed reading your comment so much that I might switch to grouse hunting. I wonder if the 8-chukar dude will read any of this and realize he’s not really hunting. Your comment illustrates that very pleasurably (for me). Thanks.

      1. If I’m honest i do hunt for limits. It’s satisfieing to know my dog and I did as well as legally possible…. It’s also very rare! I am not saying I agree with these fellas’ way of hunting – but we all have to make ethical decisions that are within the law: Breaking up coveys on cold nights?; killing very young birds?; shooting watering holes?; deep snow?; how many birds to kill out of one area/covey? ………. Again I’m not saying i agree with these fellas’ hunting ethics but I will always advocate for any science based increase in opertunity for my dogs and i to do what we love – chukar hunt! If the science supports it I would LOVE a longer season! If the science supports it I would LOVE higher limits ( even though I would probably never benifit from them).
        It’s also hard for me to believe that hunters will ever have that big of an impact on chukar populations – it’s just too hard and the habit too vast. I had a great opening weekand and never saw another hunter. If these guys realy killed 96 birds we are in for an awesome year.

  13. Interesting topic. My thoughts:
    I don’t worry about chukars being shot to extinction, maybe locally, but some of them live where humans simply can’t go.
    This entire story might be exaggerated.
    Hunting hard, shooting well, having good dogs sometimes lends itself to a limit now and then. Most of us need to do it once and then we really don’t care. If we honestly say we don’t care about killing a few, or more, carry a single shot or a cap gun.

    All that said, after seeing a 64 bird pile picture online, I am starting to wonder if in Montana we need a possession limit of 16 sharptail. They aren’t as sporty as chukars for sure. Maybe that take of mine is simply defense for my backyard.

  14. Interesting question, Bob. Mr. Overkill sounds like a case of arrested development. To echo others on this it seems to me he is hung up killing as his only measure of hunting. I suppose I could live with it so long as he isn’t breaking any laws, doesn’t shoot birds for other’s limits, and eats them all. But I doubt that is the case.
    I have no problem with shooting limits when the chukar gods smile upon me, and I had one year back in the 80’s on the Deschutes in Oregon when I got a limit every trip except one. But those days and years are like pitching a perfect no-hitter in baseball; theoretically possible, rarely attainable, but not the reason one plays the game. I have not shot a limit in the last decade I am sure.
    An old family friend of my father’s was an Oregon State Police game officer in Malhuer County from about 1950-80. He is in his 90’s now, and when I visited with him last year he told me about a guy in Vale, OR back in the 1960’s who hunted chukars every day. He gave away most all his birds to anyone who wanted the meat. During one incredible year the hunter thought he had a chance at bagging 1000 birds, and worked hard to get to that goal. He fell short by about 40. But our OSP friend did achieve his goal, which was to bust the guy for illegally shooting birds while still sitting in his Jeep.

    1. Disgusting and makes me sick. Legal or not it is slob hunting. Probably are on 4 wheelers too. Destroys populations and disperses birds for everyone else. I look at chukar hunting as the fly fishing of hunting. Very pure. A man, a dog, the birds. Should be reported to fish and game.

    2. Great story! The birds are resilient. Luckily there’s still enough public land to look for them. And yeah, I’m pretty sure he’s not sticking to the letter of the law. I want to turn him in, but my wife suggests that karma will take care of it. Hmm.

  15. No one expresses my view on this matter better than Larry & Jake. I hunted chucker 30+ days last year here in Nevada managed to get 1 6bird limit but killed about 90 birds all year we ate well last year. Bob as I mentioned I will be coming up to hunt for 4 days this next week. when I hunt out of state I like to touch base with the local vet just incase of any dog issues. Hartland Animal Hospital in Council looks like the closes. Can you advise. Thanks JIM

    1. Jim, Heartland Animal Hospital in Council is great. Dr. Bruce Gardner is an excellent vet and good guy who knows hunting dogs. Ours are frequent patients, and always get great service. There might be a vet in Halfway, OR, but I don’t know anything about that. Have a great time looking for birds!

  16. Hunted 3 days this season so far hiked 26 miles fired 4 times, with nothing in the bag and to be honest I dream of limits the night before but always walk off the mountain with a smile on my face. And dream the same dream that night.

  17. Bob, I just returned to Colorado last night from a 6 day hunt in Hells Canyon. I have known about this gentleman you speak of since 2011 when I started chukar hunting although I never met him until this year because I have never hunted there before Thanksgiving & he leaves around 11/1. I meet him on the lake road with 2 other guys and according to him they had not done very well. He said they should have had 6 birds a piece, combo of chuks & huns, but the birds were really jumpy. I had never hunted this area & he was kind enough to give me a tip on an area that he thought would hold birds. His a vise was correct as we did move a significant # of birds.

    I ran into him the next morning as he was hunting a ridge on the opposite side of the canyon from me with 3 other guys and 3 or 4 dogs.I counted a total of 8 shots from there direction that day and when I left they were gone. So I am pretty sure they did not kill 8 birds total.

    This is my 6th year hunting chukars in Hells Canyon & I usually make 2 trips per year. In my experience I find it hard to believe that anybody, even in great years, can shoot a limit of chuks even 50% of the time. But maybe my experience is not the same as others.

    Here are my personal thoughts on the matter. My goal every time I go hunting is to shoot a limit weather it is quail, chukar or pheasants. So far on chukars I have achieved a limit only 1 time which happened to be on this trip. I can tell you I was proud as I could be! Because I hiked my ass off in that unforgiving country and there was nothing easy about it. In the next 5 days I never filled my possession limit.

    On the final day of the hunt it was very windy so I decided to hunt quail & ruffs in the drainage’s. When I got back to the truck I counted my quail at 9, one short of a limit. There were quail calling in the drainage and for a second I though I am going to go over there and, for the first time, shoot my limit of quail. Then the thought came over me that, will it make this hunt any more complete by me shooting one more bird? The answer was no and I loaded the truck and headed back to camp.


    By the way, Great Blog!

      1. Bob, I had a great time. It is truly my favorite place to hunt. Can not wait to go back later this year.

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