Where to Hunt Chukar

Not a great spot for chukar
Angus doubting this is a good spot for chukar

One thing I love about hunting chukar is trying to find the birds. That involves working with my dogs, looking at maps, doing lots of exploring (often in vain), figuring out why birds are where we do find them and why they’re not where we don’t. It’s a mysterious thing, and — for me — defines chukar hunting. It’s not pheasant hunting, and it’s not quail hunting, and it’s not sharptail hunting. It’s definitely not grouse hunting, although the big ones are sometimes a bonus I don’t pass up when they present themselves. And I usually miss those. But all of this keeps me coming back.

This became one of my favorite spots last year, which I discovered while grouse hunting. This year, at least right now, there ain’t a chukar anywhere near it, probably because it’s way too dry.

Another thing I love about hunting chukar is tempting fate: sometimes I try a new spot that looks terrible just because I think it might actually be good; lots of evidence continues to amass supporting the concept that I have my head up my butt so — as George Castanza did for a while on Seinfeld — sometimes I like to try the opposite of a good idea.

This might look all the same, but there are lots of birds in some places and none in others. As the annoying aphorism goes, “That’s why it’s called hunting.”

Which brings me to the main point when it comes to addressing a question I’m getting more often on this blog: chukar are where you find them.

The act of finding chukar: not always where you look.

Even if I told someone exactly where to look for the birds (something I’ve told friends in the past), chances are they won’t be there (my friends confirmed this). Moreover, I like getting skunked without running into other hunters, and have had good luck doing just that for the past two decades and I’d prefer to keep it that way. And more moreover, there are no such things as “secret spots” anymore; anyone can get a digital topo map app and find all the telltale signs of chukar habitat if they spent 10 minutes reading about it on this or any other of the great bird hunting blogs out there; if you’ve watched any of the dozens of videos I’ve posted on the blog or my YouTube channel, you might have noticed we don’t go out of our way to disguise the locations we hunt because it’s not that hard to figure it out. But there’s no sure thing, which is why I think chukar hunting is a good metaphor for life; if one wants to be assured of shooting chukar, a game farm would be the best bet.

Image result for chukar in pens
These birds will usually be here.

So do yourself a favor if you want to be a chukar hunter and get out there and explore all the amazing public land while it’s still open to us all. Find the birds yourself and you’ll be prouder for it, and in better shape because of it.

8 Replies to “Where to Hunt Chukar”

  1. Just yesterday we had a fellow that watched us bump some sharptail which landed near our vehicle parked 1/2 mile away. He quickly pulled over and gave chase without shame. You don’t see that very often in “real” chukar country. Thank goodness.

    I am with you, I don’t mind the occasional birdless walk. Half the fun of chukar hunting is finding new honey-holes. But, I prefer to explore by myself since not many folks appreciate burning 3,000 calories without burning any gun powder.

    1. I’ve seen and experienced the etiquette-lessness you describe while fly fishing and big game hunting, but – knock on wood – not chukar hunting. I’m not surprised to hear you’re of the same ilk, Jay; for us, it might have originated with being newbies a long time ago and getting skunked more often than not and realizing that if we’re driving all that way, and burning all those calories, we might as well find other things to enjoy beside fetching feathers. But I also think it’s because we grew up in the outdoors in non-hunting families and learned to appreciate nature for itself, not what we could harvest from it. Whatever the case, I’m glad chukar country is what it is. Maybe because of that it’ll stay that way for a while. Thanks for your comment.

      1. That sounds very familiar to me. Similar upbringing. I invited a neighbor hunter to go chukar hunting and he said “I’ll be honest, if we have to go looking for them I’ll be done by 10am”. He’s not a lazy guy, but he just doesn’t have the patience or appreciation. He grew up shooting pheasants here in the Cali Central Valley, deer hunting etc. I think a part of it is he was spoiled by hunting the farms of his buddies growing up.

  2. I’ve asked many of my students if they’d like to come with me. Most say it looks too hard and there’s not enough shooting. But just yesterday, one of my larger, out-of-shape kids stopped by my room during lunch and ate a chukar leg with me. He said he’d kill himself to get up the hill to shoot one of those, they’re so good.

  3. One of the most enjoyable aspects associated with our love of this bird is the lack of other hunters (almost always none) while we search the stunning landscapes to locate the birds or not. Many days are chukarless but provide countless encounters with eagles, hawks, deer, cougar and many other inhabitants of these beautiful places we trek. Bob and Leslie, thank you so much for sharing your adventures and thoughts about this
    wonderful sport.

Chirp away

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