“I took it for granted.”

For granted. It’s one of those things we don’t want to admit to doing. It’s come to my mind a lot in the past year, mainly in thinking about where we used to live. I tried hard not ever to take for granted living in chukar country. This blog is my evidence. That doesn’t mean I’m not surprised by what transpired in the last year. I guess that’s a good thing. Still, we have to move. Again. The word “regret” shares a lot of letters with “granted.”

During our recent 3-week trip in the camper, mainly to fish in Montana, we talked a lot about what we want and need in a place. At the top of my list is that it has to be within an hour of good upland bird hunting on public land. Second: within an easy day’s drive (<5 hours) from good trout fishing. Third: within a “reasonable” distance from an airport. Fourth: a town small enough to have a decent grocery store, at least one restaurant that serves beer, and one high school so I might substitute teach. Skewing all this is adding the word “chukar” before “upland.” We have some places in mind. Suggestions?

36 Replies to “Granted”

  1. In Montana = Dillon, Lewistown, Hardin and a whole lot of towns in between. In Idaho = Grangeville, , Cottonwood, Lewiston, Moscow, Potlatch ,etc. Arco, Ashton, Swan Valley, etc. Lots of god choices. Enjoy and good to hear from you again.

  2. I’m writing this lying in bed in a motel in Portland. We pulled in here from Sacramento yesterday. Absolutely love it here. Love the green and milder climate. I’m guessing Bend could be something you might like.

  3. I recently saw your posts of you all out on mighty mo in Montana fishing, the scenery there is surreal. Leslie smiling in the boat, and room for the dogs to stretch their legs out in makes one feel good. Katie and I lived in Longview Washington the first year of our marriage in 2004. It was tough to say the least trying to transition to the cluster phobic surroundings that engulfed us. The rain fall was tough to handle gray skies lack of sunshine. Growing up in emmett idaho where one can expect no moisture from memorial day to October typically. I have talk with Katie about the open dry desert country how much I feel a kin to it. I could never leave it behind save when death comes a calling. I consider moving a lot though still wanting somewhere better or at least think that there may be a better place to exist within on this earth. I suppose being realistic with oneself is the best we can all do. I would recommend the desert country first of Montana, wyoming or Idaho. I don’t care for utah much, but i have my reasons. Nevada is to dry for me not enough water. Also the prairie’s of the Midwest or Saskatchewan are a beautiful thing I’d consider. Or even the big island of Hawaii they have all the things you speak of, but more of an extreme environment in ways. All in all come out for a hunt in idaho with us, afterwards will sit around a fire smoke a pipe and discuss it further.

  4. Sorry that you have to move again.

    I live a long way from chukar country, but I have spent some time where you used to live every year for over 20 years. Now retired I can spend more time in a RV trailer that I store there. It isn’t perfect and has some additional cost, but it works. Also allows traveling quite a distance to try somewhere new. Good luck finding the right place.

  5. I’ve often fantasized on the same dilemma and have never come up with a good answer. The major problem is the chukers and trout mix. Drift boat vs. wade fishing adds more. Lewiston, ID area could work.

  6. I am sorry to hear you have to move again. Moving just sucks. However, I am also happy to hear you’ll be moving back to chukar country. I love chukar culture and will be looking forward to more posts. Maybe Weiser, Idaho or Twin Falls would be a new option for you.

  7. Reno NV may meet the criteria. The Truckee river, chukar habitat and a good airport. We will be hitting the slopes mid October. Hope to see you!

  8. With your criteria, there are so many good choices. I’m currently going through a similar albeit different process as I think about where will live longer term. We have a few more years on the west side of the cascades (got to get the boys through high school) but longer term, I am looking to purchasing a place in the greater Lewiston ID area. My primary drivers are proximity to chukar grounds, fishing and climate. Good luck and it’s great to see you posting again.

  9. I will certainly be following this thread! 🙂
    I assume affordable housing will be the wet powder in my shells!

  10. Good luck. I live in northwest Montana has a good enough boundary of trout fishing. I grew up in the hay day of bird hunting in southern Idaho and now live about 4-5 hours of good chukar hunting but we do have good grouse numbers that has proved to be interesting. Also we have Wolves, vb So when walking the early fall roads for
    blues and
    Ruff’s you need to try and keep them close. I have been following you and have been doing some late season Chukar and Hun runs in southern Idaho. The public ground I used to hunting was through private to get there and is not as accessible as it used to be. There is no place perfect! Just make the effort I say! I was born in the early 50’s so to chase these guys it is harder than the 70’s. But it proves to be easier in the late fall with cooler weather.
    good luck with property and keep up the good work

  11. You are pursuing your dreams ! We are the same way ,so we decided that we don’t want to be to far from all the amenities yet we are close to hunt and fish and wilderness and reasonably close to the ocean .
    We are hoping to move to central Oregon from Portland like around Bend vicinity !
    I hope you will find ,what you guys are looking for !
    All the best .

  12. The minute I learned you were moving from Cambridge to western WA I had those thoughts… if it was me, I don’t think I could have done it, as beautiful as western WA is, and how wonderful it is to be near the Pacific. I’m outside of White Bird, ID, on the road over to Pittsburg Landing in Hells Canyon. I’m retired and pretty much can live anywhere. I choose to remain here mostly because of the bird hunting. I have 5 Brittanys, by the way, and hunt them avidly. I’m also a die hard fly fisher. If I were you, I would strongly consider Lewiston/Clarkston, Grangeville, Cottonwood, or even Riggins. There are 3 high schools near Grangeville. All these areas offer access to plenty of public land for chukars, they’re within an easy drive of your old stomping grounds, all offer an easy drive to great local fly fishing for trout (e.g. Lochsa, Selway, St Joe, NF Clearwater), and rivers in western Montana can be accessed in 5 hours or less (e.g. Clark Fork, Bitterroot, Rock Creek, etc). There is also fly fishing for steelhead right in their backyard. Property is still reasonaly priced, and there has not been a huge influx of people into the area, at least not yet, although there is some. If you’d like more specific information, please don’t hesitate to PM me. Best of luck to you!!

  13. Sounds perfect! I can’t wait to hear the suggestions. Maybe somewhere near Driggs ID? Not sure what Chukar is like there.

  14. We passed through Salmon, ID a couple times in the last few weeks. I could live there. It has fishing, close to Montana fishing, and chukars. And brewpubs and a great bakery. But 3+ hours to an airport in Missoula or Sun Valley. And then there is the aggravation of living with our Idaho politics. But you’d be back closer to us, so we like that.

  15. I tried to write a comment a couple of hours ago, but I’m not sure it ever posted. If it did, sorry about the repeat! Anyway, I’m located outside of White Bird, ID on the road to Pittsburg Landing in Hells Canyon. I’m retired so can pretty much choose to live anywhere. I choose to stay here, mostly because of the chukar hunting. I have 5 Brittanys, which I hunt avidly. I’m also a die-hard fly fisher. My recommendations for you include Lewiston/Clarkston, Grangeville, Cottonwood, Orofino, and Riggins. All offer lots of access to public ground for chukars, all have plenty of beer, and there are high schools. I’m not sure your criteria for determining a “decent” grocery store, this could be a problem in the small communities of Grangeville, Riggins, and Cottonwood, as would immediate access to an airport. Other than that, all of them have great fly fishing for trout within an hour or 2 (e.g. Lochsa, Selway, St Joe, NF Clearwater Rivers), fly fishing for steelhead, and you’re within an easy drive of your old stomping grounds. You can be in western Montana and enjoy fishing there in less than 5 hours. Please feel free to PM me with any questions!!

  16. Good luck with the search. I’m only 18 months away from the same opportunity. I’v spent some time in all of the places mentioned and still haven’t found “the place”. I have the same parameters but have had to prioritize them to see where to compromise.

    Good Luck

  17. Grange Idaho would be a good fit.
    We hope your journey lands you and Leslie in the right location.
    On another note, we are also fly fishing enthusiasts and growing up in MT was a blessing.

  18. Around the Tetons, cheaper on the west side, but if you require that the proximate upland hunting be chukar hunting…Cody (airport), Greybull, Thermopolis, where the chukar hunting will never compare with Hell’s Canyon, but you more variety and trout fishing is closer.

  19. East slope of the WA Cascades. Several small towns to choose from, close-ish to SeaTac, “good” trout fishing is sort of relative, high lakes can be good, plus you can periodically upgrade to salmon/steelhead. Biggest downside is housing prices, but if you’re willing to live in a truly small town that isn’t a tourist trap, you can find some reasonable housing.

      1. Idaho is very refreshing after the last couple of years in WA where the governor STILL hangs on to his “covid emergency powers”. Anecdotally, in WA the signs read, “Litter and It Will Hurt”, and “Click It or Ticket.” In Idaho the same type of sign reads, “Idaho Is Too Great to Litter” and “Click It Idaho”. So… a rather striking difference in approaches to communication, one being threatening and punitive and the other being positive and affirming. In my experience, these disparate attitudes permeate the sociopolitical culture in their respective states. It’s an everyday occurrence to strike up a friendly conversation with an Idahoan at a gas station or grocery store. In Tacoma, you need to watch out for carjackers as you fill up. Some counties in ID don’t require building permits. You still need a well permit and a septic permit, but if you want to live in a yurt or a mud hut, it’s your business. Grangeville recently had a discussion in the City Council about a proposal to limit the parking of trailers in the city. The council did not adopt the proposal. They seem willing to err on the side of freedom and personal liberty. Many residents use trailers in their work and the regulation would hinder them in their employment. That’s a big deal here. In Seattle you can park your RV anywhere you like as long as you are homeless and not blocking traffic or parked in front of a councilmember’s home. I could go on but I think you get the idea. The Salmon River drainage has some wonderful chukar and dusky grouse hunting. I keep trying to make it over the hill to hunt the Snake River, but I usually find more birds close to my cabin (Near Riggins). Grouse opens on August 30. Watch out for snakes!

  20. Twin Falls. Headed there in October to stay a month to hunt with a side of fly fishing in Sun Valley area. Also, Yellowstone is only four hours away. It’s a long way from NC, but I’m retiring in two years and as Jim Harrison said, I want to walk around in the woods, fish, and drink.

  21. Wyoming has all of that out near Thermopolis.

    Mountain home, I’d

    Cambridge, council, I’d

    Halfway. Or

    John day Oregon

    Note; when you shared that you were moving, I thought to myself. He’s crazy! They love the upland bird game. Have great dogs and are going to the coast. Ouch! He’s lost his mind. I’m sure I don’t know the whole story. And I don’t mean to pile on, not much anyway. Let this be a lesson to other upland addicts.

    Glad you found your correct heading and are able to make that move. It takes strength to admit that and get it done, best wishes and welcome back to upland bird holy land.


  22. Moving stinks, even when moving to somewhere that suits you better.
    I can appreciate that it’s hard to explain. Even after living in the west for more than half my life, I still miss hunting grouse in NE Minnesota.
    Good luck in your search.

Leave a Reply to Mehmet Dee erceCancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: