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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok... here's the situation. I started to hunt these guys this season because of our new lab. I've really only hunted on the lower stretch of the Deschutes. Had luck finding a few coveys the first few outings, but I think it was purely by accident coupled with my dog's nose. I didn't get any because I was completely taken off guard. I chased them all around, but I fell into the trap of running uphill only to run back down. So basically I got skunked and have been so since. All I can think of is my poor dawg... he's been busting his tail off!

So ultimately this novice rookie needs some help and advice. And if you can provide me with any I would greatly appreciate it!

Here are my questions:
1) Is there a time of day or type of weather that is good or bad to hunt these guys?
2) I've heard that the Lower Deschutes can be a good place to hunt, but what are my odd's. I've heard of people flushing several coveys throughout the day, but that is definately not the norm for me.
3)Climb up to the top of canyons and hunt up top? Hunt the slopes? Or hunt the bottoms of the side canyons?
4) Am I better off finding private grounds to hunt on or pay to hunt places (although I'm probably against hunting on pay places)
5) I usually hunt alone with my dog, it's nice and peaceful, but if anyone is interested in showing me a thing or two, please let me know. I work as an engineer with a typical 5 day per week job, but I think I'm pretty normal. I'm not limited to Chukar either.

Thanks for your help in advance!
 

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I don't often start out by telling someone to "buy the book" but I'll make an exception in this case. Chukars aren't your average bird, as you're already learning.

So the first thing I would suggest is to get a copy of A Chukar Hunter's Companion by Pat Wray. It's an easy read and full of information and answers to the questions you just asked.

Then, of course, you just have to keep going and try to put some of that wisdom to the test.

Every year I ask myself, "when will I get too old to hunt chukar?" And every year I realize the answer is "last year." But I can't wait to go again. Maybe this weekend. :tongue:

Skein - who is serious about the book
 

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I have yet to find a better time a day than another, just as long as you arent hunting behind someone else!Hunt different elevations until you find birds, then stay at that elevation.As far as hunting down low near the river, chukar will water twice a day normally, but if there has been recent rains, they can get all the water they need up top on the rocks.I think private lands are always better just because the birds most likely havent been hunted as hard, but there are plenty of public land chukar out there to be had!My opinions may differ from others about all this so hopefully others can help as well!
 

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Ah... so your getting the chukar education eh?, don't ya just love'em!! My favorite bird to hunt. Man can those buggers fly!

I've found hunting them alone very difficult. Personally I like to side hill 3-4 guys, starting at the top. Make a pass then drop down and go back. For me they always fly down hill and I'm sure thats the norm for others as well.

Rain & weather seems to drop them over the edge and off the tops which are typically private land. I think they are trying to escape the wind. They also hold a lot better during rain. This can be useful to know if your dog is a little young and still learning. I also think they hold better when up on the tops, so if ya got a really good dog that can lock-up and freeze the birds, I'd focus on the top. But like I said, typically the tops are private.

It's no surprise that the lower Dechutes gets a lot of pressure and the birds a little more wary. But I wouldn't look at it that way. You there to be outdoors and enjoy yourself. If ya get into some birds so much the better. I think chukar is a lifelong learning process, and Skeins suggestion to research some written material is well founded. It certainly won't hurt!

Good luck and I'd just say don't give up.

One other thing...I've always enjoyed hunting them in snow. Yes, snow. You can do this w/o a dog, they pop their heads up out of their holes in the snow and they really hold. I've caught two chukar by hand and the 1st I snagged out of a hole in the snow. I did a lot of this snow hunting for chukar back when the snows came earlier and I'd crawl up on them to get closer before they'd flush. This one just wouldn't flush, so I just snatched him out bare handed.
Just look for a bunch of little holes in the snow and watch for a head to pop up from time to time. This works very well on Huns at the edge of wheat fields to. Yes, snow can be a dogless man's best friend.
Good luck and remember, don't take it too serious and have fun.
Hunt'nFish
 

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We have no problems hunting chukars. We just shoot them from the canoe. It can be a little exhausting chasing them on the rocks in waders and wading shoes, so we usually hope they will fall in the river so we can scoop them up with a paddle.
 

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I still haven't bought the book, but have heard it is great. This guy has a lot of information as well: http://iron-horse.us/chukar/

In regards to question #3, try up on top early in the season, and down over the rim as weather pushes them down. As Hunt'nFish points out, they will stick around in some snow, but I seem to have better luck just below the snow line as it starts to get over a few inches deep.


I once met a guy while I was chukar hunting that gave me some good advice (I listened to him because he had just shot his limit!): Take your time shooting, keep working at it, and the most important rule: Don't get discouraged.

I hunted chukar for a whole season and didn't get one. Yes, you read that right. I work pretty hard when I hunt, so there were some full 10+ mile days of rimrock, up and down the canyon, etc. Keep going out there, keep after them, and don't get discouraged if you don't get a shot off or don't connect, or don't see anything.

Where are you located? Shoot me a PM if you want to team up on those buggers.
 

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COVER GROUND!! It also helps if you have a dog that likes to run +1000 miles a day.

Good luck!
GRIFF
PS Early in the season when its dry check your topo for canyons with springs. After a snow storm hit the slopes that are first to burn off. If there still is alot of snow you have to hit the rock piles... :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all of your input! I also put an order in for that book. There were also a lot of info on previous threads and other sources on the internet that I have already dug through. I guess I just need to keep at it. I probably also need to get into better shape so I can cover more ground.

CWH... I'll send you a pm here shortly. I'm here in the Portland area.
 

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I got Google Earth and was able to search my normal areas, the cool thing is you can search all the areas around your hunts to look for other places to check out. If you adjust the veiwer, you can "fly" down the canyons like Superman!
 

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Don't give up. Many times I've guessed where they would be and end up wrong. I usually start high near the top of the canyons. If you see rimrock, go investigate it. I've found them just above and below them. If they flush down hill, don't chase them. Hit them on the way back. Watch where they fly. Many times, you can see where they went and find them a bunch of yards (100's) along the same hillside.
 

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I learned a lot about chukar by just getting out and hunting them. Hard weather = Heavy Cover....Early season birds require water so hunt around water sources....Late season birds are scattered and in smaller coveys that will flush wild to voices carrying across rimrock so keep your talking and dog "correcting" to a minimum....Finally, pick a SINGLE bird out of a covey flush to shoot at, preferably a lead bird, if you miss it's cuz your behind and it greatens your chances of your shot stream collecting a straggler. I'm sure this is all stuff you've read or are gonna read. Believe me, it works!!!

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Man... you guys are great! Thanks for all of the advice. I went up yesterday again. No luck, but I saw a lot more. Unfortunately they flushed really early and ended up watching them fly all the way... I mean ALL THE WAY down the canyon. The buggers made me hike all the way up the canyon to chase them back down!

The other thing I should probably work on is the time it takes me to figure out what I'm shooting at, making sure it's a safe shot, aiming, and firing. Those guys are really quick to take flight down the canyon.

I like your advice on shooting the lead bird so my odds of getting a trailier if I miss is high. Thanks Gettin'Birdy.

But all in all I had a great time (as usual) ,learned something more, and got a great workout. Such beautiful country out there! And I was surprised at how many deer there are out there! Across the canyon I saw a herd of about 25 or so... and various others on my hike with a shotgun. Ironically I saw three times more deer than chukar. Maybe I should pretend to hunt for deer and then I would see more chukar. :)
 
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