That First Hunt

Throughout our life we experience many “first time” moments that are rarely forgotten, especially when we are talking about the first time chukar hunting -- or rather chasing.

Com’on, we have all heard it: “The first time it’s for fun, but every time after that it’s for revenge.” In case you have not heard this phrase, this unexaggerated feeling was recently experienced by a native Nevadan, Wendy Cadwallader (@wndybirdd), who recently had the opportunity to experience the thrill of chasing chukar when she and some friends loaded up the dogs, grabbed their shotguns, and ventured to the unknown, or rather, an undisclosed, newly discovered chukar spot.

Where were they headed? What canyon? Maybe Noname Canyon. What creek? Maybe Cherry Creek. We will never know. Only those who were loaded up in the truck, only those on that specific hunt as the unwritten Chukar Code took precedence over any social media “likes” or any post-hunting story told. If you are unfamiliar with this Code, one outdoor enthusiast refers to it best as the “Rules of the Spot” (@crazyunclelarry).

Wendy was no different than any other first time Chukar Chaser where this Code was explained to her long before this adventure began and again reminded of this Code before the truck turned off that backcountry road. Wherever the area, the range, the canyon, the creek, this would be a chase she would never forget.

Although Wendy never got a chance to bag a chukar that day, she was instantly hooked after she witnessed all the action. From the dogs working the mountainside, to the views of the untouched picturesque countryside, to hearing the sound of that perfect flush, Wendy was captivated by it all and getting birds would eventually be just a bonus.

When the chase was over and the fun had ended, Wendy knew that the next time out would be for revenge as she proclaimed, “Gosh it was tough, those birds are devil birds but worth every second and I really cannot wait to get back out there.” Until next time...

And that is what it is all about.

Regional Chukar Forecast

Arizona

 

Season Dates: Sept. 1, 2016 - Feb. 5, 2017

The Arizona Game and Fish Department report that mild winters and expanding cheatgrass on the Arizona Strip have benefited the chukar population in the state and that chukar populations “should again be in a good number for this year.”

www.azgfd.com/hunting/species/smallgame/forecast

California

Season dates: Oct. 15, 2016 - Jan. 29, 2017

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife did not have any information regarding this year’s chukar season; however, reportedly a state survey indicated a higher chukar population for this year.

Colorado

Season dates: Sept. 1, 2016 - Nov. 30, 2016

The Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife has nothing to report other than the general information that chukar “succeed best in the canyons and hills of west central Colorado in Montrose, Delta, Mesa and Garfield counties” and that the highest numbers “are along the Colorado and Gunnison river drainages below 6,600 feet.”

www.cpw.state.co.us

Idaho

Season dates: Sept. 17, 2016 - Jan. 31, 2017

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game report that the chukar hunting in Idaho should be “good to excellent” this season. In addition, “chukar populations along the Bruneau and East Fork Owyhee rivers are up and should provide good hunting. Populations of chukar at Arrowrock and Brownlee reservoirs, and along the South Fork Payette River, appear to be up slightly.” All and all, chukar populations in Idaho have been rebounding during the past five (5) years.

www.fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/uplandForecastSouthwest.pdf

www.idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/upland-bird/southwest-2016-trends

Montana

Season dates: Sept. 1, 2016 - Jan. 1, 2017

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks only posted season dates for “partridge” in 2016, but a prior report stated that in “Region 5, the chukar harvest in 2014 was up 52 percent from 2013” however for 2015 “chukar numbers remain below average but have some potential for continued improvement.”

www.fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/hunting/nr_2282.html

Nevada

Season dates: Oct. 8, 2016 - Feb. 5, 2017

The Nevada Department of Wildlife reported that the overall results of the 2016 survey were “positive.” There was a 5% increase in the observed birds per square mile compared to last year, and this year’s average is 28% greater than the long-term average.

www.ndow.org/uploadedFiles/ndoworg/Content/Hunt/Seasons_and_Regulations/Upland_Game/2016%20Chukar%20Forecast.pdf

Oregon

Season dates: Oct. 8, 2016 - Jan. 31, 2017

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife report that chukar numbers were up 36% over last year and are well above the recent ten (10) year average, best since 20016.

www.dfw.state.or.us/RR/bird_hunting_forecast

South Dakota

Season Dates: Sept. 17, 2016 - Jan. 1, 2017

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department relies on public surveys from the previous season so nothing to report on the 2016-2017 chukar season.

www.gfp.sd.gov/hunting/small-game/partridge.aspx

Utah

Season dates: Sept. 24, 2016 - Feb. 15, 2017

The Utah Division of Wildlife report that the chukar population in north-central Tooele County is close to “record high” numbers. In addition, the Division reports that the chukar numbers in central Box Elder County is the “highest” since surveys started in that area in 2009.

www.wildlife.utah.gov/wildlife-news/1912-another-great-chukar-hunt.html

Washington

Season dates: Oct. 1, 2016 - Jan. 16, 2017

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife did not have any information regarding this year’s chukar season.

Wyoming

Season dates: Oct. 1, 2016 - Jan. 31, 2017

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department did not have any information regarding this year’s chukar season.

 

Chukar Chasers Creed

BY KEEPING ONE OF OUR GREATEST OUTDOOR TRADITIONS OF UPLAND GAME HUNTING ALIVE, YOU MUST:

  • CHALLENGE YOURSELF
    • DON'T HUNT THE SAME AREA EVERY TIME YOU CHASE
  • HUNT ETHICALLY
    • DON'T RUIN IT FOR OTHERS
  • ALWAYS BE PREPARED FOR THE ELEMENTS OF THE OUTDOORS
    • MOTHER NATURE CAN BE UNFORGIVING
  • SUPPORT WILDLIFE AND HABITAT CONSERVATION
    • THINK FUTURE GENERATIONS
  • EMPHASIZE "NO-NAME CANYON" WHEN TALKING ABOUT YOUR CHUKAR CHASE
    • ENSURE THIS IS NOT FORGOTTEN
  • RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT, WILDLIFE, AND OTHER HUNTERS
    • REMEMBER, THERE'S ALWAYS ANOTHER "NO-NAME CANYON" TO EXPLORE
  • STRIVE TO EDUCATE OTHERS ON ETHICAL HUNTING, IMPROVE YOUR OUTDOOR SKILLS AND UNDERSTANDING OF WILDLIFE
    • HUNT RESPONSIBLY AND LEAD BY EXAMPLE