The Love for chasin' Chukar....
LEGIT. That is the first word that comes to mind after talking with Carla Gibson (@oregonoutdoorgirl). She is a no-frills badass Chukar hunting/ fly fishing addict. You won’t find her applying make-up at 5am before hitting the hills or the water. No. She is all business. The fact that she hasn't been interviewed before, proves that Upland Hunters are underrated athletes. So, if you are looking for a role model....then look no further.
Q.) Give everyone a little background on yourself.
A.) I was born and raised in Central Oregon and now I live in Bend, OR for the last 10 years. I graduated from Oregon State University (OSU), well, a couple of times! I now work at The Center which is an Orthopedic/Neuro medical facility where I manage the operating rooms.
In my free time I have become very involved with a women’s fishing group called Central Oregon Lady Anglers in Central Oregon that was started by my best friend, Jenny O’Brien (@sea2sage and @centraloregon_ladyanglers on IG). I also spend a lot of time golfing during the summer months since Central Oregon is full of beautiful courses!
Q.) How did you get into Chukar hunting?
A.) I grew up in a hunting family. My dad and brother did a ton of upland and waterfowl hunting when I was growing up. I would go just to hike around and watch the dogs work, but, I never hunted. It wasn’t until about 10 years ago my dad took me out, gave me his 20 gauge, and we found a TON of chukar!! I figured it was always supposed to be that easy!
Life happened and it wasn’t until 8 years later that I got my first Yellow Lab, Jesse. Labradors have always been my family’s dog of choice. My first season hunting with Jesse was done side-by-side with my brother. He and I hunted every other weekend together and he taught me how to hunt chukar. He taught me where the birds lived, what to look for and how to train my dog. I quickly fell in love with the sport. I’ve always loved my pup, but watching her hunt, it has opened my eyes to an entirely different relationship. We hunt together, we bleed together, she finds birds and we both watch a lot of birds fly away! Nothing is more spectacular than where chukar live, the challenge of the hunt, the even bigger challenge of the kill and the people I get to share it with.
Q.) How often do you Chukar hunt throughout the season?
A.) I hunted every weekend, except over Christmas, this year. At least one weekend day, but mostly, we would trek across the state, or into another state, for 3-5 day hauls. We put a LOT of miles on our trucks this season. I was fortunate to spend 6 days hunting Nevada over the Thanksgiving holiday this year. It is big country and hard to do with two yellow labs. Thanks to the help from Damon and Sean from Nevada Chukar Chasers (@nevadachukarchasers), which I am an ambassador for, I got to see what Nevada chukar hunting is all about!! It was shortly after my trip to Nevada that I became the proud parent of my new pup, Frankie. He is a 6 month old German Shorthaired Pointer. I lucked out because he was returned to the breeder because he wasn’t “affectionate”. Well, their loss, my gain. He is already a chukar hunting stud!
Q.) What is the most memorable bird hunt?
A.) My most memorable bird hunt has to be the first wild chukar I ever shot. I was with my brother and Jesse was just a year old. The temperature that day had a high that day of 5 degrees! On the hike back to the truck Jesse flushed a covey of about 10 birds and I managed to connect and one fell from the sky. She brought the bird right to my hand and it couldn’t have been more perfect.
Q.) Do you focus on any specific training routine in the off-season to get you ready? What would you recommend to others?
A.) I trail run all summer long. It’s a great way for both me and my dogs to stay in shape. We also do a lot of shed hunting in the early spring, which helps with climbing hills and gives a “purpose” to the hiking. I really try and focus on getting the dogs in shape, especially their feet.
Q.) What’s in your bag? What do you carry with you on a hunt?
A.) Water, never enough water! My go-to meal is a peanut butter, jelly and banana for lunch. I also pack apples, jerky and “Picky Bars” made by a local Bend, OR company. We always make duck jerky for the dogs to eat while we hunt.
Q.) How important is it to bird hunt with a dog?
A.) My bird dogs are the biggest reason I hunt. Their love and desire to hunt and please, fills my heart with so much happiness. I know people who hunt without dogs, but, I can’t imagine it. The way Jesse and Frankie work together, they are a true team! I am probably their limiting factor. Frankie is a bird finding machine. For every 10 miles I hike, he does 30! He is incredible. He finds birds and gives me chances I never would have had without him. Now Jesse, well, she is my best friend. She will find birds and retrieve them for anyone.
Q.) What advice would you give to someone new to Chukar/Upland hunting?
A.) Expect to fail, A LOT. What I mean by this is; birds will be missed. It is one of the hardest sports to be successful in, in the terms of how people measure success (birds). Remember the reason you are out there. Yes, we all want to knock down a bird after traversing miles of shale, rocky hillsides, but, you are gonna miss. If you expect to fill your freezer full of meat for the winter, save your money and buy a chicken! I figure that each chukar will cost you $30-$40 with the expenses.
Q.) What advice would you give a seasoned hunter?
A.) Remember that it’s not all about the bag limit, or number harvested, at the end of the season. It is about the stories that were created and the memory of every hunt.
This blog was written by Travis Warren of Upchukar (@upchukar).