More Chukar Hunting

The View Looking Up At The Last Leg of "Buns Of Steel"

Nasty climbs and long descents are all part of Chukar hunting in the Mountain West. Saturday was no different. We had a beautiful day on the mountain, temperatures were cold in the early morning fog down low but up in the sunshine on the mountain top it was in the 40s that afternoon. My brother Shawn, his dog Sage, my dog Hazel and I got up early with the idea that we would hunt an area that we hadn't tried yet this year. Its a grind of a ascent that is steep and covered in rock and you have to boulder your way up much of it. We nicknamed it "Buns of Steel". Birds can be found almost anywhere so you have to stay alert and ready to shoot even when your bent over sucking wind. I saw 2 birds on the way up didn't have a shot at either of them. They both flew off the the top of some rimrock and disappeared on the opposite side.

At the top this mountain it flattens out some and is a beautiful rolling landscape of golden grass with deep hidden canyons on every side. This mountain used to be a juniper forest but about 10 years ago there was a major forest fire that burned about a third of this huge mountain down to the bare rock and gravel mixed with clay that makes up the soil. Cheat grass took over everywhere the fire had consumed leaving a landscape of yellow cheatgrass dotted with the skeletons of the long burned junipers all surrounded by the maroon and gray rimrock. Chukars love it and thrive in this habitat. Its a very different from that of any of the other gamebird habitat that we hunt in the United States. I feel fortunate to have it so close to home. Its a special hunting experienced that makes you appreciate your health and the wilderness and the toughness of the chukar who lives and thrives in this rugged country.

On top we took a break and as soon as the started hunting again we got into birds making the hard hike up the mountain well worth it. For about 20 minutes the action was pretty constant. It was a hoot. Hazel was awesome she had some good points and retrieves. Again, I was very proud her. She is spending today on the kitchen rug enjoying the warmth of the midday sunshine coming through the window. She is pretty sore and walking slower than usual but she will be fine come tomorrow. I know if I got my boots out and put them by the door she would be up for another round. Just 2 more weekends and this season will be in the bag. I'm already excited for next year. We've got big plans!

Check Out That Soft Mouth. She is the best retriever. She never drops a bird!


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