It’s said that the first time you go chukar hunting it’s for fun, after that it’s for revenge.
Due to where they live, a chukar hunt is probably the most difficult upland bird hunt out there.
These non-native, beautiful upland game birds live in some of the most desolate, rugged, and remote areas of the Western United States. Their ideal habitat in North America consists of dry, high desert canyonland at elevations of 4,000 to 13,000 feet. They tend to stay near a water source, especially during the summer. Couple the tough places they live with their quirky habits, and chukar hunting qualifies as one of the most demanding of upland bird hunts. Chukar hunting is a labor of love, but the Wingshooting Basics still apply.
You’ll probably be putting on miles, following a wide ranging pointer along a canyon rim.
Once the dog goes on point, hopefully the covey holds tight and you get a shot. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a double, or even a triple. Now comes the hard part…mark where the birds fly (they usually fly downhill), and go try to find them again. You’ll drop off the edge and into the canyon, picking your way through loose rocks looking for the cover or singles. Chukars are notorious, at this point, for running back up to the top of the rim, where hopefully you’ll get another point or two before moving on to find another covey. It would be a good idea to get in shape before your hunt.
The bird will humble even the most experienced upland bird hunters.
Early in the season, look for steep, rocky areas where there is a reliable water source. As the season progresses, water can be found more easily and the birds are less reliant on a single source. Try and locate areas where the birds have shelter (rocks) and food. Don’t forget to stop and listen…they usually give up their hiding spots. Also, it’s easier to start from the top and flush them down hill, rather than chasing them up the hill.
Don’t confuse wild chukars with their not-so-bright, pen-raised cousins.
Chukars are easy to raise and they hold well for dogs. If you’ve hunted them at your local club, you might disagree with everything we’ve said here. However, pen raised birds act NOTHING like wild chukars, and every upland bird hunter owes themselves a wild chukar hunt or two in their lifetime. Be careful though, chukars, and the country they live in are addicting.