Great work for both dog and gunner. This is Rick John’s setter, Wire, who has just found and pointed his first wild chukars, ever. Rick obliged by bagging his first brace of wild chukars, ever. Chukars are found in most western states, but Nevada, Oregon, Idaho and Washington have the most huntable populations.

In this big, broken terrain, keeping a dog in sight at all times is simply not possible. One of the new beepers that can be turned on or off remotely is the high tech answer to hunting your hunting dog. Belling a pointing dog is not always useful because the wind and distance. Still, an occasional tinkling bell at the edge of hearing is better than no clue at all when your dog is out of sight.

Despite the popular myths, you don’t have to be suicidal or fit as a Navy Seal to tackle these handsome birds. While I used to be able to walk myself into condition during a hunting trip, I now find that pre-hunt conditioning makes a big difference in the enjoyment of the hunt. The best way to condition yourself for walking in the mountains is to walk hills, stadium bleachers, or stairs for 30 minutes or more every day, subject of course, to your physician’s approval. Above all, remember that this is supposed to be fun.

If you want to gain an edge, and save some stress on the legs, it is often possible to find an access road on a ridge, and plan to hunt from the top down, leaving a vehicle on a road below. First timers using this tactic will soon realize that walking downhill makes demands on your legs, too, and can leave you exhausted if you bite off more than you can chew. Take it easy, realizing that you will not be able to get to all the birds, no matter how fit you are.

Chukar country is big enough that two hunters and their dogs can drive to an area together, leaving one vehicle on a lower road, and co-ordinate separate hunts from the top of the chukar habitat to the bottom, one taking a certain bench, another the ridge top, meeting at a designated spot for lunch and postmortems.

Equal Opportunity Bird Hunting

We are not talking about guided, $500 a day, private lodge hunting here. Apart from the fact that there aren't many chukar guides, guided hunting does not seem to fit the pursuit of a bird so perfectly egalitarian in the opportunities that it presents. I recommend that you be your own guide.