We bagged one of the pair, and Jesse enjoys his triumph. Love my setters…

Chukars’ habit of staggered covey flushes can present dilemmas! Your dog goes on point. You walk in and an outlying bird flushes. Bang! Bang! Now your gun is empty, and the main part of the covey decides to fly. The only thing to do now is shoulder your empty gun, swing, and whisper, " Bang! Bang! " The best strategy to prevent this situation is never break your gun when there is a live shell in it, unless and until you are sure all the birds in the covey have gone. If you shoot a single, and have a shot remaining, look for more birds to flush. Conversely, if you have emptied the gun, reload immediately before moving on again.

When hunting with a partner, it often happens that birds are flushed above the shooter. This presents a shot similar to a skeet station eight high house, at distances from point blank to as far as you wish to try. In this situation there are two immediate concerns. The first concern is safety -- the partner above must exercise extreme caution if he follows the birds down with his muzzles, and the shooter below must not carelessly shoot upward, endangering the partner. The second concern is the difficulty that this type of shot presents. With the sky as a backdrop and birds coming high and dropping downward above the shooter, speed is very hard to judge. These birds can be moving very fast. I have found that you must focus your eyes on the head of the bird, sweep him quickly with the gun, and release the shot when you see daylight ahead of his beak. Following birds may go slightly to one side or the other, and can be taken by turning and shooting as the birds pass to the sides and continue down slope. The Spanish shoot the red legged partridge driven by beaters, which regularly presents this type of shot. They find this shooting very challenging. Same bird, different mountains.

After the Shot

Every chukar brought to bag has to be found twice. Like mourning doves, chukars seem to mimic the color of the earth they fall on, and once downed, they can be very difficult to find. The bird killed stone dead in the air is the easiest to find. However, downed birds often roll downhill and can be found yards from where they first hit the ground. When wounded, chukars can run and hide very effectively. If you have a dog trained to mark and retrieve or hunt dead, you will have little trouble.

When dogless, or with a dog will not hunt dead, I have found it wise to pass on doubles, since taking your eye off your bird after the shot often means a lost bird. Few hunters have the discipline to direct two shots at the same bird on a covey rise, but for the dogless hunter, this may be the must direct route to a chukar in the bag.

There are several things that you can do to make locating downed birds much easier. First, mark the spot from which you shot immediately after shooting with a handkerchief or your hat.