I spent last weekend in the Inyo Mountains (California, east of the Sierras) hunting chukar and quail. Warm weather limited hunts to a few hours in the morning but the bird population was reasonble, generally a covey or two for each hour walked. Good times for man and dog.
Sadly, the ground that I was walking had been horribly overgrazed by wild horses. The rocky areas that were inaccessible to the horses had good grass cover but the open areas were nearly barren. Such a shame that a piece of high desert habitat, which should be a real jewel, was instead ruined by an invasive species. The wild horses and burros are now protected, thanks to the efforts of misguided psuedo-environmentalists, and they compete strongly with native species such as the desert bighorn. Of course chukar are also non-native so perhaps I am not being entirely consistent ... but chukar do not seem to impact the environment to any measurable degree.
While camped in the area I met a group of buddies who had been hunting chukar together for a couple of decades. Nice guys, and clearly understood where to find chukar. However, none of them used pointing dogs, and with my two setters I was getting into a LOT more birds than they were. Interesting to have the difference in canine support illustrated this strongly.
James Lee Mansell, RIP
1 week ago