I just finished three days of great chukar and partridge hunting in northeast Nevada. The dogs did very well and we found about a covey per hour of intense hiking. One sequence stands out in my mind ...
Ryan's pointer Storm went on point 500' above us, up a steep slope, on the far side of 50' tall rock outcropping. (thanks, Garmin). So we suck it up, gain the altitude, and start to actually climb over and around the rock to ambush the birds. Storm has great manners and all goes well. Ryan generally goes over the top, I manage to find my way around about half way up the rock on the left side. We get most of the way around the pile and the birds finally spook, flushing from high on my right down the valley to my left, 35 to 50 yards out. Tough shots, but for the first time in my life I tripled on chukar. Storm did a great job on the retrieves; one of the birds had bounced 50 yards down the slope, but all were dead when he picked them up.
I doubled on another covey and finished that day with a Nevada limit, also my first ever.
But now I am firmly on the Dark Side. I really enjoy shooting my vintage 16ga SxS's but using those guns I probably would not have put even one bird in the bag. Last year I purchased a Benelli Ultra Lite 12ga semi-auto; it weighs only 6lbs and swings like a game gun. It also handles heavy loads: my first two rounds are 1-3/8oz of nickel plated #7 at 1350fps, and my last round is a Praire Storm #6. For the trip I shot over 50% and many of the shots would have been passed if swinging the 16's. And the Benelli has a nice sling which makes it much easier to scramble around in the nasty places where chukar hang out.
The SxS's are not for sale; they are the perfect guns for most of my hunts in Arizona and Montana and California and Oregon. But on those big Nevada slopes I'll be swinging the Benelli. Apologies to Obi Wan.
James Lee Mansell, RIP
3 days ago