AZ Chukar

JLG

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Joined
Sep 11, 2003
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190
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Phx,AZ
After drooling about the different chukar stories as told by Idaho Ron, T-Bone and Ithaca 37, I finally, have one of my own. I have been working at a small town on the Utah/Az border. From a book I have the is a small canyon (1000') deep that was located about 70 miles from were I was staying. Anyway, during my 2002 turkey hunt I had found a small side canyon trail that split the main canyon. When I found the trail in 2002, it was too late in the day to make the hike. I filed it away in the back of my mind for another place and time. The place and time was last weekend. Myself and a co-worker/buddy got up early and hit the trail. It is a two mile hike 'til you get to the main canyon. We had been in the main canyon about a mile when I saw what I thought was a chukar at about 80 yards standing. I watched it for awhile and a second chukar raced into view. I took off after them and caught up to them at 35 yards. I chanked 3 shells and came up empty. The birds flushed straight up a boulder field and landed about 200' from the first flush. I decided to keep a small ridge between me and where I thought the chukars landed. I figured before I exposed myself to them I would go to the spot I would have the best chance of busting them. I went as far as I could, which was at the base of a 300' rock wall. I took a couple of steps and saw a chukar looking at me from behind a rock about 5 yards away. I was using 1 and 1/2 ounce 6's on my first shot and 2 ounce 6's on my 2 and 3. When I saw how close he was I knew if I hit him it wasn't going to be pretty. He flushed and I centered patterned him at 15 yards, a second bird went up and I center patterned that one a 20 yards. Two more birds went up and I missed my third shot. To make along story shorter. I shot my first chukars ever in AZ. It is only the second covey of chukars I have ever seen. Chukars in AZ are a trophy bird few and far between. I have never personally met anyone who has shot more than one. There are a whole lot of guys that bring it up in the fall but no one seems to have a clue where to go or if they are just a figment of G&F's imagination. Anyway, had a great time and I am glad I can cross an AZ chukar off the list. Good Luck, JLG.
 

Ithaca 37

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Mar 4, 2001
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Congratulations, you're off to a great start! There must be more around there somewhere. Look for water, cheatgrass, and rocks on a North facing slope (the cover and food will be better there). In Idaho the chukars move to South facing slopes when there's snow or cold weather, but I doubt that's a problem in AZ.

I took a friend out last Friday and he got his first two chukars. He said it was the toughest hunt he'd ever been on!
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<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 12-23-2003 22:44: Message edited by: Ithaca 37 ]</font>
 

Carnivore

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Oct 11, 2002
Messages
146
Location
Not Idaho :( !!!...AZ for now
Congrats on the Chukar,

I grew up chasing Gambels Southeast of Phoenix, never heard of a Chukar until I moved to Idaho. After hunting them for a couple of years I've always thought of the places that I hunted in AZ that would be ideal chukar country. A lot of people don't realize how hilly AZ is. It could be a world class chukar state if they wanted.

Welcome to the chukar club and remember: You hunt them the first time for curiosity; all other times, it's for revenge
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JLG

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Joined
Sep 11, 2003
Messages
190
Location
Phx,AZ
I actually went out again. The first trip where I got them was an 8 mile hike,I was was tired but not too much worse for wear. The second time was 17 miles and it beat the C--- out of me. I had blisters all over and could hardly walk the next day, but I am already plotting my next adventure. There are a couple of other places in AZ that have chukars besides were I hunted so while I have the opportunity too, because of work, I want to look into them. Thank you both for repling. Ithaca, the canyon I found the chukars in did have cheatgrass. There were alot of chukar turds were there was cheatgrass, but the area that didn't have cheatgrass had no chukar turds whatsoever. 12 of of my 17 mile hike fell into this category. In my very limited experiance it looks like cheatgrass is almost a must, is this true? Thank you, JLG.
 

Ithaca 37

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Mar 4, 2001
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Yes, cheatgrass seems to be a favorite source of seeds the chukars thrive on. They also like rocks for security during the day and warmth, also, if the weather is cold. The rocks will hold warmth from the sun after the sun gets lower and some hillsides are in the shade. They like sagebrush or other medium size brush for shelter and security. They have to have water in the summer, so make sure you're not too far from water. They can get moisture from grass or other vegetation during the late fall, winter or spring.
 
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