Yeti GOBOX Collection

Great last Day in Oregon

Ithaca 37

New member
Mar 4, 2001
Home of the free, Land of the brave
Jan 31 looked so bad I couldn't find a hunting partner. They all said it was gonna rain, snow, or be too windy. It had been raining, snowing and blowing all week. I didn't even leave the house 'til 10am and Scout and I took our time driving to Oregon. The closer we got, though, the better it looked. I could see plenty of bare ground going about three quarters of the way up the ridges and only sparse patches of snow. It was real windy, and that always makes for tough hunting. The chukars get nervous and jumpy because the grass is rustling and they can't tell if it's a predator sneaking up on them. It's hard to hear Scout's beeper collar, too, when she's on point if the wind is blowing hard.

I was going over the hunting spot options as I sized the situation up and decided to see if I could get to Porcupine Ridge. The road in got bad as soon as we started climbing and the truck tracks showed a few guys gave up in the days before and turned around. Pretty soon I was only following one set of tracks in the snow and then that guy slid off the road and down over the hill. Looked like he had a rough time getting out. Now there weren't any more tracks from since the snow started about a month ago. This oughta be good if I can get to the top of the ridge and half way down the other side. I almost stopped at a couple of big snowdrifts but we made it thru. Good. I hate having to chain up. The wind was still blowing hard and the ground was frozen. Temp. was about thirty degrees. Had a couple heart stoppers as we slid around on icy hillsides and Scout woke up and started looking out the window for chukars. She knows when the ride gets bouncy we're getting close to the hunt area. We're both looking the situation over and I'm starting to wonder if I should stop before it gets worse. Scout doesn't care if we get stuck 'cuz she'll just watch me jack us out. Wherever we get to, it's gonna be tougher getting back out. Finally we get close enough to my destination and I park. Put a bowl of water out for Scout and start getting ready for the hunt. The wind's still blowing about twenty MPH so I better head down into the bottom of the draws to get out of it. That's where the birds will be.

We get about three hundred yards down the hill and I remember I forgot to lock the truck, but it's pretty unlikely anyone else will come up that hill behind us, so I keep going.

Scout acts birdy and disappears up over a ridge and I can't find her for about twenty minutes. I can't hear the beeper collar because it's so windy, so all I can do is search. Here she comes looking for me and I can tell by her excitement she found birds, but they musta walked and flew off after they got tired of being pointed for awhile.

Same thing happens again in about another half hour. Then she disappears again but I find her on point and the birds flush way out of range. Looks like it's gonna be a tough day! I get closer to the birds on the next point, but they're still way outta range when they jump for the sky. One of them miscalculates, though, and decides to swing around and come down past us. He's got about a twenty mph tailwind and is out about forty yards, so I give him a thirty five foot lead and touch one off and he drops like a rock! Well, at least we're not skunked.

We've been out about two hours when the wind slows down and the sun comes out and it's a perfect day. I can even take my gloves off and my face is starting to thaw out. Scout trails some birds up a hill, (They're moving out of the draws and starting to feed. This will make them easier to find) and goes on point. It's steep and when they flush I get one but miss two when I start sliding down the hill. We follow them and get another good point and six flush fairly close. Get one more as I'm turning and sliding. If I don't start getting some doubles this is going to be a long day.

I hear some chukars about a quarter mile away and we head that direction. As we get close I see them running up the hill and Scout swings around behind me and up over the ridge to head them off. Pretty soon I hear her beeper and get there as fast as I can. Twenty birds flush and I get a couple. She brings back the first but we can't find number two. I sit down while she searches and after about ten minutes she starts trying to get into two big rocks with a small crack between them. The bird must be hiding in there. He comes out the other end with a broken wing and the chase is on! Scout catches him about a hundred yards down the hill and brings him back while I cheer her on. We have some water and I pet her awhile, but she's anxious to get going.

With five birds in the bag and about a two mile hike back uphill to the truck I start back. Scout gets birdy and heads up a hill and goes on point at the top. I swing under her so the birds won't see me 'til I'm close and pop over the top. Chukars flush everywhere and I get two quick ones and then a third long shot. Scout scampers around and brings all three back and I hate to have to tell her we're all done bird hunting until next September. She never understands about hunting seasons. She thinks we should hunt every day, all year long, until we get every chukar in Idaho and Oregon.

The water bowl back at the truck is frozen, which is a good sign. Maybe the road will still be frozen hard. It will be more slippery if it's melting. We get out without too much trouble and spend five bucks at the carwash getting all the mud off the truck. Another bird season comes to an end!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 02-01-2004 22:31: Message edited by: Ithaca 37 ]</font>
Great story and thanks for sharing it.
Ithaca, I have enjoyed reading your stories this year. Thank you again and Good Luck, JLG.
Great story! I imagine Scout can be a better partner than many others that could have gone!
Ron, I was surprised to find a good amount of body fat on the chukars I shot. None of them were in bad shape. With all the bare ground where I was and the shoots of green grass I noticed in many places, I suspect the birds will do OK there. However, I know that at higher elevations there's still deeper snow and the birds are having a tougher time. If we start getting warmer weather in about a week it will be a big help.
I thought it was bad my second to last day because it was windy. The quail out by the Pecos river where I hunted stayed low in the wind and I couldn't get many shots when I found them. Sunday, my last day there, it was sunny and not windy and I got better shots.

Thanks for the story. I hope you're keeping a diary or log of them. It seems like you could publish a book of your hunting stories if you have them collected up.
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