range for chukar dog

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range for chukar dog

Postby KRM » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:47 pm

I've been chasing chukars for the last 10 years. My first dog (versatile pointing dog- breed isn't important here) really gets out there and ranges 300-400 yards quite often. I have always heard you want a chukar dog to do that, they find the birds and in theory save your legs a little bit. So he pointed, I'd huff and puff in steep terrain and quite frankly before I could arrive the birds would spook and flush. I watched closely and found that my dog wasn't creeping and didn't seem to be crowding the birds at all. But they would get nervous and take off before I could physically make it over in that region. This doesn't always happen but for some reason chukars seem skittish on some days, others not so much. I hunted like this for a lot of years, think this is "just the way it goes" w/ chukar. Now I'm on my second dog and she doesn't range nearly as far. She will get 100-150 yards, which is quite different in your typical steep chukar terrain. I find that I can get to her points fast and have better luck getting to the birds before they flush. They both hold relatively the same distance from the coveys and are both good at not creeping. They will relocate but only when I actually get there.

Have I been lied to my whole life? HA ha- do long range dogs really help a chukar hunter? I have come around to thinking that range isn't such a great thing after all. Curious what everyone's opinions are?...especially the crazy chukar hunters out there. Anybody have a long range dog where it seems to be beneficial?
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Re: range for chukar dog

Postby RowdyGSP » Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:10 am

Well I'm a crazy chukar Hunter but you're gonna make your first post and not even intro your dog's and withhold their breed?
You have to be smarter than the dog to train it.
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Re: range for chukar dog

Postby orhunter » Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:41 am

I think a good Chukar dog could have a range of no more than 100 yards. The terrain sort of dictates what works. One of my favorite spots doesn't get a lot of pressure, maybe just me but the birds don't hold worth crap. Back when bird numbers were through the roof and getting into 15 coveys of 30/50 birds a day was normal, I'd get 5 birds on average. Only shot a limit one time. Would see the dog locked up on a covey so would head that direction and they'd get up before I was half way there. Some places got so bad, the birds would leave before me and the dog got to where we could see them leave. Ground covered in scent, dog would point it was so fresh then she'd go on a search and turn up nothing. These were early season birds that hadn't been hammered for a couple of months. The best hunting was my late season spot when there was heavy fog. Visibility very limited. Dog would stay right at the edge of where I could see her like 30 yards then if she found a covey she'd go ahead into the breeze and be out of sight. I'd just go where I saw her last and head the direction she went. Didn't need to go far before finding her on the covey. Made for some easy shooting and quick limits on otherwise spooky birds. The birds eventually got so jumpy there it was no longer worthwhile to hunt.
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Re: range for chukar dog

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:07 pm

I'm with Orhunter - I think 100-150 yards is a good chukar dog range. I went out a week ago - a day before the season closed - and I watched my pup run down a long finger and abruptly go on point at 150 yards on Garmin. He didn't move a muscle but the birds flushed when I was still 100 yards away. There was decent cover and I was pinning them down from above, both of which you want! Both dogs pointed another covey and I was able to get within 40 yards and killed one bird. Getting close shots on chukar is not common. If you can walk around and pin them between you and your dog is a good idea but not often easy to do. If you're above the birds you'll do better as they prefer to run up hill.

I ran into an acquaintance the same day (who trials his GWPs nationally) and said his dogs' range is 800-1000 yards on average! He said once he timed that it took 8.5 minutes to get to his dog on point and the birds held! I thought that was crazy as IMO he would never get to a covey that far away before it flushed ... or his dog would be down in some canyon (or in an adjoining one) and, again, he'd never get there before the birds flushed. I will say that KJ on the board here would agree that a big running dog is ideal (and he breeds them).
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Re: range for chukar dog

Postby orhunter » Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:51 pm

The problem with pinning the birds between yourself and the dog is not knowing where the birds are. They could be 30 or 80 yards in front of the dog???

Where a person places them self when the dog is on search mode can make a difference. When my dog goes right or left, I try to stay ahead of the dog so I don't need to come in from behind for the flush. I try to walk to where I think the birds may be and ignore the dog. I know the dog is facing into the breeze and directly in the path of the scent so this makes locating the covey a little easier. Always avoid walking past/next to the dog for the flush. Find another route. Always avoid the dog while on point. The dog owns the birds till they flush, don't steal them.
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Re: range for chukar dog

Postby Densa44 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:25 pm

Its not the dog! I hunt with two dogs from the same litter, I've trained both and both of them have 112/204 scores. The only difference that I can see is that one dog is owned by an old (75 years) fat guy and the other is owned by a man who was a professional athlete.

Now and again I take "hunter" out for pheasants, and he will lock up at 800 M and doesn't break. I have to walk all the way over to get him. The last time it was up a snowy hill and he was about 6 inches from the bird. This would be great for you younger fellows but for me, Sienna, hunts and stays fairly close and we get just as many birds but not so much exercise!

So if you want your dog to work closer, gain 50 lbs. or teach her to work closer.

Good post.
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Re: range for chukar dog

Postby ForestDump » Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:53 pm

The range doesn’t really matter you just want a Chukar dog to go where the birds are. How long they hold and how fast the gunner gets there is up to them.
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Re: range for chukar dog

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:45 am

KRM, I don't know the optimal range for a Chukar dog but I will not tolerate a boot polisher and want a dog to naturally adjust to cover which means open up in open cover. I know of numerous highly experienced bird hunters who favor very big running dogs and I continue to study the subject to see what I might learn.

My dog and I made our first trip for Chukars this past season and WOW was it FUN!

My dog ranged farther than the local dogs we hunted with and was far more effective. I rate his tenacity to keep digging for birds, excellent intelligent ground pattern, use of wind, long nose and ability to point and relocate accurately and cautiously as the key reasons for his success more so than his absolute range.

His range was in the 150 to 350 yard range with the shorter ranges occurring when he was pointing and relocating on running coveys and I was hustling to catch up. We hunt in complete silence other than the sounds of our feet which was often considerable as I approached points on steep sidehills crossing multiple loose rock slides. No whistle, bells, beepers or human voice makes a difference is my firm belief in bird hunting.

The less effective dogs ran inferior ground patterns, too often yo yoing vs always covering new ground with the wind in their nose, they had handlers which did not fully trust them to establish and hold point and therefore hacked on their dogs to keep them closer in, whereas I near never interfere with my dog , they appeared to have inferior noses and did not track running coveys well. Those running birds would commonly work out to the sides to get out of the dog's scent stream and my dog would quickly recognize it, loop out to the sides and relocate the birds as needed. The other dogs never did that.

Those differences matter more than range in overall effectiveness is what I experience.
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Re: range for chukar dog

Postby orhunter » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:08 am

Good stuff AG.

Some dogs hunt without a purpose in mind. Successful Chukar dogs hunt the wind and recognize the stuff that holds birds and ignore the stuff that doesn't. A good Chukar dog hunts by staying on the down wind side of the area you're hunting. A good cross wind is ideal. If the dog heads into the wind, it's because it smells birds. Never tell a Chukar dog what to do. That goes for a lot of other bird hunting as well. Go where the dog takes you. Like AG said, hunt silent.
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Re: range for chukar dog

Postby JONOV » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:22 am

RowdyGSP wrote:Well I'm a crazy chukar Hunter but you're gonna make your first post and not even intro your dog's and withhold their breed?

I see why.

It can devolve into a "Griffs-are-boot-polishers/GSP's-are-he-man-hunting dogs" or something of the sort really quick. Especially if the breed is known to be a longer ranging breed like a Pointer.
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Re: range for chukar dog

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:34 am

a month so ago I hunted a new area and I had two dogs, no bells, and my Garmin batteries went dead about thirty minutes into the hunt. I couldn't tell where the dogs were because the sagebrush was over their heads most of the time. One dog pointed a covey and, as I had no clue that it had happened, I had to quit hunting and go back to the rig to get more batteries. I don't like always needing a Garmin but much of the time in chukar hunting you don't stand a chance without one because of the terrain and sage. I can't see how you can can successfully hunt chukar without a Garmin. A bell can be helpful as you don't have to be always looking at your Garmin, but beware: if you hunt with AG or Orhunter you'd better take it off. LOL. Also in fog you'd better have one or the other.
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Re: range for chukar dog

Postby orhunter » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:22 pm

Agree with Bruce about the Garmin thing. Although I didn't have one, it sure would have come in handy. So many times I just stood around waiting for the dog to show up because she was locked up on a covey, "somewhere." After 15/20 minutes, I'd see some birds fly off and, oh there she is. Sometimes it was a quarter mile, sometimes 30/50 yards. No idea I was standing close to her. Luckily there were so many birds back then, it didn't affect our success. Easy limits every day. Many of you have seen the photos I used to post of the good times.
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Re: range for chukar dog

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:30 pm

Bruce,

I started out 4 decades ago using just my eyes and ears to keep track of my bird dogs. That had some real limitations and I recall wandering around for 20 minutes or more looking for a staunch dog pointing a covey of bobwhites buried in dense cover somewhere. I recall my first GWP puppy disappearing in heavy cover in Iowa hot on the heels of the big buck that jumped out it's bed in his face, wondering if I would ever see him again.

Moved to a bell. Learned it does not make any sound when the dog is on point in cover and is impossible to hear down wind in heavy cover and high winds. Birds with prior experience with dogs, men and guns that season easily learn to get of the way of bells and I find them challenging enough to not give them any further advantage when I can easily avoid it.

So I switched to beeper set on point only. Learned weed and grass seeds commonly rendered it near silent when they lodged in the sound chamber, the beeper goes off on every kennel point, retrieve, and when a dog comes in for water. Annoying as hell. Can't imagine how unpleasant it is for the dogs going off right in their very sensitive ears.

So when GPS came out I embraced it. I charge my stuff before I hunt. Love the GPS. A malfunction can leave me in a bind while on any given drop but I always carry back up collars and transmitters in my truck. I have an old bell buried in my dog equipment plastic tub in the truck but I am 100% thrilled to not having used it for some time now.

No reason to care what others do when I am not affected by it, but I know very well why I do what I do.
Last edited by AverageGuy on Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: range for chukar dog

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:05 pm

chukar are hard to pin down. The only time I ever wished for a drone was chukar hunting - when the dog goes on point launch a drone that looks like a hawk and the birds would stay put for sure! I've heard of some launching a helium balloon with same idea in mind. Pretty sure both would be illegal.

I've had falcons take birds out of a flock I'd flushed, and had one pick up a shot bird before the dog could get to it once. On Adak I had a falcon dive bomb my dog from behind and whack him pretty hard on the back of the head as he was running. It shook the dog up for awhile. Only time I'd ever seen that.
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Re: range for chukar dog

Postby Dmog » Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:41 am

I had a Red Tail Hawk take a Green Wing Teal off the pond after I shot it and the dog was swimming for the retrieve. It swooped down and grabbed the Teal and was just enough weight that it skipped across the water to shore and then landed with the duck 10 yards up the bank. My dog double timed its effort toward where the hawk exited the water and I called her off in fear of her tangling with the hawk. First time I have seen a Red Tail Hawk take something off the water, let alone right after I shot it!
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