Outdoors blog

Nevada courts bird hunters to enjoy excellent chukar season

BIRD HUNTING -- Looking for a bird-hunting adventure destination this season?   Nevada is putting out the word that it has record-high numbers of chukars in some -- not all -- portions of the state for a season that runs through Feb. 5.

Read on for the report from the Nevada Division of Wildlife.

Game biologists are often hard to understand.  When trying to explain something to the everyday man, they forget to stop using all of their scientific terms and sometimes leave people more confused than ever. This year the data is clear, Nevada’s chukar hunting season is predicted to be the best in a decade.

            When asked about this chukar hunting season in Nevada, which begins Saturday and runs through February 5, 2012, Nevada Department of Wildlife upland game biologist Shawn Espinosa wanted to avoid any confusion.  “I think overall it's going to be a good to excellent season.  If there was ever a time to come check out chukar hunting in Nevada, it would be this year.  Hunters are going to be very happy.”

            This year’s Nevada Chukar Hunting Forecast, an annual report put out by the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) that takes habitat conditions and statewide survey results to estimate chukar populations, was recently released and predicted good to excellent chukar hunting for much of Nevada.   

NDOW biologists found that a very wet October last year provided upland game with an ample amount of forage, which led to improved overall body condition.  This allowed most upland game populations to thrive during the winter months.  NDOW also conducted surveys on 13 long-term study plots in late August and found the number of birds observed was higher than the long term average in 11 of the 13 plots.  The survey found record numbers of birds in five of the plots and strong population recoveries in both Pershing and Lander Counties.

Espinosa reports that hunters may want to look off the beaten path this year.  “I don't think hunters should focus primarily on the more popular mountain ranges in the state.  I think a lot of things this year are a little more spread out than normal because of the habitat conditions and the availability of water,” he said.  “Hunters will be rewarded if they try looking at mountain ranges aside from the usual spots.”

            Chukar hunting opportunities within Humboldt County, which experiences the most use in terms of hunter days, will be mostly average with the exception of the Jackson Mountains, which showed better numbers this year. Pershing County has seen record high densities of birds observed in the Sonoma and Selenite Ranges, as well as the Lava Beds. The central portion of Nevada including Churchill, northern Nye, and southern Lander and Eureka counties are expected to provide good to excellent opportunities for chukar enthusiasts this season as well. Portions of Washoe County continue to harbor above average bird numbers as well.

            Espinosa does have some basic advice for sportsmen looking to get out there this chukar season.  “One of the best things you can do is get into shape and get your dogs into shape.  If you haven't hunted in Nevada before, you might want to go out and look at some spots to hunt and see how things look. But by and large, I think most places that are good traditional chukar hunting areas are going to be good.”

            An upland game bird stamp is required for anyone age 12 or older, to hunt upland game birds, except turkey and crow.  The $10 stamp is available at NDOW offices, authorized license agents statewide throughout Nevada and online at www.ndowlicensing.com.  Funds from the stamp sales are used to support guzzler maintenance and habitat work that benefits upland game bird species.

            To learn more about chukar or other Upland Game hunting opportunities in Nevada go to http://ndow.org/landing/index.html.

            The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety.   NDOW’s wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen’s license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear.  Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license.  For more information, visit www.ndow.org.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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