Chukar Forecast 2015
The Traveling Wingshooter 2015: Chukar Forecast
by Dave Smith
Chukar production picture hinges largely on winter precipitation and green-up. As of March in the premier chukar destination state of Nevada, the situation appeared bleak to Shawn Espinosa, Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) Upland Game Staff Biologist. However, Espinosa said that rains throughout the month of May and into June improved habitat conditions that may lead to decent production in most areas. Populations are still well below that of 2011 when hunters harvested over 100,000 chukars but appear to be trending up. NDOW’s 2014-15 Nevada Chukar Forecast will be available by Labor Day.
Idaho and Oregon can also offer very good chukar hunting. Jeff Knetter, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, reports that winter was mild and spring moisture was ideal but that Idaho chukar country was hit with a very hot spell in late June and early July. Knetter is optimistic that chukar populations will build again this year as they did last year if the late summer weather is moderate. Chukar hunting in the Salmon Region was excellent in 2014. Dave Budeau, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, expects below average chukar populations this fall but notes that the population decline of the last few years has resulted in less hunting pressure. Hunters that did go in 2014 experienced a higher number of birds per day and season than the previous two years. And here’s a sleeper: Utah has offered some very good chukar hunting in recent years, according to Jason Robinson, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
The 2015 Nevada Chukar Forecast revealed the population to be 8% above the long-term average and 6% below last year. Moderate to substantial increases were observed in the Santa Rosa, Pine Forest, Izzenhood, and Rock Creek survey plots. As noted in the Forecast (above), the May and June rains likely turned things around after a very dry winter. Chukar production was excellent in the Clearwater region of Idaho and very good in southwest Idaho.