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Back to Chukar Hunting 2022

Montana was absolutely the best way for me to kick off this season and the perfect beginning for what's to come. But I have been itching to get back in the Chukar hills with good bird dogs for a very long time. At 43 years old I am in the best shape of my life. My kids are in High School and Collage and my best years are still ahead of me.

These Red legged Devil birds make bird hunting the ultimate challenge and that is what I crave. To be good at it you need to have a youthful, competitive, adventurous, surviving spirit, and it helps if you have great bird dogs, a healthy heart and a good pare of boots.

This season has already been one for the Long Hollow Bird Dog record books. Interesting though, I have become less introverted over the years and I find myself mixing it up a little more with the bird dog and bird hunting community around me. I have been hearing a lot of complaining about the heat and lack of bird numbers. Every year for as long as I can remember it has been pretty warm at the beginning of hunting season, and Fall comes after Summer. Not sure why the heat is such an issue. We have had plenty of time to acclimate ourselves and our dogs. Make sure your dogs are in shape, be smart, carry water and enjoy the warmer temps, because we will all be complaining about the cold before we know it.

I had a strange encounter coming out of my hunting spot the other day around noon to head back to camp. A guy passed me in a pick up truck driving into some very rough terrain I would not dare travel without a Polaris Ranger or 4 wheeler. We stopped, he rolled down his window and we proceeded to small talk. He asked if we were Chukar hunting, which was blatantly obvious with the dog boxes, shotguns, and orange vests in plain sight. His adventure was less obvious to me however, since there were no orange vests or bird dogs to be seen anywhere in his Ford pick up. So naturally I asked him what he was up to... He replied, "I am looking for Chukars. Have you guys seen any? The Chukar numbers are just terrible this year". This got me thinking... Every year there is discussion in Facebook groups and Internet forums about bird numbers. I think it is these half witted experts with a shotgun, a pick up truck and no bird dogs that are wasting their lives in this manner. I have not listened to any buzz about birds numbers ever in my life, but I just thought this was an interesting encounter that reaffirmed my lack of interest in what most people have to say, without strapping up my boots, getting my ass out there and seeing for myself. There is a lot of false news out there folks. The only way to get the facts is to put down your phone and hunt down reality. It's still exists I promise you. Sometimes it is very hard to find just like a covey of Chukars. But when you find the truth it will bring a smile to your face!!!

- Ryan Fortier

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