The Chukar Hunter’s Companion

There are few books written about hunting chukar, and even fewer that are really well-written by someone who has dedicated a significant portion of their life to chasing and learning about them. Maybe this is a result of the fact that the group of people who really go off the deep end of chukar obsession is pretty small to begin with. Maybe it’s because many dedicated chukar hunters, much like those who really get into chasing carp with a fly rod or mountain goats with a bow, tend to be a bit different; a hermetic lot, who feel their experience has been hard won (and rightly so) and are content to let others figure it out on their own, as they did.

It may have been the inimitable Charlie Waterman who first wrote about chasing wild chukar in the West, or at least he’s the earliest I’ve come across (if anyone knows of earlier writings, I’d love to hear about them). Buddy Levy’s “Echoes in Rimrock” is also a fine read. Other than the odd chapter on chukar in more general bird hunting books here and there, there isn’t much else, aside from Pat Wray’s definitive book, “A Chukar Hunter’s Companion.”

For practical info, “A Chukar Hunter’s Companion” is hands down the best of the lot I’ve come across. It covers everything from the cultural and natural history of the bird to considerations in planning a chukar hunt, tips for success, fine-tuning for chukar dogs, thoughts on ethics, gear choices, great recipes and more. Most importantly (well, for me, anyway…), the book is engagingly and well-written, offers great practical info based on extensive, real experience, and is full of wry observation and humor.

In addition, the book contains little gems like this;

“My friend Ed Park once told me a story about a native of the country of Lebanon, a serious chukar hunter. Commitment is pretty much required for anyone who hunts chukars more than once, but this gentleman took commitment a few rungs higher…into the heady realm of devotion. During the nearly continuous military squabbles taking place between Lebanon and Syria while he was growing up, he regularly crossed over the mountains separating the two countries to hunt chukars well into Syria. On several occasions he had to hide in the rocks to evade mounted Syrian military patrols.

When questioned about his reasoning, he said simply, “Chukar hunting was a lot better in Syria.” It is an explanation chukar hunters would understand completely.”

It also happens to be the only chukar hunting book I know of with a handy, accurate test for gauging just how bad your chukar affliction has become. Useful stuff indeed, compadres.

You can find out more and order “A Chukar Hunter’s Companion” here.

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9 Comments

Filed under Chukar, Recommended Reads

9 responses to “The Chukar Hunter’s Companion

  1. Hello, I think the first article on chukars was by H.L. Betten in 1937. He was writing about the birds being released in California. Then in the very late 1940s there was an article (by ?) about opening season in Nevada. Then in the early 1950s both Ted Trueblood and Clare Conley wrote of chukars.Those two were really the ones who made the bird known. Best, Worth Mathewson

    • Hey – thanks for the quick response and the great background info. I’ll have to see if I can dig up some of those. I’d particularly like to find the TT article.

      • Hey Bruce,
        Did you ever have any luck digging any of this stuff up? I’m poking around for a project and would love to know. Thanks.

        • Hey Larry – I haven’t been able to turn up much on those sources (though admittedly I haven’t put a ton of effort into it, either). Good luck, and I’d love to hear more about your project at some point. Thanks for stopping by, and I enjoy your blog!

  2. I have no idea why people think we who hunt chukars are crazy? Its no different than any other upland hunting. A little walking and sometimes a little shooting. Must be my affliction is extremely bad.

  3. Glen Bahde

    We think you are crazy because you scale mountains everyday for those things. lol

  4. Bill P

    Do we “scale mountains” to chase chukars or do we “scale mountians” to get away from people????

    Personally I probably hunt chukar to hunt by myself.

  5. Last year, I had a death wish, and tried to commit suicide by Chukar Hunt. It almost worked. Now, I’m hunting with a dog, and have decided I now have a reason to live…and to hunt Chukar. Call it a mood swing?

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