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.