President’s Message Winter 2018

Greetings,

The eternal fall has made for an interesting hunting season. This year has been a bit tougher for most, but hopefully you’re enjoying the unusual warmth -though I’m sure there will be a price to pay-.

It’s Banquet time again. We hope you will support us again at our annual banquet. Please find the banquet order form in this issue and also at our website utahchukars.org (banquet options should be up by Jan. 17). For those of you who help us each year and donate, we hope you will find yourself in a position to help again this year. Please contact Alan at alan.smith@grousecreek.com or Travis at travis.chukar@gmail.com or 801-360-6553. Remember to support our donors first and thank them for their contributions! We couldn’t do all we do without them!

Some Foundation Highlights from this year include:

• Central Region Guzzler project (we are half way through installing another 17 guzzlers).
• Southeastern regions guzzlers. More guzzlers were installed in the Southeast again this year.
• Supporting and volunteering with two youth fairs.
• Supporting a new grouse infrared Lek study.
• Continuing sage grouse and other grouse data collecting projects.
• Partnering with a USU forest grouse study.
• Volunteering and providing input/feedback on many upland projects in the state.

We are a strong voice and partner for upland game and upland sportsmen/women in the state. Your support at our annual banquet provides the necessary funding to support these upland projects on Utah’s public lands. Working as a partner with the UDWR and other agencies we make your money stretch much further than if we tried to do everything on our own. Thanks as always for your support!

This year’s annual banquet will be held at the Sheraton in downtown SLC on Feb. 24. Please sign up early for the banquet to make sure you have a spot. We anticipate filling up quickly and the earlier you sign up the better the deals and the better we can plan accordingly. Sign up on the banquet page or use the flyer in your newsletter.

Upland Slam Banquet offer:

Those who participated in the upland slam program can be rewarded at our annual banquets. Each upland slam token earned for the 2017-18 season may be presented to a board member at the banquet to receive 3 free raffle tickets per token earned. Anyone earning all 5 2017-18 tokens will also receive a free plaque to hold their tokens, contact Travis Proctor (travis.chukar@gmail.com) to get the plaque. Additionally, any person who accomplishes the entire Utah Upland Game Ultimate Slam may contact Travis Proctor (travis.chukar@gmail.com) to receive a free banquet dinner.

These incentives will be offered in future years as well, so if you didn't participate this year you can always participate next year. Remember all money earned from upland slam participation goes directly toward upland game projects in Utah. It is great way to support upland game in Utah. Currently Valley quail trapping and transplanting is under way utilizing funds generated by the upland slam with matching Pittman Robertson funds.

Learn more at: www.uplandgameslam.org

Wasatch High School Chukar Project – Kaitlyn Horne

The Wasatch Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) is an opportunity for Wasatch High School students to work on real-world projects to help develop critical thinking and problem solving skills by working with local businesses and industry mentors.

Coming in to CAPS as a Junior in High school was a completely different environment and experience than normal high school classes. We have an entire facility dedicated just to the Wasatch CAPS program, which is located downstairs at the Utah Valley University Wasatch Campus

I am part of the Environment and Agriculture sector. In this sector, our teacher helps us to find a project that would be the best fit for each one of us by exploring all possible projects that involve things that we are interested in, and for most of us, these are the things we want to do in the future for our career. I have always been fascinated with wildlife and the DNR. I have had the opportunity to partner with the DNR and the Utah Chukar Foundation to raise 150 Chukars that will be released onto the Wallsburg Wildlife Management area. The DNR’s program, The Day Old Chick Program, is how we got started with this project. Once I was told about this opportunity, we started researching how to get involved, and everything that we would need to know as this being our first time raising Chukars.

In the beginning stages of my project, most of what we were doing was research. We couldn’t do too much to actually do with the chicks until right before we got them in May. My project partner and I would spend every day that we had CAPS researching all information about them, and what kind of shelter we needed to build for them that would hopefully allow for a high success rate with raising the Chukars.

Once we did as much research as we felt we could at the time to be beneficial to us to start this project, we began working with a student in the Engineering and Industrial Design sector, to help us build the blue prints that we could give to our building crew. Our building crew worked on getting the flight pen and shed built in time for the chicks to arrive. They started as soon as the snow melt and the pen and shed were completed a few days before the chicks arrived.

Once the chicks arrived, we brought more students on to the team to help monitor them. From the time we got them, to when they were about 6 weeks old, we would check on them 3 times a day. We would do this to be sure that our lights were adjusted correctly to ensure they were at a comfortable temperature. Once they got to the age where we thought they could stay at a steady temperature, we would just check on them to refill their feeders and their water. During this time, they were in the brooder which was inside the shed that is attached to the flight pen, once they were starting to fly, we released them into the flight pen, and that is where they are to this day.

Now the Chukars are fully grown, and are ready to be released. We are planning on releasing them at the end of this month. Over the course of this project, we have met with multiple people that have helped us get started and carry out this project. We especially appreciate all the support that the Chukar Foundation has given us throughout this project. We are excited to finally be able to release these Chukars after months of work.

Here is a short video by Scott Root from the Utah DWR showing the project and final release. Wasatch CAPS Chukar Project

2017 Fall President’s Message

Greetings, The seasons are here! We hope they find you well. Below are some summary forecasts compiled from information provided by the UDWR. As always, those who try multiple spots and do some scouting are most likely to find the honey holes that fluctuate from year to year depending on conditions. It looks like a tougher year than the last few for chukar in most areas, but there was still a decent hatch. Have a safe, fun fall making memories and don’t be afraid to explore and find new places! We have a lot of public land in Utah and the adventure is half of the fun.

President’s Message Summer 2017

Greetings,

I hope your summer is going well, fall will be here soon.

Now is the time to put in for the limited entry upland permits, go to the UDWR website for more information. Thanks to those who helped with Outdoor Adventure Days and recent guzzler installs! We will be participating in another youth/family Utah Youth Waterfowl Fair and Outdoor Festival on Sept. 9, at the Farmington Bay WMA (http://www.utahwaterfowlfair.com/). This is a great youth event for you to attend, or contact Alan at alan.smith@grousecreek.com if you can volunteer to help.

We have seen chukar chicks in the desert during our guzzler installations and we hope they are faring well despite the dry weather. Our annual sage grouse count summer activity is coming up on July 28-29. We hope to see many of you there, look for additional information in this issue and via email. We have more guzzler installations that will take place later this summer and fall, look for emails with dates and contact information.

Enjoy the rest of Summer!

Volunteer Opportunities

Greetings:

We have a lot of volunteer opportunities right now. See below for explanations of activities, contact information and some great events for kids and families to enjoy.

Guzzler installation checks. With the movement of some BLM folks we have some guzzlers that were installed, but we don't know which 14 of about 25 sites had guzzlers installed and which still need to be installed. We need some volunteers who can take an ATV to GPS locations then determine if a guzzler is installed at that location, or if it still needs to be installed. These sites are near Delta. Contact Travis Proctor to help asap at travis.chukar@gmail.com or 801.360.6553

Outdoor Adventure Days on June 9-10th. http://oad.utah.gov/ We will have booth at this free event for youth and families. We can use help at the booth. This is a great volunteer event where you can bring your dog and talk with other hunters and trainers as you demonstrate to participants the hunting and training process. Puppies are welcome also. Contact Alan Smith to volunteer alan.smith@grousecreek.com and/or bring your family and friends to enjoy the events.

Guzzler installs southeastern region. The DWR is planning a volunteer day on Saturday, June 3rd to build chukar guzzlers near Huntington, Utah. We are currently planning on installing one guzzler that day, but could have crews at four different guzzlers if we have enough volunteer help. We will be meeting at BK's (Sinclair) in Huntington at 8:00 a.m. that day. Contact Makeda makedatrujillo@utah.gov to help

Guzzler installs central region. We are ready to install two guzzlers in the Central Region. DeWayne will coordinate the installs at a TBD date (during the next month). Contact DeWayne if you are interested in helping erdmande@uvu.edu

Youth Outdoors Fair in Ogden June 17th https://sk.eventbu.com/ogden/2017-youth-outdoors-fair/1483466 We are looking for a volunteer to man a booth for the foundation at this event (9-12:00), or take your family to enjoy the activities. Contact Alan Smith to volunteer alan.smith@grousecreek.com

We are excited about these and other projects this summer. We will be installing more guzzlers later this summer and there will be another youth fair on September 9th at Farmington Bay http://www.utahwaterfowlfair.com/

Thanks for your support and help,

Travis

Willard Bay Cleanup Day

Dog trainer friends,

Yes! It's that joyous time of year again! Saturday April 29 Is our spring clean up out at The Willard public dog training area. We would like to meet that morning at 7:00. Please spread the word amongst your members. The good news is that it looks as though our efforts have started to pay off. I believe there is less to do than there has been in the past. Someone did leave us a nice Television set, and there is a couple of dead cows but other than that it shouldn't be too bad. The DWR might have us mark any remaining cactus for treatment this year along with the clean up. It looks like we have made a really solid dent in the cactus in recent years. It shouldn't take much to finish it off.

There is some fencing down by the training ponds. We might go ahead and repair that if we have time. If not Rich and Colton said they could get it at another time.

Most of us have done this before, and know what you are doing. So bring the work gloves, and any fencing tools you might have. The DWR will provide bags the trailer for hauling garbage, and most everything else that is needed.

Shout with any questions, and we will look forward to seeing you at 7:00 on April 29th!

Thanks for all you do,

Bret Wonnacott

801-663-3877

Setter Tales And Mallard Curls

Presidents Message – Spring 2017

Greetings: Much thanks to all who attended our banquet and supported us this year.  Please shop our sponsors first.  We had our most successful banquet to date netting just over $29K. Hopefully you received a newsletter recently if you attended the banquet, or paid your yearly dues.  If not, please email me your address.

This email list and our Facebook page will keep you up-to-date on current events.  We will gladly add anyone to our email list, if they request it.

We will have a board meeting on April 11th at Scheels (11282 State St, Sandy, UT 84070) from 6:30-8:30, second floor NW corner.  Many of us eat from 6:00-6:30 in the diner before the meeting.  All are welcome to attend.  We welcome member input and your vote regarding the board.  At this meeting, we will report on projects from last year and have a guest from the habitat council discuss upland habitat projects.  Additionally, we will establish the board for the year, make goals, and present new projects for funding.

Thanks again, we look forward to another great year!

Travis

2017 Annual Banquet & Fundraiser

Greetings,

I hope your season is going well; winter came in strong after quite the Indian summer.

It’s Banquet time again.  We truly hope most of you will support us again at our annual banquet.  Please find the banquet order form in the newsletter or go to the Banquet page on the website.  For those of you who help us each year and donate, we hope you will find yourself in a position to help again this year.  Please contact Alan at alan.smith@grousecreek.com or Travis at travis.chukar@gmail.com or 801-360-6553.

Some Foundation Highlights from this year include:

  • Central Region Guzzler project
  • Supporting and volunteering with two youth fairs
  • Supporting a new grouse infrared lek study
  • Continuing sage grouse and other grouse data collecting projects
  • Partnering with a USU forest grouse study
  • Volunteering and providing input/feedback on many upland projects in the state

We are a strong voice and partner for upland game and upland sportsmen/women in the state.  Your support at our annual banquet provides the necessary funding to support these upland projects on Utah’s public lands.  Working as a partner with the UDWR and other agencies we make your money stretch much further than if we tried to do everything on our own.  Thanks as always for your support!

This year’s annual banquet will be held at the Sheraton in downtown SLC on Feb. 25.  Please sign up early for the banquet to make sure you have a spot.  Even with our new location we anticipate filling up and the earlier you sign up the better the deals and the better we can plan accordingly.  Sign up for the banquet using the enclosed flyer in your newsletter, or go to our Banquet Page. If you can't attend, but still want to donate, see the information on Darin's raffle for the Chukar mount below.

Travis

Chukar Hunting Gets Better as Winter Hits

Chukar tracks are easy to spot in the snow.
Chukar tracks are easy to spot in the snow.
The birds stay in a smaller area, making it easier to find them Falling snow is good news for chukar hunters. Once snow starts to fall, chukars—which roam over a large area during the warmer months—concentrate in smaller areas. That makes it easier to find the birds.

Chukar partridge also live in some of Utah’s driest country. That’s another reason why they’re a great bird to hunt in the winter. You won’t have to worry as much about getting your vehicle stuck in snow, or hiking through deep snow, like you might while participating in other hunts in the winter. Colder weather also makes hiking less strenuous. And rattlesnakes are hibernating now, so you don’t need to be concerned about them either.

“In my opinion,” says Jason Robinson, upland game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, “winter is the best time of the year to hunt chukars.”

Robinson says another advantage to hunting chukar in the winter—or anytime during the season—is the tasty meal the birds provide. “Chukar are the best-tasting game bird in Utah,” he says.

Be aware, though—to put a tasty meal on your table, you’ll have to earn it.

Another thing you can earn is a coin for completing the state’s “Blister Slam.” The slam is one of six upland game slams in Utah. You can learn more about Utah’s Upland Game Slam at www.wildlife.utah.gov/uplandslam.

Great season so far

This winter should be one of the best winters ever to get out and hunt chukars in Utah. Hunting success this season has been well above average. “Hunters are reporting great success this season,” Robinson says. “They’re seeing more coveys of birds. And many of the coveys have good numbers of birds in them.”

The state’s chukar hunt runs until Feb. 15.

More information about where to find chukars in Utah is available on page 36 of the 2016 – 2017 Utah Upland Game & Turkey Guidebook. You can get the free guidebook at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks.

Find the right spot

Before hiking up a hill to find chukars, you can save yourself time and energy by getting familiar with the landscape chukars live in. Robinson says chukars need three things: Cliffs for roosting, shrubby cover near the cliffs, and seeds and grasses to eat.

In Utah, this habitat is usually found just below ridgelines at about 4,000 to 6,000 feet in elevation. As you scout these areas, looks for steep slopes because the terrain you’ll find chukars in is steep—very steep.

To make the most of your energy supply, Robinson suggests hiking up to a ridgeline, and then walking along the ridgeline and then down from the ridge.

Chukars run uphill to escape hunters. And they flush downhill when spooked. For these reasons, getting above the birds will give you a big advantage. “There can be a lot of walking involved,” he says, “but it’s a great way to stay in shape through the winter.”

Robinson suggests waiting until midmorning before heading out. Giving the sun time to soften and melt the snow can make it easier to navigate the steep terrain chukars live in. “When the ground is frozen,” he says, “walking in this terrain is like trying to walk on a Slip’N Slide.”

There is an advantage to being out at first light, though. “The birds usually feed early in the morning,” Robinson says. “If you listen closely, they’ll often tip you off to their location.”

Robinson says chukars live in coveys that typically number between five to 30 birds. “When the covey is feeding,” he says, “it always posts a sentry. The sentry sits on a rock that provides it with a good view of the surrounding area. If the bird sees you, it will call out to alert the other birds. There’s a flip side to that, though: the sentry’s calling will alert you that a covey of chukars is in the area.”

Focus on food

During the early part of the season, chukar spend a lot of time hiding from birds of prey that are migrating through Utah. Now that these predators have moved through the state, the birds are free to spend more time finding seeds and grasses to eat.

Unlike many upland game birds, chukars are not restricted to pockets of habitat that have stands of trees in them, so their habitat is expansive. In the winter, though, snow reduces the amount of area in which the birds can find food. Robinson says in the winter, you should look for chukar on south-facing slopes. The snow on slopes that face south melts faster. As the snow melts, grasses green up for the chukars to eat.

“That’s one of the big advantages to hunting chukars in the winter,” Robinson says. “Because the north-facing slopes have snow on them, the snow essentially cuts in half the areas where you’ll find birds.”

Use the right gear

To hunt chukars, you have to hike up steep slopes. Make sure the boots you’re wearing provide good traction and ankle support. Robinson also suggests wearing your clothes in layers. Wearing layers allows you to remove a layer if you get hot while hiking. Then, if your hike brings you to a cold and windy ridgeline, you can put that layer on again.

Shots at chukars often come at fairly long ranges. Robinson suggests using a 12- to 28-gauge shotgun, with a modified choke, shooting shot shells loaded with 4 or 5 shot.

Bringing a trained hunting dog with you can also be a great idea. Trained dogs will help you locate the chukars. And they can retrieve the birds you shoot. “That will save you from having to hike down steep slopes to find birds on your own,” Robinson says.