Annual forecast good news for chukar hunters, NDOW says | NevadaAppeal.com

Annual forecast good news for chukar hunters, NDOW says

Nevada Department of Wildlife

This year’s Nevada Chukar Hunting Forecast, an annual report put out by the Nevada Department of Wildlife that takes habitat conditions and statewide survey results to estimate chukar populations, was recently released and predicts good chukar hunting for much of Nevada.

“We were hoping the spring and summer rains we had would provide good conditions for chick survival and they did,” said Chris Healy, public information officer for NDOW.

NDOW biologists found that timely spring rains received in late March and early April improved habitat conditions throughout much of northern Nevada. Additionally, some significant rainfall events that took place over the summer reduced dependency on depleted water sources and increased available cover and food sources, likely increasing survival of both adults and broods. In other words, Nevada sportsmen can look forward to a better season than last year.

The Department conducted aerial surveys for chukar at 13 designated survey plots during the week of August 18-21. All but three plots had more birds than average, according to the results. Several plots showed a greater than 75 percent increase from the previous year and others had increases greater than 60 percent.

In addition to the aerial density surveys, limited ground brood surveys for chukar were also conducted in other portions of the state. Local Game Division biologists have indicated fair to good chukar production in several Churchill County mountain ranges as well as the Cortez and Diamond mountains of Eureka County. Good production was also noted in the Virginia Mountains; however, this area receives quite a bit of hunter pressure due to its proximity to Reno.

Healy reports that a higher number of birds this year is not the only good news for chukar hunters. The last couple of chukar hunting seasons have been tough on hunters and their dogs. Low bird numbers and spooky adult birds left hunter success very low in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Since many of the birds will be young they may be easier to hunt.

“When a chukar gets older, it becomes skittish and harder to get close to. A boost in reproduction means many of the birds will be inexperienced in the wild which gives hunters a better chance,” he said.

Chukar and Hungarian partridge season will open Oct. 11 and run through Feb. 1, 2015. The hunt is open to both resident and nonresident hunters with limits set at six daily and 18 in possession. Shooting hours are sunrise to sunset.

Upland game staff biologist Shawn Espinosa has some advice for sportsmen looking to get out there this chukar season. “One of the best things you can do is get into shape and get your dogs into shape. If you haven’t hunted in Nevada before, you might want to go out and look at some spots to hunt and see how things look.”

You can find the Nevada Chukar Hunting Forecast on the Department website at http://www.ndow.org.

An upland game bird stamp is required for anyone age 12 or older, to hunt upland game birds, except turkey and crow. The $10 stamp is available at NDOW offices, authorized license agents statewide throughout Nevada and online at http://www.ndowlicensing.com. Funds from the stamp sales are used to support guzzler maintenance and habitat work that benefits upland game bird species.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, and promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW’s wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen’s license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license. Find us on Facebook, Twitter or visit us at http://www.ndow.org.