Should have stayed south. I was into some valley quail in southern Idaho before New Year's. There was some snow on the ground, but not enough to tire the dogs or make the hunting impossible. The motel was cheap, there was plenty of public ground nearby and a relaxing hot springs next door. But, the plan was to work my way north and get into some chukars, a bird that I can't stop thinking about. I knew there was more snow than normal across most of central Idaho, but I was OK with it. When things get tough........
Long story short, the hiking was miserable. The snow was so deep that Abby walked in my tracks. I had packed snowshoes, but the sidehills were just to steep for them to work. I saw very few birds and those I did spot, simply walked away. Hopeless feeling.
Regardless, it was good exercise in beautiful country. I am afraid that this is the end of my hunting for the year. I also worry about the long winter ahead for many of the gamebirds in parts of Idaho and Montana. I won't get into the debate of whether or not we should hunt birds when winter is starting to take its toll. That discussion is going on in another blog that many of us follow. All I know is that my hunt today wasn't fair chase. At least not fair to me. The chukars kicked my butt all over the mountain!
Happy New Year.