The 2017 Nevada Chukar Forecast didn’t reveal the numbers we’d been hoping for, but there may be some strategies for Nevada Chukar Hunters to consider for the upcoming upland game season.
Nevada Department of Wildlife’s (NDOW) release of this year’s chukar forecast reveals a decrease in observed chukar populations of 27% compared to last season, and an approximate 8% decrease in observed birds in the overall long term average. What’s the primary contributor? Back to back wildfires over the past 2 years that have burned over 450,000 acres of chukar habitat, primarily in transects north of Battle Mountain.
NDOW’s forecast theorizes that the heavy precipitation of last winter left burned areas with very little native vegetation for cover, leading to increased chukar mortality. For a successful hunt this year there are some strategies to consider:
- Avoid burned areas-keep pressure off any existing chukar and overall Nevada wildlife in these units. Allow restoration to take hold.
- Consider Nevada chukar hunt units you may have not considered before. Increased precipitation statewide may have lead to an overall re-distribution of birds to other areas. Remember though, there may be less birds across wider areas of landscape.
- Seek out low elevations initially that have healthy/successful habitat, then go to the hills above in search of birds.
- As usual, study the forecast carefully for areas that have shown positive gains. Be aware that sometimes the birds will actually be far more in number than originally observed. The forecast provides a one-time “glimpse” of observed birds.