A Chukar Hunter’s Stocking Stuffer

Photo of a chukar walking on hard ground with a blurred chukar in the background

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Review by HOLLY ENDERSBY

Having bird hunters on your holiday gift list can be a challenge, but a book that provides solid information, as well as humor, is sure to please those avid game bird enthusiasts. Look no further than A Chukar Hunter’s Companion for folks enamored by these challenging birds. 

The first thing to know, according to author Pat Wray, is that you will learn lessons in humility every time you hunt these elusive birds. First and foremost is the terrain—chukars live in a vertical world, where moving steeply up and down all day will leave your leg muscles quivering. 

In early fall, chasing them in hot, dry sagebrush steppe country leaves you and your dog wet with sweat and longing for a cold one. 

By January, you and your dog are slipping and sliding on scree-covered slopes, barely staying upright as ground fog and ice work to keep you humble. 

But this big-hearted land, often under-appreciated, gives you a perspective those who haven’t hunted chukars will never understand. 

Hunting chukars is more than just bird hunting: it’s a way of looking at life and land that leaves you changed and grateful for the adventures you have.  

Hunting with a good partner, a fine dog, and on land that offers you the chance of finding chukars is a damn fine day. 

Pat Wray’s book gives solid advice on how to start chukar hunting, what supplies you’ll need, how to get in shape, and how to train a good bird dog. But it also offers reflections on fatherhood, and every page has a significant dash of humor to keep things in perspective. 

If you’ve hunted mule deer in steep, unforgiving canyon country, then you’ll understand much about chukar hunting. As Wray says in his chapter on The Laws of Chukar Physics, “The shortest distance between two points is always up.” Followed quickly by “The top is a mirage. There is no top.” And finally, “No matter how much you love your shotgun, you will throw it when you fall.”  

It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for anyone who appreciates fine writing laced with plenty of good advice and a hefty dash of humor. ISI

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