CARSON CITY — When asked about the upcoming chukar hunting season, which begins Oct. 8, Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) upland game biologist Shawn Espinosa wanted to avoid any confusion.
“I think overall it’s going to be a good to excellent season,” he said. “Hunters are going to be very happy this year.”
This year’s “Nevada Chukar Hunting Forecast,” an annual report put out by NDOW that takes habitat conditions and statewide survey results to estimate chukar populations, was released last week and predicted good to excellent chukar hunting for much of Nevada.
NDOW biologists found that a very wet October last year provided upland game with an ample amount of forage, which led to improved overall body condition. This allowed most upland game populations to thrive during the winter months. NDOW also conducted surveys on 13 long-term study plots in late August and found the number of birds observed was higher than the long-term average in 11 of the 13 plots. The survey found record numbers of birds in five of the plots and strong population recoveries in both Pershing and Lander Counties.
Chukar hunting opportunities in Humboldt County, which experiences the most use in terms of hunter days, will be mostly average with the exception of the Jackson Mountains, which showed better numbers this year. Pershing County has seen record high densities of birds observed in the Sonoma and Selenite Ranges, as well as the Lava Beds. The central portion of Nevada, including Churchill, northern Nye and southern Lander and Eureka counties, are expected to provide good to excellent opportunities for chukar enthusiasts this season as well. Portions of Washoe County continue to harbor above average bird numbers as well.
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 and online at www.ndowlicensing.com. Funds from the stamp sales are used to support guzzler maintenance and habitat work that benefits upland game bird species.
For more information, visit www.ndow.org.