Owyhee River Sagecats & Chukar!

Posted by Mike and Erica Carr on Monday, February 6th, 2017 at 12:05pm.

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This year’s chukar season was great. The bird numbers were the best in years. The dogs did great. I did not even loose one this year! I found a bunch of new spots that I had not hunted before. It all bodes well for next year. Even with all the snow we had an excellent green up. All the birds I shot late season where chuck full of green grass. We even got a little late season big game surprise! Sagecats! With all the cold weather that we had in January there where a limited number of open areas to hunt. Typically a lot of the south facing hillsides melt, the birds and bird hunters alike congregate here. This year there was a limited number of areas that melted off. I think that the area we hunted broke out of the inversion at just the right time and so there was localized wide spread melting on the south faces in parts of the Owyhee’s. Others parts just across the highway were still 12 inches deep. We saw lots of coyotes, some deer, 500 antelope crossed the road on the way in lots of cool stuff. We even saw some elk sign, tracks and poop while hunting. Not a tree for miles! There were other interesting tracks as well! One that appeared to be a cat. A big one.

Owyhee Idaho Oregon Chukar

Owyhee County Tomcat!As the last weekend of the season approached, I sent out a call to the hardy as it was cold. I found 3 victims to accompany me and upon arriving at the spot, away we went. We got a late start but went anyway as we knew right where the birds were. We ended up getting split up, with my friend Steve and his two sons going over the top and my dog Lottie and I circled around the face of the hill. We reconnected a half hour later. Steve, Brock and I discussed our next move while Bryce was in the cliffs a couple of hundred yards below us. He was yelling incessantly at their two dogs, one is a pup and the other one just hard headed. They dogs were barking. Usually with these two dogs there is a lot of yelling, but not much barking. Bryce was yelling like a mad man.
Bryce With Tom Sagecat Cougars & ChukarsAbout that time bang-bang-bang….not chukars. He had been standing in the same spot where he had been yelling and the shots were as fast as he could shoot. Seemed unlikely that he was shooting at chukars. Thinking back in time it dawned on me his dogs had cornered a porcupine and that is why they would not come. I said “Oh no a porcupine”. Brock concurred “Yep Dad they were barking just like last year when they found that porcupine”. Steve was none too happy and we decided Steve should go down and help Bryce clean up the mess while Brock and I circled back on a bunch of huns I had chased up the hill. We made it about 50 yards when Steve started yelling to, but not at the dogs. "Mike, Brock come back, there are a bunch of chukars over here and Bryce shot a cougar”! “Huh…seriously?”  I thought. Checking out a cougar and chasing fresh chukars won out over a dozen huns we might not be able to find! After a few dumb questions like, “Is it dead?” We headed down. Bryce had not realized there was a cougar there, he thought the dogs were hot to trot over the chukars that had flown. He was yelling just to get the dogs back as he wanted to join back up with us and go after the “big” bunch of chukars that had just flown from the cougar cliff on around the hill. Finally one of the dogs came up to the bottom of the cliff he was on. It was about 20 feet from top to bottom and near

Sagecat:Cougars & Chukars Owyhee River

vertical but not quite. The dog got almost straight below him and out of nowhere the cougar materialized. Standing face to face with the dog, just a couple of feet between the two. Bang,bang,bang in rapid succession! It was all she wrote for the cougar. We knew from previous hunts that there were cougar using these hillsides and the cliff complex in general, and I had a rifle in the truck, but I don’t think we really expected to see one, let alone shoot one with a shotgun. 


Owyhee County Is More Than Sage BrushCrazy to say the least. To top it off it was huge, the fish and game measured it at 7 feet 2 inches from nose to tail. The paws are as big as my hand and the claws are longer than the biggest turkey spur and razor sharp to boot. I always thought I could fight one of these off if attacked, but after seeing this big tom and those claws…yikes! I see now how they can take down an elk. Is it legal to carry a pistol bow hunting? …wow. It had canines that where broken and it’s head was huge. I tried to pick up just the head with one hand to reposition for a photo and it did not budge. Steve told Bryce “You carry it down and we will go after the chukars and meet you down there in a few”. Then we tried to move it. It was all two of us could do to flip it over for a good picture. So they came back on the next day with a sled to drag it out on. The amazing thing was they saw another cougar the next day. They think it was a female, she had a radio collar on! Probably mating, pretty cool. I have seen 5 cougars in the wild over the years, 3 of them while chukar hunting and one of them just 5 miles from
where this one was living. It is about 10 miles to the closest tree. You just never know what is hiding behind that rock or in that sagebrush patch. I love Idaho, the wild places, this one just a few miles from a state highway. If you are moving to Idaho and are looking for a couple of great realtors to help you find a new home prior to finding your wild places, give us a try. Whether house hunting or bird hunting we aim to under promise and over deliver!

Here Is The Boyd family Video Of The Whole Affair!

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