I instinctively pulled up my shotgun and fired a very quick shot, almost like I would on a flying grouse. The recoil on turkey guns it quite powerful and it took me off the turkey for just a split second. Then more than 30 turkeys erupted from the junipers. Chaos and beauty at the same time.
No matter where you live in Utah, there’s upland game nearby. You can hunt in the Mojave Desert for quail, the alpine habitats of the Uinta Mountains for ptarmigan, the agriculture fields for pheasants, the beautiful yellow and red grandeur of the Wasatch Front for ruffed grouse. Diversity is the spice of life.
I harvested five chukars in less than two hours! This hunt will forever be seared in my memory. I have a general philosophy that life is about the happy memories we make. My hunting companions performed their tasks flawlessly, and I shot as good as I ever have.
I took a little time out to enjoy the moment. Euphoria, 12,000 feet above it all, alone with my dogs. Life is good.
About five minutes later, Gauge’s tail helicoptered again. A lone chukar flushed in front of me, headed straight away; I pulled my gun up and shot once just as the bird was about to disappear behind the ridgeline. The bird crumbled in midair and fell out of sight.
In addition to the adventure of the experience, it’s been a goal of mine to harvest every species of upland game I manage in the Upland Game Program. Going into the 2013 season, I had one species left: the elusive white-tailed ptarmigan. The hunt was on!