Huns in the Snow

Photo: Jay Bonde

Hungarian or gray partridges (aka Huns) are a great bird to hunt. They are similar to chukars, but use open flat agricultural lands as habitat. I hadn’t been after huns since the end of the pheasant season, so I decided to try to finish the season with some today. It was a great day, but as far as the bag went, it was frustrating. I saw several flocks of huns, but they were out in the wide open bare fields and wouldn’t let me get within 150 yards before they would flush. In the past I have done this and flushed them several times until I caught them over a slight rise or in some sagebrush cover and have been able to harvest some, not so today. They weren’t playing around.

I did marvel at the unique survival strategy. Most birds survive by hiding into the cover, but in their habitat, open snow covered fields, there isn’t much cover, so they sit there like a dirt clod on the most barren ground, all face opposite directions and watch while one or two scratch for seeds. It worked. I couldn’t get within shotgun range of them. On the bright side, the dogs and I got a good work out.

The above photo was taken by a hunting buddy in Montana in his yard during an extreme cold spell. They hunkered on the lee side of the yard in the sun and stayed for several days.