As we were putting together our new digital hunting book a few months ago, we realized it was missing something – the photos and stories of our fans and customers in the field. So we put the call out on Instagram asking for your wingshooting photos that captured your hunting experience. The result was hundreds of photos entered, with a dozen chosen to be in the book. We love how the spread turned out and wanted to do more to tell the stories of the people behind the photos. So watch this space for profiles of these intrepid photographers, as well as examples of their work
First up is Chad Chorney, from Picabo, Idaho.
What’s the story behind your photo that’s in the Orvis Digital Hunt Book?
When I picked up my English setter, River, from October Setters in Island Park, Idaho almost nine years ago, I had no idea how to train a bird dog. I received lots of training advice (good, bad, and indifferent) from just about every “dog person” I met. Some advice I listened to, some I didn’t. One of the more useful tips was teaching my dog to drink from a squeeze bottle. Hunting the high desert of southern Idaho is thirsty work for dog and hunter, and I carry several squeeze bottles of water in my hunting pack on every outing. Both River and I can drink out of the same bottles, and little water goes to waste. I took this photo on an early-season sharptail hunt in southeastern Idaho. River earned every drop.
When did you start bird hunting?
As a young boy growing up in central New York, I often tagged along when my father took our setter, Lady, out on pheasant, grouse, and woodcock hunts, but I became an avid bird hunter when I moved to Idaho just under twelve years ago.
What’s your favorite species to chase and why?
My favorite species to hunt is California quail. They are relatively plentiful in southwestern Idaho, and my setter really does well with them. They hold well, are excellent table fare, and provide a lot of action for both myself and my dog.
What’s your most memorable bird hunting moment?
That’s a tough question. It’s a tie. I’ll never forget the outings I spent with my dad and Lady when I was young. My other most memorable moment happened about five years ago, on the last day of Idaho’s hun, chukar, and quail season. I was hunting alone with River, and that day both he and I were completely dialed in. River was amazing, and I managed to hit more birds than I missed. We harvested six huns that afternoon. We ended the season by sharing a beer and watching the winter sunset.
What’s your most forgettable moment?
I’ve had a few of those, too! One moment that sticks out is a quail hunt from seven or eight years ago. River was young, wild, and crazy at that time. On this particular hunt, we really got into the quail. That’s the good news. The bad news is that River decided he’d rather hunt on his own. He disappeared for a few hours, and I was forced to look for my dog while my friends piled up the quail.
What do you love most about bird hunting?
I really love seeing bird dogs do what they were born to do. When it’s your own dog, and you’ve finally put all the pieces together, there is nothing sweeter.
Where’s your favorite place hunt?
My favorite place to hunt is my home state of Idaho. We have the opportunity to hunt grouse, huns, chukar, quail, and pheasant in a variety of terrain and conditions, and we are blessed with a large amount of public land and excellent access.