Posted in News, tagged Awesome Upland Road Trip, bird hunting, Blaze Buddy Bandanna, free outdoor gear, gun dog, hunting dog, hunting equipment, hunting gear checklist, Irish Setter, road trip, Ultimate Upland Checklist, upland bird hunting on January 6, 2009 |
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Okay, time to recap the bird season, particularly what you wish you’d hauled with you and didn’t.
Remember the “Ultimate Upland Checklist?” Dozens of you helped flesh it out before this season launched, and hundreds of you downloaded what I’m hoping was a useful tool that ensured you didn’t get stuck, lost, stranded, frozen, hurt, starved or (horrors) forgot your dog! Now that the season is winding down and you’ve had some long, boring drives to contemplate your bad shooting and worse memory, it’s time to improve the current version, 1.1.
Did you regret not bringing that knife sharpener? That neck gaiter sure came in handy in Utah. What would your dog wish you’d brought for him?
What did you leave home, totally space, veg out on, lose in the flashback, or simply wish you’d taken bird hunting … that is not YET on the “Checklist?” I’ll give a Blaze Buddy Bandanna to every person who offers a (legitimate – my opinion rules) addition/improvement. And out of all the great ideas (again, my opinion), I’ll choose one at random to receive a pair of Irish Setter boots and jacket.
Take a look at the current list here, then leave your suggestion/addition in the comments section, below.
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New friends: How often do you get to put Ted Turner into a rooster?
Well, it’s all over but the shouting. The Awesome Upland Road Trip is winding down, with a few speaking and radio gigs left but little in the way of hunting. The remaining legs of the trip are a good chance to get acquainted, so if you’re headed for Safari Club’s convention in Reno, the SHOT Show in Orlando, or Pheasant Fest in Madison, Wisconsin, stop and say hello. And, you can always listen to the audio reports I’ve filed from each stop on the Road Trip … visit myoutdoortv.com and go to “Radio” or ask your favorite radio station to carry Field & Stream Radio!
A quiet weekend recovering from the last of my surgeries offers a chance to take stock of the Road Trip … maybe you do the same at the end of a trip or a season. What bubbles to the top of the glass? You have your own list, I’m sure. Here’s mine:
- Six hundred like-minded folks gathered in a banquet room in Pierre, South Dakota. There’s electricity in the air when a bird hunter is surrounded by blaze orange, especially when the wearers laugh at your jokes and Buddy’s welcome in the hotel bar. Thanks to Gov. Mike Rounds for a great Invitational Pheasant Hunt.
- Inspiring and satisfying dog work. This trip was in part due to a promise made to my bird dog. He was far enough along in his training to merit an intense, concentrated round of bird contacts. He got it, and demonstrated the value of good genetics over so-so training. I’ll never forget the “round the clock” series of points on a cagey rooster in Utah, or the point-track-retrieve in the rain on that same hunt. His intensity on point, and balls-to-the-wall prey drive were enough to motivate anyone toting a shotgun.
- Friends. Old and new, there’s nothing like the common ground of a hunt to forge stronger bonds. Holding a shotgun, stroking a hunting dog, these acts alone break down barriers of language, culture, station in life … as the Jerry Jeff Walker song goes, “I’m not strange, I’m just like you.” Aren’t we all?
- The motivation to get back to it. Many of you know I’ve compiled way too many frequent flier miles at the local hospital this fall. In spite of it all, knowing there was one more hunt, another hill to climb, a loyal dog waiting to go with me, and friends to share the experience … they kept me going when laying around would have been so easy and justifiable. Thanks for your notes and good wishes.
- The beauty and vastness of our public lands. We are so lucky to have access to grassland, prairie, riparian area and forests to hunt. The lush grass and rolling hills of the Ft. Pierre National Grasslands still haunt me – I’ll be back, hopefully early enough in the season to get within gun range of those sharptail grouse. Take advantage of this privilege, and remember every other user judges the entire hunting community by our individual actions.
Life is short. Re-set your priorities. Remember the adage that God does not subtract from your life the days spent hunting. And share your own season highlights (and lowlights) in the comment section … what rose to the top of your list?
Thanks to the sponsors who made the Awesome Upland Road Trip possible: Irish Setter boots & apparel, Tri-Tronics electronic training gear, State of South Dakota.
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