Posts Tagged ‘hunting lodges’

Okay, we’ve all been on a BAD lodge/preserve hunt: Dogs that won’t hold or retrieve, pool table smooth “cover,” birds that couldn’t fly themselves out of a paper bag.

Uh oh ... nothing good can come of this. For the chukar.

Uh oh ... nothing good can come of this. For the chukar, that is. Preserve or wild, who cares?

But what’s wrong with a GOOD preserve hunt? It offers much to the dog owning hunter: more plentiful birds, convenient location, a chance at that rare commodity camaraderie, and at least a taste of the natural world, even if it’s been crafted by the hands of man.

And that’s not even weighing the value of your time, driving hours (or days) to knock on locked doors and not get permission to hunt non-existent wild birds on beat-up property that was hunted by every third cousin of the landowner’s last weekend. So “paying” for birds becomes moot, unless the value of your time is zero dollars.

I just had a pretty good preserve hunt. My friend Rob and I enjoyed every minute of it, from the dog work, to the weather, to the unlittered fields we had all to ourselves. And while a true wild bird hunt offers a philosophical and possibly emotional charge I won’t get at the local lodge, it was better than nothing. Way better. And according to Buddy, pretty darn gratifying.

Caveat: don’t get on my case about the nightmares that occur at many preserves. I already know, and have lived through, them. That’s not my purpose here (maybe in another post). But consider:

Fly anglers are pretty much over the planted trout issue, except in the rarest of cases. Many of our best “wild” trout streams were barren until someone put fish in them. Even put-and-take fisheries redeem themselves with most anglers if the fish “act wild.” Clipped fins, brookies in the West, McCloud River rainbows in New Zealand … who cares if the package is good?

Hmmm. Tastes just like chukar to me.

Hmmm. Buddy sez: tastes just like chukar to me.

Let’s not forget our favorite winged quarry were planted, albeit 40, 50 years ago. What makes them better than a hard-flying, skittish, human-and-dog-averse Hun, chukar or ringneck “liberated” 40, 50 hours ago? Or last season, or this morning, for that matter? 

So, back to the question: notwithstanding the philosophical differences, for you, your friends and family and your dog … what would make a lodge/preserve hunt as good as a “wild” bird hunt?

Subjective answers in the comments section, please. And spare us the Ortega y Gassett quotes.

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If  you’re an upland hunting lodge operator or outfitter, please visit this page. It’s our first survey of hunters and the results may well surprise you. As you plan your marketing for the coming seasons, the information you find there may be of value. At least I hope so!

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