Posts Tagged ‘Little Canyon Shooting’

Heat: moist, smothering dusty conditions were the order of the day at Little Canyon Shooting Preserve. The sun, a white-hot ball searing dogs and hunters, was still low against the north ridge but sapping energy already.

Under the tangle of head-high wheatgrass the temperature was at least ten degrees more oppressive than the 75 degrees the porch thermometer showed. The thatch of grass suborned any whisper of breeze and locked in bird scent, but Sonny Hairston’s dogs have been there and done that, undeterred by the brutal conditions.

Thanks to cut strips every few yards, gunners were able to quickly reach the first point by Sam, a pointer. A ringneck rattled his way through the tangle and quickly fell to Bernie’s first shot of the season. Berne Moore and friend Jim James came all the way from Kansas City, winners in a sweepstakes we did last year (And this year, too. Go here to enter.)

Later in the morning, Manny made his debut in the field and what a proud owner he has! This 23-week-old progressed through the steps you’d expect over time, but condensed it to about an hour. Birdy on old scent, then a tentative point on the next pheasant, then solid on the next, and even part of a retrieve on the last! Proud and excited (so were we!), he carried that ringneck all the way back to the lodge.

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We are OFF. And I don’t mean mentally. The Awesome Upland Road Trip version 2.0 is under way. A bit of a high school reunion atmosphere in Portland, Ore., as director Tad Newberry and camera operator Lynn Berland convened at the airport, piled in luggage and gear, and everyone met Manny.

Where else for lunch on a trip like this, than the Pheasant Grill in Arlington, Ore.? And yes, I’ve shot some nearby but there are now more chukar in the area than the long-tailed birds. (Factoid: Arlington is where Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinson was born. He was by far the coolest dude to come out of this Columbia River port town.)

The promise of new country is always part of the discussion during the first-day’s drive and we were not disappointed with Little Creek Shooting Preserve near Peck, Idaho. Sonny Hairston and his family have carved a little piece of hunting heaven out of steep canyon walls and rolling benches planted with the thickest cover I’ve encountered.

This is Manny’s first road trip – and beyond a few practice pigeons, his first bird contacts. I am stoked! He shows so much promise, has so much doggy street smarts and is such an indefatigable little guy; if only I don’t bugger the process he should be a cracking-good bird dog.

Okay, okay, just to when your appetite here is a behind-the-scenes clip from our first hunt, featuring contest winners Bernie Moore and Jim James doing the gunning:

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