Posts Tagged ‘montana hunting’

Oh yeah …













Okay, getting the good stuff up top: This was yesterday’s bag for Buddy, Manny and me. Al Gadoury of 6X Outfitters, who you know from his appearances on the show, led me – for fun – to some very fun hunting near Lewistown, Montana.  Thanks Al!

Al’s setters and Lab Bella worked hard, as did my guys, in increasingly high temperatures. Some nice surprises in strong coveys of Huns, and almost a dozen single and double flushes of sharptails within range of Al. Oh yeah, he limited on roosters too, with most of the sharpies within range falling to his classic side-by-side.

A good time was had by all. Hope your season is going as well. Where will the Aliner park next? Watch this space!

What a place!

















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After a night of epic thunder and lightning and an epic example of restaurant arrogance  (Grand Hotel, Big Timber, Montana), we were ready for a return to adrenaline rush and scenic beauty. Do you know that feeling? Let’s get on with it!

Instead, we were greeted by low-lying, dank fog. The moisture lingered, soaking pants, socks and dogs but keeping temperatures cooler, longer,until the sun broke through and remained the rest of the day.

[Man, nor hunters, do not live by bread alone. But we broke bread in some spectacular places, including this one. Did it bring us luck?]

The Montana icons had been summoned, either by Hollywood or pure unadulterated luck: Cattle framed by rugged mountains, buckaroo (actually, buckarette) and border collie performing as if to a script. One recalcitrant bull briefly challenged us as we opened then shut (quickly and with furtive backward glances) a wire gate across our road.

Oh yeah, the hunting: big sky? Sure. Big fields, absolutely! This was the Hun-rich shorter cover we’d not gotten to earlier. But it was lunchtime before we saw a bird. Not for lack of trying. We ran most dogs through square miles of territory, hope piled on hope as Buddy, Biscuit and Ellie all promising partridge while delivering meadowlarks.

Another drive, more gates, and the slot machine called Montana started paying out. A small covey here, pair there, and every once in a while a sharptail adding spice to the prairie stew.

Manny’s moment: After enough birds to make a TV show interesting, guide Al Gadoury offered a return to a familiar patch to showcase 23-week-old Manny’s budding instincts. A sharpie passed overhead as we geared up … a portent? Manny ambled and streaked alternately through known sharptail habitat, locking into a beautiful, leg-up point. As we neared, we saw his little puppy head threaded between the bottom two strands of a barbed-wire fence along the county road.

Trepidation soon absented itself, as we decided nothing good could come of a shot across the road, or unidentified critter that might spray or inject nasty quills.

But by the time we turned for the trucks, the pup had bumped, pointed, stopped-to-flush and otherwise discovered at least a half dozen sharptails, even delivering many of them to (close to) hand. Good boy!

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Vast, expansive vistas of the most well-managed prairie I’ve ever seen. That was the setting for our first Montana hunt for Hungarian partridge. Six crates meant we’d have plenty of dog power, Al Gadoury’s setters defining the strategy: run far and fast for wild-ass birds that probably haven’t seen a dog or gunner yet this season.

Knee high grass and alfalfa flourished emerald green at the corner of Jones and Moonshine roads northeast of Big Timber. Someone out here has a sense of humor! But was it the diminutive imports that scattered when Al’s setter Ellie cat-danced into a point? Nope, native sharptailed grouse erupted from the low cover, startling us both, but not enough to distract Al’s side-by-side from its intended target.

[Here’s a taste of the country we hunted.]

We rotated dogs and drove miles over unbroken ground all day, finding sharpies in both the tall stuff and the skinny shortgrass prairies. More like late-season birds, they flushed wild and ran out from under points. But enough came close, and a few held for statuesque points by Al’s setters. One obviously suicidal grouse virtually eliminated himself from the gene pool, hooking back toward director Tad Newberry’s camera and my only decent shot all day. You know it was a “gimme” shot when your camera guy can do the retrieve without moving a single step!

Our Hun hunt finally materialized late in the day with a picture-perfect point and a double by Al, who simply does not miss when he shoulders his beautiful shotgun.

Manny’s moment: Sea Biscuit the setter locked solid and skylined on a low ridge among the alfalfa. Manny bounced, puppy-like, from upwind and settled into a very pretty honor of Biscuit’s point. You’ll see it next year on Wingshooting USA.

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Yep, we gather the crew and head for Idaho tomorrow, the first stop on our itinerary. We’ll be recording hunts for next season’s programs in Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota on this leg of the Road Trip. In October, we head south and east, and if all comes together in February we will hunt in Georgia.

Watch for the rig, stop and say hello

You know that feeling: anticipation, wondering if you packed everything, how the dogs will do, if camera operator Lynn Berland’s plane will land on time. Maybe not that last one, but that’s the lot of TV producers.

Anyway, I’ll try to file reports here regularly so you can get a sneak preview of next year’s programs as they are made. Meanwhile, don’t forget to watch the new season on satellite, cable, and over the air. Go here for more information.

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Okay, we can finally spill the beans on the upcoming season of Wingshooting USA. I hope you have lots of DVR space, and plenty to eat and drink while you watch – there is a lot in store!

Starting October 1 and every Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, you can watch the show on VERSUS. In January, you can also watch on the Pursuit Channel Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. If you’re stuck in the seventies and watching via digital “rabbit ears” on your local TV station, check for AMGTV Sundays 1 p.m. or TUFF TV Saturdays 10 a.m. or 4:30 p.m.

Bring plenty of ammo and dog food – we’ve got an incredible lineup of destinations: Idaho pheasants, Montana huns, North and South Dakota sharpies and pheasants … California pheasants and quail, Oregon valley quail and pheasants and more!

In addition to the hunting, Wingshooting USA is loaded with fun, educational and motivational feature segments:

– “Buddy & Me” sponsored by TruckVault is our continuing adventure as my wirehair and I learn how to teach and learn from each other. Watch sample here:

– TriTronics “Young Hunters Afield”  encourages families to get outside together, rewarding those who send photos of kids with their dogs with a chance at a TriTronics e-collar. Watch here:

– Native Performance Dog Food’s “Conservation Showcase” raises funds for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. Learn how you can help, here:

– ZoomDog’s BuddyCam provides a fascinating look (literally) at a dog’s perspective in the field and at home. Watch here:

– And carrying on our tradition, the National Shooting Sports Foundation offers parents  and children a chance to win a hunting trip on the show with me in their “Take YOUR kid hunting” sweepstakes.” 

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