Posts Tagged ‘Ruggs Ranch’

This is how you welcome a newcomer, according to Buddy.

This is how you welcome a newcomer, according to the master of the method, Buddy.

The Grandfather and I conspired, I admit. Whose dog would best deliver a bird so that the Grandson had a controlled, safe shot at his first pheasant? He’d broken a ton of clay targets, but never a feathered one, and deserved the best possible introduction to our passion.

I lobbied for Grandfather’s Lab. What a great story that would make! But at his insistence, my wirehair Buddy got the nod. A point, not a flush, would give us more time to safely get the gun to the shoulder, feet pointed in the right direction, staying aware of the other hunters.

The field of head-high grass held promise, and once we entered, a full measure of adrenaline. Three adults, one 12-year-old, and my reliable dog. Bird up! And my veterinarian had the hard left crosser on the ground. Buddy leapt the rushing creek, tracked expertly, jumped the creek again with his feathered burden, and delivered to me waiting on the other side. Good boy.

Grandson was clearly psyched up from the flush, and I had to keep one eye on the uneven ground, one on Buddy, and a hand on his shoulder to keep things in control. A slog or two later, Grandfather called “point,” and we high-stepped our way through the clinging vegetation. Ready.

The rest is a blur. Someone walked in to flush. I kept one hand on Grandson’s shoulder for safety. Veterinarian watched from a distance. Buddy trembled in anticipation of a mouthful of feathers. Brrrrrr! Bang! Bird down!

Another track, a leap across the creek and back, and delivery, then fist bumps and high fives. Grandson’s first pheasant, a pleasant weight in his game bag. Photos all around.

Welcome to the fraternity, WM.

(If you want to take a kid hunting, enter my contest here and maybe you’ll be joining us on the shoot.)

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Wild West? We just lived it! Lynn Burdick and her sons Zach and Nick joined us as winners of the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s “Take Your Kid Hunting” sweepstakes, and what an adventure it was. Weather, horses, wagons, chukars, pheasants, Huns, lots of noise and a bucket-list experience for all.

Ruggs Ranch was the destination and we took full advantage of their 86,000 acres. Cropland, river bottoms, high country prairie, dramatic rocky canyons … all harbored birds to challenge the hard-working Ruggs dogs. Here’s a taste of the first day, which started at the Filson store in Portland where the Burdicks were ably outfitted by manager Nathan Gray. Don’t they look sporty in their Filson gear? Stay tuned – more to come!

Our first stop enroute: Historic Balch Hotel, Dufur, Oregon.

Zach, Lynn & Nick, ready to rock

Our first hunt was from a wagon, along the Rock Creek Canyon. Pheasants were the quarry.

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Lynn Burdick will be hunting on horseback with her sons and me as the grand prize winner of the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s “Take Your Kid Hunting” sweepstakes on the TV series. She tops a list of five winners; the remainder will be hunting with their child at a nearby bird hunting preserve thanks to NSSF. Those winners include: Bruce Visniski of Muskegon, Mich.; Robert Cheeseman of Burlington, New Jersey; Thomas Mathias of Lancaster, New York; and John Rexrode of Henderson, N. Carolina.

The grand prize trip will be filmed for an upcoming Wingshooting USA episode, and takes place this November at our headquarters lodge, Ruggs Ranch in eastern Oregon. A working cattle ranch in addition to elite bird and big game hunting lodge, Ruggs Ranch’s 86,000 acres are an ideal setting for Linden and the Burdicks to hunt from horses for chukars, Hungarian Partridge and pheasants. Information on the destination is available here.

I am so proud of you all! Thousands of viewers entered the contest, which is designed to encourage parents to welcome their youngsters to bird hunting. My recent survey of Wingshooting USA viewers supports the promotion’s goal, with respondents indicating a 30% increase over last year in the number introducing someone to the sport. Based on the survey response, Wingshooting USA viewers took a new hunter into the field over 2 million times last season!

The fourth annual “Take Your Kid Hunting” sweepstakes launches in late June; entries at http://www.wingshootingusa.org. The title sponsor of Linden’s television series and the “Take Your Kid” initiative, the National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.

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