The intricate dance between dog, bird and hunter is a choreography that few understand and even fewer master. So many mistakenly believe upland hunting consists of one or two species of bird that virtually jump into a game pouch at the crack of the nearest shotgun. There are actually no less than 27 different upland species (not counting numerous sub species) distributed throughout all 50 states. The bulk of these birds have no interest whatsoever in taking a ride in a game bag and will use tactics learned over centuries of being stalked to avoid it.
From arid desert to jagged peaks, gamebirds inhabit the full range of terra. Proven hunting strategies perfected on the open prairie may fall woefully short in other domains. If you’ve been a bird hunter your entire life chances are you still haven’t done it all. In the broad scheme of things few are more than an apprentice and there are plenty of variables to keep one entertained for a lifetime.
So let’s get hunting. There are lots of different shotguns to shoot with new shells to test, tons of different dogs to hunt over, mountains to scale, prairies to cross, forests to navigate, and dozens of birds to research and pursue. And that’s exciting.
Early this season in Montana we spent 45 minutes after a morning hunt untangling collected cockle burs from Rio’s coat. Left unattended, burs can…