As hunters prepare to load up and drive to the far reaches in order to chase birds, I always ponder what is the ultimate upland vehicle? In the field I’ve come across the entire gambit — from the German engineered rear-wheel drive sedan to a vintage Winnebago that looked like an oversized styrofoam cooler. I always wondered what that autobahners interior looked like after those Brittanys jumped in the backseat, although I’m sure they certainly appreciated the seat warmers.
Because of the sheer amount of miles I put on a vehicle during the season along with $3 gasoline, I’ve always looked at the upland vehicle as a balancing act. Exactly how much gear can I ram into the interior, have enough space for the hounds, easy access to guns yet not fund all of OPEC by myself? Most years the luggage rack ends up being a saving grace when toting camping equipment and gear for both hot and cold climates.
I have to admit though, I often have truck envy. I see the guys with the 20″ ground clearance and the bearclaw tire tread and I just know they are forging to the edge of the map where the coveys have never seen a shotgun before. By the time I park my mid-size balancing act loaded to the gunnels and walk to where they’ve cruised, the birds will all be wise to the game.
At the end of last season, I upgraded to a newer upland vehicle. And still, I just couldn’t bring myself to purchase the latest M1 Abrams Birdcrusher. There are too many great mud running, nearly stranded, ‘what the hell are we gonna do now’ stories to surrender to vehicular convenience. The money I save on petrol I plan to spend on ammo, and I’m gonna need every spare shell this season since the points are gonna be that plentiful – witness the power of positive thinking.
So, if we’re hunting together this year, be prepared to get mud in your teeth as one of us must do the pushing in order for the hunt to continue. And if you are captain of one of those new Abrams please use some of that excess elbow room to throw us a line as you barrel past, we promise not to follow you all the way to the edge of the map. We’ll only go as far as our ground clearance and soles allow.