An Ode to Cash

As a young traveling wingshooter, I spend a lot of time in the field by myself. Convincing friends to join me on excursions to virgin grounds is often difficult. Although I always enjoy my adventures, I understand that it can be a hard sale for some. The phrase “I can’t promise we will shoot or even find birds, but I can promise we will cover plenty of ground” is less than attractive to some.

These kinds of situations eventually drove me to get my first bird dog. I had spent several years hunting quail without a dog. It just never seemed like the “right time”. After being drawn deeper and deeper into the upland community, I finally broke down and bought my first bird dog. Cash was a 1.5-year-old started French Brittany that came from a kennel in Alabama.

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Subtle Beauty

rolling in from beyond the horizon that beach themselves on the pristine sandy shores of the coast, create a magnificent scene. And the enormous western mountain ranges, slopes cloaked in vibrant forests, conceal innumerable mysteries within their deep crevices. Beyond the surface of these locales, even the minutiae maintain a certain level of reverence. The ecosystems, flora and fauna alike, draw to it, the attention of society. Regardless of social class or occupation, every citizen seems to have knowledge of these scenes and holds them in high regard. And rightfully so. Their ecological and economic importance are not lost on me. I do find it strange, however, that fascination with the natural world dissipates as we move away from such places.

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Reminiscing with Old Friends

I drew my bulky piece of weathered steel from its leather scabbard. It had been 5 months since I oiled the shotgun and put it away, the last I laid eyes on my reliable hunting partner. As I ran my hands the length of the old double-barrel, stories began to proliferate from somewhere beyond my conscious. The first thing that caught my attention was the tarnished buttstock. A nickel-sized chunk of wood was missing since the day I tumbled down a southern Arizona hillside, startled by an erupting covey of Mearns quail.

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Ursus of Arizona

What are you up to?”, my mother questioned over the phone. I replied, “me and few of the guys are heading to bear hunt in Arizona.” She chuckled in response and then there were a few moments of silence followed by an excited “Wait, really!?”. It was at that moment I realized how absurd the statement must have sounded.

A few weeks back, in early May, we hatched our plan from a makeshift office in our rent house in southwestern Texas. The purpose of the impromptu hunting excursion was to provide a hiatus from the grind of our graduate degrees. We were clueless as to what this pursuit would entail. In fact, between the five of us, we knew next to nothing about Arizona black bears.

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A Gentleman’s Sport

I’m not really sure why the sharp-tailed grouse doesn’t get the attention that other upland birds do. Heck, I’m still not sure why upland hunting in general isn’t more popular. Sure it’s not as “sexy” as public lands backcountry archery hunting, it doesn’t seem as hardcore as busting ice with headlamps and decoy bags in the dark and all-to-often it gets called a “gentleman’s sport,” but most of the time there’s pretty much nothing gentlemanly about it.

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Ruffs on the Rim

Upon the September grouse opener calls a particular mountaintop covert. The eastern aspect was burned out years ago, but a few mature pines remain. The understory boasts mixed grasses, dense burgundy ninebark, the occasional rose thicket and Oregon grape, and large snowbrush clumps encircled by all of the above. Beneath the sun’s resplendence on the shoulders of the day, the brushy cover exudes a unique vibrance against a backdrop of rugged river canyon, home to moose, elk, Rocky Mountain bighorn, and the “King of the Woods”, the ruffed grouse.

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Hunting Workshop Part 2: Pheasant Hunting in Oregon

Recently I had the opportunity to take part in a pheasant hunting workshop hosted by Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). As advocates for R3 (recruitment, retention, reactivation) ourselves at Harvesting Nature, it was great to a state agency advocating for and promoting the same concept.
In my previous article on Hunting Workshops (insert previous HN article), I wrote about the shotgun skills course hosted by ODFW which was a prerequisite for the pheasant workshop and any other non-fishing workshops hosted by ODFW. While that course introduced members to firearms and the basic skills, the pheasant workshop amplified on that and combined hunters with a guide and a hunting dog for real-world shooting and live birds.

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The Use of onX Mapping by Wildlife Biologists

As an avid upland bird hunter who likes to hunt a variety of species, the onX Hunt application has played a vital role in my hunt success. With this tool in my pocket, I have felt much more confident when travelling around the country. I am sure that many of you can attest to the app’s utility for finding, both public hunting access and the appropriate habitat, when hunting away from your home coverts. Though this is true, my first experience using onX was not as a means for hunting but as a tool for research.

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3 Things I Want Anti-Hunters to Understand About Hunting & Fishing

I’m perched on the cool edge of southern Idaho’s Boise River on a hot August afternoon, at a rocky river spot I call Medicine Bank. Medicine Bank is named for the rich variety of medicinal summer plants I’ve found here on its shore: wild mint sun-warm to the touch on the water’s edge, St. John’s Wort glowing gold, and bright evening primrose opening and clasping shut in faithful rhythm with the light-play of each passing day. My husband Forrest stands beside me with our border heeler River. We’re after fish today.

“Fish on!” Forrest shouts into the silence. Before his voice can finish echoing across the valley, he reels in the rainbow trout du jour, a large mature fish with gorgeous markings.

This trout is our harvest, our “keeper”. We toast to our success with gratitude for the trout’s life, place him carefully on ice in our cooler, and spend some long hours fishing at that stony shore. We catch and release several smaller, less mature rainbows before heading homeward, gleefully quiet, sated by the river’s-edge memories and the promise of fresh-caught dinner.

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