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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A Stroke of Luck

Chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar), or chukar for short, are a medium-sized game bird that originated from the Middle East. They were first introduced to the United States in 1893 but were not successfully established until the mid-1900’s. Today, chukar are a popular game species in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Despite its popularity, chukar hunting can be a physically demanding venture. Chukar hunters have affectionately nicknamed chukar “red-legged devils” in reference to their blood-red legs and propensity to run uphill through scree fields to escape. After my first encounter with chukar, I was quick to adopt this moniker.

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Hunting Workshops: A Perspective on State Programs Promoting R3

For new hunters, just knowing where to begin can be a daunting task. What are the license requirements where I live? What are the season dates? What tags do I need? What kind of gear should I buy? What caliber, gauge, and shot size are right for my target species? What is a controlled hunt?
The list of questions goes on. As an adult-onset hunter myself, I was fortunate enough to have family and friends to whom I could reach out and guide me in the right direction for the basic questions. The shooting and stalking skills I had to develop on my own.

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Mourning Smoke

The dove opener is a fancied event in many states across the U.S., including my Virginia hometown. While I personally looked forward to October squirrel and whitetail seasons most, I always made time for a few sultry evening tree line sits with friends, awaiting a passing shot at a dodgy mourning dove as it traveled between cut silage corn and farm ponds.
Fast forward 20 years to living west of the Rockies in southeast Washington, my interest in mourning doves had increased tremendously, largely due to a growing passion for upland bird hunting in general. Throw in the Eurasian collared dove and you’ve got the makings of a connoisseur of the dove species. Interestingly, my daily and season bags remain comparable to those of my youth, although my wingshooting has improved somewhat over the years, but 2020 had some tricks up her sleeve that led to the most memorable mourning dove season on record.

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Women’s Profile: Carly McCallister

CORAM NY – Carly McCallister is a provider, led by a primal urge to provide her family with the highest quality sustenance she could. This yearning led the Long Island based handcrafted soap-maker to start hunting.
“We try to keep it hyper-local and organic in our house,” McCallister said. “I work at the farmer’s market and bring all our vegetables home from local farms. Hunting was just a natural extension of that for me, bringing back my own meat.”
She wants her children to comprehend where their food comes from. While purchasing eggs from a local farmer, the farmer warned her of a hanging pig that was slaughtered for a pig roast. She did not shield her daughter from it. McCallister wants her to understand what it takes to have meat on the plate.

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