More voices from the field worth hearing…

Durrell L. Smith at a field trial in Georgia. Photo by Wil Sensing, Project Upland
Durrell L. Smith at a field trial in Georgia. Photo by Wil Sensing, Project Upland

I’ve been chasing birds for thirty-five plus years now, and while the hunters I’ve known have come from all over and all kinds of backgrounds, 99.999% of them have been white guys (I hunted once with a guy from Puerto Rico).

So the first time I saw Durrell Smith’s work in Project Upland about African American dog trainers and bird hunters and their legacy in the southern quail hunting, I was intrigued.

Durrell has a point of view I haven’t heard before. His stories show me how much more there is to our sport — and how much is missing from my tiny, narrow view of it.

This piece by Durrell is on the Outdoor Life website now.

The Tale of Jake and Belle: A Hunting Dog Story You Haven’t Heard Before, by Durrell Smith

“There’s a deep, rich history of African American dog trainers in the South. It’s time to face the beauty, and ugliness, of those origins

I’m a diehard bird hunter and dog man. I love everything about it: The discipline and patience it requires, the glorious days in the field, and the long, storied history behind it all. But as an African American dog man living in Georgia, I know that there’s a large hole missing in the history of bird hunting and dog training. That hole is created by stories unheard and untold to the general public…”

Read all of The Tale of Jake and Belle: A Hunting Dog Story You Haven’t Heard Before now.

From Outdoor Life: Durrell Smith is a 30-year-old native of Atlanta, an author, visual artist, art teacher, bird dog handler/trainer, and most notably, the host and founder of The Gun Dog Notebook Podcast. He writes mainly for Project Upland and is also a member of the Ga-Fla Shooting Dog Handlers Club in Thomasville, Georgia.

The Upland Game Show: Watch and play tonight, 6/3, 7pm ..

Watch tonight , premiering at 7pm
Watch tonight , premiering at 7pm

Premiering tonight, it’s me VS author/guide/dog traineer Craig Doherty.

TO WATCH: The Upland Game Show, 7pm

Episode 8: Experienced grouse chasers from the Northwoods, BUT will hunting knowledge and writing experience truly help them in this battle of bird brain trivia? The winner gets bragging rights and the loser will be wearing a skirt…… errrr…kilt…. on an upland excursion this fall.

Learn how Craig Doherty and Gregg Elliott use long-legged pointing beasts to hunt Ruffed Grouse in the Northeast. Get to know the guys behind the writing of articles you’ve seen in Pointing Dog Journal and Shooting Sportsman.

Goodbye Bob, Master Maine guide, gundog guy, friend…

Bob Foshay passed away last week. He was as a Master MaineGuide, a lover of bird dogs, and my friend. I’ll miss him.

Goodbye Bob, Master Maine guide, gundog lover, friend...
Goodbye Bob, Master Maine guide, gundog guy, friend…

I think the first time we hunted together was in October 2006. Bob took me to classic grouse and woodcock covers — old apple orchards, dairy pastures reclaimed by alders, poplar stands blocked off by rock walls — and to unlikely spots like stands of pines and pockets of young maples. The first lesson Bob taught me was that those kinds of unlikely covers could hold birds.

Master Maine Guide Bob Foshay
Master Maine Guide Bob Foshay with his GSP Nellie

Bob also taught me about bird dogs. He was one of the first guys in New England to hunt with a field-bred English Cocker (named Trigger), and at one time he ran and field-trialed a lemon-and-white Pointer. By the time I was hunting with him, he had moved on to an English Setter and GSPs. Bob taught me the merits of the different breeds and what mattered when looking for a pup.

I had my pointer Puck back then, and Bob loved to watch bolt through the woods and spring over fallen logs. “She does everything with gusto!” he said — and he was right.

The first video below is from October of 2012. That may have been the last season I hunted with Bob. I helped him sell off his shotgun & dog training gear when retired from guiding and bird hunting. I also helped him find a new home for his last bird dog, a close-hunting little GSP named Nellie. I tried to take him out a few years later so he could watch my pointers run, but it never happened. I don’t remember why.

BS..ing with Bob Foshay, Maine Hunting Guide…

Warning: You will be jealous. Watch All Wild, quail hunting in AZ …

Patrick Flanaganm Border to Border Outfitters, is a wanderer, a dog lover, and a bird hunter. Living-the-dream he chases wild birds from Minnesota and South Dakota to Arizona. The guys at Project Upland caught up with him and some clients on a wild quail hunt. Check out this great film to join them: All Wild – An Arizona Quail Hunting Film

Hunting Mearns, Scaled, and Gambel's Quail in Arizona - All Wild - A Project Upland Original Film
Hunting Mearns, Scaled, and Gambel’s Quail in Arizona – All Wild – A Project Upland Original Film

Temperate, expansive and beautiful — bird hunting in Arizona proves the Grand Canyon State offers so much more.

Hunting Mearns, Scaled, and Gambel's Quail in Arizona - All Wild - A Project Upland Original Film
Hunting Mearns, Scaled, and Gambel’s Quail in Arizona, from All Wild – A Project Upland Original Film

Spring time is dance time for these Sharp-tail grouse…

To kick off spring, 2020, check out the Dancing Springs Ranch Sharptails Dance.

Go here to learn more about these fascinating birds: sharp-tail grouse

Dancing Springs Ranch Sharptails Dance
Dancing Springs Ranch Sharptails Dance

Is Pennsylvania’s grouse problem everyone else’s grouse problem?

Rough grouse populations have not been doing well in Pennsylvania for a while now, and other states are seeing similar drops in their grouse populations. Watch this video to see some of the thinking behind why this is going on.

To learn more, read: Ruffed Grouse Decline and Their Future in the Keystone State

Pennsylvania Game Commission
Pennsylvania Game Commission

Bobwhite quail: West Virginia launches plan to bring them back…

Gov. Justice and WV DNR announce five-year project to restore Bobwhite Quail to West Virginia >

CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is beginning a five-year project to restore northern bobwhite quail to the state. This bird is a native species and once was found across West Virginia, but the winters of 1977, 1978, and 1979 devastated the bobwhite quail in West Virginia.
Gov. Justice and WV DNR announce five-year project to restore Bobwhite Quail to West Virginia
Gov. Justice and WV DNR announce five-year project to restore Bobwhite Quail to West Virginia
“There’s no question we’ve lost favorable habitat to quail over the last several decades, however, there is still a significant amount of habitat for quail to flourish by starting this reintroduction program,” Gov. Justice said. “Over the next few years, we’re going to work so that our folks can once again hear that familiar bobwhite whistle.”

Read the full article now >

Watch this: Old school duck hunting with a real punt gun…

Here’s a great video of some old-school duck hunting with a real punt gun: The Fens (1945) – Wildfowling. This style of waterfowling was practiced through the UK and Europe. The Fens are a coastal area on the east coast of central England.

Duck hunting with an old-school punt gun, The Fens (1945) - Wildfowling
Duck hunting with an old-school punt gun, The Fens (1945) – Wildfowling

Watch this: Chasing Pheasants in Fresh Snow – South Dakota 2019

This video captures the thrills and excitement of pheasant hunting in South Dakota. Check it now. The flush at 1:52 is just plain awesome. Chasing Pheasants in Fresh Snow – South Dakota 2019

Watch this: Chasing Pheasants in Fresh Snow - South Dakota 2019
Watch this: Chasing Pheasants in Fresh Snow – South Dakota 2019

How many are you making? Top 5 shooting mistakes and how to fix them …

The Gun Nuts over at Field & Stream are full of insights and information. In this video, Phil Bourjaily, one of the nuts (the right one?) and Shotgun Editor for the main magazine, gives you some tips on how to be a better shot.

I make mistakes #3 and #4 all the time. Which ones do you have problems with?

Top 5 shooting mistakes and how to fix them ...
Top 5 shooting mistakes and how to fix them …

You need to see: Public Grouse, a film on Grouse Hunting in America…

If you like bird dogs and bird hunting, here’s a preview for a film. The film playing across the country this February. I’m going to see it on the 12th. Here’s more about it from the Project Upland site:

“Earlier this year, Project Upland Magazine in collaboration with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, joined together to tell the story of our beloved #PublicGrouse. The idea was simple: capture the people, places, and birds that make the story of grouse and public lands in North America so important to us. We sought to celebrate the truth that without public lands we would not know any of the grouse species in the capacity we do. They are a part of our culture, the fabric of American grouse hunting…”

Learn more about Public Grouse and see when & where it’s playing near you 

#PublicGrouse – A One-Hour Feature Film on Grouse Hunting in America
#PublicGrouse – A One-Hour Feature Film on Grouse Hunting in America

The History and Legacy of Side by Side Shotguns, from Project Upland …

Why shoot with a SxS shotgun? In this film from Project Upland, Joel Penkala tell you why: The History and Legacy of Side by Side Shotguns – A Grouse Hunting Tradition

“For Joel Penkala, Marketing Manager of Griffin and Howe, the idea of a legacy shotgun has personally come alive through the pages of grouse hunting classics. At its core, it is simply the shotgun that is truly worthy of being passed down from one generation to the next, a proven and treasured implement that will continue to not only meet but will exceed the demands of upland covers across time and space.”

The History and Legacy of Side by Side Shotguns - A Grouse Hunting Tradition
The History and Legacy of Side by Side Shotguns – A Grouse Hunting Tradition

Go here to learn more about AYA shotguns

To help support the future of ruffed grouse and American woodcock join the Ruffed Grouse Society.

Shoot like a King on this dream trip: Partridge and paella in Spain …

Discover Delaney & Sons: European shooting specialists
Discover Delaney & Sons: European shooting specialists

The Sierra de Norte Shoot – Fuentelfresno, Spain

Monday, October 21th – Friday, October 25th, 2019

Red-legged partridge shooting in Spain with Delaney & Sons: European shooting specialists
Red-legged partridge shooting in Spain with Delaney & Sons: European shooting specialists

Book now: Just 2 out of 8 pegs left

We are extremely excited to share with you the details for a new shoot at Finca Fuentelfresno, located along the Eastern edge of the Cordilla Central Mountain Range, approximately forty-five minutes northeast of Madrid. This will be a traditional partridge shoot, and all shooting will be conducted within the confines of the Estate, with different drives every day. This is truly a rare and unique opportunity. Let us know soon if you are interested in this elegant and all things Spanish driven shooting experience!

Best, Sean and Liz Delaney

The Shoot

Fuentelfresno consists of 35,000 acres of ground filled with olive groves, almond trees, vineyards, farmland, and rolling hills, all providing excellent habitat with perfect topography for a traditional shoot. Birds are driven by a team of up to forty beaters over narrow valleys for the guns waiting below. We will shoot three back-to-back 400 bird days. This is challenging shooting in a breathtaking setting!

The Lodge

We will spend the entire week at Finca Fuentelfresno as the guests of Carlos de Llanza Mala, its current custodian. The Lodge, which was built by Carlos’ father about sixty years ago, manages to be rustic and elegant at the same time, a perfect setting for a shooting party. All rooms are en suite and comfortable, with excellent views of the gardens and the landscape beyond. The Main Lounge has a pair of beautiful fireplaces, a perfect spot for a sundowner. Our team will have exclusive use of the premises, and all of our meals will be prepared in-house by our chef Anna. The food is beyond compare.

Shoot Price – $9,750

Delicious paella made for the team after a day of shooting.
Delicious paella made for the team after a day of shooting.

Includes: Transportation to and from Madrid airport and throughout the week, three days of driven shooting (with an anticipated bag of 400 birds per day), lodging at the elegant Fuentelfresno, guns (if needed) and ammunition, traditional tapas and shoot lunches on the estate, gourmet dinners each evening, alcohol, game licenses, liability insurance, and gun permits (for your guns or ours).

Excludes: Flights, gratuities to chargor (loader) and secretario (€80 each per day), and gratuities to hotel staff (€100 total).

Non-Shooting or Peg-Sharing Spouses: Non-shooting spouses are welcome to join us for an additional $1,750. This includes four nights’ lodging, all meals, alcohol, and ground transportation. Two days of sightseeing. Spouses are welcome to share pegs on some or all days for the same rate.

Book now: Just 2 out of 8 pegs left

According to GeorgeGoldsmith.com, the King of Spain & other aristos love Finca Fuentelfresno:

“This family shoot (Finca Fuentelfresno) is favoured by many of the royal houses of Europe and King Juan Carlos, although no longer young, still takes 6 days during the year when he comes, either with friends and family, or as a guest of friends. The photos displayed in the lodge go from Caroline of Monaco (who on a yearly basis takes a team of ladies to shoot with her), to Dutch Crown Prince William Alexander van Oranje, and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg …”

Book now: Just 2 out of 8 pegs left

The Game Hog of Dallowgill, an article from Sports Illustrated, 5/22/1972…

Frederick Robinson, 2nd Marquess of Ripon was one of the UK’s most famous game shots. In his lifetime, he bagged more than 500,000 birds, plus countless hares and other animals. and he shot Purdey hammerguns, including this one shown here: J Purdey & Sons, a RARE 12-BORE HAMMER EJECTOR GUN, NO. 14981, BUILT IN 1895 FOR LORD RIPON (AS EARL DE GREY).

Sports Illustrated published a piece about Lord Ripon way back 1972. An excerpt is below, along with links to the entire article. It’s an interesting read and worth checking out.

Frederick Oliver Robinson, 2nd Marquess of Ripon © National Portrait Gallery, London
Frederick Oliver Robinson, 2nd Marquess of Ripon © National Portrait Gallery, London

THE GAME HOG OF DALLOWGILL

IN A LIFETIME OF WARFARE AGAINST THE WINGED KINGDOM, LORD RIPON DOWNED MORE THAN 500,000 BIRDS

Studley Royal, 1880, Lord Ripon's home
Studley Royal, 1880, Lord Ripon’s home

“At the top of the hill a pair of liveried Yorkshire gamekeepers whacked hard with their sticks at the tight thorn-bushes of the hedgerow. Fifty yards away, in a hollow, stood the owner of the land, with his shooting companion, the local vicar. As the keepers moved forward, there was a flap of bright wings, a shot, and the quarry spun to the ground. Then another type of prey emerged, flying low and fast toward the waiting guns. Again a clean kill. So, at the end of the drive, one butterfly and one bumblebee were solemnly added to the day’s bag …”

Read all of THE GAME HOG OF DALLOWGILL

Will climate change kill off sharp-tailed grouse?

Sharp-tailed grouse, photo by Glenn Bartley/VIREO, from Audubon.org site
Sharp-tailed grouse, photo by Glenn Bartley/VIREO, from Audubon.org site

The more I hear about temperatures rising across the globe, the more I worry about how these changes will impact the upland game birds we love to hunt. This piece from Project Upland touches on how on what’s might happen to one species to sharp-tailed grouse. It’s worth checking — and keeping in mind when it’s to vote for local, state, and national politicians.

HOW CLIMATE CHANGE IS AFFECTING SHARP-TAILED GROUSE: A Look into the Factual Science of Sharp-tailed Grouse and their Future

Sharp-tailed grouse, photo by John Cancalosi/VIREO, from Audubon.org site
Sharp-tailed grouse, photo by John Cancalosi/VIREO, from Audubon.org site

The author writes: “I reviewed several studies from prominent sharp-tailed grouse researchers and agency reports to get a clearer picture of this very real issue. I encourage you to keep an open mind and read through the whole article below before making any preliminary judgments.”

Photo by Brian E. Small/VIREO, from Audubon.org
Photo by Brian E. Small/VIREO, from Audubon.org

Read the entire article now: HOW CLIMATE CHANGE IS AFFECTING SHARP-TAILED GROUSE: A Look into the Factual Science of Sharp-tailed Grouse and their Future

Fighting Back – A Bobwhite Quail Film from Project Upland…

Fighting Back – A Bobwhite Quail Film by Project Upland

Bobwhite quail are not one of a America’s conservation success stories. Over the last 30-40 years, their populations have collapsed throughout the south and across the southwest. Fortunately, some people, and some state agencies and working hard to try and these birds back. I hope they’re successful.

“For many, the bobwhite quail is a symbol of their youth in the South. Small game is often where many cut their teeth in the hunting world. Adam Keith, wildlife consultant, ventures back into his past to take a journey into the public lands of Missouri with state biologist Frank L. Loncarich and Kyle Hedges.” WatchFighting Back – A Bobwhite Quail Film by Project Upland now.

Fighting Back – A Bobwhite Quail Film from Project Upland...
Fighting Back – A Bobwhite Quail Film from Project Upland…

Walked Up Shooting in the UK with Spaniels, by Nick Ridley

Watch: Walked Up Shooting in the UK with Spaniels, by Nick Ridley — Featuring Ted, his 4-legged dynamo of a cocker spaniel

I’ve always wanted to shoot in the UK — but not for driven birds. Instead, I want to go rough shooting, which is what you see in this video.

Nick Ridley is the U.K.’s leading dog photographer. He’s also bird hunter, dog trainer, and a lover of cocker spaniels.

For years now, he and his Circle of Trust Rough Shooting Syndicate have been making videos of their shooting adventures throughout the UK. The one above shows them in Bedfordshire hunting pheasants and chukars in terrain that looks a lot like the northeastern US. As always, Nick shoots well and his cocker spaniel Ted does a great job.

Nick Ridley and The Circle of Trust Rough Shooting Syndicate
Nick Ridley and The Circle of Trust Rough Shooting Syndicate

Watch: Revel in the first, chukar hunting in Idaho’s Hell Canyon…

Watch: Revel in the first, chukar hunting in Idaho's Hell Canyon, a Project Upland film
Watch: Revel in the first, chukar hunting in Idaho’s Hell Canyon, a Project Upland film

I’ve hunted upland birds from Maine to Montana, but I’ve been further west to go after chukars. After watching this great new film from Project Upland, I’m not sure I want to try. Here’s a bit about the film from the PU site:

“Hell’s Canyon has a reputation for being hard on its guests. Chukar have a more infamous track record as being the pursuit of the insane. It is said that “The first chukar you shoot is for fun; all others after that are for revenge.” The allure of both these difficult propositions brought Anthony Ferro on a bird hunting road trip to challenge himself and his German shorthaired pointers.

The title Revel in the First comes from Anthony’s passion for first-time experiences. Whether it’s a first bird species, a dog’s first point, a new challenge defeated (or not), the first has a passion like no other time after.”

BTW: Check out Project Upland’s new magazine, too. It’s coming out soon. For a LIMITED TIME subscribers receive Volume Zero/Issue Zero, (Ships November 1, 2018) and our regular delivery of our the quarterly publication for TWO years (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter) with Volume One/Issue One shipping on March 1, 2019. Plus The Bird Hunting Anthology – Volume No. 1

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