Take a look at the stories inside the Summer 2020 Issue of Project Upland Magazine.
*Front cover features Durrell Smith of The Gun Dog Notebook Podcast
The summer season is upon us! For many that means warm weather, barbecues, and beaches. But for those die-hard upland hunters among us it means training sessions with their furry hunting companions, telling tales of the past season’s hunts, and daydreaming about the fall to come. Here’s a taste of just some of the great stories this issue has in store for readers:
Stakeout on the Prairie
After years of chasing pheasant in his home state of Kansas with Labrador Jack, author Kyle Meenen decided to dive into hunting a different species of upland game. Armed with game cameras and curiosity, he takes readers on his quest to find a greater prairie chicken lek.
“I can’t wait to pass my love for the uplands on to my son, along with the history of these rare native game birds that we have the privilege to be able to hunt. With any luck, Jack and I will taste our first ‘boomer’ this season, and someday, when he’s old enough to tote his own shotgun behind a bird dog, I’ll pass on a new tradition of prairie chicken hunting to Cash.”
Road to the Invitational
Follow breeder and handler Rick Affuso’s journey as he prepares to run his two Brittanys in NAVHDA’s premier test, The Invitational, as told by author Perry Masotti. If both are crowned Versatile Champions Affuso would be eligible for the first ever NAVHDA Invitational Breeders Award for the American Brittany.
“After the field portion, Rick had many conversations with friends about his retrieving. Some said, “You’re on the bubble,” or “Maybe that’s a three.” But as he waited for the final scores, Rick believed that he’d get a two, and he felt that that would be fair. At the end of the day, lots of anxious people—some holding cocktails—gathered at the skeet field to await the judges’ assessments.”
Rick was featured in the film: All About the Dogs – An American Brittany Film
Woodcock of Spring
In this photo essay photographer Adam Regier follows Minnesota DNR wildlife manager Bailey Petersen through the woods of Minnesota as she searches for freshly hatched American woodcock chicks and bands them.
“Ticks, poison ivy, indescribable mosquito hatches, and navigating the thickest of thick covers through thorns and eye-poking branches is not for the faint of heart, but once you hold a fuzzy timberdoodle chick in your hand for the first time, it is worth every moment of the search.”
The Dog with Two Noses
Join author and host to the new podcast Hunting Dog Confidential Craig Koshyk on a deep dive into the history of the Spanish Double Nose pointer.
“I had somehow stumbled onto the website for the Spanish magazine Perros de Caza, and I found myself looking at an image of a dog with an orange and white coat, amber eyes and a nose like the double barrels of a shotgun! I was stunned. This wasn’t some dusty old painting; it was a recent photograph. The dog was a modern dog. The double- nosed Spanish pointer was still alive!”
A Minnesota Grouse Odyssey
Follow author Eric Paulson as he takes an odyssey across Minnesota in a quest of all of its grouse species.
“These were not the same spruce grouse I had bagged in Canada. These birds were savvy about getting hunted, and they knew how to escape. The species that I’d found to be unwary in Canada were now becoming formidable prey.”
Conversation with Dave
Managing editor talks with NAVHDA president and owner of New Hampshire-based On- Point Kennels about the Deutsch Kurzhaar and becoming a dog trainer as a second career.
“I always do have plenty of time to hunt on my own but I’ll be honest with you, I still enjoy working with my dogs, but when I take clients, I enjoy it just as much as if I was pulling the trigger on a bird myself. I get a kick out of it when I see people just watching our dogs working, seeing their excitement, that’s a pleasure for me.”
Catch Dave Trahan in the Film: A Deutsch Kurzhaar Story – Bird Dog Trainer for a Day
Rainey Giveth and Rainey Taketh Away
We’ve all had trying experiences with young pups out in the field which makes for fun memories. Here, Author Andrew M. Wayment shares a tale of a lesson learned while hunting with a young bird dog.
“Doubt started to creep in: Maybe I missed the shot. Maybe I crippled the bird and it ran off before these young pups could find it. I admit, I miss my fair share of birds, but when I make a good shot, I typically know it. After searching for a long time with no success, I decided to write this one off. As I replayed the scene through my mind over and over throughout the day, I concluded, ‘I know I killed that bird!’ And after we left the area, I deduced exactly what had happened.”
Off Season Perfection
After a successful season chasing California quail, author Jorge Ramirez was left wanting during the off season. The solution? Eurasian collared dove in the Summer.
“Preserve hunts and clay shooting are great options for those not wanting to sequester their shotguns between seasons. They offer great ways to keep your shotgunning skills keen, sure. I can accept that. But in my book, nothing can replace being out in the field, being challenged, getting after a wily ol’ wild bird.”
Monarchs of the Uplands
Beautiful artwork by Kathryn Hansis accompanies this plunge into the importance of Monarch butterflies in the uplands by Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever Missouri Outreach Coordinator Kim Cole.
“When you consider that the cover we’ve referred to as brood habitat is identical to what our monarch and pollinator partners refer to as pollinator habitat. Simply put, the upland habitat that is beneficial for monarchs and other pollinating insects is exactly the same grass and flowering plant habitat we work so hard to create for upland birds, bird dogs, and bird hunters. If you are trying to find the connection between the butterflies and the birds, upland habitat bridges the gap. Allow me to explain the connection with a closer examination of the amazing monarch.”
The Insult that Conquered the World
Author Gregg Elliott dives into the history of how the once-despised boxlock became the shotgun standard.
“For every first place there is a second, and for every top dog there are others snapping at its tail. In the 19th Century, London was the capital of first-rate gunmaking. Birmingham, 100 miles north, was the runner-up, and the major gunmakers there—W. & C. Scott, W.W. Greener, Westley Richards—were doing all they could to develop new guns that would put them on top. Today, we owe a huge debt to this struggle and to the shotguns it created.”
From Ambition to Tradition
Author Durrell L. Smith discusses the rich history of the Ga-Fla Shooting Dog Handlers Club, locally known as the Black Handlers Club, and upland culture in the south.
“I made a time about rummaging in one of my favorite magazines, Garden & Gun, and landed on a piece that highlighted Neal Carter Jr. and Curtis Brooks Sr., president and vice president, respectively, of the Georgia-Florida Shooting Dog Handlers Club. Down this way, you don’t often see black folks with a beautiful pointer stacked up on the back of a tailgate, and for sure don’t see a group of black folks running a trial that’s lasted since 1981. I got my wits about me and found my way through the phone- line to contact Neal Carter, and the club has welcomed me and any other aspiring dog man with open arms.”
Watch the Ga-Fla Shooting Dog Handlers Club in the Film: Hard Day Riding – A Southern Field Trial Film
Looking Forward to Fall
Some highlights to look forward to in the Fall issue of Project Upland include a deep-dive lesson on the history of upland hunting by Craig Koshyk, tales of chasing one hunter’s bucket list bird in Wyoming—the sage grouse, and a look into the legacy of famed author George Bird Evans.
That’s just a sample of what’s to come in the Fall 2020 issue of Project Upland. Stay tuned!
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