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A Bird Dog’s Life List

Me & Tram after putting a checkmark next to ruffed grouse on her life list.

Over the holiday weekend, I caught up on some reading.  An article in the most recent issue of The Pointing Dog Journal particularly caught my attention.  The piece titled “My Bucket List” was written by Tom Davis, also a contributor to the Pheasants Forever Journal.  As the name implies, Tom writes about the hunting adventures he’d like to have before he passes on.  It was an interesting read and likely follows thoughts many of us have this time of year as we review our calendars, health, and dog power for the coming autumn.  I wrote a similar blog post a year ago titled “My Bird Hunting Bucket List.” 

However, what really grabbed my attention was Tom’s tally of the wild upland game bird species shot over his bird dog.  Turns out, this sort of “Bird Dog Life List” is fairly common.  A couple of guys; Joseph A. Augustine (English Setters) and the renowned Ben O. Williams (Brittany) have even penned bird dog hunting books on the topic.  The consensus is twenty different North American upland game birds constitute a “Grand Slam.”    

So as I look toward my own German shorthaired pointer’s fourth season, I have taken inventory on Trammell’s own bird hunting life list.  Here is Tram’s current tally: a) species I successfully shot over her point, b) the year it occurred and c) the state in which it took place.

  1. Ruffed Grouse, 2007, Michigan
  2. Pheasant, 2007, Minnesota
  3. Timberdoodle, 2007, Michigan
  4. Hungarian Partridge, 2008, Montana
  5. Sharp-tailed Grouse, 2008, Montana

In some respects, I look at that list and feel guilty.  There’s the greater prairie chicken I missed in South Dakota’s Fort Pierre Grasslands last year.  And there’s the doggy plane ticket to Georgia I couldn’t afford preventing bobwhite quail from hitting her list. 

On the other hand, three seasons with Tram have been the best three seasons of my hunting career.  And if you consider the dozens of states and subspecies necessary to reach double digits, a guy could go broke chasing this list.  Plus, I’ll be in the Fort Pierre Grasslands in three weeks and I smell redemption.  Come to think of it, I’ll be in Nebraska (bobwhite quail) and Kansas (lesser prairie chickens) in November too.  Hunting season is here and things are looking up!

In the comment section below, post the following: a) your dog’s breed, b) your dog’s name, c) your dog’s age, and d) how many birds on his/her life list so far?

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One Response to “A Bird Dog’s Life List”

  1. Elsa says:

    5 years young
    pheasant, bobwhite quail, scaled quail, chukar, woodcock, teal, rabbit (retrieving), dove (retrieving)

    English Pointer
    10 years young
    prairie chicken (wooo hooo), pheasant, bobwhite quail, mountain quail, scaled quail, woodcock, chukar, ‘possum


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