Archive for the ‘Fishing’ Category

Clean Water and Trout on the Kinnickinnic

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Rehan Nana, Pheasants Forever Public Relations Specialist, with one of the many brown trout he caught and released recently on western Wisconsin’s Kinnickinnic River.

Rehan Nana, Pheasants Forever Public Relations Specialist, with one of the many brown trout he caught and released recently on western Wisconsin’s Kinnickinnic River. Photo by Mark Herwig / Pheasants Forever

What’s fishing got to do with Pheasants Forever? Well, Wisconsin’s Kinnickinnic Pheasants Forever Chapter in St. Croix County has worked to improve upland habitat within a local river’s watershed, which helps the trout just as much as the pheasants.

The chapter has worked with the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust and other partners to protect a jewel, the Kinnickinnic River, which lies only a few miles east of “PF’s” national headquarters in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Development threatens the river’s clear, cool waters and the trout that call it home. But with projects like the 200-acre parcel protected by Pheasants Forever and partners at the Kinnickinnic River headwaters, this river will always run wild.

While it’s too early to sample the area’s pheasant hunting, my Pheasants Forever coworker, Rehan Nana, and I did sample the river’s trout fishing in late June. While not a big angler, I am a paddling enthusiast. I canoe every week in summer, and the “Kinni” is a favorite because of the beautiful valley it flows through, its fast, clean water and challenging paddling.

The Kinni was up from its usual flow, making some of the rapids Class 1. Along one stretch, we came across a huge cottonwood (the redwoods of the Midwest) that had fallen over the river – it was easily 10 feet in circumference. At one point, Nana stopped to wet a line and two irritated osprey quickly began circling overhead, squawking in protest. We must have been close to their nest, so we moved on.

We saw a bald eagle, and on past trips, I’ve spotted otter, beaver, deer and many birds. Twenty and 30-foot sheer rock cliffs enclose the river’s course in places, thick with ultra-green moss and dripping water. Ninety-degree turns into stone cliffs and fast water makes for some tricky paddling.

On this day, the trout were plentiful. Rehan caught and released a dozen brown trout…and lost a few more. The fish ranged from 9-12 inches. No doubt the osprey (known as “fish eagles”) and bald eagles nest on the river because of the abundance of fish to feed their young. Imagine dining on fresh trout every day! Now that’s living!

While the Kinni, a well-known and highly-valued naturally reproducing trout stream, is an example of a regionally high-profile project Pheasants Forever has partnered on, any habitat project benefits water quality as well as wildlife. Any blade of grass we plant in the most humble, obscure Midwest field benefits water quality and habitat.

Yet, few help raise fish that are as fun to catch and tasty to eat as wild trout. So, here’s to the trout of the Kinni and the many conservation partners that help keep them alive and, well, flappin’!

The Nomad is written by Mark Herwig, Editor of the Pheasants Forever Journal and Quail Forever Journal. Email Mark at mherwig@pheasantsforever.org.

Boarding your Bird Dog While on Vacation

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

When you have to take a trip without your bird dog, who takes care of your hunting partner? PHOTO BY WILLOW CREEK KENNELS

Every Saturday morning, I wake up to a 4:30AM alarm clock to voluntarily co-host an outdoors radio talk show called FAN Outdoors on 100.3FM based in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & Saint Paul.  My weekly appearance on the show provides me a great platform to talk about Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever, conservation, bird hunting and bird dogs.  I also have a great time chatting with the show’s host “The Captain” Billy Hildebrand about fishing and other outdoors related topics.

 

Over the four years I’ve been on FAN Outdoors, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in live remote broadcasts from the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Ely, Minnesota as well as from a fishing lodge on Devil’s Lake in North Dakota. Later this week, my wife and I will depart for the Minnesota/Canadian border for a six-day fishing trip with Rainy Lake Houseboats on behalf of FAN Outdoors.  Without doubt, this is a “bucket list” trip for anyone and an opportunity I wasn’t going to pass by; however, there was one commitment I had trouble figuring out how to handle before I firmly committed to participating in this Rainy Lake adventure.  The commitment I’m referencing was to my two bird dogs.

 

Before I accepted the dream getaway, I had to figure out who was going to care for the safety and well-being of my 5-year-old shorthair, Trammell, and my 14-week-old GSP puppy, Izzy.  I’m sure many bird dog owners planning a summer vacation have encountered similar quandaries.  While I could find any number of friends and relatives to care for my low-maintenance older dog, asking someone to welcome my semi-potty trained puppy into their home seemed like a good way to strain a relationship.

 

Crossing friends and relatives off the list, I started sourcing dog boarding facilities in the Twin Cities.  For a 6X6 space and some play time socialization with other dogs, I could board my dogs for about $45 a day for the first dog and another $22 for the second.  Not ideal.  So my next thought led me to consider the folks I know in the dog training and breeding business, which led me to think about Chad Hines, owner of Willow Creek Kennels of Little Falls, Minnesota.

 

A quick search of the Willow Creek Kennels website informed me that boarding was a service they provided that also included some gun dog training for roughly a third of the price compared to Twin Cities boarding options.  I followed up my web search with a phone call explaining my training priorities for Trammell & Izzy to Chad and my dogs were booked for a two-week stay.

 

I drove Trammell & Izzy to Willow Creek Kennels on Saturday morning where I met Chad and some of his staff.  The drop-off was exactly the scenario every bird dog owner hopes for when leaving their pets in the hands of another.  Chad and his staff took the time to evaluate both of my dogs, talk through my expectations and show me the kennel’s entire facilities; including the specific kennels where my dogs would be staying.  He even took some time to run the young pup, Izzy, through the beginning paces of bird introduction.

 

Izzy retrieved her first pheasant on Saturday . PHOTO BY WILLOW CREEK KENNELS

Another benefit Willow Creek Kennels provides to clients with dogs being boarded are short videos.  Using iPhones, the Willow Creek Kennels staff shoot countless videos of the training process which they upload to YouTube and Facebook for their clients’ viewing pleasure.  Imagine – fishing on the Canadian border and receiving video proof of your beloved bird dog’s safety and training progress.  Pretty awesome!

 

If you have a fishing getaway of your own, or are planning that family visit to Disney, take the time to check out the boarding facilities of the local bird dog trainers and breeders in your area.  You may be surprised to find a more affordable option for your bird dog’s boarding accompanied by the added benefit of a little training to sharpen the pup’s skills come autumn.

 

Listen to FAN Outdoors this Thursday evening (7PM to 9PM CDT) and Saturday morning (6AM to 8AM CD) for our live broadcast from Rainy Lake Houseboats.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

 

 

Pheasant Feathers for the Fly Fisherman

Monday, July 11th, 2011

John Edstrom, PF's Merchandise Manager, shows off a steelhead hooked on a pheasant feather fly.

There are a lot of pheasant hunters that spend the spring and summer waist-deep in trout streams.  For many, reading a stream’s ripples is akin to assessing grasslands for likely pheasant flushing locations.  One such person is John Edstrom, PF’s Merchandise Manager and owner of Headwaters Fly Fishing Company.

John Edstrom's collection of flies featuring rooster feathers.

This morning, John brought in some of his favorite flies made from pheasant feathers (pictured).  Each of these five flies feature tail feathers from roosters and/or ruffed grouse John harvested over his pair of English setters, Chance & Jake. 

Do you tie flies made from pheasants you shoot during the autumn?

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

How are you enjoying the outdoors this summer?

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Memorial Day is generally considered the official start of summer and with the June calendar now hanging, it’s time to think about summer vacations, family plans and how we will enjoy the summer.  I’ve learned one thing moving to the far north – summer is worshipped and you get outdoors!  It also passes very quickly.  Summer is a great time to get kids outdoors to explore.  So many youngsters today are not allowed to roam freely in the woods and prairies, so you may need to plan that trip to the state park, a favorite fishing spot or road trip.  Road trips, whether long or short, are great for impromptu stops to explore and stretch legs.  Leave the IPods and cell phones in the car.  Pick up sandwiches and stop by a creek or lake or local park.  Even after a hot day, summer evenings can be almost magical.  I remember

Summer is the time to explore!

walks to get ice cream and watching the fireflies come out.

What fun things have you planned outdoors this summer?

Why I Hunt

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

A New Year's Eve 2010 ruffed grouse hunt in the U.P. with my dad, nephew Nicholas and bird dog Trammell. Why do I hunt? Look at the photo. Nuff said.

When Andrew asked me to write a blog about WHY I HUNT, I said “no problem” and figured it would be a pretty easy assignment.  However, as I’ve examined the question, it’s become clear to me that my answer is a complex one with many layers developed over time and influenced by many people.

The St.Pierre & Maurer Clans

Why I started hunting has everything to do with my family.  Dad hunts.  Mom hunts.  Grandparents hunt.  Aunts and uncles hunt too.  I grew up in a family culture that embraced the outdoors, nurtured my enthusiasm for the chase, and celebrated every kill with a meal.

Say Ya to Da U.P. eh!

I grew up on ten acres in the woods surrounded by thousands more “neighborhood” acres of land accessible by friendship or government.  After getting dropped off by the school bus, I’d grab my Ithaca and enter the forest looking for grouse, timberdoodles, rabbits, squirrels, ducks, geese, and deer.  I also lived in a town that closed school on the opening day of deer hunting season.  My teachers hunted, my classmates hunted, my buddies hunted, so I hunted.

Tradition and a Brain Aneurysm

As happens to many a young lad at college, the pursuit of other “things” captured much of my attention.  However, I always kept sacred a long weekend’s return home to Michigan from college in Minnesota for an October bird hunt with my family.  Early into my working career, my dad suffered a brain aneurysm, which reaffirmed my need to continue those bird hunting traditions.  As my dad laid in that hospital bed fighting for his life, my prayers surrounded the plea for future grouse hunts with him. 

Note to Dad: I’ll see you in Escanaba on September 15, 2011!

Solitude

I’ll certainly never decline an opportunity to hunt with family or friends, but my preference these days is to walk alone.  The world has become a busy place and I’m a guy that values “being inside my own head.”  Give me a field of waving grass or a forest of Fruity Pepple-colored leaves and I will walk till sunset with my thoughts and just my bird dog to keep me company.

If You Kill it, You Grill it

I am an ardent believer in eating everything I kill afield, and over time I’ve grown to love cooking, especially wild game meats.  Pheasant, quail, grouse, duck, and venison are so much fun to experiment with in the kitchen.  In fact, my wife and I share the fruits of each fall with family and friends in an annual holiday “Pheasant Feast,” in which I’ll cook a dozen different dishes. 

To Love a Bird Dog

If you’ve ever read my blog before, you know how much I love my German shorthair, “Trammell.”  Owning my own bird dog (as opposed to the family pup), has given me a new sense of excitement and enjoyment that I never experienced in prior years.  Not only has Trammell taught me how to be a better hunter, she’s taught me to see and not just look at every aspect of the hunt. 

Completing Andrew’s WHY I HUNT task has taken me hours.  On one hand, it is complex.  On the other hand, I can answer it in a simple phrase: “it’s who I am.”

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.

Hunting Goes Primetime on Travel Channel

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

   

Rinella with a plucked Currasow from a recent trip to Guyana for Travel Channel's new show THE WILD WITHIN

If you are a frequent visitor to my blog, then you know a big part of my love of hunting comes from cooking and eating wild game.  One guy that shares a similar bent is Steven Rinella.  Rinella is the author of two outstanding non-fiction books; The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine and American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon.  Later this week, Rinella takes his passion for hunting and wild game cuisine to Travel Channel in the new show The Wild Within premiering Sunday, January 9th at 9PM eastern / 8PM central.   

Rinella was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about his new show, his love of hunting, and his favorite wild game meals.  

ST.PIERRE: You’ve written two fantastic books about hunting and now have this exciting television show, The Wild Within, coming out on Travel Channel about our hunter/gatherer roots.  Why is hunting so important that you’ve made it your life’s work to explain hunting – and in many ways justify it – to society at large?  

RINELLA: Hunting is important to me primarily because it has given me a strong, visceral connection to my family and to wilderness. I felt these connections long before I felt the need to explain or justify hunting. I suppose I just took it for granted. But eventually I developed the urge to share my hunting experiences with others, both for purposes of entertainment (mine and theirs) and also as a means of preserving the hunting lifestyle. If the public understands how hunting is practiced by the majority of responsible citizens, then they will be much more likely to sympathize with our way of life. And, hopefully, they’ll be more willing to help protect wildlife habitat for the enjoyment of future generations. My two brothers, Matt and Danny, felt similar callings. They are both avid hunters, and live primarily off wild game. They each earned doctorates in ecology, and they do professional environmental work aimed at preserving and protecting wild places. As different as our professional lives are, I feel that the three of us share a common motivation.   

ST.PIERRE: America’s declining hunter numbers are well-documented.  In your opinion, why is it important for today’s hunters to recruit a new generation to hunting?  

RINELLA: I think the answer to the above question helps to answer this question as well, so I’d like to take a slightly different approach to the subject of future generations of hunters. If we are going to recruit future hunters, and I believe that we will, we will have to do it through the promotion of wild game as a sustainable, humane, and healthy food choice. I think that food is something that both would-be hunters and those who are opposed to hunting can readily understand. It is the great key to our future.      

ST.PIERRE: To date, what has been your favorite hunting adventure?  Why?  

RINELLA: Before I began working on The Wild Within, my favorite hunting adventure, by far, was a hunt that I did for wild buffalo in the Wrangell Mountains of south-central Alaska. That trip opened my eyes to some of the continuity that binds all hunters, whether they live today or 10,000 years ago. I chronicled that amazing hunt in a book, American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon. Since I began filming the show, however, I’ve had some hunting experiences that will stick in my mind for the rest of my life. Some truly crazy stuff!  I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so you’ll have to tune in to see what I’m getting at.   

ST.PIERRE: I believe I connect with you as a hunter because of your “need” to eat everything you kill.  a) What is your favorite game to eat and b) what’s the oddest game that you enjoy that would surprise most folks?   

RINELLA: I have a lot of favorites, but I’m particularly fond of mallard ducks. I pluck them and then remove the breast fillets along with the wing and leg. So it’s like a boneless breast but with bone-in wing and leg. Then I sear them in oil on a smoking hot skillet and pop them into a 400-degree oven for just a couple minutes. They’re almost raw, I cook them so quickly. But, man, are they good. One of the strangest things I’ve eaten, as far as wild game is concerned, are antelope bladders. Stuff them with a French-style mire-poix and poach them. It’s really great.   

ST.PIERRE: I know you do a bit of pheasant hunting, what makes chasing roosters exciting to a guy that crisscrosses the world on all sorts of incredible hunting adventures?  

RINELLA: Three things. First, I love the moment that a pheasant kicks up, just when you’ve got to figure out whether it’s a hen or a rooster. It’s like a burst of adrenaline chased with a burst of restraint: shoot…or don’t shoot. And then you hear the cackle of a rooster or see those tail feathers and you can let the adrenaline do its work. Second, I appreciate the physical beauty of the birds. I love the bronze backs and that iridescent head. There’s nothing like it. Third, pheasants make a great meal. I prefer them with a light brine and popped into my smoker. Added to a simple pate or eaten straight up, they are one of the finest tasting game birds.  

Rinella with a Canadian goose shot on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska

ST.PIERRE: Will there be any bird hunting episodes during your first season of The Wild Within?  

RINELLA: There isn’t a specific bird hunting episode, per se, but bird hunting makes a cameo in a number of places. I hunt geese during the Southeast Alaska episode, and I bowhunt for crestless and black curassow in the jungles of South America during an episode shot in Guyana.  

ST.PIERRE:  Personally, I love bird hunting above all other pursuits because of the “employment” of my German shorthaired pointer to help me make a kill and put food on the table.  Do you own a bird dog, falcon or employ nature in some other ways to help you hunt?  

RINELLA: I owned a wonderful white Labrador named “Duchess” for much of my life, from the time I was ten until I was twenty-two. She was a tough hunter with a fine-tuned nose. My brothers and I used her for everything, including pheasant, ducks, geese, ruffed grouse, and woodcock. She was even a good rabbit dog, though her white color caused her to take a shotgun pellet in the tip of the nose when we were hunting rabbits in the snow. Not sure who hit her – no one ever fessed up – but I imagine she was trailing a rabbit pretty closely when it happened. I was able to pop that pellet out of her snout like popping a pimple. I don’t think she ever knew it happened, as she was annoyed when I stopped her long enough to get it out.  

ST.PIERRE:  If you could hunt with anyone throughout history, who would it be and what would you pursue together?  

RINELLA: There are two people, actually. The first is Daniel Boone. I would give about anything to have accompanied him through the Cumberland Gap and Pine Mountain Gap when he first ventured into the territory of Kentucky in 1769. The land there was rich with buffalo, deer, elk and bear, and Boone was one of the finest hunters to have ever lived. Look beyond the myth of the man and you’ll see an amazing figure that embodies just about everything that I admire in hunters. I do not know the name of the second person – no one does – but I dream of having hunted with the first Siberian who ever crossed the Bering Strait into the New World. I’d share a fire with that man, and roast up some wooly mammoth. That’d make for a good night.  

ST.PIERRE: In the show’s promo video, you say that “Every pursuit is a link to our past, and our past is the key to our future.”  How can hunting be a key to our future?   

RINELLA: Hunting is a key to our future because it teaches us how to live intimately and carefully with nature. Not to destroy nature, or to passively observe her, but to live with her. That is the key.  

ST.PIERRE: Sounds like a perspective Aldo Leopold would share in 2011 if you ask me!   

Rinella will also be on FAN Outdoors radio show this Saturday morning at 6:50AM (CENTRAL).  Tune in at www.KFAN.com

Tune in to The Wild Within on Travel Channel premiering this Sunday, January 9th at 9PM eastern / 8PM central.  I know I’ll be watching!  

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.

The End of Fishing

Monday, September 13th, 2010

I'm done chasing northerns. It's bird season.

On Sunday at 2:45 p.m. CDT, I swung a chartreuse Rapala back and thought to myself: “This is my last cast of 2010.”

I will not be participating in the autumn walleye bite.  I will not be chasing muskies when they are most likely to strike.  My spot on the river banks for the salmon run will be unoccupied again this fall, and my waders won’t be used for steelhead casting either.

Don’t get me wrong, I like fishing.  It’s a pretty fun amusement to hold me over during the summer months.  But my first love has always been hunting.  And at my core, I am a bird hunter. 

It’s time to unleash the bird dog and hunt ‘em up!

Trammell is excited for fishing season to be over too.

Tidbits

 

  • Michigan’s ruffed grouse season starts on Wednesday, while Wisconsin & Minnesota open up the season this coming Saturday.

 

  • The Sioux Falls Pheasants put forth an impressive first season, but fell short of a championship.  They were swept in the American Association Championship round. 

 

  • I wrote about an ACE Hardware clerk confusing me with MMA champ Georges St.Pierre a few weeks ago.  Turns out there’s another St.Pierre connection out there.  After 14 years in the minors, Detroit Tigers catcher Max St.Pierre joined the big club.  My German shorthaired pointer, Trammell, is named after another Tigers ballplayer – Alan Trammell.

 

  • I enjoyed David Dibenedetto’s recent Field & Stream blog, but I just don’t think I could hunt with another man’s dog and leave mine at home.  I’m also nervous about the idea of rail hunting as described being “a cross between upland hunting and flats fishing.”  That spells GATORS to this Midwesterner!

 

  • I believe that the time has come for me to purchase a Garmin Astro.  I’ve been looking at them for two years and am about ready.  Any Astro owners out there willing to share their user reviews in the comments section below?

Fly Fishing Idaho’s South Fork – A wing shooter gives it a try

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

PF Editor Herwig on his first fly fishing expedition for Upland Tales magazine, PF’s youth pub, on the South Fork of the Snake River in Idaho. (photo by Dan Burr)

Last July 17, I found myself in one heck of an idyllic situation: floating in a classic wood drift boat catching brilliantly colored Yellowstone cutthroat and rainbow trout on the South Fork of Idaho’s Snake River.

The South Fork runs hard, high and clear sandwiched between the Gros Ventre Range on the east and the Caribou Range on the west by the Wyoming border.

This was my first time in a drift boat and fly fishing. I had several fish on, one for quite a while – but never boated one. Dang hooks are too small and I got yelled at for reeling. Huh? Hey, I’m from Minnesota. Here we’re used to setting giant hooks in giant fish and muscling them into the boat where they are eyed over for their fillet potential. Grab the butter. These guys throw their fish back. What’s that?

My friend, and longtime PF magazine illustrator, Dan Burr of Tetonia, Idaho, generously provided nearly everything for my trip that day, including expert lessons and lots of muscle power to get us up and down that rowdy, fish-filled mountain river.

While I enjoyed the day immensely, Dan won’t be surprised to hear I won’t be taking up fly fishing anytime soon. I can’t see myself doing anything that would cut into my “trigger therapy” time.

So, at day’s end, I found myself sitting cross-legged on the boat’s bow sans fly rod, meditating over the magnificent scenery drifting by, taking notes for a story in our youth magazine Upland Tales and being thankful I lived to experience such a stupendous day.

Hey, all you hook-heads out there, there’s something new afoot for fishing conservation. Keep America Fishing™ has been formed by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) to renew efforts to unite the sportfishing industry and the country’s 60 million anglers to keep our nation’s public waters open, clean and abundant with fish. A noble cause, indeed.

Check out www.KeepAmericaFishing.org™ for the latest news regarding efforts to keep our waters accessible and full of yummy fish. Hope they approve of using frying pans full of fillets and creamery butter!

Cougars, Snappers, and Some Dog Treats

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Listen back to last Saturday's FAN Outdoors radio show for dog training tips from Steve Ries and an early pheasant forecast from Ben Bigalke.

Here are some quick hitters for this Monday morning.

 

  • Also last Saturday on FAN Outdoors, Ben Bigalke (Pheasants Forever’s Regional Wildlife Biologist for South Dakota) gives an early look at the pheasant forecast in the “Pheasant Capital” during the end of Hour 1 and the beginning of Hour 2.  Ben tells us it’s been wet during the peak of the pheasant hatch across SoDak, NoDak, Nebraska, and Minnesota.  Bummer!

 

  • I spent Sunday on the lake with my good friend Matt Kucharski.  The fishing was slow, but the sun was out and the laughs were fast and furious.  Good friends & the outdoors, always a good time.

 

  • Check out the story of Rick Oliver.  He’s a North Carolina dude who has been struck by lightning and mauled by a bear.  No mention of any deep sea fishing plans.

 

  • Cougars in the U.P.  Yep, the Michigan DNR has their 7th confirmed “Yooper” cougar in my homeland of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  I have yet to see a mountain lion in Michigan or anywhere else, but I have had the pleasure of tasting them at wild game dinners.  You may be surprised to know they are a very delicious white meat that reminds me a bit of pork.  They are legal to hunt in many western U.S. states.

 

  • Speaking of tasty . . . Minnesota’s snapping turtle season gets underway on July 1st.  Check out the Minnesota DNR’s fishing regulations book for the rules around snappers.  Be careful, they can snap off your finger, but their sautéed flesh is worth the risk. 

 

  • July 1st also marks the beginning of the new season of Pheasants Forever Television on Outdoor Channel.  I’m predicting this year’s premier episode will be Matt Morlock’s Hollywood coming out party.  Matt is an “Acre Maker” Farm Bill Biologist for Pheasants Forever in South Dakota and makes appearances in two segments of the PF TV season premier.  He’s also a helluva good guy, a cracker-jack hunter, and grows the meanest beard on the Pheasants Forever staff.

 

  • If you haven’t checked it out yet, take a gander at For Love of Dogs, an Outdoor Life group of essays I was honored to participate in writing.  I wrote about my love for German shorthaired pointers, while other hunters extolled the virtues of their favorite dog breed; including, a compelling essay on Labradors from my good friend John Devney of Delta Waterfowl.

 

 

  • And to end today’s hit list, I’ll ask the same question Field & Stream’s David Dibenedetto asked last week: Do You Feed Your Dog Table Scraps?  I will admit that my pup, Trammell, has been known to find a few nibbles after most dinners in the St.Pierre household.  What about you?  Does your dog get any table treats?

Memorable Hunts in 10 States

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

The steep, rocky island on Utah's Great Salt Lake is visible over the control panel of our airplane before landing for our hunt.

In 12 years as editor of Pheasants Forever Journal and Quail Forever Journal (five years), I have had the privilege of hunting with our chapters in 30 different states. These are some of the most memorable hunts I’ve shared with our readers:

  1. Flying a single-engine airplane onto an island on Utah’s Great Salt Lake to hunt wild chukar. The lake is home to eared grebes, of which over a million nest there. They feast on huge blooms of brine shrimp that turn the water pink over large areas.
  2. Hunting bobwhite quail in southwest Florida using a huge, 10-foot high buggy complete with kennels for dogs, camping gear, water and food. Built a fire to cook dinner among a huge area of native prairie and pines.
  3. Antelope hunting in east central Wyoming. We walked over one hill and beheld such a large herd of antelope that we dubbed it the ‘American Serengeti.’
  4. Wild turkey hunt in far southeast Iowa on land recently purchased by Pheasants Forever. My first-ever gobbler weighed a whopping 26 pounds.
  5. Pheasant hunting near Winner, South Dakota. I remember one flock that flew in at dusk from a cornfield into a prairie/marsh to roost. It was some 20 yards deep in the sky and a quarter mile long.
  6. Pheasant hunting along the Missouri River in North Dakota. The wild, unpopulated river bluffs, drainages and huge prairies filled with game reminded me of Lewis and Clark’s descriptions from 1804-06.
  7. California quail hunting along the Snake River in Oregon. Boating the river and climbing its steep valley lush with vegetation and rocky outcrops was exhilarating.
  8. Pheasant and duck hunting along the Platte River in northeastern Colorado. A Wetland Reserve Program project offered abundant numbers of roosters and green heads (from an island pit blind). I’ll never forget the salty dog that shared my blind and fed me thick, black coffee to keep me awake after a six-hour drive on three hours sleep.
  9. Scaled quail hunting near Midland, Texas. One flock of birds numbered 1,000. We walked between the cactus and mesquite tickets while the dogs pointed flock after flock.
  10. Pheasant and quail hunting in central Ohio. Afterwards, sitting down at a big table in a farmhouse for a home made meal the farmer and his wife served us. You’ll never meet nicer, happier people than I do traveling this country’s back roads. Doing conservation and hunting make you a happy person!

What’s your most memorable hunt?