The Bird Hunter’s Suitcase; Everything but Underwear
Last evening, I packed for a trip to South Dakota’s Fort Pierre Grasslands. This will be my second visit to the grasslands in search of my first greater prairie chicken, some sharp-tailed grouse, and hopefully a few coveys of Huns. I wrote about my first visit last December in a blog titled “Chicken Walking.” FYI – pheasants aren’t open till the middle of next month in SoDak.
As I was packing, I thought it may be interesting to document the gear I’m taking with me for this three day trip. Obviously, this is an early season hunt. The temps are expected to be in the 70s and there isn’t any rain in the forecast. That being said, here’s a list of the laundry I plan to get dirty.
- Danner Santiam Boots: In this guy’s view, a good comfortable pair of hunting boots is the most important piece of gear you own. Santiams are a bit toasty for early season (800 grain), but I love this particular model so much that I own two pairs and don’t own anything lighter for early season. Besides, up in the “North Country,” early season lasts two weeks max anyway. Unfortunately, you won’t find Santiam’s on the shelves of any retailer as the model is currently discontinued. However, I’ve been told direct from Danner that they plan on bringing the Santiam model back in November.
- PF’s Rooster Shadow Cap: I’m a hat guy. In fact, I own upwards of four dozen hats. Two dozen are Pheasants Forever hats and two dozen are Detroit Tigers hats. Of my PF hats, this particular one is my favorite. It’s a flex fit, so it’s ultra comfortable and has a pretty darn cool design, in my humble opinion.
- Wing Works Vest: It’s going to be hot this weekend, so I need to carry water. When it comes to an early season hunting vest, there’s no better option than this Wing Works Vest featuring the PF logo. It fits like a backpack, has sizeable pockets and can carry lots of water. The only downside to this vest comes in ruffed grouse hunting. The game bag is pretty open, so it does collect a lot of leaves and twigs. Outside of that, this one’s a winner for early season walking.
- L.L. Bean Upland Blue Jeans: I own a great pair of Filson chaps, but I’m opting for some classic denim for this early season walk. Unfortunately, L.L. Bean has discontinued this product. They are now selling a Wrangler version. I bought a pair of the Wranglers, but have yet to give them a go, so I’m sticking with my favorites on this trip.
- L.L. Bean’s Classic Upland Shirt: I either love L.L. Bean’s hunting gear or I hate it. They rarely produce products that land in the middle for me. This shirt, I love. These “moon boots,” I hate.
- PF’s Columbia Omni Freeze: Looking for the perfect early season shirt that breaks the norm? This baby is comfortable and cooling.
- PF’s Columbia Shooting Shirt B& G: This is another warm weather option. It’s so unique it’s already inspired a blog paying homage to its innovation.
- Scent-Lok Socks: My name is Bob and I’m a sock addict. Key for me is a pair that DOESN’T slide down my calf. These fit the bill.
- PF’s Mud River Dog Bag: I carry a lot of gear for my German shorthair pointer and it all fits in this multi-pocketed, affordably priced vet bag.
- Native Performance Dog Food: As the official dog food of Pheasants Forever and specially formulated for canine athletes, Native is the only food my pup has ever eaten.
- SportDOG 1850 eCollar with Beeper: SportDOG is also a national sponsor of Pheasants Forever. The 1850 is easy to use, yet offers a wide array of training options, “on point” sounds, and levels of tone.
- Beretta 686 Onyx Pro: Read about my feelings for this shotgun in the blog, “I’m just dating my shotgun.”
I’ve also packed “Captain” Billy Hildebrand’s de-skunking formula and a pair of needle nose pliers just in case we have another porcupine encounter in the grasslands. Well, before I start talking about my undies, let’s just call this particular hunter’s checklist “complete.”
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