Category Archives: Fodder

Target Clientele?

Extremely Polite Southern Accent Customer Service Girl: “Hello, welcome to “_______.” How can I help you?”

Me: “Yeah, hi. I’m not sure how I got on your mailing list, but I’d like to be removed, please.”

EPSACSG: “Ok sir, I can do that for you, but can I ask why you’d like to not continue to be informed about our fine offerings?”

Me: “Uh, you’d like to know why I don’t want to receive your catalog?

Well, since you’re asking…to be honest, I don’t think I’m exactly your “target clientele.” You see, I live in the West, and hunt for wild birds on public lands, on foot. I’ve never been to a private $7k/week plantation lodge. In fact, I’m pretty sure that someone in a position of influence would make sure I never even made it to the front door of such an establishment.

image-pro-shop

Nor have I ever been transported from one planted bird location to another in a horse-drawn carriage. Do those things have a wet bar?

I’ve also  never faced the peculiar dilemma of which sportcoat I should pack for standing around the fireplace after a day “afield,” while discussing my many and varied accomplishments in both the realm of canned hunting and finance.

Also…Are you still there?”

EPSACSG (practiced politeness eroding quickly):I am, sir.”

Me: Great. Also, I can’t ever imagine myself in a pair of your $200 bright green jackass slacks with the embroidered Labradors and ducks on them. In fact, I would fully expect that these pants come with a clown nose, a ball gag and a pair of handcuffs. Is this true, or are these accessories extra?”

Click.

Me: “Hello? Ma’am? I still have a few more reasons I’d like to share… Hello?”

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Filed under Fodder, Glutton For Punishment, Ill-mannered Jackals, Keeping it Real, Talegate, True stories, We might have been jrunk.

Direction

Compasses are fascinating things, with much to teach for being an inanimate object. I’m speaking of course, of an analog piece,  little changed for centuries, not the app on your phone.

There can be a number of things that affect the proper reading of a real compass, causing one to lose direction. Unlike your phone, a dead battery isn’t one of them.

compass

The Tru-Nord pin-on compass. Generally more reliable than I am.

Other things in your pocket may be interfering, pulling the needle from true. Take this as a sign that you may have too many things in your pockets, and that it might be time to simplify. Don’t let other things confuse your compass and cause you to lose direction. True direction is the highest priority.

It seems inevitable that cheap compasses develop bubbles over time. These too will affect the needle. Don’t trust your life, whether it be your ultimate safety or only your current direction, to cheap things. You’ll get exactly what you paid for.

Compasses are only useful when you can see them, and the less accessible they are, the less likely you are to use them. Keep your compass handy and refer to it often.

There is an old adage to the effect of, “if you keep checking your course regularly, it’s much harder to get lost than if you wait until you’re not sure where you are.”

Sage advice.

3 Comments

Filed under Fodder, Keeping it Real, Reloading, Tools of the Trade

To those of you who are here by accident:

Some of you are here intentionally, I know this because I have access to the site stats and you found us using search terms like “chukar hunting blog” or “how to hunt gambles quail.
Many of you will be sadly disappointed, like those of you who came here after searching “hunting breeks.” I’m also sad for those of you who came here while searching for the location of “Giffy Butte.”
It makes perfect sense to me that after “Mouthful of Feathers” and its variants, the most used search term that brought people to MOF is “WTF.” WTF indeed.

A fair number of the searched phrases are questions. I thought I’d answer some of the questions that folks have searched for and ended up at MOF seeking answers.

“What is a ditch parrott?” - Good question. It’s one of those pink decorative birds on a stake that rednecks put in front of their mobil homes.
“What does quail taste like?” - Imagine a marshmallow peep grew up then raised a clutch of little marshmallow peep chicks exclusively on a diet of butter and roasted peanuts. And then, when those baby peeps were as cute as they could possibly be, you ate them.
“What do feathers taste like?” - What kind of sick bastard are you?
“When is too old for bird hunting?” - The people who write here and many of the ones who read this blog would happily breathe their last breath while climbing a scree slope towards a dog on point. So I guess never.
“Is there chukar in Wyoming?” - This is a popular question, so I want to answer it correctly. No. The good news is with your fancy talkin’ skills you goin’ to fit right in in Wyoming.
“When you go pheasant hunting do you eat the birds?” - That’s like asking “When you go to bars, do you drink the beer?”
“Why does a ruffed grouse defecate in one place?” - I like this question and I hope whoever searched for it contacts us to become a contributor. This question has a real hillbilly Confucius feel to it.
“Are nice guns meant to be used?” - Yes. Use it, or give it to me and I’ll keep it safe for you.
“Wtf images?” - Is this a question about our photography or lack of? Some strategically placed punctuation could be really helpful here.
“How to keep a cigarette out of a mouthful.” - Don’t drink out of the urinal. This brings up another point, folks, keep your dogs off the interweb. It’s just not a safe environment for setters.
“What does chukar taste like?” - It tastes like victory. Sweet, delicious victory.
“Is bourbon flaskable?” - Does a ruffed grouse defecate in the woods?

Thanks for stopping by.
GM

9 Comments

Filed under Fodder, Reloading, Talegate, We might have been jrunk.

New Country

Digital topo maps. GPS. Phone apps. Google Earth…

The list goes on. The number of tools at our disposal for scouting new country, without actually going there, has never been greater.  And I plead guilty to using all of them, though it would be dishonest to add “with no regrets.”

It wasn’t that long ago that in order to know what was on the other side of the ridgeline, or what that remote valley held, you had to put boots on the ground, your ass in gear, the necessary gear on your back, and go there.

Now, if I choose to, I can already have a very good idea of what those places contain before I get there. In fact, “getting there” can easily just become an exercise in confirming what a ton information from the comfort of my sofa has already told me. The biggest remaining variable, in these cases, is simply – “will there be birds there?”  Which, thankfully, no technology I currently know of can really tell me. I can only hope there will never be a substitute for the hard-earned answer to this question.

Ridgetop/Hank

I’m no Luddite, and I know that these tools have their useful place. But my fear is that as with so many things, for every convenience we adopt, something is also lost. That the rush and the intense sensory imprints of true, first-time discovery in new country are becoming watered-down in the process, pre-downloaded as we are with so much pre-trip info. That our desire for as much pre-existing knowledge as possible before going anywhere might just be kicking the legs out from under what used to be the joy, and occasional uncomfortability, of exploration. Can we still allow ourselves to be surprised by what’s around the bend?

And so, this season I’m deliberately choosing to ration my technological temptations, and preserve a little more of the mystery of new country. I want to know my location because I’ve been taking it all in, with all of my senses, every step of the way, not because I’m continually staring at a blue dot on a digital map. I want to remember what it is like to discover what might be on the other side of the mountain when I first see it with my own two eyes and not before, led on by virgin curiosity. Or, at least by the more likely scenario – wondering where the fuck my dog went.

I suppose I could get a GPS tracker linked to a harness-mounted GoPro for him and never have to wonder again…

11 Comments

by | September 8, 2014 · 6:00 am

Off-Season Pursuits

He was fully immersed in his second favorite thing to do in this world – chasing a tennis ball.

Without warning, he abandoned his second favorite thing to do in this world, which could only mean one thing.  He hooked a hard left and headed toward the houses, nose to the ground, inhaling scent at a full run.

From a distance, it was obvious he was on point.

A standoff had ensued. The fowl held its ground briefly, before making a fatal mistake.

As the yardbird turned and ran, the shorthair was on it in seconds, shaking the life out of it.

We’ve been politely invited to help our neighbor build a new fence.

vintique_image

3 Comments

Filed under Dogs, Fodder, Surviving the off season, Talegate, The other 7 months of the year., True stories

Thought for the day…

While I’m normally a pretty accepting, unflappable person, there are two things I really can’t stand;

People who are intolerant of dog breeds other than their own,

and

Weimaraners.

 

 

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Filed under Fodder, Reloading, Surviving the off season, We might have been jrunk.

Ghosts

Over the crunch of dry grass underfoot there is a distant, creepy moan.
Like Keith Richards dropping in over Ronnie Wood’s steady strum, the cry floats above the sound of the wind rolling through the gentle folds of CRP.

My mind races through the possibilities…a lost moose calf down in one of the dense cover drainages? Mating cats? The ghost of a jilted lover, screaming from the tumbledown remnants of the farmhouse over the rise? I try to keep track of the dog as he works the currents, and for a while the distraction abates.

There can be an expansive, desolate melancholy to big empty places like this, so different than the claustrophobic disquiet of being alone in thick, dark woods, though it can be none the less unsettling. The dog and I continue to work the field, but something still feels odd. And then the caterwauling returns, so far-flung and ethereal, carried on sporadic wisps of gust, that I’m second-guessing whether I’m imagining it.

The rusty windmill in the distance continues to slowly spin, keening out its unearthly wail. The dog goes on point, but there is nothing there.

6 Comments

Filed under Fodder, Reloading

And then it was winter.

I was out with the dog in shirtsleeves just a few days ago. Now he looks at me with a pathetic mixture of loathing and remorse when I try to coax him into the kennel in the back of the truck. He tries to squeeze into the cab as I throw my gun and vest in, and learns that “denial” ain’t just a river in Egypt.

“Buck up kid, you’ll be lying on a fluffy bed next to the stove again as soon as you find me a couple birds.”

His head cocks at the word, “birds.”

He jumps into the back and curls up in the kennel. He’s not exactly happy about it, but he’s at least realized this temporary suffering has a purpose.

Good thing for all of us to keep in touch with, I guess.

3 Comments

Filed under Fodder, Keeping it Real, Talegate

Pocket Stash

It isn’t personal, but there are those places you keep to yourself, maybe even from your closest hunting buddies. Pocket stashes.

In part, you don’t share these because they’re an ‘ace in the hole,’ or at least you tell yourself that. Those places that are a little more out of the way, a little more under the radar, not on the usual list of spots you hit with friends. Even better if they offer a place to park out of sight. Maybe they’re even of questionable legality, and a low-key approach is best. But you didn’t hear that from me.

Of course, sometimes the irony here is that some of your co-conspirators have these same stashes. You can go along for several seasons, thinking you’re the only one that bothers with that particular marginal field or covert. And then one day you get there and find your buddies’ truck already parked. Of course, the appropriate response in this case is to leave a beer on the tailgate and move on to the next.

The other reason for having a few pocket stashes on your list is because these can be spots that are only big enough for one person and one dog. Limited spots that you might be able to cover in 20 minutes. But, this can be very productive. And some days you link these little pocket stashes together into one glorious, full day with just you and one dog.

All good hunting requires creativity.

- Smithhammer

4 Comments

Filed under Fodder, Keeping it Real, Talegate

Making the time

Willing grouse for the taking.

I’ve been kicking my own butt these past few days.
Seems as if I know exactly where a few blue grouse are and they are only about 15 minutes from my house, and somehow, I haven’t found the time to go up there with a shotgun.
This past weekend, I found the grouse while horseback helping a neighbor rancher round up some recalcitrant cows and calves that were refusing to leave the high country. Stumbled right into a couple of young grouse in the Doug fir, and just at the time that I was thinking: This looks like good grouse habitat.
Spent the whole day looking at guacamole-assed cows. The next day, I started to get nervous about the coming snowfall and gathered more firewood out of the hills. The next day–and yes, it was a three-day-weekend for me–I spent another whole day at the neighboring ranch helping sort cows for preg-testing.
Then work. Here I am. At work. It’s sunny outside. Damn my hide. Sometimes, I guess, life has difficult choices.
–TR

2 Comments

Filed under Blues, Fodder, Talegate