Author Archives: Greg McReynolds

Wrong URL

MOF has a loyal fanbase (thanks mom) but we also have plenty of one-time visitors, many of who were captured here.

Since another hunting season is behind us, I thought I would do a quick recap of some of the actual search terms that brought people to MOF in 2015, answer a few questions and note some interesting factoids. What follows are actual search term and phrases that brought people to MOF via the magic of search algorithms.

Recently a gentleman (let’s go ahead and assume) found MOF after searching the phrase, “After I mowed grass there mocking bird is dancing with a little white part of wing open.”   I can offer no analysis of this phrase, but I certainly appreciate how search engines use MOF. I can just see some computer at google analyzing this phrase then determining “seems like this person is into birds and possibly bat-shit crazy, so let’s link them to MOF.”

“Renting a chukar dog in Winnemucca” – It was probably a good idea to use the Google for this one, as asking to rent a dog in Winnemucca seems almost guaranteed to get you an ass whooping.

“My pointing dog gets too for ahead” – We’ve all struggled with this and if your dog is young don’t sweat it, it will even out. If your dog is old and you’re still having this problem, it’s not the dog. It’s you. Consider some off-season cardio.

“Can I take a little jackal to my yard and hunt with it when it grows up with my dogs?” – I don’t know much about jackals, but offhand I’m going to call this a good idea. Worse case scenario, we will be happy to link to whatever catastrophic youtube video comes out of this experiment.

“Excuse me, but someone pooped in the hallway” – We’ve certainly all been there sir, but I think you were trying to contact the concierge. Just pick up the room phone and dial “0”.

“What do feathers taste like?” – Listen here you sick bastard, I told you to scram last year. Wrong site.

There was a significant amount of traffic around the search terms, “cross eyed”, “picture of crosseyed guy”, “cross eyed guys”, “cross side eyes”, etc. Whenever I see stuff people finding us with search terms like this, I say to myself, “Damn, what the hell are Tom and Bruce writing about these days? I really should read the content on MOF.” And then I wander over to the Drake or off the internet entirely before I commit to actually reading MOF.

“Good pheasant knives” – I prefer something medium sized with a wooden handle in case you have to hold it in your teeth. Pheasants are gaudy, but they’re not that great in a knife fight. Ignore the flash, stick them in the gizzard and basically any knife will work.

“Ground sluice” – I think I met this guy down in NM. He was an older gentleman hunting without a dog. His response to a rhetorical “how was it?” went something like, “Well, there are birds, but they are running and flushing wild, getting up at 50 yards and flying forever. I only got one shot.” A less rhetorical follow up question “get any?” was answered with, “Only three.”  Indeed.

“Why brain tend to forget hard learned lesson” – Judging by the grammar, I’ll go out on limb and say brain damage. Hunt chukar, fall, no talk good. Alternate scenarios, possibly from Utah or tried to rent a dog in Winnemucca.

“How to hunt chukar without a dog” – I’m suspicious that the guy who searched this phrase probably tried renting a dog, then resorted to ground sluicing.

Interesting note, many people found the blog while searching for specific towns and specific upland species. As in, “Chukar hunting near Salt Lake City.” We do all our hunting on Giffy Butte, so I’m sure those folks were disappointed.

Thanks for reading and if you found us by accident, I hope you’ll stay a awhile.

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Filed under Talegate

Stuff they used to do

Some of you (who probably have too much time on your hands) know that I had a short-lived blog called Shotgun Chronicle. It was largely a running list of guns I couldn’t afford to buy. Eventually I simply couldn’t keep up with all the hours searching Gunbroker in an attempt to fill my imaginary gun room and I shut the blog down.

Since upland seasons are over and it’s gear season, I’m going to bring back some SC content and maybe even write a new post or two. This is the Shotgun Chronicle reboot, via MOF.

mcreynolds_g_-4This is a photo of a screw from a French-built 20ga SxS. It’s not a fancy gun, just a well-built  guild gun, trim and fast, well balanced and modestly engraved. You’ll notice it has a serial number that matches the gun’s. This is the screw that resides under the top lever and pulls the trigger plate tight to the bottom of the action from above.
It’s also engraved on the head. When was the last time a gunmaker hand cut the engraving on a screw head for a gun costing less than a small house? When was the last time someone bothered to engrave a screw that you can’t even see when the gun is closed?
All in all, this little gun has about a dozen numbered parts.
Admittedly, some of this part numbering was self-serving because every part need to be timed and mostly hand fit. Numbering ensured getting the right screws back in the right gun if you had more than one on the bench or if a gun was sent out for engraving or bluing.
Still, it’s impressive and pretty cool to think about.
It makes you feel a little connection to the small gunmaker laboring over an individual gun sometime between the wars.

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A MOF update

You can tell it’s a good bird year because everyone would rather hunt than write. Still, it’s been unusually quiet around here, so I thought I’d let everyone know that MOF is alive and well and give you status reports from a couple of the writers here.

  • Tom – Bought a new truck, loaded his herd of dogs in the back and threw his computer in the river. When January rolls around he’ll either be back with a ton of new MOF material or we will have to turn MOF into a fundraiser to free Tom and his pack of setters from a Mexican prison.
  • Bruce – I think he’s out hunting recovering from a bike accident, but it must be a super secret spot. I checked all his usual secret spots and didn’t see him, so I hunted them just a tiny bit…
  • Chad  – AWOL. I’ve heard that bird populations in the southwest are exceptional this year and that may have something to do with it. Chad said, “Tell everyone bird hunting sucks in Oklahoma and Kansas.”
  • Greg – Went old school and had another baby. Look for late-season MOF posts with baby in tow. The good news is, his shooting can’t get any worse if he carries a baby instead of a gun.

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Good news everyone…

It’s only 8 months (242 days) until October 1.

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Worn

The sun is dropping to the southwest as we slog 200, 500, 800 feet up. The dog ranges ahead while I put one foot in front of the other, sometimes searching for a footing, sometimes skidding and sliding, clawing at the scree and the grass.

At the top, sweating and panting, my fingernails caked with dirt, I take a drink and feel the wind instantly turn the sweat of the climb into an uncomfortable liability. I look west and see the sinking sun against the backdrop of the Snake River Canyon. I know we may find a covey of birds before sundown. Or we may not. There are no guarantees. There are no planted birds, no mowed pathways. Flat ground is a rarity and birds, when you find them, are always uphill.

GregMcReynoldsBootsOct2014 (1)

What brings me to this place is the rawness of it. The opportunity to go where I wish without the burden of “posted” signs and knocking on doors begging for permission. There is no freedom like the freedom to Go. Miles to cross, mountains to climb, spaces to camp or hunt or hike, places to push ourselves and stretch against the bounds of modern convenience, here are the last places where we are unrestricted. Truly Free.

So I find it particularly galling that a few greedy bastards want to try and take it from us. For many of us, the loss of our public lands would be akin to a prison sentence. We can’t afford to buy access and we have no desire to take up golf or play video games.

For the most part, the public lands we hold so tightly are not the verdant lowlands, those were snapped up by settlers 100 years ago. They are hard, wild places and what we do is a hard scramble. There are days where I don’t even fire my gun. This is miles of hiking, climbing and pushing to find the secret spot – the one place so difficult that no one else has hunted it. The spot where the price of admission is so steep and daunting that only we would dare to chase birds in this place. Some days my dog gets one solitary point and all I have to show for it are sore legs and worn boots. Those are good days. Out here, It is not about killing birds, it’s about earning birds. In this crowd, people rarely even say the word “limit.”

A lot of other folks don’t understand. They tell me they gave up hunting when the bird population dropped, or that there is nowhere left to hunt. And if we talk about the flat-ground fence rows that used to hold hundreds of roosters for the price of asking, they’re right. Those places are gone, tilled up or simply sold off to folks richer than us.

And that’s the beauty of what we do. There are millions of acres open to hunting. All it takes is a good pair of boots. A good old American-made leather pair with heel counters and high tops, laces and spares, toe caps and Air Bob soles. The price of admission is what you’re are willing to put in and how much are you willing to sweat, not just in October, but in April and July.

I spend three times more money on boots than I do annually on shotgun shells – because I wear boots out.

The greedy bastards who want to sell my lands – the ones who want to carve the choicest parcels for themselves while selling the bulk of it to the multinational corporations to pillage and plunder – they have not earned that right. No one who has worn out a pair of American made hunting boots thinks we should sell our public lands. No one who has climbed to the top of Giffy Butte or Nowhere Ridge looking for chukar or elk or muleys thinks we should sell off those places to a bunch of rich, foreign bastards with Land Rovers and jacked-up golf carts.

My boots are worn and cracked, but I have paid the price of admission and my heart is full. The new robber barons who are calling for the sale of our hunting lands under the guise of “states rights” have not paid the price of admission. They have never worn out a pair of hunting boots in their lives.

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Filed under Conservation and legacy, Giving thanks, Open country, Public Land Rocks, Talegate

Lost

We impart a piece of ourselves on the things that we carry.

My father’s knife, my grandfather’s block plane, the gun that I have carried across a dozen states and hunted nearly every species of upland bird in America – these things do not define us, but they are significant exhibits that help explain us as people.

My gun was a light, quick handling Italian 20ga, made by I. Rizzini and imported by B.C. outdoors as a Verona. It came with a spare set of barrels in 28ga. More important than all that was that I shot it well. So much better than everything else, that in the years since I have rarely hunted with anything else.
Light parade, Jason, Boys, Matt, Thomas
My wife bought it for me on my 30th birthday. Completely unbeknownst to me, she ordered it, went to pick it up, didn’t like the one she got and sent it back for another one. The one that I ended up with was perfect for me and I loved it even more for its origin. There are few things in life like getting a truly special gift from the person you love most.
I’ll miss shooting that little gun and the confidence that I felt when I swung it on flushing birds. I regret that I never got to restock it, for once sanding, fitting and checkering a gun that would always be mine. More than that, I regret that I won’t have it to pass on to my sons and tell them about how their mom bought it for me.
It’s been a week since I drove off and left it behind in a nondescript parking spot near Arimo, Idaho. A week since I rushed back hours later in a panic, only to find it gone. It’s been a week since someone else picked up my gun, the one my wife gave me and that I held in trust for my kids.
It’s been a week since I filed the report with the sheriff, called every gun shop for a 100 miles. A week since I told my wife that I had squandered the effort that she put into that special gift all those years ago.
It’s been one day since, shooting another gun, I missed 12 shots in a row. And no, that is not a typo. 12.
I try tell myself that it was only a gun, but it was more than that.
Maybe someday, whoever picked it up will read this and the gun will find it’s way home. Maybe the serial number will come up somewhere or a gun shop will recognize it. Maybe I will have a chance to buy it back. Maybe a guilty conscious will deliver it to the sheriff, who will return it to me.
Or maybe the Verona with the faint crack in the wrist and the worn bluing on the action, the gun that I carried and left my mark on, will simply go somewhere else.
Somewhere out there, someone has a gun that I was holding in trust for my kids. It is part of a narrative that helps explain who I am and what a special person my wife is. It is an exhibit that means more than birds and miles and hunting. It has been imparted with my story and I want it back.

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Filed under Guns, Talegate, 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

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

An Idaho Scene

Chapter 1: An endorsement for Motel 6, Unless you have an aversion to ponies
Scene: Late night, somewhere in Idaho, a Motel 6 lobby

Hunter – I need a room.

Motel 6 guy – $49.

Hunter – Great. I have a pet.

Motel 6 guy – There is no pet fee. $49.

Hunter – Great.

Hunter hands over payment and waits in awkward silence

Motel 6 guy – Since you have a pet, I’ll put you on the bottom floor.

Hunter – Great. It can be difficult to make a Shetland pony climb the stairs.

Motel 6 guy says nothing. He simply hands over the key and walks away. The Hunter stands alone in the lobby, suddenly wondering what would happen if the setter came face to face with a pony in the hallway.

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