Upland Bird Season is Here!


 

The beautiful speckled plummage of a ruffed grouse laying on the forest floor. John's hand is picking up the bird.
Ruffed Grouse Hunting Success. Photo by Kevin Kossowan

I am about to head out into the fields and forests around my home here in N Alberta. The countryside is just beginning to show the fall colours that I crave all year long. I have a new shotgun, an over/under that I've wanted for many years now, and I am excited to get out there and start enjoying my favourite wild food ingredient. The Ruffed Grouse!


As a primer to my upland season, I rang up Oliver Ringsby-Burgess. We recorded a great chat about upland hunting in his home country, the UK. The images of hunting birds in England, everyone wearing tweed on a foggy morning, the dogs and beaters working the brushy hills, and high-flying pheasants bitchily cackling as they burst from cover. These are the romantic images of old-world bird hunting that inspired me to purchase a Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon, and years later, my beloved Labrador, Brant.


I've always enjoyed the upland species here in Alberta, both hunting them and on my kitchen table. Surprisingly, however, I have spent proportionately little time actively pursuing birds. They have almost always been an afterthought while bowhunting big game.


Not this year! I will spend time in a tree stand this October. I've drawn a bull moose tag for my family's home property where I've hunted since I was little, and in recent years, the moose encounters have at least equaled the whitetails as I target deer with the bow. I think I have a good shot at connecting with a moose with my bow. But first, Grouse!


 

I've sort of bunched up the podcast episodes lately. As I spend my summer fly fishing, those episodes pile up. I haven't had any complaints, but I am cognizant of the folks who perhaps aren't that interested in fishing. Now I am about to do the same thing with the upland birds. I hope you don't mind. More than that though, I hope that you would reach out to me and let me know what you like as far as episodes go. I actually don't get a lot of feedback as far as things to do differently. I would appreciate it if you had ideas to make the Food Afield Podcast a better product. Perhaps I should space out the episodes and intersperse different hunting and fishing activities out of season? Let me know your thoughts here.


So here we go with some upland Expedition Episodes starting next week! Be sure to give me ideas for discussion in the form of any questions you might have. Cheers!


John




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