I grew up on a secluded farm with a trout creek. No neighbors aside from the neighbors who own the ranch. They gave my brother and I free reign here. No competition for ducks, quail and trout. It’s the kind of place where you can play shotgun golf naked with your girlfriend and a spotlight at 3AM and nobody is going to be offended because those that would take offense to such pagan rites are far out of sensory range. My christian folks still live there and I still cherish the place like marrow. (Don’t worry, naked firing squads are only on special occasions, like when the folks are on vacation.)
|The old homestead.
I’ve long delved into how this type of upbringing has shaped me:
Selfish, self-reliant, intolerant of intrusion, and a vast appreciation for the natural order.
It’s give and take. And I wouldn’t take any of it back for the world.
I’ve gotten better about sharing over the years, but that suffices to say I’ve had the truest taste of freedom at my disposal for my entire life and going to hunt and fish public lands has always left a sour taste in my mouth.
Trash, traffic, dog trails to every holding spot, trucks parked in your long planned spot, guides parked in prime holes for an entire day flipping bugs for pasty overdressed gapers – I need not go on if you’re reading this blog because you undoubtedly know what the fuck I’m talking about.
You know what? All of these rich fucks who buy up the prime sporting tracts and put up signs attempting to deter you from entering their pristine untouched outdoor versions of their trophy wives may be on to something.
Although they never touch either of the above in any sort of memorable way they do preserve the lands of milk and honey for the rest of us… that is if they kick the bucket and/or you have no qualms about poaching the lands of a vacation home.
Then again, there isn’t enough to go around and I’m going to hold my assumption that you’re in my tax bracket and you don’t have the money to buy a double wide meth palace let alone an expansive tract of derelict farm or mountain rangeland.
So with the prerequisite out of the way I present my case for the last bastion of the upland cult:
I’m not talking about those of you pay to play boys and girls that have those disgusting youtube videos of your “guide” putting his Danner to a spun out wing tucked farm chukar in the middle of some corn stubble in the midwest. (I love you guys too, as you’ll see below)
I’m talking about this.
More square miles than you can cover in your life and 98% is open to the public. Wild chukar hunting in the Great Basin is the last frontier as far as upland hunting goes in the US. Sure it’s all been hunted at least once in the past but most of it so distant, desolate and foreboding that most people won’t hunt it twice. It’s a trek to get to these places if you live in the Big Empty, let alone if you live outside of it. And once you get there and face the searing heat, the bone shiver cold, the thousands of vertical feet you’ll traipse over the most unstable footing you can imagine and the toughness of the wild query, there’s no mystery on why so many of the people who do make it out here only hunt it once.
That’s why it is what it is.
Only the truly determined and foolhardy will do this with any kind of commitment. I think steelheaders are our kindred spirits. Plying all your energy into a losing proposition that gives minimal benefits in a maximum of time and energy spent.
Let’s be honest, when the apocalypse happens these things will be the first to go, but the people who have dedicated themselves to it will be the last.
This is appealing, no?
I don’t mean to gloat in the faces of my fellow wingshooters. I feel bad for you folks surrounded by private or pay to play land. I’m glad you’re continuing this tradition. Especially sticking it out like you do. I’m sure I wouldn’t have the tact to stick with it in such conditions.
Just don’t all rush out here at once.
And remember, it’s what you make of it.