Back in the Serious Saddle…Sorta

July 19, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

Elmer missed that grouse…because he turned around (that always happens…)!

by Jay

We’ve been getting a bunch of “where are you guys?” emails the last few weeks – must be getting closer to bird season! Definitely getting there, thank goodness. The waiting…the anticipating….

In response to all the inquiries, wanted to bring you all up to speed about the hiatus here at SBH, in no particular order:

1. I do basically all the writing (making Brendan the smarter one…lol), and got my time squeezed. Work, all good, but it didn’t allow for time spent doing this blog, which really only qualifies as a labor of love.

2. I’m in the media biz in the outdoors, mostly in fishing. Been lucky to have caused and been involved in media that have changed and grown segments of the fishing market, and saw the same need – but much more dire – in upland.

Tried pretty hard to get the few (literally) folks in the hunting industry who remain Seriously interested in upland to recognize the need for more and different media to help stem the drastic decline in participation in upland hunting, but could only find about four guys who understand and they can’t make it happen, so…well, one of my sayings in biz is, “When the writing’s on the wall, read it.”

That doesn’t mean Serious Bird Hunting hasn’t been an influence (we have) or won’t be one in the future. Just means that at some point beating one’s head against the same wall becomes more insane than persistent.

3. We have a new book – Serious Pheasant Hunting, Book 1 – that was supposed to come out in 2011, then 2012, but for the above reasons now won’t see the light of day until 2013 at the earliest. Kind of too bad because it’s a good one, but that’s the what the writing is telling us.

Also have had Serious Grouse Hunting, Book 2 in the planning stages, but that likewise is delayed.


So where does that leave us re: this blog? We hope to continue to do it, especially during the hunting season. Just not as often or as much…unfortunately, because whether the bird-world knows it or not, they need the things we’ve been doing as part of a broader strategy to expand participation. Either that, or watch upland hunting keep going south.

(I 100% know that like I know I’ll miss a bunch of grouse this year, but so far that plus $4 will only get me a Starbucks….)

Here’s a buddy of mine, also in hunt/fish media, a diehard bird hunter:

Unless I die prematurely, I actually may see the end of wild bird hunting, other than pockets, in my lifetime.

In the next 30 years or so it’s going to be gone, even in places like South Dakota. There’s no way to sustain the habitat. They keep chipping away and chipping away, and pretty soon it’s not going to be workable.

I may be wrong and I sincerely hope I’m wrong, but that’s just the way it looks to me.

He thinks – as does pretty much the entire hunting industry – that upland hunting is irretrievably heading down. As in, there is no cure.

Me, I don’t believe it. In other words, if some fixes are undertaken, this ship can stop sinking. But….

Can’t say I’m content be on the sidelines watching something slide I know I can help fix, but maybe it’s like fighting gravity, who knows.

One more thing about this blog: If you have stories and photos of the hunt to share, please send them in. Serious Bird Hunting is all about learning and sharing. That’s where it started, and that still is the most fun for us…aside from hunting.

Join PF

One thing I know for sure after my 40 days in the birding wilderness: Join Pheasants Forever (and/or Quail Forever) if you’re not already a member. I say that even if you only hunt other birds.

The future of upland birding, regardless of species, will be determined by their efforts because of one simple fact: they are numero uno in birding. Biggest, baddest, best. Not a doubt in my mind, and that’s why I’m a member of PF and QF and always will be.

PF can redirect the future of birding. Not sure they believe it, which would be a shame, but nonetheless our support will help.

One More Thing: Dogs

To the multiple inquiries about us and dogs:

> Brendan’s black Lab, Bear, is a couple years old now and does a good job with grouse, but lives too far from where we go on most hunts so does not come along. Hopefully that will change this year…somehow.

> After deciding that the black Lab my daughter has wanted for years was a good starting point for our family, we put a deposit on a pup from Jeremy Criscoe at Whistling Wings Kennel. We would’ve had it by now but unfortunately, the mom got sick, aborted all the pups, then died. Tough one for Jeremy. We’re back on track for another litter, should have a black bundle o’ joy this fall.

Thanks for reading. And hey – are you getting in shape for bird season yet? You should be – just watch the heat. I just started running hills and bleachers, and…let’s just say it’s not pretty. But it’s great to know I’m doing it because shotguns, dogs and feathers are only couple months away. Woo-hoo!


Category: Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, SBH

Comments (2)

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  1. Well, we’ll be back at our weekly escapades starting September 1st. We are lucky to be breeding a hunting dog that is in high demand, which forces us/allows us to hunt and write a lot. We also look forward to what craziness Brian Koch at Ultimate Upland has planned for the season. We were wondering if you had fallen off the social networking planet…best wishes!

  2. Vince Barrord says:

    Thanks for the update, Jay. Wish you well and hope you get time to keep Serious Bird Hunting going. I’ve really enjoyed it and learned from it as I have from your Serious Grouse Hunting book.

    No doubt, humans are encroaching on bird habitat, but 80 years from now hunters will look back on our hunting opportunities with the same envy we have for hunters of an earlier time.

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