Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dog Porn. What gets a bird hunter breathing hard and fast with a faraway look and a dreamy smile?

Yes. I said the "P" word. Right here on the family channel.  We bird hunters can look at pictures like this and get excited about next year, this year, dogs we have, dogs we had, dogs, we want and dogs we wish we could afford.  We see thickets with bobs and woods with Ruffs, ditches with Roosters, rock faces with red legged devils and sage brush with chuckling grouse.  Dogs that work close and dogs that work the ridges, but always dogs that work as long as we let them and always want just a little bit more. 

By Bob Bertram

There aren't many that can catch the look in a dog's eyes like Bob.  If you've had a dog like this one, you know what he's thinking.  You would bet whatever you are driving and whatever your are shooting there are birds in front of that nose.  It doesn't lie.  How do you catch that attitude in a two dimensional medium?  I guess that's why I'm the traveling bird hunter, and Bob's the artist!  I have his stuff on the wall of my den.  I'll be getting more in the future. Take look at what he has.  Someday, my dogs will be on list for him to paint....someday.  Facebook "The Art of Bob Bertram".  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Singing the Blues in New Mexico

We opened the back of the Beast and it became readily apparent the drought hit the area very hard!  Still in the throes of a hot summer and little rain, the vegetation was only a distant memory of what it once was. We wondered if there were any birds to be had at all in the area. 

Cap, Ruby, Ace and Bandit hunted hard and really did a good job with the little running birds!  We actually started seeing quite a few coveys, to my surprise.  This area did get some rain during the summer, at just the right time.  We located a few of these "drinkers" hidden in the local terrain by the local conservation group and also several cow tanks and water holes- many more of those. Wherever there is water, we found tracks and birds.

The sandy soil, rolling hills, shin-oak, sunflowers, grass, sand spurs and pump jacks all made up the local scenery in the South East Corner of New Mexico.  The birds are the Cotton Tops, The Scalies, The Blue Quail.  They run like the wind.  Until the don't.  And then they hold like a dream for your dog!  A busted up covey is as much fun as any bird in the county and a gray blur erupting out of a shin-oak, grassy spot in front of your dog's nose is a challenging shot- even without the 30 mph wind and blowing sand.  We moved 8 coveys on the nastiest weather day we were there.  I have to hope for another wet spring and summer here.  When the birds are plentiful in New Mexico, it's a quail hunters paradise. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Review: Upland Sportsman Sling

I was contacted by the nice folks at Upland Sportsman (  a few months ago and asked to try out their hunting sling.  At the time, I really didn't think it would be for me, but agreed to give it a shot (no pun intended here). One thing led to another and I took it on my latest hunting trip to NE, OK, AZ and NM.  Shown are some pictures my friend took of me while we were preparing to hunt for Bobwhites in Oklahoma. 

One of my concerns was for the gun and if the sling would mar the gunstock.  In fact, I'm shown with the sling attached to my 101 year old A.H. Fox 20 ga..  I can guarantee you it would come no where near that gun if there was any chance the gunstock would be marred, at all. I feel very good about using the sling with my shotguns.  

Walking with the sling is easy.  The weight of the shotgun is carried  on the butt and is transferred to the shoulders making long treks much easier.  Throwing the gun up for the shot is very easy and none of the webbing gets in the way at all.  I am very pleased with the fact it mounting of the gun is very quick and easy.  In fact, you don't even think of the gun, at all.  The boot on the gunstock did not interfere with my shooting nor did I find it a hindrance to the sight picture. 

To be the perfect accessory, I'm wondering if there is a way to have a quick attachment for the barrel to the body to have both hands free- for work with the dogs, or climbing over obstacles, etc.  Hunting with the sling, with dogs, many times necessitates the use of both hands.  It would be great to be able to clip the barrel to the chest, say, just for a short time, use both hands, and then continue on.  I see the use of the sling most adaptable to field trials or to hunting without dogs.  It is a great product, well made and thought out.  I think there are many hunters and field trialers who would be able to use this sling. 

My recommendation for those looking for this type of product is an unqualified BUY.  It is adaptable to left handed (me) or right handed shooters with orange or camo colors.