From Pakistan to California, get a preview of Volume 3, Issue 4 of Project Upland Magazine, hitting mailboxes soon
As we close out another year of Project Upland Magazine, I hope you will enjoy the variety of voices and stories the pages of this winter issue have in store.
Photographer Kevin Erdvig takes readers on his journey to the Northwoods of Maine chasing woodcock and ruffed grouse taking advantage of the early season.
The excitement of plentiful birds, cool weather, and endless cover was dwarfed by my anticipation of putting my 5-month-old Ryman Setter on his first wild birds. Seeing his progression from running wild and busting birds with undisciplined vigor, to presenting me with a perfect point on his first woodcock and cautiously creeping up to a grouse was enough to help me overlook my subpar shooting all week.
Pheasant Parmaigiana Sandwich
Chef Rossano Russo’s photos once again will leave readers drooling over this issue’s recipe for a pheasant parmigiana sandwich. Myself, I can’t wait to pull some pheasant from the freezer and give this recipe a try in my own kitchen.
This sandwich includes pheasant breast pounded into thin, big cutlets, coated with breadcrumbs fried to perfection, smothered in marinara sauce, and topped with fresh melted mozzarella cheese. Comfort food at its finest.
Discovering a Different Kind of Uplands
Author and entrepreneur Britt Hosmer Longoria takes us on a journey to Pakistan, a location few of us in North America will have the opportunity to travel to let alone experience hunting chukar, quail, See-see partridge, gray francolin and the black-bel- lied partridge. And while it may seem strange to some to travel so far to hunt chukar when the devil birds are available wild quarry in the States, for Britt, that was exactly the point—to hunt native species in their habitat with “all the traditional and culturally unique accouterments of central Asia.”
On this trip, I was reminded about the passionate love of bird hunting shared by so many cultures world- wide. Whether in northern New England or southern Pakistan, we bird hunters share a special bond tied by that feathered rush of a wild bird that erupts into flight, the smell of hot gunpowder, a shared meal, and the laughter around the fire after the day afield.
Author, podcast co-host, and resident dog history expert Craig Koshyk takes a deep dive into all things fetch. Mainly, how attitudes toward retrieving in pointing breeds vary among breeders, owners, trainers, and field trailers. As you’ll learn in Koshyk’s article, the answer is … complicated—as are most things in the hunting dog world.
Why the difference? How did something once considered vital to a pointing dog’s performance get dropped like a hot potato in the United Kingdom and then, later on, in some parts of the United States? The answer, it turns out, is money.
Welcome to HerUpland
Founder of HerUpland and the Education and Outreach Director at Northwoods Collective, Courtney Bastian discusses her journey into becoming an upland hunter.
Briar’s ears were flapping, and it seemed as though she had a big smile on her face, somewhere in that little mouth full of feathers. In the proud moment, Briar and I were having, I quickly realized I would need to touch that bird and take it from her. I think I held my breath, closed my eyes, and reached out in equal amounts of disgust at the bird, and pride in my dog. I managed to grab it by a leg between my thumb and index finger and toss it over to my husband.
Bartz and Bean
Author and photographer Krissie Mason tells the story of Mike Bartz, a retired conservation officer and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Northern Region warden, and the incredible bond he and his 13-year-old English Setter Bean share.
Bean has a few issues. Probably won’t be long before . . . well, you know. The love between these boys is clear when you see how gently Mike lifts Bean from the truck and then back up again as he can’t make it on his own anymore. Just a quiet and gentle man lovingly caring for his companion in the twilight years.
Recovering America’s Wildlife
Northwoods Collective co-founder and Creative Director A.J. DeRosa discusses the importance of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA), a piece of bipartisan legislation put together from across the aisle by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) with Missouri Senator Roy Blunt (R).
“There are certain species that if they get below a certain threshold will disappear no matter what we do. That is what we saw with the Passenger Pigeon, it got below a certain population and it was no longer sustainable.” Heinrich stated this grim fact amongst discussion of birds still with us today—like the lesser prairie-chicken—that lack funding to put simple projects in place to stabilize populations, never mind recover them. “For species like woodcock and ruffed grouse, just having a funding source to be able to address those species before they are on the endangered species list.” This is of very practical concern as, according to state and federal data, 19 states currently have ruffed grouse listed as a “species of concern” and Indiana added them to the state’s endangered list in 2020.
Complimentary California Quail
Most might think the cover image featuring an up-close-and-personal portrait of a quail holding tight while a bird dog looms on point in the background was staged—or perhaps a taxidermied bird was used in place of a live quail. Nothing could be further from the truth. In his article, photographer Nate Akey relays his experiences hunting California quail and how the extraordinarily real photo came to be.
I recently attended a Charlie Parr concert in a desert area a little way outside of Santa Barbara. The music started before sundown, and early in his set, I noticed a familiar image tucked under a sage bush, just feet from the stage. It was a seemingly fearless covey of California quail that undoubtedly was enjoying the music with the rest of us. Being the upland hunter that I am, my first thought, when I saw them, was to wish my dog and shotgun were with me. I watched them feed around for a while, catching their location in between songs until I lost track of them as night fell. This recent encounter perfectly describes my relationship with the California or valley quail. They can always be found when I’m occupied by something else.
Rachelle Blair-Frasier is a Michigan native, bird dog enthusiast, and Managing Editor of Project Upland Magazine.