Walter Lesser is a legend of upland culture and wildlife conservation.
Over fifty years of breeding and hunting has made the Ryman setter an icon. The Real Ryman Setter, written by Walter Lesser, takes a look at the history of this famous breed. He knows a lot about the Ryman setter, from training to the history that dates back before 1800. Lesser is part of that history and has had the pleasure of carrying on the breed from George Ryman and George Bird Evans. After a chance introduction with the legendary upland figure back in 1958, Lesser received his first Ryman setter from Evans himself.
Walter Lesser worked as a wildlife management biologist for the state of West Virginia for over 42 years. He’s retired now, but during his career he influenced important conservation projects for the ruffed grouse, American woodcock, and many other species. That includes many projects in the legendary Canaan Valley of West Virginia, too. Lesser has world class expertise on the natural history of the area.
Yet, Lesser is a man whose humility bespeaks of a time long past. This inspiring short film, presented by the Ruffed Grouse Society and the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, takes us from his first woodcock in Long Island, NY over a beagle to his days afield with the legendary George Bird Evans. It’s filmed in the famous location Evans referred to as “The Gates” in the Canaan Valley of West Virginia.
The film was shot during the Ruffed Grouse Society Camp Tour and the #HealthyForests Campaign in 2016. The Campaign promoted active timber management of forests throughout the country in order to create balanced forest health for future generations. Project Upland promotes conservation efforts for natural resources and the oldest human traditions.
Walter Lesser currently resides in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia.
Project Upland is an editorial initiative to capture the cultures and traditions of upland bird hunting. We seek to inspire a future generation of upland bird hunters to understand the essence of hunting traditions and the critical cause for conservation.