Ann Kercheville is President of Joshua Creek Ranch. Located in the renowned Texas Hill Country just 45 minutes northwest of San Antonio and 90 minutes southwest of Austin, Joshua Creek Ranch occupies a uniquely diverse terrain including miles of Joshua Creek and Guadalupe River bottomland planted in fields of grain crops for prime upland and deer hunting habitats. You can visit their web site at http://www.joshuacreek.com.
Ken is a technical writer and has spent the majority of his career documenting storage hardware and software products for start-up companies. Although start-ups demand long hours, he always finds time to get to the club and break some clays. Ken is not a shooting instructor and he is not a professional shooter. He’s part of the majority of people who love to shoot clays just for the sheer fun of it.
Two years ago, I was living in an apartment in the basement of a brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I was working in private practice as a psychiatric nurse practitioner and spending most of my weekends driving two hours both ways to upstate New York to do something in the outdoors. I was tired and burnt out and when a relationship I had been in ended, I needed a change. Little did I know that the catalyst for that change would be my seven-year-old black Labrador, Goose.
Don’t be shocked to see Amber Haynes wear ritzy Christian Louboutin heels with upland field pants. As the only child of a Houston oil-and-gas guy, he brought his young daughter along on the Texas quail and pheasant hunts that ultimately became her fashion muse.
“I’ve been tagging along with my dad hunting since I was little,” said Ms. Haynes.
A few months ago I sent out a newsletter for Detail Company Adventures, in which we delivered the destination hunting trips offered by our new Big Game/Fishing consultant, Larysa Switlyk. The newsletter is not what I want to talk about today; the replies I received are the real story.
In my early years of bird hunting I started a bucket list by pouring over the magazines by my father’s Lazy Boy. I would memorize item numbers in Lyon Country Supply, and dream of the day I had my own real bird dog. Dreams of skidding points, and huge Canadian geese in the decoys, banded green heads and woodcock over a Llewellyn or any other bird hunt I could read about and absorb.
I’m extremely proud of my good buddy, Eric Harrison of Joshua Creek Ranch, who received the 2017 Orvis Endorsed Wingshooting Guide of the Year. Eric and I have been friends for many years, and I know him as a great guide and father. Many of Shotgun Life’s readers have hunted with a guide like Eric or Eric himself at some point. I thought it would be helpful to sit down with him for a quick Q&A to discover what it takes to be a winning wingshooting guide and how you can benefit from hunting with someone like him.
In 1803, London sporting dog expert William Taplin published the first of two volumes titled “The Sportsman’s Cabinet” – an elaborately leather bound and illustrated compendium described as “A correct delineation of the canine race.”
In 2003 Chris Mathan paid homage to Mr. Taplin by starting her own business called The Sportsman’s Cabinet, which brought her highly acclaimed dog photography to an Internet audience. Ms. Mathan’s Sportsman’s Cabinet started when, after seven years as a senior designer and art director at one of Portland, Maine’s most prestigious advertising agency, she opted to become professionally immersed in upland bird hunting and pointing-dog field trials.
There’s no shortage of self-help books, blogs and TV shows on how to maintain a successful marriage. They often dispense predictable suggestions such as romantic getaways, better communications and compromise.
While those tactics are certainly useful, my friend Paula Formosa and I have discovered that hunting with your significant other strengthens personal bonds in ways that are more meaningful and longer lasting than a dip in a heart-shaped Jacuzzi.
Wild quail hunting can be found from Mexico to the uplands of California to the northern Midwest across the country to the so-called Golden Triangle of Georgia. North America itself is home to several quail species that live in assorted habitats and regions. Given the incredible variety of quail hunting opportunities there are many ways a hunter can get on birds – making these challenging birds available for an array of budgets and skill levels.
In the world of international hunting there are several ways to book your “hunt of a lifetime.” It could be at conventions such as Safari Club International, or a local show, the Internet, word of mouth or through a booking agent. The easiest, and honestly, most reliable way to book a hunt will be through a booking agent. Here’s why:
While Uruguay has been a player in the international wingshooting scene for many years, the country has been slightly overshadowed by Argentina. Uruguay is a true wingshooter’s dream, and quite possibly has the best mixed bag of wingshooting in the world.
In 1979, at age 35, Jeri Booth journeyed by herself from Houston, Texas into testosterone-charged southern Mexico to meet with the 6-foot, 4-inch Robert Brand at his new wingshooting operation, Paloma Blanca. Her objective: book American hunters there through an outfitter company she had just started, Detail Company Adventures.
As a hunting and fishing consultant, it’s a daily task to make sure each one of my customers gets the very best trip they can possibly have. Part of my job is to ask questions, and match each client to a lodge or outfitter that best matches their expectations and desires. That’s why I believe working with an agent or consultant is the number one thing the traveling wingshooter can do to ensure a good trip. Since most agents have been to the places they represent they have insights as to how you can maximize your money and time. What follows are a few things that I recommend to my clients and think they apply well to most any wingshooting adventure.
There’s a term in international wingshooting called “High-Volume.” Most outfitters claim they have truly high-volume shooting, and in many cases they do. Especially when you’re talking about shooting doves in South America. But what is High-Volume shooting, and more importantly how do you determine what High-Volume shooting really is?
The aerial acrobatics that a pigeon can perform are awe-inspiring in the world of wingshooting. The pigeon can only be rivaled in speed by a teal or a dove. A pigeon can turn on a dime. It can barrel roll or loop to loop with the best jet pilots. So it’s no wonder that when I ask well-traveled wingshooters “What’s your favorite bird to hunt?” more often than not they answer “pigeon.”