In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen.  –Theodore Roosevelt

Mike Humphrey, a shooting friend of ours, always responds to his wife’s inquiries about when he will be home from hunting trips, “Hey, I am out here working to feed the family and you are giving me a hard time about when I’ll be home? When you start putting food on the table by working all weekend, then I’ll be right home.” He hunts a lot, so he has several versions of these words, all to that effect. It has now turned into my favorite justification for hunting and I use it often on my wife.

 

In 1990 and the years that followed, Jim Fergus spins two novels of  bird hunting from the opening days of the sage grouse season in Wyoming, to the blue grouse season in Colorado and chukar season in Idaho. For the next many years he and his yellow Labrador, Sweetzer (and later a French Brittany spaniel named Henri), had hunted (and retrieved) 21 species of game birds in 24 states during a 17,000-mile journey, together with fishing and hunting tales and recipes for how to cook the various catches. These travel-and-adventure tales, are both for hunters and readers who enjoy the outdoors, and Jim Fergus has coincidentally become a good friend of ours.

Upon reading A Hunter’s Road and The Sporting Road, my bird hunting buddies and I seemingly tried to replicate or exceed his legendary tales.

THIS IS THE LIST OF SPECIES WHICH WE INTENTIONALLY OR UNINTENTIONALLY HUNTED WITH MY BRITTANY, BODHI, in nearly as many different states:

  • Eastern Cottontail
  • White-tailed Jackrabbit
  • Black-tailed Jackrabbit
  • Dusky (Blue) Grouse
  • Sage Grouse
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Prairie Sharp-tailed Grouse
  • Plains Sharp-tailed Grouse
  • Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse
  • White-tailed Ptarmigan
  • Greater Prairie Chicken
  • Lesser Prairie Chicken
  • Scaled Quail
  • Bobwhite Quail
  • Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Amherst Pheasant
  • Snipe
  • Woodcock
  • Mourning Dove
  • Eurasian Collared Dove
  • Chukar
  • Hungarian (Gray) Partridge
  • Pintail
  • Gadwall
  • Wigeon
  • Mallard
  • Green-winged Teal
  • And, one Wild Turkey.

 

I am making new lists on the Sporting Road with one American Brittany named Zoe and a French Brittany named Émile.  Our friend Jim Fergus wrote a few articles in Outdoor Life about Émile’s father, Henri, who was also featured in his A Sporting Road.  Fergus’s articles are at these links:

http://www.codia.org/pi/jan99/jsj/JSJ.html

http://www.codia.org/pi/feb99/jsj/JSJ.html

As a chef, I think it’s important to know where your food comes from and the experience of taking a prized game animal to the table is true culinary immersion.

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