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Ed Rust, proprietor of, has worked in publishing in a variety of capacities for decades. He started as U.S. circulation director of the Financial Times "way back when they flew the papers into Kennedy Airport from London a day late." He most recently was managing editor of publications at the General Society, Sons of the Revolution.

Friday, December 30, 2005

THE UPLAND ALMANAC: Hunting the Game Bird

This morning, with the old year winding down, I've been taking a look at the new issue of The Upland Almanac, a substantial and well-designed quarterly magazine from Fairfax, VT about the joys of hunting upland game birds. My understanding is that upland game birds―grouse, pheasant, quail, doves and the like―are to be distinguished from waterfowl such as ducks and geese, and The Upland Almanac is about hunting the former. The atmosphere of the magazine is akin to a men's club or a country study, with a roaring fire, a hunting dog at your feet, lots of burnished wood, valuable old hunting prints on the walls and an elegant gun case by the window. A quick read through the pages of the new Winter 2005 issue shows that the trinity of concerns for the upland bird hunter are the birds and their habitats, the hunting dog and the proper shotgun. When all three come together and perform as they should, the upland hunter becomes a happy man indeed. (And I emphasize "man"; there's nary a woman in sight in the whole 96-page issue.) In its pages you'll find accounts of hunts for grouse, prairie chickens, quail, woodcock and band-tailed pigeons in a number of states. The hunting dog is a star of each of these articles, either for its prowess or ineptitude; these guys write about their deceased dogs with an affection that most fellows only have for old girlfriends or cars. There are several articles in the issue about training dogs and keeping them healthy, for a good hunting dog can represent an investment of several thousand dollars. Of great concern to upland hunters are declines in the populations of birds, due largely to the spread of housing, the destruction of habitats and the use of pesticides and herbicides. The decline in the numbers of pheasants bagged in Eastern states is startling: 1.3 million in Pennsylvania in 1972, 200,000 each year in the 1990s; 750,000 in Ohio in the 1950s, 235,000 each year now. The Upland Almanac also has a few articles on shooting clay pigeons, which is both a practice for the real thing and a sport in itself. The ads are for dog kennels, fancy shotguns, hunting lodges, artists who'll render your dog in oils, watercolors or acrylic, electronic training collars for the pooches and books on hunting. An annual subscription (four issues) to The Upland Almanac is $19.95; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.


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