A stunningly beautiful male valley quail from the Miracle Half-Mile.

I was recently contacted by Ben Smith, who blogs at Arizona Wanderings. For those of you who do not know, Ben’s blog is great and we’ve included it on the Upland Equations blog role to get the word out. For your convenience, here is the link: Ben recently started a new blog named, The Backcountry Journal. The purpose of this blog is to showcase the talents of the numerous outdoor writers in the blogosphere, a noble endeavor indeed. Bear in mind, this blog will not be cluttered with where-to/how-to’s, but will be a place where you will hear some good stories and read some great writing. From my own reviews of this blog, so far so good.

I was both surprised and honored by Ben’s request for me to contribute an original story for The Backcountry Journal and jumped at the opportunity. I wrote the story, “The Miracle Half-Mile,” about an unexpected awesome quail hunt that I experienced last October with my brother, Shawn, and my son, Tommy. Here’s the introduction to the story:

The trouble with fire is that it indiscriminately consumes everything in its path. As alien cheat grass takes hold in Idaho’s high-plains, sagebrush desert, it’s great for chukars and chukar hunters, but hell on the sensitive sagebrush ecosystem. When cheat grass catches fire―which it does regularly―it burns fast and hot such that it wipes out the native sage and other plants.

As we drew near our destination in Southern Idaho, we were extremely disheartened to see the rimrock landscape marred by black, like a huge shadow covering the earth. Wild fire had consumed between 30,000 and 40,000 acres of prime chukar, Hun and quail country. Brushy draws that once held countless quail were now barren. . . .

If you want to read how the hunt turned out, you’ll have to go the The Backcountry Journal, at I hope the followers of Upland Equations will enjoy this story and also support The Backcountry Journal.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I can forecast the future of all the flies I can tie with that 🙂 Great pic!

  2. Dustin, I wish I could take credit for that beautiful photo, but it was taken by my talented brother, Shawn Wayment. He has an eye for photography. Andy

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