SAGEBRUSH HUNS by ROSS YOUNG

The Wayment Brothers have been friends with Ross B. Young on Facebook for years.  You may have heard of Ross or seen his beautiful hunting and fishing artwork.  I wrote a blog post about Ross’ book, The Way it Should Be, which features his excellent work.  Ross and I recently teamed up in The Ruffed Grouse Society Magazine with my article, “The Heartbeat of the Woods” and Ross’s painting, “Old Gates Ruff” (a favorite of mine which hangs on my office wall).

Last October 1st, Shawn and I got to hunt for the first time with Ross.  Having spent a day afield with him, I can attest that Ross is a true sportsman and a real gentlemen.  I wanted to share a few moments from that banner day.

On the morning of our hunt, Ross and I took a few sharptails at a covert we call the Royal Macnab.  Shawn was too busy shooting the breeze with Ross to capitalize on his opportunities (which was kind of a bummer because it was his birthday).  This was the first Columbian Sharptail that Ross had the good fortune of taking. I  have a strong premonition that it will not be his last.

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Ross’s first Columbian Sharptail.

After the sharptail hunt at the Royal Macnab, we decided to chase some Huns at a covert we call, “Tommy’s Covey.” Even though this was a long way out of Ross’s way, he wanted to keep hunting which increased his stature even more in the Wayments’ eyes.  We drove to Tommy’s Covey and decided to hunt down the grassy strip which runs for more than a mile along the road. It took us a while to find birds, but we moved some nice coveys down lower.

We suspected that one of the coveys lit into a brushy bottom surrounded by plowed fields.  In this bottom, we soon moved a chubby covey. I shot at one bird, it dropped. I shot at another bird on my side and it also dropped. Shawn then yelled, “I just shot a double!” I quickly realized that he and I had shot simultaneously at the same birds. I let the birthday boy claim them, but told him I had shot too.  While pocketing the birds, Shawn smiled and said, “I’m not going to let the truth get in the way of a good story!” I guess I’ll never know if I shot a true double on Huns that day.  Just my luck!

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Shawn’s double? . . . Haha!

We had no more opportunities in the brushy bottom so we headed back to the grassy strip along the road. As we followed Misty through the cover, she pointed into a tall stand of sagebrush. A Hun flushed and I missed it. Misty then took a few steps forward and struck another staunch point.

“Misty is on point!” I announced.

I then walked into the sage stand and the bird flushed hard cutting in front of Shawn and Ross. Ross easily dropped it as it blazed past him.

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This is the Hun Ross took over Misty’s beautiful point.

“I’m so glad that I was able to take that bird off of Misty’s point!” exclaimed Ross.

“Me too, Ross. Good shot!”

As we proceeded down towards the end of the grassy strip, I stepped in a rabbit hole, fell, and dinged Shawn’s Ruger Red Label 28 gage on a rock. Feeling terrible, I apologized profusely to Shawn and he was very gracious about it.

When we got to the bottom of the strip, Misty got really birdy again in thick and tall stand of sage. A huge covey got up and I dropped one with the top barrel and went for the double with the bottom, but whiffed. There went my chance for an uncontested double on Huns!Misty located the Hun in the tall sage near the farmer’s road and retrieved it to me.

“The bad news is I dinged your gun,” I said to Shawn, “but the good news is that it still shoots nicely.” Shawn and Ross both laughed.

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Even a duffer gets one every once in awhile.

Not long after that, Shawn and I said our goodbyes to Ross. Even though we had only hunted with him for one day, we both felt as if we had already  been long-time friends. Ross was a total stud and a good hunter to boot and he is welcome in our hunting camp anytime.  Besides, someone needs to shoot the birds Misty points!

A few weeks ago, I received an amazing gift from Ross as a thank you for taking him hunting. It’s a print of an original painting entitled, “Sagebrush Huns,” featuring a Brittany pointing in tall sage brush and three Huns flushing. The moment I saw the painting, I exclaimed, “That’s Misty!”

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Sagebrush Huns by Ross B. Young.

At the bottom of the print, Ross inscribed, “ANDREW–WHAT A GREAT FIRST HUNT WITH YOU. DROPPING THAT HUN FOR MISTY INSPIRED THIS PAINTING. ROSS B. YOUNG.”

I can’t begin to describe how much this means to me.  Thank you, Ross!

I look forward to more hunts with Ross. I’m predicting we are in for more cold rootbeers, excellent dog work, a few respectable shots, and even more good laughs.

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Ross’s first sharptail and ice cold rootbeer to celebrate . . . can’t beat that!

Be sure and check out Ross’s artwork on his website where you can find excellent original paintings and reasonably priced prints. Here is the link: www.rossyoung.com.

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October upland skies are good for the soul. Ross and Shawn search for Huns along the grassy strip.

 

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