Written by Scott Linden
|I get to play with dogs every day. It’s a living, as they say. But to make a living, I’ve got to be efficient because in the television business, time is money. The UBCO 2x2 helps – and I need all the help I can get! My television show Wingshooting USA takes me all over the country, in all types of terrain, pursuing game birds. I visit most areas the year before and scout carefully. When my crew and I arrive next season, at least we know where to start our hunt. It’s the one variable I can control when go-time arrives and you factor in wild birds, my bad shooting, hinky weather, hard-charging hunting dogs and two camera operators. Many times, as they say, “you can’t get there from here.” Closed or washed-out roads, no roads, and faint traces of old trails are what I found when scouting a remote area of Oregon for an upcoming episode on mountain quail hunting. (If I told you where exactly, I’d have to kill you.) Enter UBCO. Starting at the trailhead, my UBCO 2x2 eats up the non-productive miles we’ll need to cover before the shooting (camera) – and the shooting (shotgun) – begins. I can find the birdy-looking spots deep in the woods, mark them on GPS, string a series of those together into a day of production that ensures we hit the good stuff, and ignore the so-so habitat. When I’m done with my scouting, it’s easy to get the pup some exercise as a reward for his patience while I was away having all the fun. Next season we’ll be able to move gear, people, and dogs quickly and quietly from truck to location and back.
|On this scout, I’m looking for folds in the landscape, low brush with a few scattered trees. There should be a stream trilling away somewhere, and quail food in the form of forbs and grasses. The elusive quarry – the largest of the quail species – will skitter and dash toward the tops of ridges, which are also a welcome feature in the landscape. Finding all of these factors is like a needle in the proverbial haystack, but this haystack is covered in juniper, sage, madrone and ancient lava. On foot that would take precious days that I don’t have. On an UBCO 2x2, it’s a single, noise-free, productive day. Next year’s shoot will be efficient, productive, and fun. Dogs will find birds, camera operators will get pretty pictures, we will bring home sustainable, free-range food, and viewers will enjoy a day in the field even if they’re housebound in a blizzard. On this scout, once I was in the zone, I found birds – whirring from beneath madrones toward the summit of jagged lava buttes. Some raced ahead of me on the old logging road, veering into impenetrable conifer thickets. The chittering they use to communicate with each other, and the heart-stopping roar of a big covey alighting in the distance were easy to hear. Frustrating, as I was carrying a camera not a shotgun, but I’ll be back.