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Grays Best


Sooner or later you’ll tire of hunting. You’ll wish for something gamer.
by Matthew Null

With intricate motions of his hands, Loyal scratches out a spare cadence with slate and bone, calling a flock of turkeys roosting on a saddle between twin mountains. The trees are a maidenhead swath overlooked by the survey in 1885, a rare place where men go missing. Loyal watches the flat below and wonders when the saws will come, wonders if and when they’ll round up a lynch mob.

Mary Katherine’s First Deer

It’s a fine thing just getting your 13-year-old daughter to come hunting. Everything else is pure gravy.
by Rick Bass

She took her hunter’s certification test when she was 11, mostly, I think, because her friends were taking the course—it’s a rare family in rural northwestern Montana without at least one hunter.

Always Entertaining

Remembering Dave Foster.
by James R. Babb
from the August 2008 issue

After four decades of observing life in enlightened New England, I’ve found two concepts Yankees don’t understand: gravy and funerals. I can’t bring myself to think about Yankee gravy, but Yankee funerals are grim, dour, and unpleasant. Of course Southern funerals also have their tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth, but when the preacher finally says Amen, out come the ham and turnip greens and hilarious stories about the dearly departed. It is with laughter that Southerners memorialize the dead.

Remembering Mr. Jupe

A force of nature meets a force of nature in the birdy coverts of Wisconsin.
article by Roger Keckeissen
photography by Dale C. Spartas
from the August 2008 issue

In the Bible, the Ninth Commandment admonishes us against coveting our neighbor’s wife, servants, ox, or donkey, but it doesn’t specifically mention anything about his bird    dog. Or so I’ve told myself for the past 12 years, because every time I’ve gunned over Dave Seabury’s big English setter I’ve been stricken with more than a twinge of jealousy when I recall that glorious, long-ago autumn when we briefly belonged to one another.


We can’t control the rain, the birds, or the endless growth of cities, but we can be ready when the dogs slam to a stop and time stands still.
article and photography by Ron Dungan
from the August 2008 issue

The birds are in the hills. By mid-December, hunters have pounded the bottoms of these oak-covered slopes, looking for Mearn’s quail until the coveys get thin, spooked, and hard to find. So we walk the dry creeks, slipping into creases, following the land.

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