From waterfowl, snipe and cranes to pheasant, grouse and partridge, the Prairie provinces offer wingshooters unparalleled opportunities
Wingshooting is a highly varied and equal-opportunity pastime. It’s pursued by farm boys in rubber boots carrying Grandpa’s single-shot, and by business executives in English tweed toting $50,000 custom-fitted doubles. Most of us fall between those two extremes, but we all share a passion that’s as hard to shake as it is to explain.
As fall approaches, our thoughts turn to cool crisp mornings, coveys of partridge and grouse, skeins of ducks and geese, trusting dogs and trusted shotguns. We can smell the harvest of grain on the slightest waft of wind, and the odour of the marsh, that complex mix of sweet wild mint and the stink of decomposition. We’re attuned to the familiar calls of migrating geese, and we relish the evening winnowing of snipe. And we need only close our eyes to recall the thrill of whirring wings and the annoyed cackling of a flushing rooster.
What’s not to love about wingshooting, especially in the West? For those of us who live or hunt on the prairies of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, we have the best of the best at our doorstep. We enjoy near endless acres of prime habitat, landowners who are generally welcoming, and friendly prairie towns with hotel diners offering bottomless cups of coffee. Most of all, we enjoy diverse and healthy populations of birds. For the uninitiated, here’s what you can expect…