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Late Season Pheasant in the Pacific Northwest, More than Enough
Posted on December 18, 2014

Flyfish Journal publisher Jeff Galbraith and Dr. Gonzo Yellowdog upland hunting for pheasant in Western Washington

One of the best-kept secrets of our Western Washington home turf is that just an hour or so north of Eddie Bauer headquarters, in the subdued, excited town of Bellingham, Washington, lives the family media conglomerate that created the stunning print publications of The Ski Journal; Frequency: The Snowboarder’s Journal; and The Flyfish Journal. The publisher of those titles, Jeff Galbraith, is an aficionado of all things fish and field in Western Washington, and a big fan of our Sport Shop series of hunting and shooting apparel. This is his field report on utilizing some of that Sport Shop gear during the late pheasant season in the Pacific Northwest.

—LYA Editor

Words by Jeff Galbraith, Image by Fred Sears

When the Northwest starts readying itself for the deep monsoon months of December, January and February, there is usually a last blast of high pressure, kind of a faint reminder of longer days and a promise of spring. While my friends are deep in their pre-snow fix—matching gloves, waxing skis, checking NOAA every thirty seconds—my dog Dr. Gonzo Yellowdog, and my buddy Fred and I, tend towards field activities.

Specifically, the last blast of pheasant season in Western Washington. And while it admittedly ain’t South Dakota, Washington Fish and Wildlife does a creditable job of stocking publicly available areas with ample numbers of ringnecks, and there are few things more enjoyable on a late-fall day than walking the barley stubble with a brilliant view of Mt. Baker in the background.

Though much of Washington’s I-5 corridor has been turned from farmland to strip malls, there are still chunks of contiguous acreage with deep fencerows, wicked blackberries, and cagey birds. While plenty of folk around here head to Eastern Washington and further into more traditional upland areas, I like to celebrate my own backyard with an old dog and a much older Ithaca Featherweight 16-gauge double gun.

Sometimes we get a rooster, often we don’t. But the ethereal beauty of a late-fall afternoon, headed towards dusk with a dog that beams with eternal optimism, is always more than enough. As we load up and head out, closing the door on another season, I simply thank the universe and hope Dr. Gonzo is right here next season, methodically pushing up birds and smiling intensely. For him, it is also always more than enough.

A big thanks to Eddie Bauer for the Sport Shop gear, including the Adventurer Technical Upland Hunting Vest and the Methow Valley Pant, which enabled these pre-monsoon rambles. Between these and the Mabton Flats Jacket, I’ve never been more comfortable or functional in the field during the waning days of pheasant season.


Author: - Thursday, December 18th, 2014

  1. Maxwell

    That is one good looking dog. Good hunt!

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