Photo Essay: Upland Birds and Waterfowl in Saskatchewan

Written by: Dave Brown of Dave Brown Outfitters

Saskatchewan Hunt

Covering a point in Saskatchewan.

photo courtesy Dave Brown

Each fall, I trade in my drift boat and fly rods for my 12 pointing dogs and two Labs, and I head up to what many consider the gray partridge Mecca of North America: Saskatchewan. The season always starts the same, as the Dogs and I get in the groove of long walks across native grass intermixed with agricultural fields of wheat, canola, peas, and lentils—high protein foods for the Huns and sharptails that flourish there.

Although the hunting is good in September, we must deal with high temperatures and long days, and everything seems deceivingly calm. Once October rolls around, Mother Nature’s pace picks up. The upland birds are actively feeding, and more waterfowl move into the area and start to stage. It seems that everything is alive, and along with the weather, the tempo of the hunt changes. Sunny days are great for hunting upland birds, while a cold snap with a bit of snow pushes more waterfowl in from the north, which shows the makings of a great duck shoot.

Of course all this action would be incomplete without the Dogs. It’s great to watch a young pointer handle a running covey of Huns, or a Labrador puppy being totally overwhelmed by ducks coming into the decoys, then calming down, marking birds, and making some outstanding retrieves.

For a “mixed bag” hunt, this is as good as it gets. The Hungarian partridge and sharptail grouse are consistently good, and the number of ducks and duck species is a bonus. Like the waterfowl, eventually we get pushed out by Mother Nature’s cruel hand, usually by the first week of November. The weather can change drastically, resulting in snow-covered roads and frozen sloughs. The sky is devoid of the millions of ducks and geese that where flying from roosts to the fields a short while ago. The upland birds become extra spooky, as they feel vulnerable feeding in snow-covered fields. For us, it’s time to shut it down and head south ..until next season.

Saskatchewan Hunt

A water retrieve.

photo courtesy Dave Brown

Saskatchewan Hunt

A Labrador puppy watches ducks pour into the decoys.

photo courtesy Dave Brown

Saskatchewan Hunt

A pointer retrieves a Hun.

photo courtesy Dave Brown

Saskatchewan Hunt

The heart starts to pound when the tail goes up.

photo courtesy Dave Brown

Saskatchewan Hunt

The bounty of the north country.

photo courtesy Dave Brown

Saskatchewan Hunt

The uplands seem endless.

photo courtesy Dave Brown

Saskatchewan Hunt

Poitning huns in cover.

photo courtesy Dave Brown

Saskatchewan Hunt

A Brittany works a farmstead.

photo courtesy Dave Brown

Saskatchewan Hunt

A sharptail grouse and a double gun.

photo courtesy Dave Brown

Saskatchewan Hunt

A mixed bag of ducks.

photo courtesy Dave Brown

Dave Brown is the owner of Dave Brown Outfitters, based in Alberta, Arizona, and British Columbia.

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