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    Here we are, not far from the end of 2021 when it will just become a memory. For some of us, our favorite bird hunting seasons are coming to a close. For others, we are in the middle of them. And for others still, the seasons have just begun or will soon begin. No matter where you are with regards to the timing of your opportunity to pursue your favorite birds, we here at The Upland Almanac hope your season leaves you with happy and pleasant memories.

    It’s left me with a concern.

    While the jury is still out on whether climate change is the result of human actions or is one of the historical warming/cooling periods that have occurred many times over earth’s existence, one cannot deny that as we enter the latter part of the year, we had enough natural upheaval to make me wonder how well did our beloved game birds fare? What about all the rains and flooding? The massive heat waves? The wildfires? Did they change anything for the birds? Actually, a more accurate question would be, “In what ways have they changed things for the birds?” Well, it’s too soon to tell, but I have a feeling that wildlife biologists from Washington state to Georgia and from Maine to Arizona will soon be telling us that they did.

    More than that, I don’t know what to do about it. So, I think the best thing we can do is to support the conservation groups that best represent our interests, whether it’s the groups focusing on ruffed grouse or prairie grouse, pheasant or quail or woodcock. I feel they will focus on making habitat safe for the birds. Likewise, groups like Backcountry Hunters and Anglers focus on making habitat available to the public. And that is just as important. After all, what good does it do to have all the game birds in the world if we don’t have places to hunt them?

    On another note, we just learned that our Contributing Photographer Tim Flanigan was recently awarded a 2021 Pinnacle Award for “Outstanding Achievement” for his superb book, Grouse & Woodcock – The Birds of My Life.

    The Pinnacles, from the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), honor journalists for remarkable achievement in traditional outdoor sports-focused communications, including writing, photography/illustration/art and broadcasting, as well as content focused on wildlife conservation.

    Tim stated, “I am humbly grateful to be among the recipients of the Pinnacle Awards. Their recognition for excellence in our trade is truly an honor.”

    And if you’ve seen his book, I’m sure you will agree with me when I say it is an honor well deserved. Congratulations, Tim Flanigan!

    Also, at its annual conference in Gaylord, Michigan, in September, the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers awarded UA Editor Tom Carney Third Place in the “Hunting” category of its Awards in Craft contests. Carney won for his pictorial, “Think Like a Dog and Shhh!” (Spring 2021).

    On a sad note, we were informed at press time of the sudden passing of sporting artist par excellence Eldridge Hardie. This is very sad news. What a tremendous talent and person. His “Afternoon Fields” was the cover image for our 2021

    “In the Uplands” calendar. “El” was very cooperative in allowing us to use his work and a fun guy to talk to.

    The genre in which we work has lost a friend. RIP, El.  

    JOHN C. GOSSELIN, Publisher


    Wolfe Publishing Group