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    Now is the time of year when we can’t seem to get lost in conversation about “next season” without having to face up to another annual conversation starter we always seem to have: “Getting in Shape for Hunting.”

    I’m shaking my head and shuddering at the prospects of getting in shape for this year. It’s not because I’m a lazy bum or that I don’t think people need to get into shape for whatever upland bird hunting they like to participate in. It’s that as I leaned in to start typing this paragraph, my leg literally shuddered a little. It’s still not ready to think about the rigors of working out and getting in shape let alone those of walking sideways up a hill in search of chukar partridge. Or of the miles of legwork required in the desert for quail or on the Great Plains for pheasant. As for grouse and woodcock? Forget it. That leg is so glad I no longer live close enough make it struggle through the grouse and woodcock woods of New England.

    That leg is having a difficult enough time keeping up with physical therapy for now.

    What happened is that early last winter I was taking out the trash, which is no big deal because I’ve been doing that for most of my life. But you know how when you get into a car accident you can explain to someone exactly what happened but you don’t have any actual recollection because it all happened so fast? That’s what happened to me.

    A small amount of snow was on the curb next to where I always set the garbage can. I misjudged where the edge of the curb was, rolled my right ankle and suffered three small fractures in my fibula. And all that took place in less time than it took you to read the preceding sentence.

    Since February, I’ve been involved in some pretty intense physical therapy for it. The therapy is grueling, but no matter how much effort I have to put in, I know I’ll get a warm massage at the end. Since that leg muscle was in a cast for several weeks, I now have to exercise as much as possible. In other words, the therapy is only a beginning. I have to go out and walk around the neighborhood at least twice a day. And that’s where the pain still is. So, I can’t imagine what it will be like come September when the ground is less forgiving than the smooth roads of my subdivision.

    But until then, I hope you will join me in at least thinking about the possibilities by losing yourself in the stories in this issue of The Upland Almanac, which I am also going to do.

    Our “Check Cord” columnists, Alec Sparks and Jessie Richards, have some welcome and interesting tips to offer. Our “Classic Upland Guns” columnist Ernie Foster takes us on a trip to the Merkel gun factory in Suhl, Germany.

    As always, I hope you enjoy our offerings as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.


    Wolfe Publishing Group