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On Point

Late in 2023, Merriam-Webster released its “Word of the Year,” and instead of going with something quirky like dystopian or deepfake, they chose AUTHENTIC.

I like that word.

And after the publication of our Autumn 2023 issue, I had the privilege of meeting and talking with several UA subscribers who impressed me as being “authentic” upland bird hunters. Deeply committed to our sport, they both embrace and exhibit a range of qualities with enthusiasm, devotion and passion:

Deep Knowledge, Continuous Improvement — Authentic upland hunters possess extensive knowledge about bird species, their habitats and strategies for hunting them. They eagerly seek out ways to expand their knowledge and refine their skills. They attend workshops, participate in clinics and seek feedback from experienced hunters and adapt new hunting strategies and techniques in an effort to continually improve their hunting prowess.

Commitment to Conservation — Authentic upland hunters dedicate themselves to the conservation of upland bird habitats and populations. They keep current with developments, actively support conservation organizations, participate in habitat restoration projects and advocate for responsible hunting practices.

Enthusiastic Mentorship — Authentic upland hunters eagerly share their knowledge and enthusiasm with others. They actively mentor new hunters, introduce them to the sport and instill in them a respect for the natural world.

Appreciation for the Experience — Authentic upland hunters don’t just focus on harvesting birds; they cherish the entire experience. They savor the beauty of the natural world, enjoy the camaraderie of fellow hunters and appreciate the time spent with their working dogs.

Commitment to Ethical Hunting — Authentic upland hunters adhere to ethical hunting practices and ensure that their actions are sustainable and respectful of both the birds they hunt and the environment. They understand the importance of responsible hunting and promote ethical practices among others.

Respect for Tradition — Authentic upland hunters recognize and respect the rich traditions of upland bird hunting. They appreciate the history of the sport, the generations who have passed it down and the role it plays in connecting people with nature.

Community Involvement — Authentic upland hunters are actively involved in the upland bird hunting community. They participate in local hunting clubs, attend events and support organizations that promote the sport and conservation efforts.

Lifelong Passion — Authentic upland bird hunters are committed to the sport for their lifetimes. They continue to hunt even as they age, adapting their practices as necessary and enjoying the camaraderie and connection with nature that the sport provides.

That’s who these readers revealed themselves to be.

My hope is that I, too, have made visible my authentic self, a promoter and an upland bird hunter.

Ernie Foster, IV

Ernie Foster, IV