Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lessons in crisis management

It didn't take long for word to get out that the pheasant capital of the world was having an off year. It didn't take much longer to do something about it. The season wasn't even over before Governor Daugaard convened a habitat summit to explore the options. Not to stereotype, but it usually takes years for governments to even acknowledge a problem, then a few more to figure out who stands to gain the most politically by heading the committee, and then a while longer for the committee to talk it to death until nobody cares about it any more and by then there's a new cause du jour. Lather, rinse, repeat until the well runs dry.

And now Pheasants Forever is opening a regional HQ in Brookings. Forgive what may sound like a twinge of envy at all the attention given this bird and its plight, but how do I get some of that down here? I'm not so naive that I believe this is entirely altruistic without a hint of politically-motivated PR, but I'm not so pessimistic that I think no good will come of it either.

More so I'm impressed with the speed of the response.  There are plenty of PR opportunities, most of which will build political capital faster, yet this issue is being given time and money while the rubble is still smoking. Actions like those taken by the Governor and PF put the issue squarely on the table and give it a dose of priority along with raising the awareness of the general public, all before the situation goes from bad to worse.

Sage grouse, prairie chickens and bobwhites have suffered steeper declines, albeit over longer periods of time, yet the rapid response at the first sign of trouble was missing and along with it the chance to stop the bleeding before the patient turned pale.

So how do I get some of that down here? Simple. I make quail a $300 million industry.

Friday, June 13, 2014


"What's the gun range?"

"It's where you go to shoot guns. Wanna go?" It was a longshot but worth the ask given the difficulty in throwing clay targets to yourself.

"Mmmm...okay." Score.

Excessive misses during the season suggested a change of routine during the down months. Don't call it a New Year's Resolution, more of a commitment to make an attempt to get a little better. After skipping March, April and most of May for no good reason it was time to at least make the effort.

loading clay targets

The effort was a bit unorthodox. He's not quite big enough to cock the thrower, at least not without risk of it springing back and cracking a wrist or taking out his lower set of teeth. So the routine went something like cock, "okay put a target in", "keep your hand off the lever", "I said keep your hand off the lever", walk 15 yards off to the side, shoot, walk back to thrower, repeat.

Truth be told it was probably better practice than round after round after round from an electronic thrower on the skeet range, the philosophy being that birds typically don't come floating into the field on command at precisely spaced intervals in places outside of Argentina.

He would've stayed all day. At that age there must be some never-experienced feeling of power at heaving a disc 75 yards through the air with barely the touch of a finger. He's really in a for a treat when he gets to turn that disc to powder with the same finger.

Better still from the shooter's perspective, every time a target broke he clapped. Not out of sarcasm, not because someone told him to, just untainted sincerity. A fan club of one is all you really need.

empty bag of shotgun shells

Two guys from the same gene pool, one living purely in the moment, the other leveraging the moment on a practical basis for what's behind door #3, but starting to wonder if he didn't already get the prize.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Calendar check (1 week to Father's Day)

Given the dearth of good post material around my place lately I thought I'd offer up a public service announcement. Next weekend is Father's Day and if you're still looking for a gift, something other than a tie, I have a suggestion.

50 cal bottle opener

I picked one of these up around the first of the year from an outfit called Lucky Shot which makes all kinds of stuff from old cartridges. This model runs about $12 and everyone who comes in the house wants to try it. I've used bullet bottle openers before that had a half-ass notch cut in them and made opening a bottle more puzzle than prerequisite, but this one got it right.

And if Dad doesn't drink beer that comes in bottles, you could always punch a hole in the can with the business end.