Five Months, 447 Miles, and One Spreadsheet

Go ahead, start making fun of me now, you’ll need the head start.


I kept a bird hunting journal this year. (Date, location, species, take, shotgun, mileage, etc.)

The whole season.

Didn’t miss recording a day out.

Details I later compiled and used to calculate statistics. In a spreadsheet.

What? I was drinking. On a Tuesday. With Excel open. How do YOU procrastinate during tax season?

Some Numbers

Days afield: 37

                  Pretty good.

Days afield alone: 15

                  Easiest way to get out after work, and I’m not alone with the dog.

Days afield with others: 22

                  I have some friends. Apparently about ten. Low quantity, high quality.

Days skunked: 13

                 No shame in sightseeing.

Days skunked while with others: 8 of 13

                 Hmmm, about those friends of mine…

Species Pursued: 7 (plus waterfowl)

                 Blue, Ruffed, Sharptailed and Sage Grouse. Pheasant, Chukar and Dove. And ducks.

Miraculous points, shots or retrieves:

                 They’re all miraculous. And long stories best told over strong drink. With friends.

Birds Killed: 60

                 Ate them fresh, froze them, or smoked them. Stir fry, confit, fajitas, chukar soup with rice…

Planted birds: zero

                  I understand planted birds for children and the infirm. Stout and I are neither. Fight for habitat.

Days I remembered to log our mileage: 18 of 37

                 Sometimes the beer came out before my OCD kicked in.

Mileage as logged for me: 117           Stout: 217

                 This doesn’t account for the days she went swimming for ducks and I sat on my butt.

Extrapolated mileage for me: 241      Stout: 447

                  I could have hunted all the way from my house to Veedauwoo, Wy.

Miles per bird: 4.0                                 Stout: 7.4

                  Probably not calorically efficient. Especially the chukar.

Pairs of breeks worn: Zero.

                 At least, not worn hunting. We won’t cover what I do in the privacy of my own home, whilst nattily appurtenanced.

Shotguns hunted with: 3 (Betsy, THE TOOL and The Czech)

                 Of course I name my shotguns, I make spreadsheets about bird hunting. Don’t act like you’re not weird, too.

Most efficient shotgun: THE TOOL

                  A black plastic semi-automatic 12 gauge. Unwelcome at driven shoots on the moor.

Most storied shotgun: Betsy

                  With me for more than thirty years. My first gun. An Ithica O/U in 20 gauge.

Most disappointing shotgun: The Czech

                  Almost a hundred years old, the Czech developed a loose rib just as we were getting to know each other this year. Hopefully he’ll be back in action after a little R&R.

Bags of Kettle Chips consumed at the end of the day: Eleventeen Mazillion.

                  I lost count at “bunches”.

Times the dog got her head stuck in a chip bag while I ran in for coffee: 1

                  She was unapologetic.

States hunted in: 3

                  Wyoming, Montana, Utah.

Trips already in the works for next year: 3

                  Looking forward to good friends in new country.

Months hunted: 5

                  And we’d have kept on going, if we could have.

Bad days experienced: 0

                  But we already knew that. Now I’ve got to get to my taxes.

10 Comments on “Five Months, 447 Miles, and One Spreadsheet

  1. Great recap. Journals are good for that.
    I particularly liked some of the creative accounting. Uncle Sam won’t mind if I list “bunches” on my taxes as a deduction right? Maybe I’ll get a mazillion in my return! 🙂

    • My accountant tells me “bunches” may be a gray area, but if you wind up with a mazillion, please remember STS and/or your favorite charity!

  2. Great post, Kirk! With OCD issues of my own, I can truly appreciate this. And it beats the hell out of being a disorganized shit show!

  3. Agreed, Mitch. Now all we can do is run drills, stay fit and count the days until bird season starts. Hope you have a productive summer!

  4. Now we’re certain what you do in your spare time!

  5. I have decided that I will attempt to keep a log of some of my hunts and adventures this year. What did you use to log your personal mileage?

    • Hey Freddie, I have a GPS on the dog and on me, which is how I figured out mileage. From there I just wrote down some details in a journal at the end of each day. Hope your season goes well!

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