So when Shawn Wayment invited me to join his brother Andy, their friend Sterling Monroe, and him on their annual October hunt in Idaho last year, I didn't just jump at the chance—I did an entire gymnastics routine. A veterinarian in Castle Rock, Colo., Shawn and I connected several years ago when I discovered his Setter Feathers blog. His accounts of the challenges and delights of hunting Western birds struck a resonant chord, and soon we became e-mail buddies. A good portion of our correspondence took the form of his tantalizing me with photos of mixed bags from Idaho. One I remember in particular showed several valley quail, a few Hungarian partridge, a chukar or two, and a rooster pheasant, all laid out on the tailgate of a pickup.
I dearly wanted to get in on it.