Thanks to everyone that keeps showing us why you’re #PublicLandsProud!
A big congratulations to Pat Fitzpatrick of Texas who is taking home a new pair of Costa Sunglasses and a copy of Steven Rinella’s new book for this winning shot of his son on his first quail hunt.
Sean and K on a youth hunt at @texasparkswildlife Chaparral WMA. WMA staff and Game Wardens couldn't have been nicer. Thanks @texasparkswildlife for the youth hunting opportunity. #settersdoitbetter #englishsetter #quailhunting #takeakidhunting #orvishunting #huntgarmin #uplandlowlife #uplandtradition #publiclandsproud
TRCP: You’ve shown us a favorite #publiclandsproud moment, now tell us the story behind the picture.
Pat Fitzpatrick: The photo was taken at Chaparral Wildlife Management Area on a youth hunt two weeks prior to the opening of the general quail season. We usually don’t start hunting quail until Thanksgiving when temperatures have cooled enough for the dogs and rattlesnake encounters are unlikely but this season is shaping up to be one of the best in recent years and we couldn’t pass on the chance to see for ourselves. As we geared up and prepped the dogs in the predawn light, we could hear covey calls in every direction from the truck. Within minutes we had found our first covey and a few coveys later I snapped the photo of my son Sean walking in on a covey pointed by my setter Khaki. We only hunted a few hours that morning, by lunch time the temperature had reached 90 degrees. We moved several coveys that morning and fortunately no snakes, to top it off Sean and I had the chance to fire the opening shots on what should be a stellar quail season.
TRCP: How often do you visit public lands and why are they so special to you?
PF: Nearly all of my upland hunting takes place on public land and living in Texas, a place that is well known for its lack of public hunting opportunities, it can be a challenge. Quail hunting on private land here is too expensive and it is cheaper to load up the truck and travel to public lands elsewhere. Most of our hunts take place over the holidays when Sean is out of school. Some of our favorite holiday memories are centered around quail camp and Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners cooked on a Coleman two burner stove resting on an open tailgate. Looking forward to future seasons, Sean and I have talked about attempting to take each of the six quail species starting with the three we have here on public lands in Texas and working our way out west, hitting western public land for the remaining three species.
TRCP: If these public lands are lost, what do you and your fellow sportsmen stand to lose?
PF: We tend to think of the public land seizure issue as a Western states issue because most of these lands are located out West. This is not a Western states issue, this is a National issue, these federal public lands belong to all of us as citizens of the United States. My home state of Texas has a unique history among states that left Texas full control over its public domain. Between the outright sale of state land or the sale of natural resources on state lands, Texas has evolved into what it is today, a vast amount of land with very little accessible to the public. The transfer of federal lands to the states would result in the same thing, locked gates and pay to play access for hunters and other land users.
TRCP: When not out on public lands, where can we find you?
PF: When not chasing after bird dogs and quail, I live in The Woodlands, Texas and work in commercial construction. I am married to my beautiful wife, Sharon, and have three kids Patrick, Madison and Sean. Weekends during the off season consist of many youth baseball tournaments, football games and a little fly fishing in the Texas hill country or gulf coast.
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