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Problems exist. This has remained true since the birth of man. It shall remain true for years to come. Recently, I learned that my family’s puppy has been born! The bundle of fur, energy, and memories, awaiting rests now in a loving home southeast of Des Moines, IA. Soon my family shall be trekking up the interstate to welcome a new member into our family. A new member to elicit a range of emotions yet know to us. I do hope our children fall in love with the puppy. I do hope they venture into the wild unknown places across the country with him. To experience the quiet mornings of lacing up ones boot straps, catching the gaze of an eager puppy ready for the days hunt. I sit here and I hope. 

In the summer of 2020 I received a text from Heath Seiner, asking if I would consider documenting my adventures in training a puppy. I recall where I was on I-29 when my phone sprang to life. I pulled over and shortly responded with an eager, “YES!” Months have since past since that initial contact and Heath’s kind offer. Honestly, I am a bit nervous, humbled and excited to enter into the ‘dog world’. Since we spoke I have learned one valuable lesson. Maybe the first lesson in what is to come.  


That the people one surrounds themselves with, are the people they will come to depend upon. These men and woman become the lynchpins in our lives. We long for their companionship, we seek their council, we are forged in the fires of life together, we are iron that sharpens iron. 


Matt has become one of these lynchpins. A man of generous character and patient understanding is rare. He has been prompt in returning phone calls and answering questions. If I am confused, I say say it. When I don’t understand a phrase, I confess. Matt has been an Oak. He has helped to ease many of the worries that have creeped in. I look forward to meeting Matt and his family soon. I look forward to learning and walking with him into the fields. 


At the end of February the family will load up into are car, roll the wheels down the highway and head to Iowa. We will leave with eager anticipation, nerves, and the hopes of majestic points in far off fields. Time will pass, the car will fill with song and noise. A father and mother occupying the front will smile silently and knowingly understand that soon we will be returning with a new member of the family. We are venturing into the unknown. We seek a land overflowing with milk and honey. A promise land of wild birds. Redi or not….


By Erin Woodward


Erin Woodward is a novice bird hunter. He was born and raised in Kansas where he currently resides with his wife and three children. Erin can be found during the fall and winter months venturing across the Great Plains in search of wild game. Summers are reserved for fishing and making homemade ice cream. His works have appeared in: Sage & Braker, Missing Sucks, Hunt Redi, Project Upland and Endless Migration. 


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Heads up! We're shutting down the office for Christmas and the New Year. All orders received after 12:00pm CST Friday the 23rd will ship out the first week in January 2023. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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