When I was little more than a wee lad, outdoor writer Ed Park told me about a hunters’ tradition adopted from English literature. The Macnab is so named for the fictional John Macnab and his challenge to poach a stag or a salmon from a landowner’s favorite beat.
Over time, the Macnab came to embody the classic Scottish quest to take a red deer, an Atlantic salmon, and a partridge all in one day, between sunrise and sunset. But the quest depends on the environment. In Oregon, Ed explained, the hunter must tag a buck, catch a steelhead, and shoot a chukar. In the finest sporting tradition, the fish must be caught on a fly and the bird taken on the wing. The Macnab concept lingered in my mind, a tantalizing possibility.
When I found myself in eastern Washington on an October forenoon with a mule deer buck on the ground, I remembered the fly-rod and shotgun in the truck. The sun had not climbed to its zenith, the shadows still tilted west. This could be the day.
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