Tom Reed is a first-time contributor to Covey Rise, and we’re glad to have him featured in the August-September issue. When not freelancing, Tom helps to preserve our trout-fishing traditions for Trout Unlimited as the Northern Rockies director of the Angler Conservation Program. He wrote “On a Slant,” a story about channeling the tenacity to chase chukar where they live on the tops of mountains in the West. We recently caught up with Tom to learn more about him and his passions.
Q: Where do you call home?
A: A small ranch between Harrison and Pony, Montana.
Q: Favorite outdoor writer?
A: This is a hard one. For me, the best outdoor writing is not really about the actual act of; it’s more about everything that goes along with it. My favorite writers in this genre are not necessarily stuck in the genre and in fact rarely write what we’d think of as a typical hunting or fishing story. I just finished reading a newly-discovered short story by Ernest Hemingway called “Pursuit as Happiness” that was published in The New Yorker. So, if pressed, I’d have to say Hemingway. Although Faulkner, Harrison, McGuane, Aldo Leopold and many more of that ilk are right up there.
Q: What do you like to write?
A: Lately, I’ve been working on a lot of fiction. It’s a challenge and fun. My bread and butter are short essays and creative nonfiction.
Q: Social media?
A: I dropped off of Facebook because some of my friends were writing things about their feelings and their political leanings that I didn’t want to know because I wouldn’t want to be their friend anymore. I like having friends. We don’t talk politics. My blog that I share with some fellow bird-hunter and writer types, Mouthful of Feathers, is on Instagram.
Q: The most critical need in hunting conservation?
A: Conservation needs to be far more inclusive and diverse. We all live on one tiny blue marble in this universe and having a more diverse army of conservationists is paramount. By definition, it should not be exclusive. The world is everyone’s.
Q: #1 Bucket-list hunt?
A: Good Lord willing and if the crick don’t rise, I’m going on a DIY moose hunt in Alaska this fall. That all depends upon the pandemic, of course, but me and two hunting buddies are still planning on it, have our plane tickets purchased (refundable), and our deposit in.
Q: Over-and-under or side-by-side?
A: The sweetest shotgun I’ve ever swung is a Browning Superposed of 1950s vintage in 20 gauge, although second on the list is an LC Smith in 20, too. So, I guess over-and-under wins.
Q: Pointing dogs or flushing dogs?
A: I’m a setter man. Always will be. My first gun dog was half Lab, half Springer and she was a flusher of the first order. Great dog. But I’m a setter man. Their personality is for me, their trainability is for me, and they are good family dogs. Plus, I don’t mind using clippers.
Q: Favorite gamebird at the table?
A: Chukar: any way you can cook them. Although right up there is ruffed grouse. Any way you cook them, too.
Q: Best advice you’d give to a new upland hunter?
A: An old cowboy once told me to listen to the horsemen when it came to riding horses, not the cowboys. Same goes for the upland gunner. Find a good mentor, one whom you respect and follow him or her everywhere. Don’t listen to the blowhards. You’ll recognize them. They are the ones always talking about themselves, their shotgun, or their dog.
“On a Slant” written by Tom Reed was originally published in Volume 8, Number 5 (Aug-Sept 2020) of Covey Rise.
WANT TO BE THE FIRST TO GET CONTENT LIKE THIS?