The Uplanders: A Photo Tribute to Man's Best Friend

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The Uplanders: A Photo Tribute to Man's Best Friend

From the wide-open fields of the West to the North Woods of Maine, there's no better, or harder-working, hunting partner than a good gun dog

We live for the anticipation that builds with each step in an upland field, knowing that at any moment a rooster might rise. We never tire of the sound of a flush—a wild alarm that stops the heart for a split second before muscle memory takes over and the shotgun comes to the shoulder. We take pleasure in the mix of gun smoke and stray feathers wafting in the air after a good shot. More than anything, though, we simply love watching the dogs work—flushing, pointing, and when we’ve done our job, retrieving.

Few hunters have seen more good dogs at work than Brian Grossenbacher, who has been documenting upland hunts all over the world for 10 years. “Without a doubt, my favorite part of photographing hunting dogs is their athleticism and tireless enthusiasm,” says Grossenbacher, who captured every image in this story. Looking back through his photos, Grossenbacher smiles when he recalls the distinct personalities of each dog, but adds that every one shares a single quality in common: a full-hearted passion for hunting. “They are so dedicated to the sport we love,” he says, “and so excited just to be there and to pursue what they’ve been put on this earth to pursue.”

Subzero temps be damned. Sancho, a Boykin spaniel, enjoyed rolling in the snow during a pheasant hunt. Brian Grossenbacher
Rocky, a hard-headed German shorthaired pointer, looks on during an Idaho grouse hunt. Brian Grossenbacher
Scott ­McKenna and his cocker spaniel, ­Diesel, share a moment during a woodcock hunt in Vermont. Brian Grossenbacher
Even at 11 years old, Trammel, a GSP, has what it takes to hunt the grouse woods in Minnesota. Brian Grossenbacher
The long hair of Willie, a GSP–German wirehaired pointer mix, flows in the wind during a break in a sage grouse hunt in Wyoming. “We were all hunkered down on the passenger side of the truck eating sandwiches,” says Grossenbacher, who took this impromptu s Brian Grossenbacher
Maggie, an English setter, takes a breather in the shade of a spruce during a ruffed grouse hunt. Brian Grossenbacher
AK, an English pointer named after his home state, moves fast and low on a hunt for ptarmigan. “This is actually the way you see AK,” Grossenbacher says. “As soon as you set that dog down to hunt, he takes off. And he has only one speed. He’s either on or Brian Grossenbacher
A gun dog in training bounds after a bird. This pup was one of 30 working with legendary trainer Ronnie Smith. That day, Grossen­bacher says, the dogs practiced on sharptail grouse and Hungarian partridge near Stanford, Montana. The birds were everywhere, Brian Grossenbacher
Romi, a black Lab, blazes by as she retrieves her first-ever woodcock during a Minnesota hunt. Brian Grossenbacher
Scout, a GSP, clenches a sage grouse in her maw during a hunt in Montana. Grossenbacher has been hunting with Scout since she was a pup, and he knew from the start how intelligent she was by her big, inquisitive eyes. “Without a doubt, Scout is the smartes Brian Grossenbacher

Written by Sage Marshall for Field & Stream and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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