Traveling the US pursuing his passion for bird dogs and filming for his show, Wingshooting USA, Scott gets to live the adrenaline rush of hunting with dogs every day. When he isn’t traveling across the continent, bird hunting or training dogs, Scott lives in Bend, Oregon, with wife Karen, various cats, horses and wild critters, and hunting partners Buddy and Manny, German Wirehaired Pointer dogs.
Tell us a bit about who Scott Linden is?
Creator/producer/host of “Wingshooting USA,” the most-watched bird hunting/gun dog TV series in the U.S. I am based in Bend, Oregon, but travel the continent pursuing my passion. After a career in music, marketing, publishing, and TV development, I’ve settled on one show about my passion for bird dogs and the magic they work on us in the field.
Can you talk us through an average day in the life of Scott Linden?
Train dogs. Write TV scripts. Train dogs. Sell sponsorships for the TV show. Work out. Did I mention training dogs?
Have you always had a passion for bird hunting? How did you discover this passion?
I lost the argument – we were definitely getting a dog. As a consolation prize, my wife let me pick the dog. In the back of a truck was the ugliest mutt I’d ever seen – unkempt coat, beard, bushy eyebrows and a kind of mud-brown-and-gray color … maybe it WAS mud.
That dog was owned by my wife’s long-lost sorority sister, was pregnant, and we got a pup. We took it home, and while running him one day, he slammed on the brakes, tail raised and one foot off the ground. Whoosh! Pheasant flushes and I decide I’d better buy a shotgun.
Now, I live that adrenaline rush every day.
What goes through your head when you first wake up in the morning when you go hunting?
Great Spirit, keep the dogs and friends I hunt with safe and happy.
Where is your favorite place to hunt?
The darkest corner of the Lower 48 … solitude and quiet, wonder and mysticism, ghosts and wildness dwell there. So do chukars. It is the farthest you can be in the continental U.S. from a hospital and a Starbucks. No wonder I love it.
What are the three essentials that you take on every hunt?
Dog first aid kit. Personal locator beacon. Water for the dog. Survival kit for both of us. I know that’s four, but you’re crazy if you don’t take them all.
What are the most important traits of a hunting dog in your opinion?
The desire to find birds – prey drive. Biddability – the willingness to work in concert with its human. Good looks.
Can you tell us a favorite story from a day out hunting?
There is too many to list. Running into old buddies in the middle of nowhere. Finding eagle nests and petroglyphs. Finding old gold mines. Drinking good whiskey in remote hot springs. Seeing the Milky Way and being stalked by a cougar. Sharing a bottle with old buckaroos and reformed cattle rustlers. Sharing time and wild places with good friends … and watching hunting dogs live their destiny.
Can you tell us a bit about Wingshooting USA?
I’d walked away from a four-series development deal with an outdoor TV network, finished writing my last book, and was asked by someone at a trade show what I would do next. On the spot, I decided to follow my passion and to hell with everything else. I got the band back together – the crew I’d used on many other projects – and lined up a few sponsors. That was 11 years ago. I haven’t found anything to take me away from it … except hunting.
What do you do when you aren’t out hunting?
Train dogs. Fly fish. Scout for hunting spots. Write about bird hunting for major magazines. Try to be the person my dog and wife think I am.
What is one thing you love, and one thing you hate about the hunt?
I hate leaving sometimes. Not because I didn’t kill anything but because the dogs are not totally worn out and satisfied with their job. Other times I find the logical/emotional conclusion comes early and I’m good with that even if the dogs aren’t. “The Zone” when you and the dog are in sync and working to bring meat home for the tribe is indescribable and worth driving hundreds of miles and walking dozens more.
What do you believe you were you put on the earth to do?
Get others to go deeper into this world, appreciating dogs and their job, caring for the places we hunt. Hunters and anglers fund virtually all wildlife and fish management and habitat acquisition – we need to bring newcomers into the field and welcome back lapsed participants, or the tree huggers and bird watchers will soon find nothing to hug or watch. That’s also my job.
What haven’t you accomplished that you aspire to do in your lifetime?
I am a happy man. Unless you count winning the lottery, I’m good. Except for that part about making sure non-hunters/non-anglers respect those who fund their fun.
Who are your heroes/who do you look up to?
My mother. Her life should be everyone’s life: tolerance, kindness and quiet, subtle encouragement.
What is your favorite place in the world?
Wherever I am hunting at the moment. And that dark corner I referenced earlier. But if I told you where that was, I’d have to kill you. But it wouldn’t spoil my love for the place.
Where is the one place in the world where you can’t wait to visit?
Already been there, done that. Passports won’t get you to the ultimate place – your imagination and hard work will.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to people starting out in bird hunting?
Go with friends who have good dogs, extra shotguns, are safe firearms handlers, and know of places where there are birds to shoot. Learn to handle a firearm. Go for reasons other than killing stuff.