Top-Flight Upland Gear

Some very fine upland hunters tromp the autumn fields in work boots and barn jackets, carrying Granddad’s old pump gun. … Continued

Some very fine upland hunters tromp the autumn fields in work boots and barn jackets, carrying Granddad’s old pump gun. They hunt with a competence you can’t buy from a catalog. What you can buy is comfort. Here’s where to get it.

Cabela’s Shooting Glasses

Cabela’s shooting glasses, with interchangeable clear, yellow and orange polycarbonate lenses, aid color discrimination and protect your eyes from injury. They’re also a great value. ($30; 800-237-4444; cabelas.com)

Browning Kangaroo Featherweights

Browning’s 10-inch kangaroo Featherweights have a waterproof Gore-Tex lining, sure-footed Vibram soles and oiled sharkskin toes for abrasion resistance-all for a remarkably good price. In my judgment, they set the standard for upland footwear. (From $250; 800-438-7026; browningfootwear.com)

Pella Bird ‘n Lite Upland Vest

The folks at Pella have made tough outdoor clothes for 98 years. On warm days, leave your jacket at home and don the new Pella Bird ‘n Lite Upland Vest. It has a padded waist belt and lumbar support. ($100; 800-832-6225; pella products.com)

Beretta AL391 Teknys

Now entering its second year of production, Beretta’s AL391 Teknys is a perfect autoloader for upland hunting. Its alloy receiver and innovative Xtra Wood stock make it light, lovely and highly pointable. The stock is also adjustable and is equipped with a gel recoil pad. Pick a 12-gauge if you hunt late-season pheasants; otherwise, a 20-gauge will handle your upland chores with aplomb. ($1,295; 800-636-3420; berettausa.com)

Weather Weave Shirt, Pants, Gloves

The new Weather Weave series from Boyt Harness Company provides lightweight water resistance and brush protection. For 2005, Boyt has expanded the Weather Weave line to include pants and a shirt. This is the lightest treated-canvas upland garment series I’ve ever worn. Not cheap, but worth it. Boyt’s sister company, Bob Allen Sportswear, also makes a dandy pair of shooting gloves. (Shirt, $100; pants, $140; gloves, from $17; 800-550-2698; boytharness.com)

Pendleton Package Getaway Hat

On warm days afield I don’t wear a hat at all. But when there’s a chill in the air I reach for my Pendleton Packable Getaway Hat. Made in Oregon, this classic, 100 percent pure virgin wool hat almost makes me wish for cold weather just so I can have an excuse to wear it. ($44; 800-760-4844; pendleton-usa.com)

SmartWool Socks

Upland hunting means mileage afoot, so don’t underestimate the importance of good socks. My sock drawer is full of SmartWool. This Colorado company makes durable, form-fitting socks that keep your feet warm and dry. (From $16; 800-550-9665; smartwool.com)

Cabela’s Gore-Tex Upland Coat

In cold or wet weather, nothing beats Cabela’s Gore-Tex Upland Coat for the money. This coat is completely waterproof yet breathable and comfortable. ($150; 800-237-4444; cabelas.com)

UPLAND AMMO

Loads for everything from doves to pheasants

Most upland birds, from doves to ruffed grouse, can be cleanly killed with light-kicking target loads. My favorites are Remington’s Gun Club (left) and Premier STS (right) series in sizes 8 and 7½. They are affordable, pattern beautifully, kill like lightning and leave little residue in your barrel. (From $5 per box; 800-243-9700; remington.com)

Pheasants are another matter, especially late in the season. For late-season roosters, I reach for my secret weapon: Polywad’s Polymag 60X Pheasant Loads (center). Polymag uses a heavy payload of nickel-plated shot at a modest muzzle velocity to get downrange killing power while keeping recoil relatively moderate. ($6 per box of 10; 800-998-0669; polywad.com)