Watch it! Live pigeon shooting, San Remo, 1937…

 

12g James Purdey & Son SxS shotgun built for live pigeon shooting. See more pics.
12g James Purdey & Son SxS shotgun built for live pigeon shooting. See more pics.

Live pigeon shooting used to be a big-time sport. Back in the late 19th and early 20th century, shoots were held throughout the US and in Europe. In 1900, live pigeon shooting was even an event at the Paris Olympics.

Newspapers reported on these shoots and the top competitors attracted hundred of spectators, were sponsored by gunmakers and took home thousands of dollars if when they won an event.

San Remo, Italy, was one of the stops on the European live pigeon circuit. This video was shot there in 1937, and it’s a rare look at how popular and prestigious this sport used to be.

You’ve got to go to Maine’s Chandler Lake Camps…

One Maine's finest sporting camps. 6hrs from Boston in the North Maine Woods
One Maine’s finest sporting camps. 6hrs from Boston in the North Maine Woods

Roughing it is for suckers. I know of that, now.

I’m not used to nice accommodations, and on past hunting trips I’ve curled up with my Pointers to stay warm, eaten Beefaroni out of the can, and gagged while using outhouses ranker than rest-area porta pottys.

This year I wanted something better. So I headed Chandler Lake Camps in the North Maine Woods.

Chandler's: A 5-Pointer experience
Chandler’s: A 5-Pointer experience

The North Maine Woods are 4-6 hours from Boston, 3Xs the size of Rhode Island, and more populated with moose than people. Once you’re in them, a dirt-road empire rolls out before you in every which way.. It’s lorded over by logging trucks, crisscrossed with brook trout streams, and spotted everywhere with grouse and woodcock cover.

Some success after after a few days at Chandler's
Some success after after a few days at Chandler’s

Chandler Lake Camps is an outpost of comfort and graciousness amongst all of this. Built in 1902, it was an abandoned family retreat when current owners Jason and Sherry Bouchard bought in the ’90s. With hard work and grit, they rescued it from decades of neglect and turned it into one of Maine’s finest sporting camps.

For uplanders, Chandlers is a place to get into lots of birds, whether you do it by hiring one of the camp’s Registered Maine Guides or by grabbing a Delorme map book and asking Jason to highlight some likely looking spots like I did.

Lexi, Sky and I averaged 2-3 birds an hour — solid numbers considering it was our first time in the area. We hunted overgrown logging roads and shot into the woods to explore deep pockets of birdy-looking cover and the furthest cover we hit was only 15 miles away from the camp.

Guest cabin at Chandler
Guest cabin at Chandler

On top of great bird hunting, Chandler Lake Camps also has great accommodations. Guests are treated to their own hand-peeled, spruce log cabins, each with a wood stove, electric lights, complete indoor facilities and charging outlets for things like remote collars and GPSs.

Meals are served in the main lodge, and everyone eats together around a large, wooden table. Breakfast is to order, lunches packed for you, and dinner family style. There’s a different menu each night, and everything is homemade in the lodge’s kitchen–even the bread and bagels.

And while Chandler Lake Camps is far away from civilization, it does have internet connection to the outside world. So anyone who needs to stay in touch with home or work can check in.

Located southwest of Ashland, ME,
Located southwest of Ashland, ME,
An access point to the North Maine Woods. Dirt roads, moose & grouse cover lie ahead.
An access point to the North Maine Woods. Dirt roads, moose & grouse cover lie ahead.
Sunset at Chandler Lake Camps
Sunset at Chandler Lake Camps
Sky's first grouse of 2017, at Chandler Lake Camps
Sky’s first grouse of 2017, at Chandler Lake Camps
View from the front porch at Chandler Lake Camps
View from the front porch at Chandler Lake Camps
Guest cabin at Chandler
Guest cabin at Chandler
Classic wood cabins at Chandler
Classic wood cabins at Chandler
Classic wood cabins at Chandler
Classic wood cabins at Chandler
Boathouse at Chandler Lake Camps
Boathouse at Chandler Lake Camps
Deck off main lodge at Chandler Lake Camps
Deck off main lodge at Chandler Lake Camps
Classic wood cabins at Chandler
Classic wood cabins at Chandler

Get a great deal on driven shooting in the UK…

Make some memories at Delaney & Sons 2017 Beacons Shoot
Make some memories at Delaney & Sons 2017 Beacons Shoot

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Opportunity – specifically the opportunity to get $1000 off on a dream trip to shoot in the UK.

For several years now, Delaney and Sons has given American hunters the chance to experience some of the finest driven shooting in the UK at very reasonable prices. Due to client conflict, a spot just opened up on their famed Beacons Shoot, scheduled for the end of the November, this year. Here are the details from Delaney and Sons:

“Sometimes life interferes with the best laid plans. Our friend and past shooter, pictured above, unfortunately has been forced to cancel his trip with us next month due to an illness. He has asked us to try to sell his peg for $7,700, a discount of $1,000.

If you are adventurous and have been wanting to come with us, now is the time. The 2018 price is $9,200 (there are only 4 spots left by the way.)

Amazingly, flights are still a decent price depending on the airport. We will be picking up our team at London Heathrow on the morning of Sunday 26 November at 9:30am. Everyone will be taken back to Heathrow late in the morning on Saturday 2 December. So please keep that in mind when looking at flights. Some shooters stay at the Marriott Renaissance Heathrow the night before pick up. We will pick you up in the lobby at 10:00am.

Make some memories at Delaney & Sons 2017 Beacons Shoot
Make some memories at Delaney & Sons 2017 Beacons Shoot

Please let us know if you might have interest, and feel free to give us a call as soon as possible at 717-919-5317.

The price for friend or spouse traveling with you is $1,600.

Click here to link to the relevant page on our website (about 2018 though).”

Just released vid: Take a trip to Camp Thunderbird …

Camp Thunderbird, new video from Project Upland
Camp Thunderbird, new video from Project Upland

For the past few years now, Project Upland has been turning out videos about bird hunting, gundogs, and the sentiments behind loving both. Their latest effort — Camp Thunderbird — releases today.

Well shot, and with a good mix of hunting footage and why-we-hunt musings, it’s Project Upland’s best effort so far. If you have the time, it’s definitely worth watching.

We all know bird hunting’s about a lot more than killing stuff. I’m glad to see Project Upland is sharing this story with the rest of world.

The teaser for this film is below. Go here to see the entire film.

Camp Thunderbird // Official Teaser from Northwoods Collective on Vimeo.

The State of Quail: A video by Texas Parks & Wildlife …

The State of Quail: A video by Texas Parks & Wildlife ...
The State of Quail: A video by Texas Parks & Wildlife …

Everyone knows quail populations are falling across the U.S.

Texas is trying to reverse this trend. In this video you can learn a bit about what they’re doing to help these little gamebirds.

Check it out. There’s lot of great footage of all types of quail plus prairie chickens and other game.

Video: Hunting Arizona Mearns’ Quail with Randy Newberg …

 

Video: Hunting Arizona Mearns' Quail with Randy Newberg ...
Video: Hunting Arizona Mearns’ Quail with Randy Newberg …

As it says on his website, “Randy Newberg is a hunter” and “…the voice of the public land hunter in America.” It looks like he also a bit of a TV star and a popular podcaster.

In this video, you can go along with him as he and his buddies do some quail hunting in AZ. As one commenter said “The cussin in these videos makes it so funny. So real. I love it.” I agree. It’s well done, and worth checking out.

Must read NatGeo article about grouse moors…

Grouse shooting in Scotland, from the BASC web site
Grouse shooting in Scotland, from the BASC web site

I’ve never been to Scotland and I’ve never shot a red grouse. But visiting the first to do the second is at the top of my bucket list. According to this article from National Geographic, I might want to cross it off soon.

The article’s well written and worth checking out if you’ve ever dreamed of traveling to the UK for the the Glorious Twelfth (simply August, 12, here) or if you just want to look at some gorgeous photographs.

Boom! Hunting buffs with a .700 Nitro Express double rifle ….

Hunting Cape Buffalo with a SAFARI IMPERIAL 700 NE boxlock made by Verney-Carron
Hunting Cape Buffalo with a SAFARI IMPERIAL 700 NE boxlock made by Verney-Carron

Here’s a cool look at hunting Cape Buffalo with a SAFARI IMPERIAL .700 Nitro Express boxlock side-by-side double rifle made by the gunmaker Verney-Carron.

The 700 Nitro Express was created by Holland & Holland in 1988. It shoots a 1,000 gr (65 g) bullet at 2,000 ft/s (610 m/s) and with about 8,900 foot-pounds of muzzle energy . In an 18-pound rifle, this load pushes back with 160 ft·lbf —  10X more recoil than most .308s. Ouch.

Let’s go wild quail hunting in Texas ….

Quail Coalition
Quail Coalition

Here’s something I’m dying to do, and with quail numbers up, I think it’s time for me to head west and check it out. I’ve never hunted quail — wild or pen raised. From this video, the experience looks awesome. The video was produced by the Quail Coalition. They did a great job.

My kick ass Diamond Deluxe dog box …

Custom 2-hole Diamond Deluxe Dog Box
Custom 2-hole Diamond Deluxe Dog Box

As I was downloading some pics over the weekend, and I came across these ones of the aluminum Diamond Deluxe dog box I picked up last October.

Back when I just had Puck and then Lexi, I kept my dog in a crate in the extended-cab part of my pickup. But when I added Sky, I needed to come up with a better way to do things.

This box has proven to be a safe, secure way to transport my two pointers. It has lockable top storage, cross ventilation in the back, insulated holes, and lockable doors. The holes are wide and deep, and both of my girls can fit in one with ease. So now I have room for two more dogs.

Custom 2-hole Diamond Deluxe Dog Box
Custom 2-hole Diamond Deluxe Dog Box
Custom 2-hole Diamond Deluxe Dog Box
Custom 2-hole Diamond Deluxe Dog Box
Custom 2-hole Diamond Deluxe Dog Box
Custom 2-hole Diamond Deluxe Dog Box

Pictures from fall, 2016 …

I was going through some pictures this weekend, and I came across these ones I took last fall. Hope you like them.

Lexi pointing a grouse, fall, 2016
Lexi pointing a grouse, fall, 2016
Enjoying the view, Fall, 2016
Enjoying the view, Fall, 2016
Fall, 2016
Fall, 2016
Wildflower in an Alder cover, fall, 2016
Wildflower in an Alder cover, fall, 2016
Fall, 2016
Fall, 2016
Fall, 2016
Fall, 2016
This tire has been there a while. Fall, 2016
This tire has been there a while. Fall, 2016

Partridge Country, a video from Dangerous Cow Publishing …

Dangerous Cow Publishing is an interesting outfit. It looks like they’re media/branding company committed to promoting hunting, conservation, and sustainable practices. They caught my eye because of the cool videos they produce and post online. The one you see here is a great example of their work. Check it out — if you’re into upland hunting, you’ll enjoy it.
PARTRIDGE COUNTRY- A NORTHWOODS HUNTING VIDEO “Partridge Country is a cultural exploration of the traditions of Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock hunting in northern New England without the use of dogs.”

Partridge Country from Dangerous Cow Publishing on Vimeo.

PARTRIDGE COUNTRY- A NORTHWOODS HUNTING VIDEO from Dangerous Cow Publishing
PARTRIDGE COUNTRY- A NORTHWOODS HUNTING VIDEO from Dangerous Cow Publishing

Sad new for gunmaking: Westley Richard’s Simon Clode passes away …

Simon Clode (right) with professional hunter Robin Hurt. Pic from The Explora.
Simon Clode (right) with professional hunter Robin Hurt. Pic from The Explora.

Wow – I can’t believe this: Westley Richard’s Simon Clode had passed away. My condolences to his family. You can read his obit on Westley Richard’s The Explora blog here.

I ran into Simon a few times, the last one at the 2016 Safari Club Show in Vegas. He was sort of the Steve Jobs of the British gun trade – a real visionary.

I have tremendous respect for what he accomplished. He built great guns and a great brand. He brought a new generation of craftsmen into the biz and gave work to the existing ones. He was also spread the word about British guns to shooters around the world.

From marketing to gun making, he knew what he was doing. People like him are rare. I hope Westley Richards has someone in line to take over with the same drive and feel for the future.

Let’s get this season going…

 

Best time of year
Best time of year

October’s here — finally. And even though Maine’s state biologists predict a mediocre grouse season and the foliage colors are sure to be muted, I’m looking forward to the fall.

I’ll be hunting the last two weeks of the month for sure, and then any other days & weekends I can fit in.

After a disappointing 2015, I’m shifting away from central Maine. There are birds there, but I’m having a harder time finding them. I also have less free time to look for them, too. And when you have limited time to hunt, one birdless day’s is a big deal — and not something I want to experience again.

Anyway, here are some pics of hunts and memories from seasons past. I hope you enjoy them.

A good day. The gun is a 16g Heym O/U, made in the 1920s...
A good day. The gun is a 16g Heym O/U, made in the 1920s…
Poplars in the AM sun
Poplars in the AM sun
Puck pointing a grouse at the objective
Success! Puck pointing a grouse at the objective.
Pure Puck
Pure Puck
Point! Now what do you do?
Puck, back in her prime

Uplander. A quick video about what it’s all about…

Pheasant o2008 Pheasant opener in South Dakotapener in South Dakota
2008 Pheasant opener in South Dakota
A breeder I used to know was a blunt SOB. Within 30 minutes of our first meeting he cut me off mid sentence and said this: “Someday you’ll grow up and be done with that.”

We had been talking about pheasant hunting in South Dakota, and I had mentioned the numbers of birds we were killing out there. This was back in ’03, when we were seeing 4-500 pheasants a day on the ground we hunted. Limiting out wasn’t the problem. Limiting out before noon was.

But this arrogant breeder wasn’t impressed. He looked down on anyone who gauged success by the number of bird killed — especially if the birds were wild.

Back then, his attitude pissed me off. I get it now, though.

These days, even though I love to upland hunt, killing birds is far from my top priority. Feathers in hand are nice, and a dead bird every now and then does a lot to keep a bird dog interested in the game. but there’s a lot more that

Even woodcock like visiting New York City…

Woodcock in Bryant Park. Click on image to go to video.
Woodcock in Bryant Park. Click on image to go to video.

Right now, the American Woodcock is migrating back from its wintering grounds in the southern United States. Many of these softball-sized birds will travel 1000+ miles as they return to their breeding grounds, some from Louisiana all the way to Maine and Canada. They make this trip twice a year. Just think about that. Amazing.

This woodcock decided to stop off in New York City during his trip. It was spotted in Bryant Park, a 4-acre enclave of green in the center of growling Manhattan. I wonder what the little bird made of the place? I do hope he made it out of there. I’ve been to Bryant Park, and while I love visiting, I’m alway glad to get back home.

BTW: Click on the image to go to Youtube and watch the video.

Latest Lexi. Some shots from the weekend…

Warmer weather has come early to New England, and Lexi and I have been out taking advantage of it. Here are some shots from the weekend.

Lexi Pointing. Her tail is not showing much confidence.
Lexi Pointing. Her tail is not showing much confidence.
Lexi Pointing
Lexi Pointing
Lexi Pointing
Lexi Pointing
Lexi Pointing
Lexi Pointing
Saw this truck on my was out of one spot. I think he's a bird hunter.
Saw this truck on my way out of one spot. I think he’s a bird hunter.
Persistence and patience
Persistence and patience
Shagbark Hickory tree
Shagbark Hickory tree
Old rock wall, younger trees
Old rock wall, younger trees
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