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A good day. The gun is a 16g Heym O/U, made in the 1920s...

A good day. M & F grouse. Gun is a 16g Heym O/U, from the 1920s…

Another good day in the field . Puck and I headed out just after lunch and spend almost 2 hours checking out a new cover. I spotted the cover yesterday and thought it might be productive. Turns out it was. We moved 3 grouse and 6-7 woodcock. I shot a lot, but only brought down 2 birds – both ruffies.

Puck continues to impress me with her energy. She charged into each day like a dog 1/2 her age. She tired and a bit stiff at night, but by the AM she much better and anxious to get back in the field.

Grouse crop. Both birds were full of the same green stuff and the buds.

Grouse crop. Both birds were full of the same green stuff and the buds.

Tomorrow will be out last day in this part of Maine. We’re going to pull out and try some covers further south, and then head over to Caratunk for Friday. I hope the rain holds off the next couple of days. Enjoy the pics.

 

BTW: be sure to blow up the pics of the feathers. It’s pretty cool what you can see.

 

Breast feathers on a grouse

Breast feathers on a grouse

Feathers on the back of a grouse

Feathers on the back of a grouse

"ruff" feathers around grouse's neck. Where the name "Ruffed" grouse comes from.

“ruff” feathers around grouse’s neck. Where the name “Ruffed” grouse comes from.

Back feathers on a grouse

Back feathers on a grouse

WINCHESTER ~ MODEL 21 SxS 16-GAUGE...28-IN, SST

WINCHESTER ~ MODEL 21 SxS
16-GAUGE…28-IN, SST

Here’s a nice looking Winchester M21 16 gauge that’s on Gunauction.com right now. This NO RESERVE  auction ends on November 3, 2013, @ 17:45:00 PT, so if you like the looks of this double barrel shotgun, I would bid on it right away.

WINCHESTER ~ MODEL 21 SxS – 16-GAUGE…28-IN, SST, AE…Serial #15228: NO RESERVE!! Here’s a rather scarce Winchester Model 21 16-gauge Side-by-Side shotgun. This gun features 28″ barrels with 2-3/4″ chambers. The chokes are marked as Full & Modified. The choke constrictions measure .025 and .010 according to my dial caliper. This gun also features the factory single-selective trigger, automatic ejectors, and non-automatic safety. Overall condition is very good.

WINCHESTER ~ MODEL 21 SxS 16-GAUGE...28-IN, SST

WINCHESTER ~ MODEL 21 SxS
16-GAUGE…28-IN, SST

The gun does appear to have been buffed and refinished in the past, has seen use since, and rates about 60% overall. The frame and rear portion of the barrel show finish loss from carry and there are some scattered handling marks. There is one small spot of shallow pitting on the upper tang and some very small pits on the left side of the frame but the balance of the metal is quite smooth. There are a few marks along the edges of the barrel rib and a couple of small nicks in the edges at the muzzle but there are no dents in the barrels. The stocks are in very good condition with just one small chip at the right/rear edge of the beavertail forearm. There are some normal handling marks but no cracks or repairs and the checkering is still in very good condition. The red rubber butt pad is a Winchester marked replacement which yields a length of pull measuring 13-7/8″. Drop @ Heel is 2-1/2″ and Drop @ Comb is 1-1/2″. Weight is 7-pounds, 1-ounce.

WINCHESTER ~ MODEL 21 SxS 16-GAUGE...28-IN, SST

WINCHESTER ~ MODEL 21 SxS
16-GAUGE…28-IN, SST

The gun is in excellent mechanical condition and is not loose or “off face”. The trigger and ejectors function properly. Bores are bright and free of corrosion. The serial number is 15228 which indicates the frame was made prior to WWII. The actual completion date of the gun is unknown and there is no record of this serial number at the Cody Museum (not uncommon). I would guess that the gun was likely made in the late 1940′s. The Winchester 21 is considered by many to the best American made Side-by-Side ever produced and a 16-gauge gun is decidedly uncommon.

WINCHESTER ~ MODEL 21 SxS 16-GAUGE...28-IN, SST

WINCHESTER ~ MODEL 21 SxS
16-GAUGE…28-IN, SST

Strangest point ever - Puck, on a rock, pointing a running grouse.

Strangest point ever on a running grouse

Pick and I made it out yesterday for a couple hours today. The weather was just about perfect for bird hunting: Sunny, temps in the upper 30s after a real hard frost during the night, and just a touch of wind.

We hit two spots and found birds in both. In all, around 3 grouse and 4 woodcock. My shooting stunk, though. So all those birds are still out there, waiting or another day. Enjoy the pics and video.

Too bad fishing season is closed.

Too bad fishing season is closed.

A small cut. It may look bad, but it's really future grouse cover. Those slender trees are poplars, and they're take over and bring in the birds.

A small cut. It may look bad, but it’s really future grouse cover. Those slender trees are poplars, and they’re take over and bring in the birds.

Classic big-woods Maine cover. I walk the road, Puck works the edges.

Classic big-woods Maine cover. I walk the road, Puck works the edges.

More big woods cover. This is an old skidder trail.

More big woods cover. This is an old skidder trail.

Thick fat on a fresh woodcock.

Thick fat on a fresh woodcock.

Beretta Sidelock S-2 OU - 12 GAUGE Double Barrel Shotgun

Beretta Sidelock S-2 OU – 12 GAUGE Double Barrel Shotgun

Beretta’s S-series O/U shotguns are some of the greatest doubles ever made – and some of them can be the great buys. Just look at the S2 pictured here to see what I mean. It’s a true sidelock with 28 1/2″ bbls, a high-straight-gripped stock with a 14 3/8″ LOP, double triggers and a weight of just over 6 3/4 pounds. Price? Under $4000. Pound-for-pound, it has to be one of the best deals out there today on a true high-quality shotgun.

Beretta Sidelock S-2 OU - 12 GAUGE Double Barrel Shotgun

Beretta Sidelock S-2 OU – 12 GAUGE Double Barrel Shotgun

VINTAGE BERETTA SIDELOCK S-2 OU – 12 GAUGE – WITH OUTSTANDING ENGRAVING: Here is a very early Beretta S-2 OU sidelock in a traditional hunting configuration. Barrels are 28 1/2″ with the desirable solid rib. Double triggers and straight grip with long trigger guard tang. Sling swivels – useful or easily removed and plugged at barrel / gold stock oval. Checkered butt. Good overal condition Gun was made in 1946. Mirror bores as original – bottom barrel at .722 with 20/1000 choke (Modified) and Top barrel at .726 with 30/1000 choke (Full). Great weight at 6 LBS 14 OZ. Gun is tight on face. Ejectors in time. Single metal front bead. LOP – 14 3/8″. Drop at Comb – 1 5/16″. Drop at Heel – 1 13/16″. Price: $3,900

Beretta Sidelock S-2 OU - 12 GAUGE Double Barrel Shotgun

Beretta Sidelock S-2 OU – 12 GAUGE Double Barrel Shotgun

Fox Sterlingworth 16 Gauge #370858 - RARE GUN, Skeet & Upland Game

Fox Sterlingworth 16 Gauge Skeet & Upland Game Gun

Of all the A.H. Fox Sterlingworth shotguns ever made, the model you see here is one of the hardest to find.  The Sterlingworth Skeet and Upland Game Gun was introduced in 1935. Skeet was new sport then, having been invented in 1920 by Charles Davis, a grouse hunter from Andover, MA.

In 1926, William Harnden Foster introduced Skeet to America with an article in the February issue of National Sportsman and Hunting and Fishing magazine. The game boomed in popularity and by the ’30s makers  offers shotguns tailored for the sport.

Fox Sterlingworth 16 Gauge #370858 - RARE GUN, Skeet & Upland Game

Fox Sterlingworth 16 Gauge #370858 – RARE GUN, Skeet & Upland Game

Fox Sterlingworth 16 Gauge #370858 – RARE GUN, Skeet & Upland Game! Factory Letter! 6 lb 8oz: Price: $3,250.00

Fox Sterlingworth 16 Gauge #370858 - RARE GUN, Skeet & Upland Game

Fox Sterlingworth 16 Gauge #370858 – RARE GUN, Skeet & Upland Game

Barrel Length: 26″
Chokes: .009/.019
Bores: mirror
% Blue: 99%
Chambers: 2 3/4″
Ribs: tight
Sights: double ivory
Ejectors or Extractors: extractors
Case Color: 60%
Trigger Type: double
Trigger Guard Color: 99%

Type: english/splinter
LOP: 14, to End Of Wood: 12 7/8″
DAH: 2 3/4″, DAC: 1 5/8″, Cast: 0
Price: $3,250.00

"LeFever" Ornately Engraved High Grade Gun, 10 & 12 gauge Set

J.A. Prechtel – LeFever 10 & 12 gauge Set

The doubel barrel shotgun you see here is a head scratcher. While it sure looks like a Lefever and it’s made on a Lefever-pushlever-patent action, it was made by J.A. Prechtel. Who was J.A. Prechtel? I have no idea, and neither does anyone else.

According to the inscription on the barrels, Prechtel was located in Clevelan, OH. Did he have some connection with Lefever? Perhaps. Where else would he have learned to make “Lefever” shotguns? How did he get the action? Nobody knows. What’s certain though is that this is very cool shotgun. Whoever made it knew what they were doing, whoever they were and whatever they were doing.

You can here to see more & better pics, and read a bit of the speculation surrounding the gunmaker J.A. Prechtel.

J.A. Prechtel Lefever Double Barrel Shotugn, 10/12 gauge set

J.A. Prechtel Lefever Double Barrel Shotugn, 10/12 gauge set

Here are the details on the shotgun from the seller:

J.A. Prechtel/Lefever – Ornately Engraved High Grade Gun, Two Barrel Set: 10ga. Steel Barrels 29”, Cyl/Cyl, with 3” chambers, marked JAPrechtel Maker Clevland Ohio / Made for Dr. EJ Cuttler on rib, 12ga. Damascus barrels 30” F/F with 2 ¾” chambers, marked J Weston on rib – pistol grip stock with a hard rubber butt plate, Double triggers, splinter forend, solid ribs, extractors, not marked Lefever and there is no serial number. 14” x 1 3/4”x 3 1/4”. 8lb. 9oz.(12ga)   8lb. 15.5oz.(10ga). Price: $7,995.00

South Dakota is dying…

South Dakota, 2011. The last good year?

South Dakota, 2011. The last good year?

This is a sad story. It kicks me in the gut and makes me want to scream.

Right now, one of the greatest places on earth to hunt wild game birds is dying.

Across South Dakota, the double blow of drought and vanishing cover is wiping out the pheasants, sharptails, and huns. I’m sure it’s having the same impact on waterfowl and other wildlife, too.

This report confirms my fears. It’s a first-hand account from a friend and one of the most disheartening things I’ve read in a long time.

October 26, Miller, SD — The pheasants are gone. We have hunted three farms that total over 22 sections for more than 20 years. There were 8 of us this year, all experienced hunters and two very good dogs, my 5 year old Lab and a 7 year old Golden. In 4 days of hunting from noon until dark we killed a grand total of 12 pheasants. I shot 3 shells and killed two. Two of the hunters did not get one bird. We talked to a group of 10 hunters from Ohio and Indiana Wednesday who hunted for three hours Tuesday before they even saw one hen. We were skunked Wednesday! We hunted from noon until dark and saw only two roosters and five hens. We did not see one Sharptail or Chicken the entire week.

Until this year there were a total of 4 sections on the farms in CRP. They are all in crops now. Five years ago there were no soybeans anywhere due to the low moisture of the soil. This year with new genetic modified seeds, there were five sections planted in beans. Of course the harvested fields looked like a paved parking lot and there were no birds anywhere around them.

To give you a perspective, one of our group has kept a detailed hunting log of every hunt, every day, for the past 21 years. Every year until last year the group averaged over 13 birds per hunter every year. Five years ago, in the third week of the season, 12 of us killed 36 pheasants in less than two and a half hours on the same farms.

I doubt if I will ever go back to hunt pheasants in South Dakota. Every hunter that we talked with this week had very similar experiences. We did not talk to anyone who had a good hunt. They have done the same things that essentially destroyed the pheasant hunting in Iowa.

The results, and part of what it took.

The results, and part of what it took.

The area of Maine I’m hunting is big country. Outside my door are thousands of acres of  ground , and almost all of it is accessible. That’s great. But it does present a problem: Where the heck do you find birds? In such a big area to scout, you can spend days scouting for covers.

Fortunately, I’ve been up here a couple times and I have a few covers on my maps. These spots produced birds in the past, and so far they’re still popular with the area’s grouse & woodcock.

Puck pointing a running grouse

Puck pointing a  grouse

This afternoon Puck and I headed out to one of them: A cover that’s a mix of wet, boggy areas and poplar & alder growth. Turns out it was a good call.

In about an hour of hunting, we moved  6-8 woodcock and two grouse. I had a 3-4  opportunities on the woodcock, but put only down 1 bird. Both grouse either ran out from Pucks points, or were pointed from far off. Whatever happened, both were heard and not seen.

Snow squall - got pretty heavy...

Snow squall – got pretty heavy…

The weather started out cool and cloudy with breaks of sunshine. By the end of the day a snow squall moved it and things got pretty white for a while. With a little luck, the cold, changing weather will drive more woodcock into the area.

 

Puck's seat in the truck

Puck’s seat in the truck

She's beat

A great day for the old girl. She’s beat.

Dinner - Hot dogs, Mac & cheese, Beer...

My dinner – hot dogs, Mac & cheese, Beer…

Road into Love & Hate

Road into Love & Hate

Puck and I just got back from a couple hours of hunting. We hit a big woodcock spot up the road. I call it the Love/Hate cover – you love the looks of it and hate it when you’re in it.

It’s a punishing spot, loaded with nasty tangles, gagging on alders, and loaded with walls of spruces and shotgun-barrel thick poplars. It’s uphill, too. I fell a bunch on my butt a couple times, got poked in the left eye so hard it made me wonder if I still had a left eye, and cursed about every other minute.

Love & Hate. Puck's straight ahead - 178 yards. Go...

Love & Hate. Puck’s straight ahead – 178 yards. Go…

But the birds are always in it. We moved 3 woodcock and 1 grouse in a little over an hour. I shot one woodcock, but never found it. Puck did a half retrieve, dropped it, and then ran off to find another bird.

I looked for it until Puck went on point — again. I looked down at my Astro and it said she was 178 yards out. I marked the bird, and ran off. Not a fun run getting to her, and I couldn’t believe the energy she had. She ran like she was 6, not a decade +1.

We’re going back out this afternoon. The weather was cold & snowing this AM, so the birds should come out this afternoon to grab some sun, gravel, and food for the cold night we’re going to have.

Bigelow Mountain range...

Bigelow Mountain range…

Arnold's Expedition to Quebec passed through this area...

Arnold’s Expedition to Quebec passed through this area…

Puck taking a well deservd nap. Rest up.

Puck taking a well deservd nap. Rest up.

Poplars in the AM sun

Poplars in the AM sun

Me and my dog…

As Puck and I get ready to go out the door, I’m reminded that she’s been one of the most constant and dependable parts of my life for over a decade. She’s eleven, and this will be out tenth season together. My life has changed a lot since then – jobs, friends, and family have come and gone,  I lost 55 pounds, lived in 4 different apartments, met my wife, married, and much more. But Puck has always been my dog– thrilled to see me when I arrive home, ecstatic to chase birds, and happy to sit in my lap when the day’s done.

I want to thank Spencer at Feather and Fin | All things upland and upstream for bringing this video to my attention. As its name implies, it’s about the bond we develop with our dogs, a bond that has supported me and enriched my life in many ways. I hope you enjoy the video.

And be sure to check out Feather and Fin | All things upland and upstream . It’s great to see other folks enjoying the finest parts of life.

Bond from Modern Legacy Productions, MLP on Vimeo.

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