Patrick Flanaganm Border to Border Outfitters, is a wanderer, a dog lover, and a bird hunter. Living-the-dream he chases wild birds from Minnesota and South Dakota to Arizona. The guys at Project Upland caught up with him and some clients on a wild quail hunt. Check out this great film to join them: All Wild – An Arizona Quail Hunting Film
Way back in the early 20th century, Ernest Hemingway was the man and, in a lot of ways, THE MAN.
A literary icon by 27 (wow, that makes me feel like a chump), Hemingway was famous for his to-the-point, English-Pointer lean sentences and simple dialogue.
He was also famous for he-man exploits like African safaris.
Hemingway went to Africa in 1933 and 1954. On his second trip, the .577 Nitro Express Westley Richards you see here and in the video above was the gun he carried.
The .577 Nitro Express is one of the most bad-ass hunting rounds of all time. Hemingway’s rifle fired a 750 gr. bullet, and generated a crushing 7,010 ft⋅lbf. By comparison, a .30-06 Springfield shooting a 220-gr bullet generates a wimpy 2,981 ft⋅lbf.
Famous Africa hunter John “Pondoro” Taylor wrote that the .577 Nitro Express was “a magnificent killer – it literally crumbles up an elephant”. Unfortunately, it could have the same impact on the man shooting it.
I’m a pointing-dog guy, and for me, the sight of a dog locked up on a grouse or woodcock is crucial to the upland-hunting experience.
But some guys would disagree, including Fritz and Ric Heller. They star in this film, produced by Project Upland in association with the Ruffed Grouse Society.
“The primary reason I go (grouse hunting) is to get away from everything and to be in that moment. It’s really special to be 100% completely present and committed, and it probably talks a lot about the flushing dogs. You know, you’re not listening to a beeper or a bell in the distance waiting for it to stop, you’re 100% focused on what’s going on in front of you the entire time…”
This video captures the thrills and excitement of pheasant hunting in South Dakota. Check it now. The flush at 1:52 is just plain awesome. Chasing Pheasants in Fresh Snow – South Dakota 2019
I’m pretty sure I posted this video from the Quail Coalition before. But it’s such a great look into a type of hunting I would love to experience that I figured why not check it out again.
This video shows as sorts of wild Texas quail doing what every hunter wants them to see them do: busting out in crazy flushes. And notice they hunters not using cockers or flushing-whips to get the birds in the air. That’s because these quail are the real deal.
Bobwhite quail are not one of a America’s conservation success stories. Over the last 30-40 years, their populations have collapsed throughout the south and across the southwest. Fortunately, some people, and some state agencies and working hard to try and these birds back. I hope they’re successful.
“For many, the bobwhite quail is a symbol of their youth in the South. Small game is often where many cut their teeth in the hunting world. Adam Keith, wildlife consultant, ventures back into his past to take a journey into the public lands of Missouri with state biologist Frank L. Loncarich and Kyle Hedges.” WatchFighting Back – A Bobwhite Quail Film by Project Upland now.
E.J. CHURCHILL PREMIER QUALITY OVER UNDER DOUBLE BARREL SHOTGUNS PAIR: BOTH GUNS ARE THE SAME DIMENSIONS, 28″ SOLID RIB, CHOKED .007″ AND .014″ with 2 3/4″ CHAMBERS, DOUBLE TRIGGERS, EJECTORS, FIELD FOREARM, PISTOL GRIP, CHECKERED BUTT MINT CONDITION MAKERS CASE, 7 LBS 4 0Z, DIMENSIONS: 2″ DAH,1 9/16″ DAC, 14 1/8″ LOP. Matched pair E.J. Churchill O/U The Premier Quality. 12 Bore game guns. Gun I made in 1926, Gun II Made in 1929. Serial Nr. 4220 was made for Abercrombie & Fitch and 3173 for a Mr. Wilson in San Francisco. They were both originally pigeon guns with 32” barrels. They were matched up as a pair and re-barreled to 28” through Churchill, Atkin, Grant & Lang, and Don Masters chocked IC/M and probably restocked by the maker, work which was done for a Danish nobleman whose coat of arms are on the escutcheon. Both guns have a full London proof. The actions of these guns are exact copies of the Woodward O&U actions, and were made by the firm of Hills, who also made the actions for Woodward. It was said at the time that Woodward built the Over & Under guns for Bob Churchill. This may be indeed true, but it is not likely, I believe Hill did all the actioning and in addition, they both used the same outworkers. A marked difference is the ejector system, which differs from Woodward and shows the Churchill input, as Bob Churchill felt it needed improvement. In total only 15 Over & Under guns were built by Churchill before WWII, of which this pair is believed to be in the best condition of those remaining. One of these guns is pictured in the book “The House of Churchill” by Don Masters. Price: $46,500
F.LLI PIOTTI Model BSEE, Boxlock, SxS, 16ga 29″ Upgraded wood, Upgraded action shaping, 6#3oz Near Perfect condition: Serial # A03. Barrel Length (in Inches): 29″, Choked R SKT(.005) Choked L IM(.020), Trigger DT (Double), Straight Grip, Splinter Forearm, English-style Smooth Concave Rib, Fine Scroll & Rosette Engraving, Upgraded wood, Upgraded action shaping, Checkered butt, Original box. Near PERFECT Condition. Weight 6#3oz. Dimensions 1 3/8 x 2 1/4 x 14 3/4 with 1/4 cast off. Mfg 2007, The ideal upland bird gun. Price: $14,900
Stephen Grant Classic Hammer Sidelever SxS with original Nitro Proofed Damascus Barrels: Serial Number: 3822, Ejectors: No, Barrels: 30″, Barrel Type: Damascus, Action: back-action side lever with rebounding hammers, Gauge: 12 gauge, Stock Comb: 1 7/16″, Stock Heel: 2 1/4″, Stock Cast: 1/8″, LOP: 14 1/2″, Weight: 6 lbs. 14 oz., Choke Left: .003 Near Cyl., Choke Right: .003 Near Cyl.
Proof:Nitro: 2 1/2″, Minimum Wall Thickness Left: .030″, Minimum Wall Thickness Right: .028″. Price: $6,900
Webley & Scott 16 gauge SxS Boxlock Shotgun: Nice old prewar Webley & Scott 16 ga. Choked imp and full 29” barrels, DT, AE, LOP is 14 3/4”, leather pad, this piece has a third fastener, really nice old shotgun. Price: $3,895
Ithaca ~ 280 ~ 20 Ga. ~ Side-by-Side ~ Boxlock Shotgun: This Ithaca Model 280 is a side by side 20 Ga. shotgun. It has 25 inch barrels with a solid rib and 3 inch chambers. A checkered grip walnut straight grip stock and beavertail forearm. Has a very nicely engraved receiver with birds in flight. In over all good condition it comes as is.Ithaca-SKB checkered black plate. Weighs 6 lbs. 3 oz. Shows a little use and wear. Price: $1,699.99
I love old, German OUs–especially smallbores. And the 20 gauge you see here really has my heart pumping.
Greifelt & Co used to be a major German gunmaker. Founded in 1885 in Suhl, the company went bust in 1945 at the end of WWII. In those 60 years, they exported shotguns and rifles throughout the world, including to Von Lengerke & Detmold (which was purchased by Abercrombie & Fitch in 1929).
This gun is typical of the German-style OUs that companies like VL&D imported into the US. It looks like it’s built on a Blitz-style triggerplate action with double Kersten locks. I love the engraving and the carving on the metalwork as well as the horn drop points on the stock. All very classy.
German over-unders like this were part of the first wave of the OU revolution that started in Europe and the UK before the first World War and then boomed in the US in the 1950s with the Browning Superposed.
GREIFELT #1 PRE WAR O/U 20 GAUGE VL&D IMPORT: 26″ SOLID RIB, IC AND MOD, 2 1/2″ CHAMBERS, DOUBLE TRIGGER, EJECTORS, 3-PIECE FOREARM, ENGLISH GRIP, MAKER’S CASE, EXCELLENT ORIGINAL CONDITION, 5LBS 14 OZ, 3″ DAH, 2″ DAC, 14 1/2″ LOP. Price: $13,500
Quick: What’s the #1 game bird in the US?
Quail? Nope. Pheasants? Nah.
It’s the mourning dove, and this year hunters across 42 states will bag more than 20 million of them.
If your state allows dove hunting (mine doesn’t), here’s a quick guide to how to find birds.
I’ve been kicking around the upland world for a while. As my friends and covers get older, I wonder what will become of grouse and woodcock hunting. To keep it thriving, it’s important we to attract new voices and new perspectives. Both bring in new blood.
Through their videos, website, and now their first book, Project Upland offers readers and viewers fresh take on upland hunting, gun dogs, and fine shotguns. Last December, they approached me about writing an essay for their premier publication: PROJECT UPLAND – THE BIRD HUNTING ANTHOLOGY – VOLUME 1.
The book came out a few weeks ago, and if you’re into bird hunting, it’s a must-read. It features lots of cool, full-color pics, and 10 essays with titles like The Quickest Path to Losing Hunting Partners, The Golden Hour, and, my piece, For the Heart. Here’s an excerpt. To read the whole thing, you’ll have to buy the book.
For the Heart
“Love can be hard to understand, especially when it’s for anything other than babies, puppies, and ice cream. Of all the things I love about upland hunting—my Pointers flashing through the woods, the whirl of a flushing woodcock, the cidery smell of old apple trees—my lifelong affair with shotguns is the most difficult for me to comprehend.
I’m not from a family of hunters or shooters. My grandfather never killed a bird in his life. While my dad was a fisherman, he never even owned a gun or fired a rifle. And I didn’t grow up on a farm with cornfields or stands of Aspen outside my door. I grew up in Connecticut, down the street from a 7-Eleven and a strip mall anchored by a bar called the Amber Light Lounge & Cafe. But despite all this, bird hunting, and especially shotguns, have always been my thing…”
Hunting dogs can be frustrating, exhilarating, and, when they leave us, heartbreaking.
This video introduces you a lab named Sam and a duck hunter named Steve Koehly. I learned something from both of them. They may teach you something, too.
Warning: If you don’t want to be seen with wet eyes, don’t watch at work.
I miss October and woodcock hunting, especially as I sit here and watch the snow fall.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- What Will Become of Scotland’s Moors? The future of the nation’s signature landscape is murky amid debates over class, culture, and nature.
This story appears in the May 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine.
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.
Here’s one of the finest double-barrel shotguns you’re going to find. These Beretta 686s handle like OUs costing many times more. They’re also reliable, easy to fix, and with this kind of Onyx finish, just plain sexy. For grouse, woodcock, and quail, they’re just about ideal.
With two set of barrels, 26.5″ and 29.5″, and a price tag of just $1699.99, this one is extra special. That’s why I’m saying someone needs to buy this gun. If someone else doesn’t snatch it up soon, I just might be the one to do it.
Beretta 686 Onyx 20 Gauge Over Under 2 Barrel Set: This is a very nice Beretta 686 Onyx 2 barrel set. The pictured barrels are 26.5 inch matte black and the second set are 29.5 inch blue, both have vent ribs. The walnut stock and matching forearm are a nice grade of wood with a small hairline crack on the left side of the forearm. All in all a very nice shotgun at a very nice price. Price: $1699.99
Caliber: 20 Gauge.
Chambers: 2 3/4 and 3 inch Over/Under with ejectors.
Metal Condition: Excellent.
Wood Condition: Very good with a small crack on the left side of the forearm.
Bore Condition: All are bright and shiny.
Barrels: 26.5 inch matte black and the second set are 29.5 inch blue.
Triggers: Single silver color.
Stock: Nice mid-grade walut with a checkered pistol grip.
15 inch LOP
Fore End: Matching checkered walnut with finger grooves.
Butt Pad: Replacement black rubber butt pad.
Weight: 6 Lbs 3 Oz with the 26.5 inch barrels.
Sights: Vent ribs with single front beads.
Chokes: Screw in, comes with 9 total chokes.
Extras: Comes with the second barrel and extra chokes.
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.
Yeah – I know it’s March. But I’m always in an October state of mind. This video will help you get there, too. The first ten minutes feature good dogs, great cover, and, most importantly, BIRDS.
Here’s another great video from the UK’s Nick Ridley. This one is of Ted, a young Cocker Spaniel learning the ins-and-outs of being a gun dog. So much enthusiasm…
For the next installment in our “cocker spaniel, you’ve-got-to-see-this video series”, check out this one from Nick Ridley over in the UK. Over there, they use spaniels to hunt rabbits. The vid is shot with a drone, and if you watch closely you’ll spot bunnies bolting from the cover, unseen by the shooter.