Editor's Note by Ralph Stuart
In May/June I wrote about working with gundogs to fix performance faults for the coming season. As hunters, we should consider similar plans. For example, is there a particular shot that was giving you fits this past fall? Did you have trouble finding the second trigger on follow-ups? Now is a great time to head to the range for a tune-up or to familiarize yourself with a new gun.
Speaking of guns, did yours have any mechanical “issues” this past season? Hiccups with ejecting, misfiring or doubling, perhaps? More than a few of us have been guilty of putting away our shotguns thinking, I’ll deal with it later, and then remembering problems when it’s too late to do anything about them. Better to seek the services of a gunsmith now than to suffer through another season of frustration.
Hunting gear deserves our attention as well. There’s nothing worse than gathering equipment for an imminent trip and realizing that your vest has a torn game bag, the crotch of your hunting pants is ripped and your favorite shooting shirt is missing a few buttons. Take time to go through clothes and accessories and assess their condition—and do some shopping, if necessary. (This applies especially to boots, which require ample time to break in.)
In this pre-season issue we address a number of these items. From Chris Batha’s column on planning for travel to Tom Huggler’s piece on sharpening shooting skills, you can find tips and advice for readying for the opener. If you’re looking for guns, gear and/or new attire, you’ll want to check out Brad Fitzpatrick’s “Shotgun Roundup 2016,” David Draper’s Field Gear column (“New Gear of the Year,”) and our annual fashion section (“The Well-Dressed Wingshooter,”).
It’s also not too late to start planning the trip of a lifetime. We have spots available on our Readers & Writers Adventures, which this year include hunts at Firesteel Creek Lodge, Rio Piedra Plantation, Flying B Ranch and Pine Hill Plantation. If you have yet to attend one of our gatherings, I highly recommend you consider doing so. Not only will you enjoy a hunt at a premier lodge, but odds are you will meet fellow wingshooters who are sure to become lifelong friends. For more information, visit our adventures page or contact Terry Bombeke, 207-594-9544.
Ralph P. Stuart
The year’s lineup of new scatterguns
Ralph P. Stuart
Finding familiarities among hunters
The Ern Roller Sidelock
Building a better mousetrap
September on the Prairie
E. Donnall Thomas Jr.
Huns & sharptails as season-starters
Handcrafted in Hammersmith
Blending craft and high tech in Purdey’s new workshop
Hunting with Guides
A primer on the client-guide relationship
From the Editor
Ralph P. Stuart
The importance of pre-season prep
A fall shoot, pointers v. flushers, advertiser kudos, know your trap and more
Game & Gun Gazette
A Blixt/Holt’s auction, Pacific Sporting Arms East, protecting public access, etc.
From the Bench
Field-care advice from a vet who travels with bird dogs
Answers to readers’ questions on shotshell ballistics
A French connection: the Orvis Chapuis Classic
Highlighting the best new gear of the year
To the Point
The satisfaction of shooting well