July/August 2016


Editor's Note by Ralph Stuart
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Ralph Stuart, Editor
[W]ith fall only a few months away, ’tis the season of anticipation. It’s the time of year when hunters begin itching to get back in the field. Unfortunately, too few of us take advantage of summer’s down time to properly prepare. And in the words of Ben Franklin: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

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
[email protected]


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Shotgun Roundup 2016

Brad Fitzpatrick

The year’s lineup of new scatterguns

Grouse of a Feather

Ralph P. Stuart

Finding familiarities among hunters

The Ern Roller Sidelock

Clair Kofoed

Building a better mousetrap

September on the Prairie

E. Donnall Thomas Jr.

Huns & sharptails as season-starters

Handcrafted in Hammersmith

Terry Allen

Blending craft and high tech in Purdey’s new workshop

Hunting with Guides

Reid Bryant

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.


Chris Batha

Plan like a pro: tips and tricks for the traveling wingshooter

From the Bench

Dewey Vicknair

Radically reshaping a Fox Sterlingworth

Hunting Dogs

George Hickox

Field-care advice from a vet who travels with bird dogs

Shot Talk

Tom Roster

Answers to readers’ questions on shotshell ballistics

Gun Review

Bruce Buck

A French connection: the Orvis Chapuis Classic

Field Gear

David Draper

Highlighting the best new gear of the year

To the Point

Tom Huggler

The satisfaction of shooting well

On the cover: Ruffed grouse & woodcock, photographed by Dale C. Spartas


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