July/August 2017

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Editor’s Note by Ralph Stuart
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The small trio hand't been on the water two seconds before it disappeared in a subtle slurp. I lifted the rod tip and felt the satisfying tug of something with substance. “Fish on!” I yelled to my guides and boat mates, Kyle Waggoner and Jeff Judkins. Both cheered encouragement as I fought and eventually released the hefty 17-inch rainbow.
It was mid-September last year, and we were taking advantage of a stellar Wyoming day to drift the Bighorn River near Thermopolis. Waggoner is the owner of the newly opened Lander Fly Shop, in Lander, and Wind River Wingshooting, and I was enjoying a cast & blast trip for brown and rainbow trout as well as sage and ruffed grouse (see “High-Peaks Pa’tridge,” March/April).
I mention this for two reasons. One is that it plays to what I wrote about in January/February: the importance of getting the full experience when you travel. For me, there are few better ways to round out a hunting trip than to sample the local fishing. I have done this in places like Quebec, Colorado and Patagonia, and each time I have come away with a more complete connection with my surroundings.
The other reason is that this issue of Shooting Sportsman is going to subscribers of our sister publication Fly Rod & Reel. In our years of publishing both magazines, we’ve seen a large crossover between the two readerships. (Simply put: A lot of fly fishermen seem to enjoy wingshooting, and a lot of bird hunters like wetting lines.) So when FR&R recently folded after nearly 40 years, it made sense to send its readers SSM.
Wingshooters and fly fishers indeed have a lot in common. From a taste for adventure to concerns for resources and the environment, both groups click on multiple levels. And what better way than a bird hunt to procure tying materials?
Hopefully FR&R’s readers will find enough common ground—or water—to stick with us.
If you’re still considering a trip for this season, don’t forget our Readers & Writers Adventures. Year upon year these gatherings earn rave reviews for not only the hunting offered but also the camaraderie enjoyed. Our Firesteel Creek trip is sold out, but there remain openings on two great Georgia quail hunts: at Rio Piedra Plantation in November and Pine Hill Plantation in February. For more information, contact Thierry Bombeke

(207-594-9544) or visit Shootingsportsman.com

Ralph P. Stuart


Guns of the Year

What’s new in smoothbores for ’17
By Brad Fitzpatrick

Woodcock on the Miramichi

To New Brunswick in pursuit of “balloons”
By Vic Venters

Hemingway’s ‘Lost’ Guns

Cuba’s Finca Vigía gives up its secrets
By Silvio Calabi, Steve Helsley & Roger Sanger

Highland Wings

Flush with birds at Highland Hills Ranch
By Wayne Van Zwoll

Grasslands Pilgrimage

Back to the prairie for chickens & sharptails
By Tom Davis


From the Editor

Casting about on a bird hunt


Sporting guns, the “Father of Sporting Clays,” and more

Game & Gun Gazette

Gordy & Sons, Westley Richards, William Evans and an A1 Special


Helpful hints for choosing a shooting coach
By Chris Batha

Shot Talk

Answers to readers’ questions
By Tom Roster

Hunting Dogs

Building prey drive in flushers
By ‘Jerry’ Raymond Cacchio

Gun Review

The Stevens 555 Enhanced: flat out a shooter
By Bruce Buck

Field Gear

Top picks from SHOT
By David Draper

To the Point

Why I’ll never be a guide
By Tom Huggler

On the cover: A golden day on the grasslands. Photograph by Chip Laughton

Additional photos: Courtesy of Savage Arms (Gun),Roberto Herrera Sotolongo (Hemingway), Terry Allen (Dog) 

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