March/April 2019

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Editor’s Note by Ralph Stuart
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Give me a break!

Any kind of break! A smoke ball . . . a chip. At this point I’ll take a fleck of paint . . . . It was mid-December, and I was silently pleading with the clays gods to throw me a bone. I was shooting sporting clays at the new Beretta Shooting Grounds at Georgia’s Barnsley Resort—and doing miserably. Target after target was flying by unscathed, and I was getting more frustrated with each pull. Admittedly, the shots were challenging—lots of crossing and curling birds at tricky angles—and I was using a borrowed gun, but I should have been connecting more. And this was supposedly the easier of the grounds’ two clays courses . . . .

One of my shooting companions that day was John Burrell, owner of High Adventure Company, which manages the property. JB is a heck of a shot and was busting birds with regularity. I joked that I shoot much better when my quarry has a pulse, but deep down I knew it was a matter of getting out more and pulling the trigger. I walked off the course that afternoon vowing to up my game at the range.

A more rewarding experience had taken place earlier this past fall, not because I had broken more birds (although I had, thankfully), but because I had been privy to seeing a couple of youngsters get introduced to the sport.

I was with good friend Jeremy Hatch and his family at their camp in northern Maine, and we had driven to a deep-woods gravel pit with a portable trap and box of clays. Jeremy and his father, Dave, acted as range masters: instructing on gun safety, doling out shells and keeping watchful eyes on inexperienced hands. It was wonderful to see three generations interacting around a common interest in shooting—and even better to see the smiles on the faces of Jeremy’s 10-year-old son, Ben, and 13-year-old daughter, Abby, when they broke their first targets. In addition, Jeremy’s wife, Ali, was trying out a new shotgun and setting another great example for the kids. It was a true family affair during which more seeds for shotgunning’s future were hopefully planted.

I relate these two anecdotes as an introduction to our annual clay-shooting issue. This time we’ve included a helpful guide for those in the market for a target gun (“A Range of Sporters,” p. 52) as well as reviews of shooting glasses (Gear Guide, p. 31), practice aids (Field Gear, p. 80) and CZ’s All-American (Gun Review, p. 76).

Hopefully you’ll have a chance to get out this spring and give those clays a break!

Ralph P. Stuart

Features

A Range of Sporters

Choice clays guns at a price

By Bruce Buck

A Quest for Snowcock

The ragged realities of Himalayan snowcock
By Garhart Stephenson

A Bevy of Bosses

A flight of eight ‘bests’

By Douglas Tate

Back to the Cape

Ducks, brant and nostalgia on Cape Cod

By George W. Calef

Season’s End

The things that carry one through

By Reid Bryant


Departments

From the Editor

Make a break for clay shooting

Letters

Parker Repro reactions, praise for Pursell Farms, the brave Mrs. Brister and more

The Opener

An impressionistic take on spring snow geese

Game & Gun Gazette

Readers & Writers Adventures, Indiana grouse, Frederick Beesley’s new guns, etc.

Gun Review

Taking targets with the CZ All-American

By Bruce Buck

Field Gear

A range of items for improving practice

By The Editors

Going Public

Mixed-bag hunting in Montana’s Malta Region

By E. Donnall Thomas Jr.

To the Point

Coming around to “closing the circle”

By Tom Huggler


Scattershot

Great advice for the sporting life

Gear Guide

Focusing on protective eyewear

By Ralph Stuart

Shooting

A short list of must-have gun books

By Chris Batha

From the Bench

A Prussian Daly ejector repair

By Dewey Vicknair

Shot Talk

Exchanges with enquiring minds

By Tom Roster

Hunting Dogs

Teaching your dog to “Go Away”

By Jessie Richards

Conservation

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act

By E. Donnall Thomas Jr.


On the cover: Paulena Prager swings on a bird at M&M Hunting & Sporting Clays, in New Jersey. Photograph by Thaddius Bedford

Additional photos: Brodie Calef; Jeff Moore


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