Editor’s Note by Ralph Stuart
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!
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
The things that carry one through
By Reid Bryant
From the Editor
Make a break for clay shooting
Parker Repro reactions, praise for Pursell Farms, the brave Mrs. Brister and more
An impressionistic take on spring snow geese
Game & Gun Gazette
Readers & Writers Adventures, Indiana grouse, Frederick Beesley’s new guns, etc.
Taking targets with the CZ All-American
By Bruce Buck
A range of items for improving practice
By The Editors
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
Great advice for the sporting life
Focusing on protective eyewear
By Ralph Stuart
A short list of must-have gun books
By Chris Batha
From the Bench
A Prussian Daly ejector repair
By Dewey Vicknair
Exchanges with enquiring minds
By Tom Roster
Teaching your dog to “Go Away”
By Jessie Richards
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