Editor’s Note by Ralph Stuart
We were cheek by jowl in a pit blind, and I was so focused on the goose that I didn’t notice the gun barrel come up beside my left ear. The shot that followed was literally deafening, and the concussion had me disoriented for several seconds. I don’t recall how long it took for my hearing to return, but I know that the ringing didn’t stop for quite a while.
That incident took place years ago when I thought I was invincible and there were no such things as long-term effects. Which is why I wasn’t wearing hearing protection that morning . . . . And I paid the price.
In time I wised up and began taking precautions—first with foam and rubber plugs, and then with earmuffs. At a sportsman’s show I had molded plugs made and thought they were the answer. The trouble with all the devices was that they were passive—simply blocking out sound and not allowing me to hear birds, dogs or my hunting companions.
It wasn’t until a got a pair of ESP electronic plugs that I was satisfied. These custom-fit plugs have built-in microphones and speakers, allowing you to hear normal sounds but cutting out high-decibel noises. Now I am able to carry on conversations and not worry about gunfire—mine or someone else’s—further damaging my hearing.
I mention hearing protection, because this is our annual “Waterfowl Issue,” and I have found waterfowling situations—with hunters often in close proximity in hides or boats—to be some of the most assaulting on the ears. (I recently had another shot fired beside me when someone was dispatching a duck, and I was doubly thankful for my ESPs.) If you don’t yet have hearing protection, I strongly suggest you get it. If you have it, I suggest you wear it religiously.
The last thing you want is to go deaf in a blind.
An Italian Innovation
Beretta’s SL3: almost 500 years in the making
By Greggory Elliott
Fast, frantic, fantastic wood ducks
By Phil Bourjaily
A Trainer’s Take
Tom Dokken talks pheasant dogs & more
By Keith R. Crowley
The Stephen Grant Round Action
A ‘best’ O/U for taking ‘tall’ birds
By Vic Venters
Hunting scoters and brant on the Eastern Shore
By Ralph Stuart
From the Editor
How not to go deaf in the blind
Loving doves, adding to the mystery and praising snipe
A chance at two geese with one shot
Game & Gun Gazette
Eyeworms and quail, Pheasant Dogs, the William Powell Perdix, measuring shotguns and more
The Retay Masai Mara: a very nice inertia semi-auto
By Bruce Buck
A few finds for fowling and beyond
By The Editors
Montana’s Open Fields: creating access to upland habitat
By Ed Carroll
Blasting & casting with Patagonia River Guides
Dale C. Spartas
To the Point
The never-ending thrill of gunning geese
By Tom Huggler
Great advice for the sporting life
All-in-one collars for locating & training
By Greg Mcreynolds
Remembering a “proper”-dove-shoot introduction
By Chris Batha
From the Bench
Bringing back a J.D. Dougall hammergun
By Delbert Whitman Jr.
A bevy of new loads from Kent Cartridge
By Tom Roster
The cruel realities of canine cancer
By Marty Grabijas
Getting fired up about prescribed burning
By Miles Demott