September/October 2016


Editor's Note by Ralph Stuart
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Ralph P. Stuart
Ralph P. Stuart, Editor

Season’s greetings. Bird season, that is.

In many parts of the US, September kicks off hunting for a variety of species. Whether it’s doves in the Southeast, teal around the Gulf Coast or prairie grouse in the West, opening days are seeing hunters and dogs head afield after months of anticipation.

I always enjoy the beginning of the season, as it’s an opportunity to start with a clean slate. The year’s first outing is full of promise, potential and expectation. Will your dog’s training pay off? Will bird numbers live up to predictions? Will that new gun be the answer to last year’s shooting “issues”? The optimism that’s part and parcel to a fresh approach is exhilarating.

Along the lines of new beginnings, this issue marks a new season of sorts for Shooting Sportsman. Longtime readers will recognize Lynda Mills as our Art Director and Designer for the past 22 years. Lynda obviously has had a major influence on the look and feel of the magazine, and she has been the “face” of the publication at shows such as the Vintage Cup and SCI Convention. Well, I am happy to report—for her sake—that Lynda has taken a well-deserved retirement and now is enjoying more time with her grandchildren and horses and in her lovely gardens. We will miss her, and we thank her for her many years of service.

Stepping in as our new Creative Director is Miroslaw Jurek, or as he’s known around here: Mirek (“Meer-ek”). Mirek originally hails from Poland and was London educated; he spent a number of years designing European publications, including FHM, GQ and Penthouse(!). He has been working for our sister publication Down East for the past 10 years and has taken that magazine’s design to new heights. Mirek is an outdoorsman who enjoys canoeing and camping with his wife and two sons, and he is an angling enthusiast—with a special passion for “squidding” in the local harbor.

This issue is the first with Mirek at the helm, and I think you’ll like what you see. His fresh eye and style are evident throughout, and it will be fun watching his long-term vision for SSM emerge over time.

I hope that you will join me in welcoming Mirek and looking forward to a great season ahead.

Ralph P. Stuart
[email protected]


Shooting Sportsman
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The Godfather of Gun Engraving

The revolutionary influence of Ken Hunt
by Douglas Tate

Up-Covey Quail

Back to Oklahoma for bobs in a boom year
by Tom Huggler

Vetting Guns, Part 1

How to evaluate new & used guns like a pro
by Bruce Buck

North Country Cast & Blast

Bucket-list material at Minnesota’s Lake of the Woods
by Chad Mason

Booting Up

Wear-testing the latest crop of upland boots
by David Draper

The Business of Bobwhites

The return of Rio Piedra Plantation
by Vic Venters

A Trek for Ptarmigan

An Alaskan grousing adventure
by Gary Kramer

A Guide to Etiquette

Emily Post for people with shotguns
by E. Donnall Thomas Jr.


From the Editor

Ralph P. Stuart
In anticipation of the season ahead.


’Doodle or snipe? Safety first, grouse dogs & more

Game & Gun Gazette

Fall shoots, new guns from Italy, Westley Richards moves, etc.


The rise of simulated driven shooting for fun & authentic practice
by Chris Batha

Fine Gunmaking

Examining the inner works of a W&C Scott crystal-indicator gun
by Steven Dodd Hughes

Hunting Dogs

The importance of balance in training
by Mike Stewart

Shot Talk

Point-of-impact: Does your shotgun hit where you’re aiming?
by Tom Roster

Gun Review

Blaser’s F16 game gun hits the mark at a price that fills a gap
by Bruce Buck

Field Gear

Great new gear for hunting season
by David Draper

To the Point

Addicted to scaled quail
by Tom Huggler

On the cover: Pointer Ghillie photographed at Aberfeldy Plantation, in Georgia, by Bill Buckley
Additional photos above: Ptarmigan hunters in Alaska prepare to set out across the tundra — by Gary Kramer; The sleek lines and clean finish of the new Blaser F16 game gun


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