Wingshooting

The Sportsman’s Guide to Shopping

In London:

Farlows, fishing and shooting, www.farlows.co.uk

Lock & Co. Hatters, bespoke hats and hunt caps, www.lockhatters.co.uk

John Lobb, Country boots and riding boots, www.johnlobbltd.co.uk

Henry Maxwell, hunting, polo and field boots www.henrymaxwell.com

Bernard Weatherhill Ltd., coats, vests and breeches, www.bernardweatherill.com

H. Huntsman & Sons, riding habits, scarlet coats, evening coats, suits www.h-huntsman.com

Holland & Holland, shotguns and sporting arms, www.hollandandholland.com

James Purdey & Sons, gunmaker, www.purdey.com

Boss & Co Ltd., gunmaker, www.bossguns.co.uk

By |November 26th, 2011|Fishing, Foxhunting, Wingshooting|Comments Off on The Sportsman’s Guide to Shopping
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    Hanging Game Birds – How to Hang a Pheasant – Resting Game

Hanging Game Birds – How to Hang a Pheasant – Resting Game

Gaminess is a level of intensity, from the feed and wildness of game being pursued by predators instead of being confined, that can be raised or lowered in cooking.  There is discussion among game aficionados that focus on how long game birds should be hunt or left to relax before being sufficiently tenderized.  Temperature is critical and it is best to hang game where the temperature does not fluctuate such as in a cold room, with a reasonable movement of air, away from flies.  Pigeons, ducks, and snipe do not seem to benefit from hanging.  Being raised in America, I have to confess that I cringed a bit when I initially encountered the way that they hung game birds for aging in France. Hanging pheasants and grouse in the feathers for days (or even a week or two) didn’t seem to comply with our modern standards of food hygiene and with bacterial contamination being nearly a daily feature in our newspapers even from FDA approved facilities.

Oh I know that old books go on about sublime flavor “high game.” But the French have it right and the rest of Europe and England nearly always follow this method as well.  While hanging, the natural enzymes begin to act on the fibers of the muscle meat, making them more relaxed and tender.

When you think about it, it makes sense.  Try eating a cow (or any big game animal) the following day after it is harvested—it’s nearly inedible, tough and chewy.  The carcass is hard and stiff, if you try to cut the meat at this point in time.  But even a few days of dry-aging it, allows the rigamortis which sets in immediately after killing the animal […]

By |November 22nd, 2011|Cuisine, Fur and Feather, Wingshooting|Comments Off on Hanging Game Birds – How to Hang a Pheasant – Resting Game

What is Instinctive Shooting?

Some of our friends who haven’t been wingshooting with us ask what is Instinctive Shooting?  Attached is an article from our side-by-side shooting instructor, Buz Fawcett, appropriately entitled “What is Instinctive Shooting?”

http://wingshootingworkshop.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/what-is-instinctive-shooting-by-buz-fawcett.pdf

By |October 20th, 2011|Wingshooting|Comments Off on What is Instinctive Shooting?

Hunt, Gather, Cook (Book Review **** 4/5)

Hank Shaw is an award-winning journalist and makes his debut from his blogger’s guide to a book on foraging, fishing, hunting, simply entitled Hunt, Gather Cook–and makes the most of the fruits of a day spent gathering food in the field. His blog, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, has developed an avid following among outdoor people and foodies alike.

Hank Shaw’s blog, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, and which is more impressive than the book, can be found at: http://honest-food.net/

His poacher’s blog, which is also worthy of mention, despite his bad-form tactics, can be found at:  http://huntergathercook.typepad.com/

By |October 8th, 2011|Book Reviews, Cuisine, Fishing, Recipes, Wingshooting|Comments Off on Hunt, Gather, Cook (Book Review **** 4/5)

Ten Tips for Becoming A Better Grouse Hunter

Have an Uncle Who’s Part Indian.  I am not being cute or clever.  My heritage is part Sioux Indian and there is something to be learned from our Native Americans when it comes to forest craft, it’s not just all folk-lore.  While Indians have a legendary reputation for being quieter and more stealthy in the woods, it’s for good reason, but we could argue whether that is due to nature or nurture.  Whatever the reason and if you weren’t born with it, see what you can learn from someone skilled in this manner of stealthy stalking and it doesn’t matter if it is applied on big game or upland birds, it’s better than the alternative of bashing through the woods scaring every grouse out of the other end of it before you even step foot in the beginning of the other end of the woods.  Better yet, adopt an “uncle” born or skilled in these crafts.
Learn to shoot a shotgun and learn to shoot it well.  We attended Buz Fawcett’s Wingshooting Workshop many times now, in efforts to become Master Shotgunners.  If you hit what you can see and learn to shoot instinctively, you will be a better grouse hunter.
Bring a picnic on the grouse moor.  You never know when you will need fortitude from the elements or simply from your own psyche, if it’s a less than stellar day.  We always bring a French picnic, complete with some red wine, pate’ from birds gone by, cheese course, salad and other treats.
Stuff enough shells in your bag, but not too many to begin to think you you have enough to afford to miss.  My friend, Paul, grew up in rural Nebraska and his father was a professional assassin for coyotes and other predators, working […]

By |October 8th, 2011|Cuisine, Picnic, Recipes, Travel, Wingshooting|Comments Off on Ten Tips for Becoming A Better Grouse Hunter

Blue Grouse Hippies

Jeff and I started hunting for blue grouse together nearly twenty years ago, having met each other our rookie years in the courtroom.  In fact we met as I spied Jeff trying to hide an issue of Shooting Sportsman in his client’s file, as we sat next to one other on the barrister’s seats waiting for the judge to call the cases of the day.  We starting talking and I found out his father, Roger Hill, wrote one of my favorite books, Fly Fishing the South Platte.

Jeff went on to say this was a blessing and a curse, as his father was a retired nuclear physicist and that he never got to enjoy soccer and things like that on the weekends, as his father simply left every weekend day saying, “I am going fishing , do you want to come along?”  There being no alternative except staying home alone, Jeff obliged and became a serious fly-tier, angler, and shooter of his own.  We immediately started hunting together, a journey down the sporting road which lasted many years and which I hope will continue when he finds time away from his new family.  His dog at the time was a hard-headed English Setter pup, which matched well in the field with my Britanny of field-trial lines who was on his first year afield.

After many years of driving dirt roads and discovering dead ends on maps, we discovered the promised land of blue grouse together and promised to never divulge its location to any outsiders, or any other grouse covert we discovered together, for that matter, under threat of death or sending sultry clients to deal with such indiscretions.  After one of our first days on the mountain in the shadows of the mountain, we found […]

By |October 3rd, 2011|Colorado, Cuisine, Dog Training, Recipes, Wingshooting|Comments Off on Blue Grouse Hippies

Epanuel Breton

I was worried that in recent years America’s friendship the people of France had waned in light of U.S.’s war with Iraq.  This caused the boycott of French fries in France or the re-naming of them as “Freedom Fries,” among other headlines. 

But, my experiences in France, and even recent ones, have been evidence to the contrary.  My French friends are lasting allies and even the passing stranger remains happy to help an American tourist, especially in the countryside where we like to spend most of our time.
In addition to the French fries, which aren’t really French, the French also gave us the Statue of Liberty and the French Brittany, the Epagnuel Breton, or Epanuel Breton. 
My friend, Andy Wayment writes, “Before the French Revolution, France was an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges in the aristocracy. Under this regime, land in France was owned mainly by a privileged few. This meant that hunting and fishing could only be enjoyed by the noblemen and their fortunate guests. Generally, the common man was not allowed to enjoy these sports.  Legend has it that the Brittany was developed by the French peasants as the ideal poaching dog. As so aptly described by Michael McIntosh in A Feisty Little Pointing Dog, the Brittany was bred to be ‘compact andbidable, close-working and quiet, the perfect accomplice for clandestine sport and the companion of choice among those whose favorite game was someone else’s.’ The landed nobles, with their big running pointers and setters, did not recognize these shaggy, tailless mongrels for what they were, bona fide hunting machines. Of course, this was all part of the ruse. Brittanys are pointers with the natural instinct to retrieve. Because of its noble history, the French Brittany was destined to arrive […]

By |September 24th, 2011|Dog Training, Wingshooting|Comments Off on Epanuel Breton

Garbi Shotguns

For our method of instinctive shooting, we’ll use a side-by-side shotgun, straight stocked with splinter forend.  While a boxlock is surely the prettiest of the side-by-side Best Guns of London, an Anson & Deeley Action (boxlock) will not shoot any different than a sidelock Best Gun.  Most instinctive shooters in our instinctive shooting tradition will be sporting about ¼ inch of cast-off, 1 ½ inch of drop at the comb and about 4 degrees of pitch.  These become the magic wands with which he creates Master Gunners.

Confidence is the key to Master Gunning.  You are a 100% shooter.  You should be hitting 24/25 skeet shots within a year.  You can hit at 65-80 yards, which we practice at the Tower in the school, although it would not be fair to a bird.  I hit 95% during the school.

While it may vary, I am 5’10” and 175 pounds and have a 13 5/8” or 13 3/4” length of pull, with 2 1/8” or 2 1/4” drop at heel, with 3/8” cast off and 1 ½” at 16” down pitch without a pad or 0-1/2” at 26” with a pad.  Forcing cones are reduced to 2 ½”, with everything polished to final dimensions.

Pattern any gun by taking 10 shots, averaging the results by overlapping the shot spray) at 16 yards on a single sheet of paper.  For each 1” correction on paper, move the stock 1/16 inch in each direction.

12 gauges fits most men’s hands best and with the light loads, it’s effectively a 20 gauge being shot.

20 gauges fits most women best and with the light loads it’s a .28 gauge.  Gun weight in a 20 gauge is ideal at 5 pounds 4 ounces, and a 6 pound gun is too […]

By |September 24th, 2011|Wingshooting|Comments Off on Garbi Shotguns

Ugartechea

For our method of instinctive shooting, we’ll use a side-by-side shotgun, straight stocked with splinter forend.  While a boxlock is surely the prettiest of the side-by-side Best Guns of London, an Anson & Deeley Action (boxlock) will not shoot any different than a sidelock Best Gun.  Most instinctive shooters in our instinctive shooting tradition will be sporting about ¼ inch of cast-off, 1 ½ inch of drop at the comb and about 4 degrees of pitch.  These become the magic wands with which he creates Master Gunners.

Confidence is the key to Master Gunning.  You are a 100% shooter.  You should be hitting 24/25 skeet shots within a year.  You can hit at 65-80 yards, which we practice at the Tower in the school, although it would not be fair to a bird.  I hit 95% during the school. .

While it may vary, I am 5’10” and 175 pounds and have a 13 5/8” or 13 3/4” length of pull, with 2 1/8” or 2 1/4” drop at heel, with 3/8” cast off and 1 ½” at 16” down pitch without a pad or 0-1/2” at 26” with a pad.  Forcing cones are reduced to 2 ½”, with everything polished to final dimensions.

Pattern any gun by taking 10 shots, averaging the results by overlapping the shot spray) at 16 yards on a single sheet of paper.  For each 1” correction on paper, move the stock 1/16 inch in each direction.

12 gauges fits most men’s hands best and with the light loads, it’s effectively a 20 gauge being shot.

20 gauges fits most women best and with the light loads it’s a .28 gauge.  Gun weight in a 20 gauge is ideal at 5 pounds 4 ounces, and a 6 pound gun is too […]

By |September 24th, 2011|Wingshooting|Comments Off on Ugartechea

The Ultimate Field Picnic

I was sent a copy of this article on the ultimate picnic party wagon, which is a proper English wooden trailer converted for tailgating for polo matches.   Polo Magazine- Party Wagon Article. I then discovered Christy’s auction of Patricia Kluge’s estate in Virginia, and found that after the Kluge divorce, John Kluge remarried and built another house nearby.  This incredible picnic hamper is the piece de resistance  of the auction.  click article from the New York Times which appeared in December 2005.

Apparently in the 1980’s by the Kluges commissioned the London firm of Asprey, jewellers and silversmith to the British Royal Family, to fashion this picnic hamper containing a full service for sixteen. The wicker trailer holds some 15 wicker cases, each fitted with brass handles and leather straps, with battery-powered hot and cold boxes and a water pump, cases for Bernardaud Limoges china, Baccarat crystal, Asprey silver cutlery, a staghorn bar service, two folding mahogany tables and 16 chairs, complete with the “K” monogram.  The set was estimated at $20,000 to $30,000 and sold for some $144,000.

Although  wicker carryalls have been used since the 1700s, the picnic basket was born in 1901, when British luxury-goods retailers like Asprey started stocking hampers filled with tableware for motorists to enjoy on country drives.  See more at http://driven.urbandaddy.com/2011/08/17/meals-on-wheels/ and http://www.finesse-fine-art.com/Picnic/PicnicArticle.htm.

By |September 13th, 2011|Cuisine, Fishing, Foxhunting, Picnic, polo, Uncategorized, Wingshooting|Comments Off on The Ultimate Field Picnic