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  • December 31, 2012

    First Pheasant with an L.C. Smith Shotgun

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Earlier this season I got to shoot a wild pheasant with a 16 gauge L.C. Smith shotgun made in 1936. That was a first for me. I have shot birds with Parkers and Foxes but never a Smith.
    The gun in this picture traveled a long way from the factory in New York to the field in Iowa where I shot the bird with it. It belongs to Rehan Nana, who works in Pheasant Forever’s marketing department. Nana is Pakistani on his father’s side; his uncle Rohil, a hunter in Pakistan, owned the gun. The uncle sent the gun from Pakistan (who knows how it got there) to Nana’s father when he moved to Kansas City in the 1970s and began hunting pheasants and quail.

  • December 28, 2012

    Fallout from the Wayne La Pierre Speech

    By David E. Petzal

    After a week’s silence on the shooting at Sandy Hook School, the NRA’s Executive Vice President Wayne La Pierre called a press conference and laid out the NRA’s position on what could be done to prevent another such tragedy. The speech was not a success. It was marred by the appearance of two sign-carrying, slogan-screaming yahoos who were seated in the front row. If you’re going to give a speech about how to achieve security, it helps to have some of your own.

  • December 27, 2012

    New F&S Column Announced: "Ask Petzal"

    By David E. Petzal

    Well, the End of Days has fizzled, and if you listen carefully, you can hear Mayan ghosts saying, “A**holes, it’s a circular calendar.” In any event, there’s always hope that life as we know it will end sometime soon. Just have a good view of the proceedings, and rest assured that whatever takes over from us will do a better job than we have.

    But that’s not important now. What is important is that the editors of Field & Stream have given me a new column called “Ask Petzal.” (What would you call it? “Ask Biden?”) It will consist of questions from readers and answers from me, and while it will mostly be about guns, it will range to other subjects, such as “Why are you such a curmudgeon?”

  • December 27, 2012

    Hunting Pheasants with an Heirloom SKB 500

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Many of us have guns passed down from our fathers. My friend Peter hunts pheasants with his father’s SKB 500. It’s a 12 gauge quite similar to the one I used to have. The SKBs were an excellent value—strong, well made guns—from a Japanese factory which unfortunately now makes, I believe, golf clubs.

  • December 20, 2012

    Until Next Time

    By David E. Petzal

    The last time we had a massacre, I said there would be another, and now we have that, and we will have more because we seem unable to solve any of our problems, whether it be the deficit or the fact that Miami Beach will be underwater by the end of this century. But let’s pretend that the untalented hacks who make our laws may be able to surmount their limitations this one time and see what the problems are, that they may address them.

    First, of course, is our absolute love of pretend violence. Last week I saw Lincoln, and the four trailers that preceded the feature showed nothing but carnage and mayhem—shooting, stabbing, beating, explosions. No dialog, no plot, just human beings being exterminated. We love this stuff, and are surprised when the real thing comes along as a result.

  • December 19, 2012

    Shooting Short of Your Limit: Sometimes Restraint Feels Good

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Yesterday I did something I never would have imagined doing even a few years ago: I stopped one pheasant short of a limit. Five minutes out of the car a rooster flushed at my feet and I shot it. About 10 minutes after that Jed pointed another. Since the landowner lets me hunt this farm a lot and he hunts himself from time to time, I decided two birds was enough even though the law allows a third. Any bird I didn’t shoot was one he or I could chase on another day.

    It wouldn’t have been fair to Jed to put him up after 15 minutes so we hunted the rest of the farm. I told myself I would shoot another rooster only as a reward for a perfect point. We found a covey of quail, which I never shoot on this place. Jed pointed a single and I shot behind it so he would know quail are something we’re interested in.

  • December 17, 2012

    Gear Review: A Practical Ghillie Suit for Waterfowlers

    By Phil Bourjaily

    I should have been easy to spot sitting at the water’s edge on a marsh stool, black shotgun in my lap. And, if I had only been wearing regular camo (right) I would have been easily recognizable as a duck hunter. In an Avery Killer Ghillie suit (left) I looked like a harmless clump of weeds.

  • December 14, 2012

    Prairie Storm, Gerber Knife Caption Contest Winner Announced

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Response to the caption contest of me biting down on a Federal Prairie Storm round was outstanding.

    At first, I thought I could pick a winner myself. Of course I preferred the ones that made me seem awesome and mythological, such as Duke123’s entry:

  • December 12, 2012

    Laser Follies: When Rangefinders Don't Agree

    By David E. Petzal

    I spent the past week in Kansas, a place of very little culture but very many whitetail deer, which is a better reason to go someplace than culture. I was hunting out of elevated blinds with a friend who is a highly experienced hunter and a very good spotter of cloven-hoofed ungulates. Each of us had a laser rangefinder. Mine was in my binocular; his was separate.

    What we noticed pretty quickly was that neither rangefinder ever agreed…ever. Sometimes the difference was only a few yards, but sometimes it was 50 yards or more. In addition, my rangefinder also gave Weird Readings. It would say that a deer was 152 yards away when it was perfectly obvious the beast was way over 300. This may have been caused by fog, which we had, or by the beam bouncing off weeds and brush that I couldn’t see but which the laser could. It was, as Richard Pryor used to say, a nerve-shattering experience.

  • December 12, 2012

    CT Woman Turns in WWII German Rifle at Gun Buyback

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Gun buybacks, the police programs where people turn in guns in exchange for cash or gift cards, usually collect little more than old and rusty junk. I know I own at least one gun I would happily trade for a gift card. But there are times when a real gem or two will show up.

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