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Bourjaily: Aiming for a Cure Journal, 2010

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March 24, 2010

Bourjaily: Aiming for a Cure Journal, 2010

By Phil Bourjaily

Over the weekend, I did my annual bit as a celebrity in a good cause at Aiming for a Cure. It’s a combination preserve hunt and sporting clays shoot benefitting the University of Iowa’s Pediatric Oncology ward. My fellow celebrities and I are teamed with hunters who have paid to hunt and shoot with the likes of us. Here are a few field notes from this year:

I did something on Saturday I had never done in over 30 years of hunting: I actually used a barrel selector on an O/U while a bird was in the air. Single selective triggers have always seemed to me completely useless. If you want instant barrel selection, get a gun with two triggers. Otherwise, don’t worry about it, just start shooting. There’s no time to be fiddling with selectors when a bird is flying away.

That first afternoon a chukar jumped up and I killed it with one shot and opened the gun, ejecting the empty. A pheasant flushed before I could reload. There was still a live shell in the top barrel so I closed the gun, put it on safe, switched the safety from “U” to “O” took it back off safe, and shot the pheasant. By the time I finished all that switching, the bird was way out there, but I scratched it down. Of course, if the gun had two triggers in the first place, I wouldn’t have a story to tell, just two dead birds.

The celebrities who give their time to the event are a mix of TV hunters and retired football and baseball players. Allen Treadwell, the young Bass Pro Shops TV host and U.S. Olympic skeet team alternate, smoked the rest of us on the clays course. Looking over the score sheets, I noticed that while the ex-pro athletes were not in Treadwell’s league, they can shoot. It makes sense: They have eye- hand coordination far better than the average person’s. Most of them can afford to shoot a lot. Serious athletes like to win (I don’t mean this in a bad way). They have been playing in games since they were very young and they know how to compete.

Put those four factors together and you have a tough shooter.

Aiming for a Cure was well timed from mystanpoint: Last Tuesday I finally had my blind, dying setter, Ike, put down, two months short of his 14th birthday. Although letting go was easier than I feared it would be, the weekend event helped keep me from feeling sorry for myself. Dog trainer Steve Ries founded the event to give back to the hospital where his young son Ben fought and ultimately died of cancer at age 12. Being around people who have lost a child puts the loss of a dog to old age in perspective mighty quick.

Even so, on the second day one of our two guides opened his dog crate and a 65-pound, big-headed, droopy- lipped setter just like Ike jumped out. Since English setters are about as common as pointing llamas around here, I assumed the dog must be some kind of sign. He hunted with a big grin, the way Ike always did, and like Ike he looked a little goofy compared to the businesslike shorthairs the other guide ran. It was fun to see that white dog hunt, but I watched him with a little lump in my throat.

Comments (20)

Top Rated
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from mad_dog9999 wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Who doesn't love the unexpected flushing of a pheasant

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hkjoo wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Just pull the trigger twice, dry-firing the first barrel. Dry-firing a decent o/u every once in a while won't hurt it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Robert Ewing wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

If was a rental,but even then I wouldn't.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Robert Ewing wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

"it"

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from SD Bob wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

In response to hkjoo, I'm curious to see how many agree with me why pulling the trigger twice after closing an overunder with the still spent shell in place won't make a the gun go boom.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Robert Ewing wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Phil ,
With all those winning personalities ,Who walked away with bragging rites.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

The only gun I ever used that had a selector was a Savage model 24. It was a very good rabbit/grouse gun for the Maine woods, even merely seelcting between .22mag and .410.

I bought a double a few years back with two triggers. Even with the choice, I ususally just squeeze off with whichever trigger my finger touches first, but on a couple of occasions have had time (mostly when shooting cottontails) to decide to use the left barrel first.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Years ago I was asked to field a charity celebrity team. My shotgunning skills would never cause a competitor to lose any sleep, so I filled my team with several beautiful, shapely Hollywood stunt women. We did not win anything, but were easily the most popular team of the weekend. Most of the ladies had never fired a shotgun, but they had no lack of coaches and by the end were doing quite well. They were all super coordinated.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

If a gun has mechanical triggers, like the Ruger Red Label or Browning Cynergy, you can pull the trigger twice. If it has inertia triggers then you need recoil to reset the mechanism for a second shot. I have seen people shoot, have a misfire, then whack the butt of an inertia gun with the heel of their hand hard enough to reset the trigger, then shoot again. I thought about doing that, but decided to fiddle with the safety instead. It worked.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cbass wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Phil, Sorry to hear about Ike. At the same time, it's good to hear about outdoorsmen teaming up to fight cancer. Nice work and good post. And fine handiwork with your scattergun!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BowtechWVU wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

That a good article about the organization and i have two english setters, one past away five years ago and i have anthor one today at five years old.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Since I generally spend several hours of each working day preparing chemotherapy solutions, monitoring the effect, and visiting with our oncology patients of all ages, Aiming for the Cure is very close to my heart.
On another note somehow anything Happy Myles relates never seems to surprise me, sure wish he would post a few pics of his "dream shotgun team". I'm still waiting for his book to hit the market.
Generally I select the barrel I want to shoot first and leave it that way since it takes me about thirty minutes to figure which way shoots which barrel prior to the hunt.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from guncrazy74 wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Was starting to wonder if anyone was going to mention Ike in there comments there for a minute. Sorry for your loss Phil. I guess it's not losing a child but grief is grief. He was your faithful friend and hunting partner and I am glad you got to hunt with a like minded soul to help ease your burden. And I know what it feels like to have to make that kind of decision. Good dog Ike good dog.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Glad to hear that you got involved. Always special to know your efforts are toward a great cause. I know how you feel about Ike.

Does anyone currently make an O/U with double triggers?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

MLH --
Thanks.
Aiming for a Cure is a highlight of my spring. As to O/Us
with double triggers, some of the CZ O/Us have two triggers.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

I could not post this morning , I tried several times sorry to hear of your loss. Expecting the wife 17 y/o Lhasa to go sometime, she is still pretty feisty tho. It will be hard for us when she does.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff270 wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Not sure what Phil was shooting for an O/U, but if it was a Citori the recoil from the first shot cocks the action for the second. If the first pull is on an empty chamber, you won't get a second shot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Zermoid wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

I only had one English, she was a hard headed pain in the...........

Mostly we had and raised Irish Setters, ones with some good field blood in them, not just AKC show dog blood. One of the pups was sold to a man from NJ, all the guys in his hunting club laughed at him for getting an Irish, when the dog hit around a year old and started out hunting all the rest of them they quit laughing.

Kelly was my favorite, sometimes I could swear that dog was a human, seemed to understand anything you told her.
She would even bring me tools when I was working on the car, and our mailman never had a dog come out to get the mail before he met Kelly, she whould go to the mailbox ans sit and wait for him to come by, and then bring the mail in.
I still miss her after almost 15 years.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Great cause! Thanks for taking time to attend Phil.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from springerman3 wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Nice report Phil and thanks for sharing your thoughts to the loss of a child in perspective with loss of a dog. Both hurt immensely and the pain may never go away. Hopefully we will always remember them and the joy we had during the time they were with us.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Happy Myles wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Years ago I was asked to field a charity celebrity team. My shotgunning skills would never cause a competitor to lose any sleep, so I filled my team with several beautiful, shapely Hollywood stunt women. We did not win anything, but were easily the most popular team of the weekend. Most of the ladies had never fired a shotgun, but they had no lack of coaches and by the end were doing quite well. They were all super coordinated.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

If a gun has mechanical triggers, like the Ruger Red Label or Browning Cynergy, you can pull the trigger twice. If it has inertia triggers then you need recoil to reset the mechanism for a second shot. I have seen people shoot, have a misfire, then whack the butt of an inertia gun with the heel of their hand hard enough to reset the trigger, then shoot again. I thought about doing that, but decided to fiddle with the safety instead. It worked.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from guncrazy74 wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Was starting to wonder if anyone was going to mention Ike in there comments there for a minute. Sorry for your loss Phil. I guess it's not losing a child but grief is grief. He was your faithful friend and hunting partner and I am glad you got to hunt with a like minded soul to help ease your burden. And I know what it feels like to have to make that kind of decision. Good dog Ike good dog.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from SD Bob wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

In response to hkjoo, I'm curious to see how many agree with me why pulling the trigger twice after closing an overunder with the still spent shell in place won't make a the gun go boom.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

The only gun I ever used that had a selector was a Savage model 24. It was a very good rabbit/grouse gun for the Maine woods, even merely seelcting between .22mag and .410.

I bought a double a few years back with two triggers. Even with the choice, I ususally just squeeze off with whichever trigger my finger touches first, but on a couple of occasions have had time (mostly when shooting cottontails) to decide to use the left barrel first.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Robert Ewing wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

"it"

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Robert Ewing wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Phil ,
With all those winning personalities ,Who walked away with bragging rites.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cbass wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Phil, Sorry to hear about Ike. At the same time, it's good to hear about outdoorsmen teaming up to fight cancer. Nice work and good post. And fine handiwork with your scattergun!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BowtechWVU wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

That a good article about the organization and i have two english setters, one past away five years ago and i have anthor one today at five years old.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Since I generally spend several hours of each working day preparing chemotherapy solutions, monitoring the effect, and visiting with our oncology patients of all ages, Aiming for the Cure is very close to my heart.
On another note somehow anything Happy Myles relates never seems to surprise me, sure wish he would post a few pics of his "dream shotgun team". I'm still waiting for his book to hit the market.
Generally I select the barrel I want to shoot first and leave it that way since it takes me about thirty minutes to figure which way shoots which barrel prior to the hunt.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from mad_dog9999 wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Who doesn't love the unexpected flushing of a pheasant

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hkjoo wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Just pull the trigger twice, dry-firing the first barrel. Dry-firing a decent o/u every once in a while won't hurt it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Robert Ewing wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

If was a rental,but even then I wouldn't.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Glad to hear that you got involved. Always special to know your efforts are toward a great cause. I know how you feel about Ike.

Does anyone currently make an O/U with double triggers?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

MLH --
Thanks.
Aiming for a Cure is a highlight of my spring. As to O/Us
with double triggers, some of the CZ O/Us have two triggers.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

I could not post this morning , I tried several times sorry to hear of your loss. Expecting the wife 17 y/o Lhasa to go sometime, she is still pretty feisty tho. It will be hard for us when she does.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff270 wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Not sure what Phil was shooting for an O/U, but if it was a Citori the recoil from the first shot cocks the action for the second. If the first pull is on an empty chamber, you won't get a second shot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Zermoid wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

I only had one English, she was a hard headed pain in the...........

Mostly we had and raised Irish Setters, ones with some good field blood in them, not just AKC show dog blood. One of the pups was sold to a man from NJ, all the guys in his hunting club laughed at him for getting an Irish, when the dog hit around a year old and started out hunting all the rest of them they quit laughing.

Kelly was my favorite, sometimes I could swear that dog was a human, seemed to understand anything you told her.
She would even bring me tools when I was working on the car, and our mailman never had a dog come out to get the mail before he met Kelly, she whould go to the mailbox ans sit and wait for him to come by, and then bring the mail in.
I still miss her after almost 15 years.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Great cause! Thanks for taking time to attend Phil.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from springerman3 wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

Nice report Phil and thanks for sharing your thoughts to the loss of a child in perspective with loss of a dog. Both hurt immensely and the pain may never go away. Hopefully we will always remember them and the joy we had during the time they were with us.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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