That is the Benelli 828U I’m holding in the picture. At 6.6 pounds in 12 gauge it’s about the right heft for a gun you’re going to carry a long way across the prairie. And, while early season sharptails usually flush in range of 20 gauges, on late season hunts like my trip to South Dakota last fall, the extra oomph of a 12 comes in handy. That hunt was quite different than those I have been on before. It was very cold and windy, and birds didn’t hold at all on the prairie of the Indian reservation we hunted. Later in the day, we caught up with hundreds birds in vast standing sunflower fields. They didn’t hold there either, but a few let us get close enough, including the one in the picture, which was a rare enough treat for me that I saved it for my birthday dinner.