Most shooters aren't aware there is another shotshell manufacturer out there aside from the big four here in the United States. It’s RST and its has been around for a number of years. Their shotshells are manufactured in Friendsville, Pennsylvania, so they are not imported.

Hunting Grouse With the Stealth Approach

The ruffed grouse is to the forest what pheasants are to the grasslands. But unlike the flashier, bigger plains bird, you can’t bully a grouse around. The “we-got-’em-surrounded” mentality that often works with pheasants – big crowds pushing a section of real estate to pinch birds and force them to flight – won’t get you anywhere in the grouse woods. No, this is one bird that requires finesse.

Hunting the Wiley Chukar in Utah

Having hunted most of the species of upland birds in North America, I’ve come to appreciate the qualities of the chukar. Hunting chukar is an exciting adventure that always includes a surprise or two. Chukars are not only fun to hunt, they are also one of the most hearty birds to put down and typically don’t present a head shot on the rise as pheasant tend to do – making them challenging as well.

I had never thought of Mexico as a bird-hunting destination, but spending a week there has really changed my perspective. Some of the most exciting and fun hunting I've experienced recently can be had out of Los Moiches, Mexico where a variety of bird hunting is available along with excellent fishing and train touring as well.

Wingshooting

Many shotgun aficionados will argue that clays shooting is merely a warm-up act for winghooting.

After all, shotguns are designed to shoot upland birds and waterfowl. And clays originated as practice sports to keep your eyes and reflexes sharp for the real thing.

Wingshooting is rich in tradition and utility -- giving the sport a timeless quality. Whether it’s a driven shoot in Scotland, a train safari in Africa or hiking the plains of South Dakota, wingshooting takes you back to a more genteel and aristocratic age.

Mark time on the shotgun continuum and you’ll also see that the legendary craftsmen came of age with guns built to put game birds on the table.

Being out in the heather with your compatriots as the birds come flying toward you, and raise your shotgun to your shoulder…well that is what awaits you here. In this section you will find…

Upland shooting Waterfowl shooting Popular birds Pigeons Ducks Geese Grouse Pheasant Quail Ammo Special clothes Recipes Destinations Equipment Blinds Calls Decoys Boats Places to shoot
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Thoughts On Waterfowl

One day last season, another hunter and myself put up a flock of seven-hundred black duck as we cut across the bay. That’s one continuous flock, all at once, of seven-hundred birds. Earlier, that morning, we put up another flock of two-hundred black duck. This has been the norm for many years where we gun on the Massachusetts coast.

Argentina. I could not believe it. My husband was taking me on my first wing shooting adventure. Granted, at this time I could not shoot my way out of a cardboard box, but it meant four days of "freedom" from the kids and four days of quality time with my husband. The adventure was about to begin.

Pheasant Phun

I was recently invited to go to South Dakota pheasant hunting, and what a trip it was. Kirstie Pike the President of Prois Hunting Apparel, Keli Van Cleave, and I went as Prois Hunting Apparel Pro Staff members and were treated to outstanding hospitality by the owners and staff of Pheasant Phun at the Olsen Ranch in Hitchcock, South Dakota.

Dave Olsen is the proprietor and the head wrangler of the operation. Dave's mom, Annie, and his father, Art are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. The film crew of SSOutdoor Adventures was also there filming for an upcoming show.

We got to the Olsen's J Bar Ranch early on a Friday morning. We were received with a warm hearty breakfast and were given the game plan and instructions for the day. Anxious to begin, we headed out to the garage for the safety talk and a thoughtful prayer by Dave for our good day.

The trucks were warming up and we ladies were supposed to ride in a nice warm, cushy dually. As we walked outside to the waiting vehicles Kirstie, Keli and I spotted a huge beast of a machine sitting among the vehicles that were not being warmed up. Almost simultaneously we asked if we could take the huge retired military radio truck. Dave laughed, then realized that we were serious and was more than willing to let us hunt in the beast. When will men understand how much we ladies love big trucks? We climbed in and as we sat down for our ride, all got a huge chuckle at our seats. The beast was well outfitted in antique church pews.

Kirstie Pike

As we bumped and rolled along the road we got to know the other hunters and the wonderful dogs who were to be our helpers. Charlie and his delightful, young, yellow Lab Bailey, Bob and Zoe, Gerard and Titan and our host Dave with Grizzly and Chopper.

It was cold that morning and the birds seemed to be flying out way further than I was comfortable shooting. I was using a small 20 gauge that I hadn't shot much before, so I didn't want to take ridiculous shots. A few birds were harvested that morning, but not by me. Keli Van Cleave was hunting with her bright pink bow and we were all curious to see if she could actually hit a flying bird with it. I didn't know Keli well and was skeptical.

We headed back for a hearty, hot meal of chili and some of the most wonderful Cheese-Broccoli soup I have ever tasted. I knew my diet was heading out the door. We took our belongings up to our loft bedroom and were shown the lay of the 'bunkhouse.' The bunkhouse was a converted barn that slept around 18 people very comfortably. There was a warm, inviting sitting area, with a long bunkhouse dining room. To look at it from the outside it still looks like a working barn, but once inside it is clean, luxurious and well-appointed. The view from any window is beautiful and the sunrise, breathtaking.

After lunch we went out again and some of the hunters filled their limits. I didn't shoot any birds, but had a great long walk and lots of exercise. Maybe going off my diet at lunch wasn't a total loss.

At dusk, we returned to the bunkhouse and enjoyed a fabulous dinner followed by cocktails and tastings from Dave's wine collection. We chatted with the other hunters there and soon found ourselves getting sleepy. We got ready for bed and once we turned in, found ourselves behaving like we were at an adolescent slumber party. We gabbed and chatted for quite some time before finally falling into warm, deep sleep in our cozy beds.

When the sun came up we were ready to go with a delicious hearty breakfast of pancakes, eggs, biscuits and gravy. We hunted all morning and I took a few shots, but nothing fell. I was a little discouraged and frustrated with myself, but still had a great time. Keli and Kirstie didn't shoot anything either and were also a little frustrated. The men were all able to get birds, so we knew they were out there and plentiful, but we were getting nothing.

Lunch was amazing and the table was set for a special holiday party that was to take place that evening. Kirstie and I were keeping an eye on the weather reports because we had a 14 hour drive home the next day. We learned that a storm was headed our way, but still planned on staying for the party and leaving early the next morning.

We knew that afternoon would be the last time to shoot so we needed to make it a good one. After lunch, we loaded up into the big green beast for the last time. We went to a thicket of trees and began our long walk. The dogs jumped several birds right off the bat and I was never in the right place for a shot. We walked about a quarter mile further and suddenly the woods came alive with pheasants. I pulled up on one as it flew up into a tree. It was hit but needed another shot. I finally bagged one. Then a few feet later another flew up and I shot it.

Anne Vinnola and Kirstie Pike

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a beautiful pheasant fly up through the trees toward Keli. I hollered at her to watch for it and for a few minutes guided her back several feet to where she could see where it had landed. The bird flew up, off of a tree limb, and she stuck it with her arrow. WOW she actually did it! We all cheered and were so excited for her. It was a perfect shot and was her first pheasant taken with a bow. I had never seen anyone shoot a flying bird before. It never occurred to me that it was possible, but Keli sure made a great shot and believers of us all. That was some serious "girl power!"

Kirstie shot two birds and loaded up for another. The dogs were everywhere and each was working hard and fast. In the midst of all of the noise and excitement, two pretty little does ran out and startled everyone.

I was quickly onto my last bird of the day and shot it just as it started to land on a branch. It was wounded and luckily I was able to get to it with the aid of my favorite dog of the weekend, Grizzly.

I had earlier asked Dave to show me a quick way to finish off a wounded bird without wringing its neck. Ever mindful of keeping a bird whole for taxidermy, I know that many hunters get into a bad habit of wringing the neck of a bird and invariably ruin a good mount. Dave showed me to place my thumb in the V of the throat and to press with up with my thumb and my forefinger on top of the head to crush the windpipe. This was a quick and humane way to finish off the bird without damaging the feathers. I also felt it was important to personally know how to finish off an animal as the hunter, and not need to rely on a guide to do it for me.

In the last few minutes of this exciting hunt we all limited out and met our hunting goals for the weekend, Keli, with her bow and Kirstie and I with our shotguns. The happy dogs were all running with their tongues hanging out after a thrilling afternoon. As we all went back to the bunkhouse, we had a lot to congratulate each other about.

Kirstie and I took one more look at the weather and decided to hit the road that night and drive as far as we could. We were going to have to miss the wonderful holiday celebration that Annie and her crew were putting together, but we felt the weather was making it impossible to stay.

If you are in need of some great pheasant hunting, warm hospitality and friendly, welcoming people, give Dave and his family a call. They will make your stay as happy as possible and you may even get a few beautiful pheasants for your table. Kirstie and I decided this will be a place we will return to and bring our families. Once you are there you are treated as family, and somehow, as royalty too. If you need help finding the place call Dave at 605-266-2848 or go to www.pheasantphun.com. He will leave the lights on for you. Keep an eye out for our show on SSOutdoor Adventures.



Anne Vinnola is a dedicated sportswoman. She is a freelance writer and blogger on the outdoors, and co-owner with her husband of the Colorado Institute of Taxidermy Training and Big Timber South Taxidermy Studio. Anne is also a Pro-Staff member of

Prois Hunting Apparel.



Useful links:

http://www.coloradotaxidermyschool.com/index.htm

http://skinnymoose.com/annevinnola/

http://www.proishunting.com/

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Meet the New Ladies Shooting Syndicate

A venue for traditional wingshooting will soon open, tailored specifically for women - and it's about time.

Called the Ladies Shooting Syndicate, it's the brainchild of Blixt & Co. in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Ladies Shooting Syndicate is by membership only. It organizes splendid shooting trips to luxurious destinations for like-minded women. In effect, Blixt & Co. has transported the Golden Age of Shooting into the 20th century for women with adventurous sensibilities.

The Ladies Shooting Syndicate enables individual women, and small groups as well, to benefit from the economies of scale typically enjoyed by a larger circle of shooters. These advantages include access to exclusive estates, better rates and of course more fun.

Members of the Ladies Shooting Syndicate can leave their passports at home and let Blixt & Co. parlay its expertise in the traditional driven shoots that have become synonymous with wingshooting in the British Isles.

For the uninitiated, a driven shoot takes planning and experience to create the pinnacle in wingshooting. Weeks before the opening day of shooting season, pheasants, partridge and other game birds are placed on the grounds of the estate. The objective here is to let the birds orient themselves to their surroundings. Professional gamekeepers help ensure the birds' health and welfare.

On the morning of the shoot, the guns are assigned their positions, which custom calls for a team of eight guns spaced 20-50 yards apart. The gamekeeper and his team of beaters drive the birds toward the shooting line using their traditional tools of the trade such as tapping sticks, dogs and flags. The flushed birds are now flying overhead at varying speeds and height toward the shooting line.

For hunters accustomed to the American walk-up shoot, a driven shoot couldn't be more different. With walk-up shooting, a squad of guns relies on a dog to flush birds that have been planted in the field - as early as only a few hours before the shoot begins. Naturally, these newly released, pen-raised birds can have difficulty flying. That means the birds are generally flying lower and slower as the dog startles them from the underbrush. By comparison, the driven shoot presents birds already on the wing - a much more challenging proposition.



While the low-gun method of shooting dominates walk-up shoots, traditional driven shoots demand an entirely different approach - most of them developed in England.

Blixt & Co. teaches the Percy Stanbury method. Its namesake helped make the West London Shooting School a bona fide institution. The Percy Stanbury method is still taught there.

The Stanbury method can be as new to American shooters as traditional driven shoots. To bag the high-flying birds, Stanbury recommends pointing your feet at one and three o'clock to the kill spot. There is a forward bias on the ball of the front foot for better balance in overhead shots. The shooter tracks the path of the bird while bringing the butt of the gun to his or her shoulder. The trigger is pulled when the stock is put to the cheek. This all happens fairly quickly, and taps into the shooter's subconscious instinct for pointing at moving prey.

As it turns out, Blixt & Co.'s founder Lars Magnusson served as an instructor at the West London Shooting School from 1995 to 2003. He directed the establishment of the West Stockholm Shooting School in Sweden. In 2003, he was recruited by Griffin & Howe as its managing director of their Shooting School here in the U.S. In 2006, he moved to Jackson Hole to help a group of investors establish one of the first traditional pheasant and partridge shooting estates in North America. Blixt & Co. was formed in the summer of 2008 and is focused on helping land owners in the American West to create shooting related solutions on their land.

Lars' wife, Jennifer, serves as a marketing executive with Blixt & Co. and as the director of the Ladies Shooting Syndicate. "The interest in woman shooters is growing," she said by phone.

In forming the Ladies Shooting Syndicate, Blixt tastefully packaged its services for women shooters.

Notably, the Ladies Shooting Syndicate aims to adapt the traditional art of shooting to women - without turning it into a men's event for women.

"What's interesting for gentlemen is not necessarily interesting to women," Jennifer explained. "There's a slightly different focus: some women don't have the experience to feel comfortable to be on the line yet. We want to make a woman feel comfortable to be on a peg in a line of men shooters...and eventually have a full line of ladies shooting."

Jennifer will make sure that women who need the proper English attire will be steered to the appropriate outfitters who have apparel for the female shape; women who need smaller shotguns will have access to better fitting game guns; and women who were introduced to the art of gameshooting by the men in their lives will now get the opportunity to move out on their own.

In talking with Jennifer, one point came across quite clear: the Ladies Shooting Syndicate is about friendship and etiquette. Proper English shooting attire and a working knowledge of a safe and traditional shoot lend that theatrical atmosphere to a delightful day outdoors with a fine side-by-side and the company of other women.

"Basically, it's about grace, elegance and tradition," she said.

Blixt & Co. will go to great lengths to introduce women to the world of shooting. The organization provides certified instructions to ensure a time-honored and safe shooting experience for its members.

Starting spring 2009, the Ladies Shooting Syndicate will open its door to all women with a passion for wing shooting and the great outdoors.

Here is a list of their planned events for 2009:

Shoot in the West
May 1 - 3rd
Colorado

Lessons & Lunch
May 16th
Griffin & Howe's Shooting School
Hudson Farm, New Jersey

Girls, Guns & The Grand
June 5 - 7th
Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Ladies Team
September 2009
Game Conservancy Showcase
Hudson Farm, New Jersey

For additional information, please visit the Blixt & Co. web site at
http://www.blixtco.com.

It's FREE, But It's Not for Everyone
Join an elite group of readers who receive their FREE e-letter every week from Shotgun Life. These readers gain a competitive advantage from the valuable advice delivered directly to their inbox. You'll discover ways to improve your shooting, learn about the best new products and how to easily maintain your shotgun so it's always reliable. If you strive to be a better shooter, then our FREE e-letter is for you.

Please fill out this form to sign up. Your Name: * Email: We value your privacy. We will never rent or sell your e-mail address to another company.
Irwin Greenstein, Publisher

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