Destinations

Imagine a game of sporting clays without the hassle of a clipboard and pencil.

As you walk up to the cage, you don’t have to search for a place to rest the clipboard that holds the score sheet. Where should I put it? Lean it against the gun rack? Balance it on the railing? Leave it in the cart and remember the scores to write down later? Hand it off to a friend who hands it to a friend and so on until eventually someone in the squad ends up dealing with the clunky thing?

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Here at an altitude of 6,000 feet, the aromas of pine trees, sage brush and spent Holland & Holland shells mingle together in the Big Hole Mountains of Idaho where Lars Magnusson has introduced traditional English driven shoots on American soil.

If you love goose hunting then western Canada is Mecca. Last fall my hunting partner Mark and I planned a trip to western Canada to the province of Alberta. Our connection up there works and lives in the fast growing region and city of Grand Prairie.

You are supposed to title your article when you’re finished with it, so I am already doing this backwards since I just wrote the title. But what you see in outdoor television programming, and what is involved in making it happen, are about as backward as it gets. As a viewer, you see the great dog work, the great shots, the great panorama shots of sky, mountains, birds and the successful hunter. What you don’t see is the WORK, on the part of everyone involved, that goes into making that wonderful entertainment we call Outdoor Television.

A couple of years ago I received a call from a business acquaintance at Benelli USA, the good people who build a great shotgun. The call was an invitation to be a guest on an episode of Benelli’s Dream Hunts program airing weekly on The Outdoor Life Network now called Versus. Not being one to turn down any chance to hunt I quickly accepted without knowing any of the details at the time.

I was a very unlikely prospect, but Gary Jackson knew better.

The past President of Blackwater Worldwide and ex-Navy SEAL took one look at me and saw my inner commando. It speaks highly of his perceptive powers, because at the time my legs were ready to completely give out from under me, which is how we met in the first place.

This is the final installment in our three-part series, The Triple Crown of Sporting Clays Resorts. In the first installment, Shotgun Life Editor, Deb McKown wrote about The Greenbrier. The second installment brought us to The Homestead. To wrap it up, Deb now writes about the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.

For most people, The Homestead resort conjures up visions of golf, tennis, horseback riding and a romantic evening of four-star cuisine.

Part 1: The Greenbrier

You know a road trip is going be great when, on the first leg of it, Johnny Cash comes on the radio and sings "Ghost Riders in the Sky."

Your SUV is packed with sporting clays guns, ammo and shooting gear and Cash's renegade ballad sends a shiver down your spine. You wonder, Does it really get any better than this?

For us, the answer would be a resounding yes.

We anticipated an extraordinary weekend of shooting and dining, since we also had dinner reservations at another great American institution, the Culinary Institute of America in nearby Hyde Park.

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