An hour drive in a westerly direction from New York’s Central Park, a quiet revolution has successfully transformed one of the great sporting gun institutions that's long been associated with legendary adventurers such as Ernest Hemingway, Robert Ruark and Teddy Roosevelt.
Years ago, I had the opportunity to bird hunt in Mexico when I was the Senior Editor at Petersen’s Hunting Magazine. I thought I had died and gone to bird hunting heaven. Ducks, geese, quail and dove in virtually unbelievable numbers.
I recently accepted an assignment that would take me to the Phoenix area to cover a trapshooting event, and as always I try to determine points of interest that might make a good story or certainly some great or unusual photo opportunities.
The itinerary was ambitious – eight days, seven posh sporting clays venues, 13 flats of shells and eight bourbon distilleries. Porsche had loaned us a 2011 Cayenne S SUV powered by a 400-horsepower V8 behemoth, while Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Co. supplied one of their marvelous A-10 American sidelock over/under shotguns. This is the final installment.
The road up to Primland could pass as a crazy dream.
Out of the blue, someone gives you a $93,000 Porsche Cayenne S that you’re driving up a switchback logger’s road dynamited into a mountain side. Stowed in the back among the luggage and flats of 12-gauge shells is the super-cool A-10 American sidelock shotgun. The Porsche Cayenne S is fierce, fearless – 20-inch tires spewing road dust for mile after mile through computer-controlled all-wheel drive.
Blackberry Farm receded at a brisk clip as I drove the Porsche Cayenne S west along the Lamar Alexander Parkway through Tennesse’s Great Smoky Mountains toward our next destination – The Inn on the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.
The Lamar Alexendar Parkway presented a superb stretch of American highway. The Great Smoky Mountains bestowed a warm, benevolent morning with the radio tuned to satellite-radio XM 14, Bluegrass Junction, regaling us through 14-speaker surround sound.
Until we shot 5-stand at Blackberry Farm, I had not fully appreciated the athleticism of the A-10 American sidelock. But that turning point with this European-inspired over/under was still 24 hours away.
After 48 hours of bourbon tasting, we were more than ready to pick up the A-10 American shotgun and start powdering clays. Jim Beam marked the last distillery on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and now the Porsche Cayenne S headed due south on I-65 toward Nashville.
The Annual Hunter’s Convention held by Safari Club International is a magnet for power players in big game hunting, but this year marked a departure as leaders in upland shooting announced significant developments with far-reaching implications.
The itinerary was ambitious – eight days, seven posh sporting clays venues, 13 flats of shells and eight bourbon distilleries. Porsche had loaned us a 2011 Cayenne S SUV powered by a 400-horsepower V8 behemoth, while Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Co. supplied one of their marvelous A-10 American sidelock over/under shotguns. In Part I, we had visited Nemacolin. Part II took us to the Elk Creek Hunt Club. And now, in this third installment, we reach the distilleries for the ultimate experience in fine bourbon.