How Sandanona Saved Me, Or Why Shooting Lessons Are a Great Idea

James Ross 1

Shooting instructor James Ross sights down the barrel with me to diagnose any problems with gun mount, follow-through, or anything else that may cause me to miss the clay target..

photo by Sandy Hays

The final straw was my last shot of the 2010 Vermont grouse season. I’ve never been a good (or even mediocre) shot, but for the first time since I had moved back to the Northeast almost a decade earlier, I had gone the whole season without downing a single bird. I was determined to rectify the situation on that cold day before New Year’s Eve.

But after an hour of fruitless hunting, I was ready to give up and started walking back toward the car along a logging road. I remained alert, but hope was certainly waning as the last gate came into view. Suddenly, the whirring of wings bursting into flight sounded from a pine tree to my left, . . .

Read More

Wingshooting Video: Winter Pheasants in South Dakota

Here’s some very cool footage of wild-pheasant hunting in South Dakota last month. Two guys, a few dogs, and a whole bunch of birds offer plenty of action. My favorite part is when he shoots at a far-flushing bird, only to have an entire flock take off closer to him. That looks like some magical country. According to the video-maker’s comments, this is all public land.

Read More

Video: Young Guns–Introducing Kids to Pheasant Hunting

It’s no secret that hunting has an age problem, with too few young people coming into the sport. That’s why it’s so great to see a video like this, about teaching kids how to hunt safely and have fun. Sure, these are planted birds, but they offer a great classroom for this group of eager students. The smiles and laughter are good indicators that a few more lifelong sportsmen and -women have been created. Don’t mind the short advertisements here; they don’t ruin the enjoyment of watching someone down their first bird.

Read More

Great New Issue of “The Contemporary Wingshooter” Magazine Online Now

Contemporary Wingshooter winter13

A gorgeous new issue of the online magazine The Contemporary Wingshooter is now online. Although you do have to sign up to read it, it’s free.

In this issue, you’ll find a beautiful photo essay on Montana duck hunting by Brian Grossenbacher, a great story by Terry Wieland on chasing ducks in frigid South Dakota, and a funny yarn about turkey hunting by Paul Carson. But there’s a whole lot more, including columns on. . .

Read More

Photo Essay: The Mearns’ Quail, a Southwestern Beauty

Dave Brown 9

The male Mearns’ is a gorgeous bird.

all photos courtesy Dave Brown

One of the most beautiful game birds to be found in North America is the Mearns’ quail. Although there is a small population in West Texas, only Arizona and New Mexico have huntable populations. The range is limited to the Davis Mountains of Texas, the southeastern corner of Arizona and the southwestern corner of New Mexico, then south into Mexico. Unlike its two desert-dwelling cousins—the Gambel’s and scaled (or blue) quail—Mearns’ quail are generally found above 4,000 feet in the oak-lined canyons of the area’s sky islands or mountain ranges that make up the. . .

Read More

Podcast Classic: Getting Started – Upland Birds and Waterfowl

[Note: This is a re-post of a great discussion for beginners, or those just thinking about starting out (like me!) -KM]

Brett is joined by Orvis Shooting Instructor and former co-host Pete Kutzer to answer a question from a listener on how to get started hunting for both upland birds and waterfowl. Lots of details here. Grab a pencil as Brett and Pete cover everything from dog safety to preparing your boots.

We have set up a voicemail box here at Orvis for your comments and suggestions for future podcasts. If you call, please remember to leave your name and where you are from in case we use your message in the show. The number is 802-362-8800.

Click the play button below to listen to this episode. Go to to subscribe to future episodes

Read More