Irwin Greenstein

Irwin Greenstein

Irwin Greenstein is Publisher of Shotgun Life. Please send your comments to letters@shotgunlife.com.

A friend recently advocated his theory about the .410 in today’s America. He believed that as our wingshooting population ages it will find preserve hunting increasingly attractive. Knees and ankles not quite as sturdy in the rutted fields of South Dakota? That extra 25 pounds of belly fat making your Wyoming high country bird hunt more strenuous than you last remembered? Old eyes causing those explosive flushes to get away? Packing ibuprofen in the vest pocket next to your shotgun shells?

Among the pine trees of Quail Country Plantation, Anna Van Nostrand, CZ over/under broken open across her shoulder, kneels next to her five-year-old daughter Hallie Jo “Bird Dog Tater,” talking to her about the bobwhite quail she holds that was recently downed by her mother.

Imagine shooting a British sporting-clays gun anointed with Royal Warrants from every reigning monarch since Queen Victoria, up to and including present day. It’s a 12-gauge tour de force that moves to the target with grace and deportment – even on that low chartreuse crosser that blends against the leafy background until the trees swallow it like a tasty mint.

Robert Milner of Duckhill Kennels is upping the ante in what constitutes a well-trained bird dog. The influential source of British Labrador Retrievers based in Somerville, Tennessee is now mandating that all of its dogs complete the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Test.

If the stars align in North Hampton, England the house of Longthorne Gunmakers will plant their flag on American soil later this year.

The boutique gunmaker – notable for its extraordinary barrels machined from a single billet of steel – has been in discussions with an American dealer of luxury shotgun brands that would represent Longthorne here with sales and support.

Looking back to April 2019,there were 26,678 student clays-shooting competitors from 1,042 high school teams across 25 states who participated in the USA High School Clay Target League.

That program isn’t the only game in town for youngsters looking to become the next George Digweed, Kim Rhode, Bill McGuire or Anthony Matarese, Jr.

Mike Burnett was given a mission: design and build an impeccable 32-gauge side by side for his boss, Russell Gordy – quail-hunting disciple, shotgun connoisseur, self-made billionaire and owner of the luxury outfitter Gordy and Sons in Houston, Texas.

On March 26, 2019 the German-based Blaser Group, manufacturers of the F3 and F16 shotguns, announced that industry veteran Jason Evans had been hired as CEO of Blaser USA in their San Antonio, Texas headquarters. Mr. Evans replaced Christian Socher who returned to Germany to accept his promotion as the new Head of Sales and CEO of Blaser GmbH, after a remarkable seven years of leadership that burnished the Blaser brand in America to a high luster.

Monty Lewis called the bobwhite quail hunt a “Fellowship Opportunity,” and he wasn’t kidding. Our party of 20 current and retired board members from Ducks Unlimited and Ducks Unlimited Canada had collectively served nearly 400 years as volunteers for the revered wetlands conservation nonprofit.

The hunts are not official DU events, but as Mr. Lewis described them “Traditionally, after joint meetings in the Southeast, we have a recreational activity. We get the Canadians out of the cold weather. I’ve been the host a few times and this year we’re extending some Southern hospitality where it’s the dead of winter for them.”

Kevin Kelly has a knack for cultivating the sweet spot in America’s fine shotgun market. His collection of bespoke Plantation side by sides and over/unders for the field are built to his exact specifications by family-owned Fratelli Poli Armi in Gardone Val Trompia, Italy – replete with the hand-finishing you’d expect from an $80,000 English Best, but starting at $8,995. 

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