Thursday, February 8, 2018

Endorsements; A Few From Abroad

     It's been a while since I endorsed a product or shop, but while on my shooting trip to England last December I came across a couple of shops and a product that I feel need mentioning. In fact, I felt they deserve an ASO endorsement, so take a look.

     If you find yourself in the Yorkshire area you owe it to yourself to visit  Davey and Sons in the picturesque village of Wykeham, Scarborough. A family run business, these guys will certainly have anything you might need on a day's shoot. The family/business patriarch, Peter Davey, has been shooting for a long time, and not only knows guns, but has a very keen sense of his customer's desires. It wasn't long after I stepped foot in the shop he was thrusting a beautiful B. Rizzini 20g round body side-by-side into my hands, obviously picking up, somehow, that I've got a bit of a thing for 20g guns, Rizzini's, and round bodies. I had the privilege of shooting with Mr. Davey at Cropton where the Churchill enthusiast put his 25" barreled gun to good use. So, if you find yourself in need of anything shooting related, or even just want to explore an outfitter, Davey and Sons is the place to go.

     Along the same vein, but somewhat different, is Carters Countrywear in Helmsley. Carters is the place to go for tweed shooting clothing. With a very nice, well stocked showroom, and bespoke tailoring, this is the place to go if you want to look good, or as in my case, just splurge a little on new shooting socks and garters. They boast the moto "Some clothes say you are going somewhere, ours say you've arrived", and it certainly seems the case. Should I one day hit the lottery the first thing I will do is book a day shooting driven red grouse in the moors. The second thing I will do is commission a set of bespoke tweeds from Carters for that day.  You know,... "That's the way forward."

     If your budget doesn't allow you to spend the money demanded above, there is still hope. Rydale is a Yorkshire clothing line that offers a range of country and street wear that is easier on the budget. In fact, it very nicely priced, and nicely made. I bought a fleece gilet (pronounced Jee-Lay), which is a fancy way of saying vest, which has quickly become one of my favorites. 
Rydale will ship to the States, but you'll need to email them to get a shipping quote. It should also be kept in mind that UK and US sizes differ slightly, and you may want to order one size larger than you normally would. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Season To Remember, part 4. Fowling with a Legend

     Water/Wildfowling is something I don't do much. I like it, and there is plenty of good fowling around me, but most of it is coastal, or tidal marsh. The type of fowling more fit for a Labrador, than a Springer. So my fowling trips are limited to just a few days of decoying at cranberry bogs, or pass shooting next to a small river. So when I was given an opportunity to spend a morning decoying geese I was eager to give it a go. The morning was especially enticing, as I would be shooting with a local fowling legend.

     The world is a much smaller place than it used to be thanks to the world wide web. The web, and web forums dedicated to game shooting, and the countryside allows one to know what is going on globally. It was such a web forum where I first became aware of HLG. Routinely I would read posts by HLG telling of mornings or evening spent shooting geese and pigeon, often in great numbers. Not only would the size of the HLG's bags be noticed, but also his generosity; he frequently took others out to shoot with him. Being HLG was friends with my host, PP, I was soon the recipient of an invite.

     The morning started well before dawn as we made our way to the Leeds area. The drive took us from the countryside, to the city, to the countryside again, where we posted up in the dark along a hedge bordering a large sheep field. Minutes after we arrived HLG arrived, and pleasantries were briefly exchanged before making our way into the field where we began to plan our ambush. After a quick drive around the field a hedge splitting the field and surrounded my sugar beets spread by the farmer for the sheep was deemed the spot we'd build our hide (blind, for the American readers). With HLG conducting the predawn operations the trucks were emptied, a hide build, and decoys spread. The entire time we could here a symphony of geese from the reservoir below us just past the treeline. Soon we were settled in waiting for the geese. We didn't have to wait very long.

     Over the course of the morning the geese came in infrequent waves, sometimes in pairs, sometimes in larger skeins. Sometimes coming right over, sometimes just skirting us. I'd like to say we shot a huge pile of geese that morning. We did not, but not because they weren't there, but because they just didn't cooperate. Sometimes they zig, when you need them to zag. Such was our morning. Still, we shot some geese. In fact we shot more geese that morning than I could ever hope for in a morning here at home. In fact I saw more geese than I'd ever seen before.  I shot my first Greylag Goose that morning, but more than that, I got to spend the morning shooting with a Leeds fowling legend.