Steve Smith, it's great to have you checking in here! It's almost like meeting you. I have your book, "Shotgunner," and it's almost worn out from rereding it a zillion times. Love it! It sits on my shelf next to another book I've worn down over time called "A Shotgunners Notebook" by some guy named Gene Hill!
Got Larry's book, too. He even signed it in person! Of course Larry and I have been known to shoot at the same place and even meet for a gun or ammo deal.
Now we just have to convince McIntosh that this is a safe place to hang out! I've actually gotten some good advice and kind words from MM over the years. It's like speaking to the pope or something. (He's a great guy, Mike that is))
Joined: 20 Apr 2005
Location: Traverse City, MI
I talked with Mac just last week -- he's in Iowa now, his home state, and he seems happy, though under the weather at the time. I've known Mac for more than 20 years, as I did that other fellow -- Hill -- you refer to, and that's the first time I've ever seen Mac's name and "Pope" used in the same paragraph; nor are we likely to see it again anytime soon.
Even though guns and dogs are the way we make our living, we're fans, too, and Larry and I have been 16-gauge guys just this side of forever, and it's nice to chat with like-minded fellows about what we love the most.
Thanks for the nice comment about "Shotgunner": I hope you didn't wear it out throwing it across the room or at your dog.
Joined: 12 Mar 2005
Okay...I promise...no more smarmy remarks from this cranky yankee. Maybe someday I'll have the pleasure of hunting the Midwest for pheasant and the various prairie grouse. I'm just jealous as hell.
Actually, I've been very fortunate to live in a state with an excellant stocking program. I've managed to learn about the little nooks and coverts that the state places birds in and that nobody seems to bother with. They also stock quail in two separate locations on Cape Cod, which also has native quail if you know where to look. Plus, Southeastern Mass has some excellent grouse and woodcock hunting, again if one knows where to look in and around the various cedar swamps found there. We also have snipe and rail which starts in the first week in September. Rhode Island also stocks birds fairly well and has a longer season than Ma. for pheasant and grouse. Usually after Thanksgiving and deer season, I have had the woods pretty much to myself and Heidi, the wonderkind... and love of my life. So I really can't complain... even though it is part of my Yankee heritage and somewhat manditory.
Joined: 20 Apr 2005
Location: Traverse City, MI
It sounds like you've got your haunts down pat -- good for you. All we really need are enough places where we can bang around with a dog or two.
You really should make a trip west someday for the prairie birds, though it's a long drive from Mass, and if you're like me, you wouldn't fly your dog unless it's for emergency surgery somewhere. Speaking of dogs, what breed is Heidi?
Joined: 12 Mar 2005
Based on her dietary preferences, she thinks she's homo sapiens sapiens. However, rumor has it that she's actually a German Short-hair...but for god's sake, don't bust her bubble.
She's actually pretty much retired now. At thirteen, a 20 minute session of frizbee and a brisk walk to inspect the neighborhood puppy postal exchange is enough for her. I will take her out this coming season for some very short 45 minute hunts close by. To not do so would kill her faster than not letting her. She has that kind of spirit and temperment. However, her hips and rear legs are pretty well shot. Medication and Glucaflex help, but not enough to warrent a full couple of hours. She'd do it in a heartbeat, but the next day would be agony for her. she's earned her kibble for life and a warm spot to snooze in ten times over.
She was a runt, a reject, and the finest diamond in the rough I was ever fortunate enough to be gifted with. Damnedest nose I ever witnessed in action, pointed like a cement statue on instinct alone, and not an ounce of quit in her. All she needed was to feel needed and birds to learn on. I'm a sucker for underdogs, so it was love at first nuzzle. Her manners have never been perfect. Neither are mine, so we suit each other down to the ground... a couple of old swamp yankees up to no damned good when it comes to game birds.
The guy who gave her to me is still pissed beyond all get out how she turned out. He still looks at me like I owe him money. He was actually going to shoot her to preserve the breed. If he had, I'd have probably shot him to preserve ours. Thanks for asking. Don't we all love to expound on our hounds. How's your best friend?
Joined: 20 Apr 2005
Location: Traverse City, MI
There's probably nothing more bittersweet to my eye than an old bird dog that still wants to go. I've hunted my old dogs well into their teens, like Heidi, and I've never been sorry -- carried a few of them back to the truck worn right out, but they want to keep going, God love them.
I have a black Lab (Roxie) who's 10 and stove up from the sorts of injuries that have allowed my vet to drive a Lexus; I hunt her mostly on ducks now, as the swimming is less stressful on her joints. In her day she was a fine pheasant dog. She gets a few afternoons at the local preserve each year, and I tell her it's a week in South Dakota and she's happy.
I have a three-year old Elhew pointer female (Sam) that came around last year (definition of "came around": she learned the difference between "hunt 'em up" and "run away from home") I think she'll make a fine grouse dog in the next year or so; as you know, that skill doesn't develop overnight. A few times a year for an hour or so, I hunt the pointer and the Lab together, and usually it's a fiasco and I end up doing more laughing at them than anything else, but all of this is supposed to be fun. The Lab learned what the beeper collar was all about and how the point mode means there's something that needs flushing. Luckily, she's slow enough nowadays that I can beat her to the point and she has to be content with retrieving, which should happen more than it does but mostly I miss.
Larry's a shorthair guy, too. I've hunted over his and they know pheasant hunting inside and out; but then, that's all Brown does anyway, so they ought to be good at it.
Joined: 12 Mar 2005
God had better love them, or he and I are gonna have one hell of a long talk if and when we ever meet. I can't even imagine a being capable of creating a living thing as noble as a good hunting dog and not providing a place in eternity, if such exists. I'm just glad to have had the here and now with Heidi.
I know I've learned more worthy things from her than she ever learned from me. And yes, how they can bust you up. I can't remember all the times I've laughed to tears at some of her antics...even at the most inappropriate times. I did mention that our field manners fall far short of impeccable. A good sense of humor is necessary if your gonna hunt with us two. I've gotten some long stares from some folks we've bumped into out in the great open. I don't try to explain it. In fact, most of the time they just get me started again. If they can't see it, then I'm damned sure not gonna waste the time showing them. Its their loss.
Well, I've never set foot in a Cabellas store but if it is anything like a Bass Pro Shop, I could see where a mistake could be made. I've known Wes for many years. He is a colector of fine guns. If he says the gun was there for that price, then it was there.
Last Fall, I was at the Bass Pro Shop in St Louis. They had a new Browning White Lightning on sale for $1299. When I asked the lady behind the counter to let me see it, she couldn,t find the gun. I had to point it out to her and direct her to it before she handed it to me. Sometimes they must get people from the clothing department to fill in at the gun counter.
Guy, I spent a lot of time hunting (mostly pheasants, but also grouse, woodcock, bobwhites, and even some desert quail) behind a shorthair named Heidi. She hunted through her 12th season, lived to be 15. I now hunt behind her grandson and great granddaughter.
Mass used to be darned good for grouse and woodcock, according to guys like Woolner. I almost said "old timers", and that's scary, because when I first started to hunt grouse and woodcock, Woolner was still very much alive, and still blazing away at them with his Model 59.
Since Smith's posting here, however, I don't have to worry about old timer status being conferred upon me.
Joined: 22 Jan 2005
Location: New Mexico
I grew up in Western Mass and hunted grouse, woodcock, and ducks as much as I could until 1980 and it sure was grand at times. I'm in the southwest now and get plenty of shooting on quail and blue grouse, but I really miss the overgrown apple orchards and rock walls of New England. Woolner was one of my heros --- wasn't the Model 59 the one with the fiberglass barrel? I was sure that if I had one of those I would be murder on grouse. The University of Massachusetts in Amherst had all the back issues of Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, and Sports Afield up in their stacks and I spent many afternoons up there when I should have been doing homework.
Steve Smith, I am enjoying reading "Outdoor Yarns and Outright Lies" right now and love the Answer Doctor bit:
I want a light gun capable of killing pheasants. How much will such a gun cost me?
A gun capable of killing pheasants costs $39. A light gun costs $100. A light gun capable of killing pheasants costs $4,890.
This is very valuable information from a reputable source that will help me negotiate my next shotgun purchase with my wife. Those Polis that Rich Cole has are looking pretty nice.
Joined: 12 Mar 2005
Scolari, It was not Wes's integrity I questioned. It was meant to both confirm and expose a trend of "gun dealing" I'm seeing more and more both from Cabela's and on the internet. It is becoming more common for the sellers to be deceptive in their discription of the gun, hoping to snare someone into overpaying. Once the gun is shipped, the seller hopes the high cost of the combined return shipping and insurance, plus the original and non-refundable shipping and handling fees will persuade the buyer into not returning the gun. Most times, these characters refuse to adjust the price to bring the value for value ratio in line and demand that you send the gun back at your expense. You then may or may not get a refund. You also may wait a month or more for your money back.
This is what the Cabela's saleman attempted to do to me. Fortunately, I had some recourse and obtained satisfaction. Most of the time, folks are out 50 or 60 bucks and the seller simply has to wait for another sucker to come along. It doesn't cost him a thing, just time.
Most of the gun trading web sites are more seller friendly than buyer friendly, because that is where their money comes from. Most express some type of satisfaction guarentee policy, but urge caution also. If a disagreement between buyer and seller ensues, there is little to nothing the site can actually do. It is not in their best interest to side with the buyer in most cases other than open nothing for something fraud, and darned little here too. Getting satisfaction legally is cost prohibitive, and criminal prosecution across state lines is extremely rare in cases involving less than $10,000.
I am most cautious of the no creditcard, cash only guys. We buyers have very little recourse here. I recently was considering a gun that was described as in unfired condition. However, when I attempted to pin the seller down on overall condition, he got very surly. I bluntly asked if his gun was 100% perfect inside and out several times. He became upset and evasive. I also asked if he'd include a signed affidavit to that effect, and agree in writing to accept cost of return shipping fees if it was not. He hung up. I guess his unfired conditon gun meant "never fired, but dropped down a flight of stairs." There is more fraud happening than is readily apparent.
Be cautious and ask some very pointed questions. If the seller does not understand why and/or gets upset, then he is not much of a person or a dealer, and is more apt to shaft you. People who have integrity also know that its earned and not bestowed, and are willing to go out of their way to maintain it. They tend to be at ease with other people, will patiently answer your questions, understand your caution, and put it in writing if requested. They welcome the opportunity to prove their honesty, because it works for them--their reputation is as valued as your money.
If you're working with outfits like Cabela's that have multiple stores, there's no real reason to buy "sight unseen" (other than in the pictures they show) if you live within reasonable distance of any of their stores. They'll ship guns from one store to another. If I see anything on their website that interests me, I'll call, ask questions, and if it still interests me after the "interview" process, I'll ask them to ship it to the Owatonna MN store, which is about 2 hours from me. This costs the buyer nothing. Although I've bought guns directly from dealers sight unseen on many occasions (and have only sent one back), I'd rather have a gun in my hands before digging out the credit card or sending a check, whenever possible.
In my dealings with Cabela's, I've bought some of the guns they've shipped to Owatonna for me, decided not to buy others. It's all worked out quite well.
I've also bought several guns from a few Scheels stores (another large sporting goods chain here in the MW). They don't yet have their Premium Gun Room inventory on line like Cabela's does--although Cabela's will often have quite a few used guns that are not listed. But my guess is that Scheels would probably move guns between stores for the customer's convenience as well.
I have also purchased four guns from Scheels---one from their Rapid City store and 3 from the store in Iowa City. I did return one of the guns I bought and they handled the whole matter very professionally. The painful fact is, these stores---Cabela's, Scheels, Dave Riffle, Jaqua's, etc. can be very high priced because:
1. They are often a primary source for the buyer who "wants it now" and will pay through the nose to get it, whatever "it" is...and that buyer may or may not always be well informed. This tends to let them charge premium prices.
2. Many of the people on this forum, and of the collector persuasion, have owned a number of guns and are getting selective. Just "any" shotgun will no longer do---it's a case of a lot of buyers chasing too few high quality guns---and the above-named stores see more of the high quality stuff than you and I do at the semi-annual "Hogg County Gun and Knife Show".
There just aren't that many sources for the good stuff anymore.
3. Being regional if not national in scope, they have an infrastructure that provides them with large lines of credit and the ability to search and find the premium collectable guns. They are the "500 LB. Gorillas" in the marketplace, and sooner or later it is likely we might deal with them.
CAVEAT EMPTOR !
_________________ One Man with Courage is a Majority
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