Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tiny Dancer

About every evening I visit Simpson LTD's website. It's a gunshop that specializes in WWII items, but also from time to time imports large shipments of shotguns from Sweden, Belgium. and Germany. There are usually a fair number of old hammerguns in various conditions from good to wall-hangers. The nice ones usually are sold in a day or two and I can usually resist the urge to buy for that long. Well last week I noticed a 16 ga. Belgium hammergun on the site. It was a top-lever gun with straight grip, back-action locks (my weakness), with blackened 31.5 inch damascus barrels built in the 1880's. It was described to be mechanically fine with tight barrel lockup, excellent bores and a good walnut stock. I lusted over it for a little while knowing that it would go quickly and left the site. The next evening to my surprise it was still available and I fought off the urge, for I surely didn't need another hammergun. On the third evening I searched it out and there it was still waiting to be bought. I took this as a sign, picked up the phone, and in minutes she was mine. Being classified as an antique, no FFL was needed and she arrived at my door last Friday. As I assembled her I was struck by her light weight and suddenly she had her name "Tiny Dancer" after an old Elton John song from the early 70's. The kitchen scales showed her to weight 5 3/4 lbs, the lightest gun I've owned but her long barrels makes for a smooth swing and on Sunday I hit every claybird I pointed her at. With her cylinder chokes she should be right a home in my woodcock coverts.

God these hammergun guns are addicting.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Wandering a Spring Woodcock Covert

Was able to take Emma today and wander the Shawnee Creek Covert, a large expanse of nice looking woodcock cover that I had discovered last fall. Just several hundred yards into the cover I saw Emma making her way back to me with something large in her mouth. I wasn't fast enough with the camera to get a pic of the retrieve , but this is what she brought me.
A very alive opossum that was "playing possum". I had to wonder if a coyote or bobcat instead of Emma had found it, would it's playing dead act had saved it's life? I guess I should have gotten a rock or club and killed it for the egg eating predator that it was, but I've gotten "soft" in my old age and just can't kill something without giving it a sporting chance.

We worked our way through the nice cover. Both of us enjoying the nice day afield.

Finally Emma's bell went silent and I found her pointing in some thick alders.
 Further on in the cover she had several bumped birds until she found another one that proved to be more cooperative.
The skunk cabbage was bursting out of the ground along the creek, the first plant to proclaim that spring was here.
The birds that I saw today seemed to be large, no doubt hens, and I know that very soon nests will be built, eggs laid, and I'll have to stay out of the coverts till fall.