In early December we spent an afternoon and the following morning at the game club we belong to south of Hesperia, CA.  I know most of you think that is probably somewhere on the moon and if you check out the blog piece I wrote out here you'll see a picture that does resemble moonscape.  But that's not the point!

I love old shotguns.  The bird gun pictured here is an AyA 12 gauge in the style of Robert Churchill, i. e., 25" barrels.  It is thus termed a "XXV" and is still routinely made and sold by fine Spanish gunmakers at about one tenth the cost of a true Churchill.  I have handled both and my Spanish lady has the same balance and feel.  This gun is a Holland&Holland style back action sidelock.  The barrels are bored light IC and Mod and for pointed birds it is just the ticket.  I shoot one ounce of chilled #6 shot for both chukar and pheasant at these close ranges. If I still lived back there and could chase grouse and woodcock this would be my choice of guns.  It was built in 1967 and spent many years in Scotland shooting driven birds.  I obtained it from a Scottish gunsmith early in 2009.  The importation was straightforward; shipping and duty costs did add up.  But to obtain this same gun today would cost at least 3½ to 4 times what I paid for it in total.  Any of you who like these old guns should get after them now because they are drying up at modest prices.

Oh, we had a heckuva' good time and shot chukar and one pheasant as a big time treat for Pride the Pointer.  That weird looking critter next to the gun is a chukar.  Not too much like a ruffed grouse but when set out properly they will fly like the devil himself is chasing them.  I have had more than one wild flush and the birds end up in the cedar trees that grow on about one third of the 1400 acres of our club.  Once in there it's about like grouse shooting in the evergreens used to be in Minnesota--iffy, chancy and maybe!

We never put out more than two or three birds for Pride during a two hour hunt.  That way she works, we walk and it's about as close as we can get to a true hunt.  I never thought I'd be doing this, but then I never thought I'd be 71 either!