Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Season’s First Woodcock Flight

My old covert Behind The Rifle Range was stiff with woodcock this afternoon. Gordie, the RBL 16 and I had lots of shooting and a bit of luck.

Tomorrow, I’ll pan toast a slice of Italian bread in a bit of EVOO and butter, then divide it into 4 pieces. Next I’ll pan fry 4 boneless breast halves in fresh EVOO and butter for 50 seconds a side. They’ll get dusted with fresh ground pepper and garlic salt while they’re warming up. The centers will still be blood rare when I lay the breasts on the toast points and immediately tuck into a fine lunch.

After lunch, I’ll mail the wings to the Fed’s Migratory Bird Wing Collectors in Laurel, MD. Here’s hoping that the data gathered will inform productive management of little Bec so that he’ll long remain a Fall favorite.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Trigger Finger Calls The Shots

Gordie and I took our season’s first woodcock on October 16. It was a gray day that followed a rainy night, so I carried the Benelli M2 autoloader that’s easy to field strip and clean. Gordie flushed the bird from the bowels of thick cover 10 yards in front of me, and I took the right to left chance with the second shell just before the ‘cock would have disappeared over a tall dogwood clump. Gordie needed a bit of time to sort out the retrieve, but he finally delivered the woodcock tenderly to hand.

While hunting today, I thought about shooting that bird. Two things happened seemingly “on their own.” I bet many seasoned hunters regularly experience the same things.

First, the safety on the M2 is mounted on the aft right side of the trigger guard. My other two guns, an O/U and a SxS, have tang-mounted thumb safeties. I never ever think about them. I just take the gun from the car, release Gordie, and if a bird offers a shot, the safety just releases itself. Somehow, the thumb and the forefinger know which is the proper safety releaser, and they get it right, without a conscious decision, every time.

Second, I never make a conscious decision to pull the trigger right now. The barrels pass the bird, and somehow the gun goes bang. I’d add “at the right time,” except that suggests decision, and the point I’m making is that there seem to be no decisions after I make the only one that’s important: is the shot safe? After that, the shooting process proceeds wonderfully on autopilot.

Too bad that flawless work around the trigger isn’t quite the same thing as flawless shooting. The Red Gods, and Fiocchi, grin.