by Ron Spomer
Ron inspires us bird hunters to move to lighter gauge guns like the CZ Super Scroll Over Under Shotgun for improved upland success!
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Who wouldn’t enjoy bagging three or four pheasants, half a dozen partridges or fifteen quail a day? Whose heart doesn’t leap into his throat when a ruffed grouse thunders up from the forest floor or a long-tailed rooster explodes from the grass?
Upland bird hunting is the ultimate hand-eye coordination game, the perfect tag team adventure for humans and dogs, the hunter-gatherer’s reason for autumn. You might hunt deer for a week before filling your tag. You can hunt the uplands and bag a limit of birds every day for four months.
And the right shotgun makes it addictive.
The right upland shotgun is an extension of your arms and eyes. Light, trim and responsive, it comes up like a dream, shoulders like a thought and hits like a guided missile. You don’t wield an upland shotgun. You don’t lift one or aim one. You see the bird, you shoot, you hit.
“How much lead did you give that quail?” someone once asked me after I’d knocked down a surprise bobwhite that had rocketed through a gap in the trees. “I don’t know,” I answered honestly. “I just shot.”
CZ Super Scroll Over / Under Shotgun
This almost unconscious connection between hunter and machine is, I fear, lost on many of today’s bird hunters. Too much emphasis on firepower, long range goose loads and longer range turkey chokes have funneled many shooters into bulky 12 gauge guns. Those are perfect for waterfowl and turkeys, but something less than ideal for upland birds.
Upland hunting is akin to tennis or ping pong. Birds are quick targets you intercept with quick moves. You haven’t time to think, plan or adjust. You just move, shift, swing and the bird is yours. Such instinctive swatting is slowed by a heavy, thick 12 gauge gun. But a slim, trim, light 20- or 28 gauge… That’s the key to great upland gunning.
Like most American farm boys, I grew up thinking the 12 gauge was king. I learned to shoot one well enough, but I didn’t become a consummate upland hunter until I graduated to my first 20 gauge. It was an over/under SKB with 28-inch barrels and a trim profile. In contrast to my 3-inch Model 870 “all-purpose” 12 gauge, that little 20 gauge felt light as a Daisy BB gun.
And, despite throwing fewer pellets with each shot, my success rate went up.
Years later I moved down to a 28 gauge — and my hits went up again. This is contrary to commonly accepted wisdom. But when everything from sage grouse to scaled quail is falling, popular opinion loses it power. So what if the 12 gauge throws 269 #6 pellets to the 28 gauge’s 169 #6 pellets. With the smaller, lighter gun I’m walking farther, shooting faster, never flinching and always having more fun. And the birds keep tumbling.
The mild pop of 20- and 28-gauge guns — like the CZ Super Scroll Combo — signals success, so I’m not arguing.
I’ll tell no man, no woman, how to hunt or what to hunt, but these days pheasants are swarming the Dakota’s and Kansas as if it’s the 1940s again. From Kansas through Texas bobwhites and scaled quail have been erupting like popcorn. Arizona Mearn’s quail swarm desert mountains like locusts, and up in the Great Lakes states ruffed grouse are surging through the golden poplars. Prairie chickens and sharptailed grouse cackle and soar over the mixed grass prairies of the Dakotas and Nebraska. Nearly every part of the country has some upland birds, but Rocky Mountain states like Montana, Idaho and Wyoming are especially blessed with them. Blue grouse, ruffed grouse, gray partridge, chukar partridge, sharp-tailed grouse, sage grouse, valley quail…
If you like to walk, if you like to shoot and shoot often, if you like seeing a finely tuned dog slam on point, and if you like to eat free-range, organic meat — you need to hunt upland birds. Find yourself a light, lively, smooth handling 20- or 28 gauge. Get hooked on the most invigorating brand of hunting humans ever invented.
About Ron Spomer Outdoors
Ron Spomer has been hunting for 50 years and writing about it for 40. While gathering data for thousands of articles published in more than a hundred magazine titles and several books, this former Dakota farm boy has pursued game on six continents. Spomer is a recognized authority on optics, firearms, ballistics, outdoor photography, conservation and hunting for everything from quail to brown bears. To learn more, visit RonSpomerOutdoors.com. Follow him on Youtube .
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