column By: The Upland Almanac Staff | October, 21
solution to a problem he had with his three 12-gauge Fox Sterlingworth shotguns, all made in the 1920s.
“Most assuredly, there is something about these guns that makes the fit and hit perfect for me.
“However, for the serious, all-season field hunter, which is one way of describing me, the skinny, flat standard safety found on all grade Fox guns just won’t do.
“The standard safety is too flat, and obtaining a firm purchase on it with gloved hands in the thrill of a rise is not always possible.
“So, a trip to Mitch Schultz of Gunsmithing, LTD of Southport, Connecticut, resulted in this upgrade which to the game shooter makes absolute sense, and the workmanship is first class.
“I liked it so much that Mitch transitioned all of my 12-gauge guns. The feel of the new safety is without peer in the shotgun world, and there is no question about the safety position.
“I am only about 100 years too late for Fox to offer this option, but for the noncollector shooter status, this upgrade is dynamite!”
Wrap It Up
You’ve scouted covers, trained your dog, practiced shooting, assembled your gear, hunted hard and hunted well. To celebrate your success, you invite friends over a few weeks later for a delicious game bird dinner. But when you pull that first package of birds out of the freezer, the meat is a dry-looking grayish white with patches of frost spotting the surface.
Freezer burn and tasteless meat are depressing. They are also avoidable. A few precautions and field to freezer tricks will ensure your hard-earned game dinner is as delicious as it deserves to be.
Fresh is best. If possible, field dress your birds and cool them immediately after dressing them. Don’t leave them stacked together in a hot pile – spread them out. Bring an extra jug of water to rinse the birds and an extra cooler of ice to put them in right away. Put the birds in individual plastic bags. Don’t open the cooler often. If you “keep a lid on it,” your birds will stay cooler longer. Temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit may compromise the flavor and texture of the meat.
To prepare the birds for the freezer, the best option is vacuum sealing. If you don’t have a sealer, double wrap the birds using a vapor-proof wrap such as heavy wax paper freezer wrap, heavy duty aluminum foil or freezer polyethylene bags. After wrapping or bagging, press out as much air as possible. Spread the packages around other items in the freezer. That will help them freeze as quickly and uniformly as possible.
Defrosting in the refrigerator is best, even if it takes longer than on the counter, to make sure no part of the meat sits too warm at any point. Most chefs recommend using frozen game within six months for the best taste.
UA Folks on Air, Again
• John Gosselin, Publisher – S2, E7, March 25, 2021
• Tom Carney, Editor – S2, E11, June 4, 2021
• Glen Blackwood, Columnist – S2, E13, June 25, 2021
• Dr. Hank Clemmons, Columnist – S2, E14, June 30, 2021
“Bird Camp” is available through a number of different streaming services. The easiest way to find it is to look for “bird camp podcast” using a search engine. Several different listening options should appear.
Because Sometimes It’s More Fun to Be Pals
Someone from the general public might assume that people in competition with one another might have difficulty finding common ground. Two bird hunting magazine guys recently put that notion to rest.
Carney started his correspondence with Smith like this: “I don’t know if you remember me, but once, when you and Chris were little guys, your Dad brought you and him to practice hunt with my setter pup Paddy at a place in the Thumb called ‘Trapper Jim’s Hunt Club,’ I think.”
Smith responded, “Sure, Tom, I remember you! I shot my first ever bird over Paddy – a chukar. I still remember it trying to take a hard left, but luckily, I stayed with it.
“That was 36 years ago.”
They spent a minute diffusing the problem and the next 20 minutes talking about that day at Trapper Jim’s and their love of bird hunting.
In a wrap-up, Smith said, “This shows that even those of us in competing mags are all still part of a brotherhood and sisterhood that transcends business – or at least should.”
He then followed up by emailing the accompanying images, the one from his journal for that date and the other, a photo Carney had sent him not long thereafter.