Monday, February 28, 2011

Meindl Boots

Here's a film about one of my favorite boot makers.

Meindl Perfekt

I recieved a gift from the old man today via UPS. My father found a couple pairs of Meindl Perfekts on sale in Germany. So he bought a pair for himself and one for me. These are my second pair of Meindl. My first pair I bought on a trip to Vancouver British Columbia at the AJ Brooks store two years ago. They were the Dovre Extreme GTX model. Here in the states Meindl can be purchased through Cabela's. I have been told that although these are Meindls they are made to Cabela's specs not to the orgial Meindl specs. Also my pairs do not have that stupid Cabela's logo on my leather.

The Perfekts are made with traditional double stitched soles unlike my Dovre's more modern method which are glued and then overlapped with a rubber strip. These Perfekts will make an excellent back up pair for multi day hunts.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Passion for Tarpon by Andy Mill

While looking for videos for Hunting with Hank, it reminded me of the show that used to proceded it on OLN, Sportsman Journal with Andy Mill. I began looking for any uploads of old episodes on the web. Unfortunately no one has ever uploaded it onto the internet. I googled Andy Mill in the hopes I could find a few episodes, I never did but I found that Andy wrote a Tarpon book.

Its available in three versions, standard, limited edition, and presidential edition. For $5,100 you'll get the presidential edition signed by President Bush (the first one) and Andy Mills. The standard version is not cheap either at $100. I think I'll eventually pick one up as Andy really knows Tarpon and I'm sure this book is packed with tons of knowledge.

The book is not available on Amazon so it looks like you'll have to pay full boat for now.

It even comes with a Chasing Silvers DVD. The book is available at

Dash in the Uplands/ Himalayan Snowcock

In the mid 90s I watched "Hunting with Hank" while in college. It was hosted by Dez Youg and his setter Hank. He hunted with his Merkel 147EL 20 gauge. Back in those days the show was on the now defunct OLN. Once the network changed to Verus, my cable provider stopped carring it so I never had a chance to watch Dez's other shows once Hank retired and his son Dash took over. Ed told me about Snowcock episode years ago. I tried looking for it on youtube and found it.

Just ordered these for some off season viewing

Since I'll have to wait until September to go out afield I placed an order for these videos so I can live vicariously through these hunters. Also I might learn a thing or two while sitting on my ass. I will at least see some great dog work.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Amazing Fly Fishing Video

Absolutely an amazing video. Its no wonder this film won the Drake Magazine film contest. You got to love fish so big they no longer take insects and survive on meat.

Hemingway's Westley Richard's Double at Auction

A piece of gun history is going to auction at James D. Julia Inc on March 14 and 15th.

Its an interesting Droplock but even with the historical significance and if I had the estimated $200K that its expected to fetch, I'd pass. Doubles should have double triggers. I'm not too crazy about the engraving either. Nevertheless its a petty neat little piece. Description from their website:

*THE IMMORTAL ERNEST HEMINGWAY'S WESTLEY RICHARDS BEST QUALITY HAND DETACHABLE SINGLE TRIGGER EJECTOR DOUBLE RIFLE W/ORIGINAL CASE. SN 17425. Cal..577 Nitro Express. 750 gr. bullet, 100 gr. cordite. The Westley Richards Best quality rifle with hand detachable lock action (droplock) is as highly regarded among rifle connoisseurs as the Holland Royal and the Rigby Rising Bite. To find one of these iconic rifles in the .577 750 gr nitro caliber is very unusual. Added to this is the fact that this particular rifle was owned and used by Ernest Hemingway, a man of great charisma, a Nobel Prize winning, innovative author; war correspondent; uncompromising outdoorsman; hunter, fisherman, and acknowledged Man's man; makes this fine rifle virtually priceless. It features: 26" Steel shoe-lump bbls, with quarter rib and doll's head extension. They are engraved "Westley Richards 178 New Bond St. London Gun Makers By Appointment to His Majesty George V Rex et Imp." on sunken portion of rib, which is also scroll engraved at transitions to sights. Rear express sight has one standing, two folding platinum-line leaves marked for 100, 200, and 300 yards. Westley Richards patent front sight has longitudinally dovetailed silver bead with flip-up porcelain night sight, and folding hood. Top rear of bbl is engraved ".577 Cartridge" and "100/750 Grs." Bbl flats have London nitro proofs for the full 100 grain cordite load. Bottoms of bbls are stamped with provisional proofs, SN, and "H. L" (bbl makers initials). Narrow sling loop is attached to a large base, screwed and soldered to bottom rib. Bottom portion of Westley Richards style regulating wedge has shell and scroll engraving at muzzle. Robust, case hardened, Westley Richards patent, hand detachable action features typical Westley pivoting top fastener, bushed strikers stamped "R" and "L", nicely filed beads, automatic bolted safety (SAFE and BOLTED inlaid in gold), and Westley Richards patent single trigger with selector on trigger plate with "L" and "R" inlaid in gold. Water table is stamped with patent information for single trigger and detachable lock system, with detachable lock use number 2521 and single trigger use number 171. Action is engraved with well-cut, medium sized, shaded scroll with "Westley Richards" in ribands on either side. Charcoal blued, hinged lock recess cover has nearly full coverage of well cut scroll engraving with central oval vignette of rather naively portrayed black rhino running through open woodland. Blued trigger guard has prowling tiger on bow, and SN on grip, which terminates at steel trap grip cap. Dense, darkly streaked and figured European walnut, full pistol grip buttstock measures 15" over Silvers pad. Stock features classic beaded and shadow line cheekpiece for right handed shooter, with ogee transition from bead to shadow line, approx. 22 LPI point pattern checkering with mullered borders, checkered side panels with line borders, and nicely shaped drop points. There is a vacant rectangular gold crest plate with scalloped borders, and sling loop on toe line. Splinter forend with Deeley release and Deeley ejector, has horn forend tip, and checkering matching buttstock. SN is stamped in left bbl channel. Drop at heel: Approx 2-3/4", drop at comb: Approx. 1-7/8". Weight: 15 lbs. 14 oz, LOP 15". Maker's best quality oak and leather case with shaped brass corners, and brass reinforcing plates at corners of oak frame, has typical Westley Richards push-button key lock, and sliding brass bolts, as well as, usual securing straps. Nearly intact "Flandre" "French line" shipping label is on lid, with passengers name: "Mary and Ernest Hemingway", cabin numbers: "Suite 9 - 11" and with final destination: LeHavre, penciled in. Interior is lined in dark green cloth with large Westley Richards paper label and two other Westley Richards labels with "instructions for use", and "instructions for cleaning". Large label has SN penciled in. Case contains wood-covered steel 2-pc cleaning rod with brass trim and swivel head, old pull-through cleaning brush marked "577", various other brushes, and two brass capped tin bottles, one for Rangoon oil (nearly full), and the other for special cleaning fluid, both with John Rigby & Co labels, one loaded Kynoch 577 cartridge, and one fired Eley case, as well as the original key. Accompanying the lot are a copy of the original factory ledger pages, and the fascinating, newly released hard cover book HEMINGWAY'S GUNS by Silvio Calabi, et al, in which an entire chapter is dedicated to this very rifle. To paraphrase passages from the book: 'Before coming into Hemingway's possession it was owned and used by international sportsman Winston Guest (a Churchill relative)in Kenya while hunting with Bror Blixen during the 1930's. Hemingway, while hunting with Philip Purcival, met Guest and the two became lifelong friends. As he had for many of his close acquaintances, "Papa" had a special name for Guest ... "Wolfie". Guest still had the rifle when he settled Cuba in 1942 to oversee family business. He reunited and rekindled his friendship with EH and wound up second-in-command of the "Crook Factory", Hemingway’s makeshift "FBI approved" counterintelligence ring charged with keeping an eye out for Axis agents. Never one to think small, Hemingway soon conceived of a new and more aggressive sort of clandestine warfare. The Caribbean was infested with German U-boats that were picking off tankers delivering fuel from refineries in New Orleans and Aruba to Britain. Up and down the Atlantic seaboard, American yachtsmen were answering the call to assist the US Navy in patrolling for German raiders. With diplomatic connivance, Papa armed his sportfisher "Pilar" with light machine guns, satchel charges and, according to Patrick Hemingway (Ernest's son), Wolfie's trusty Westley stopping rifle. (One can imagine the conversation over a few rum drinks about the penetration of the .577 solid and how it might be just the thing to hole a German submarine). U-boats sometimes bought or seized fresh food from small boats. Hemingway’s plan was to pose as fishermen and to lure one to Pilar‘s side, then sweep its deck with gunfire while Wolfie lofted a satchel charge into its conning tower. Fortunately for all concerned, and for American literature, Pilar never encountered a submarine and the Westley was put away until summer 1953 when Ernest and wife Mary departed NY for Africa on the French steamship Flandre bound for Le Havre, then Paris, Pamplona and eventually Mombasa; a safari which was richly chronicled in Look magazine the following year. Most interestingly just prior to EH's departure, in his New York Post column of June 26, 1953, Leonard Lyons wrote that he had accompanied Hemingway to the basement shooting range at Abercrombie & Fitch, where Papa wanted to test-fire some old .577 cartridges in this rifle. Papa induced Lyons to shoot too: “. . . the recoil hurled me back against the back of the cement booth and the gun fell from my hand. ‘You OK?’ the salesman asked. Only a wrenched shoulder. ‘Lucky,’ he said. ‘They usually break a collar-bone.’” This may account for some of the battle scars on the stock's right side. Factory records indicate the rifle was built in 1913 for British Cavalry Officer Stephen Henry Christy who died in France 3 Sept 1914, less than a year after the rifle was finished in the days preceding the first battle of the Marne. How the rifle came into the possession of Mr. Guest is unknown. PROVENANCE: Handwritten note from the owner of the Curry Mansion Inn in Key West, where the gun has been on display, relating how the rifle came into their possession in the early 1970's. CONDITION: Very fine, as found. Bbls retain better than 70% orig blue, thinning at carry points, with areas of silvering from contact with case, and also with a few minor pinprick pits. Bbl flats and breeches show nearly all of their orig polish with some minor staining and marks. Bores are excellent, sharp, bright and shiny, with just a hint of frost in left bbl. Action retains 50 - 60% orig case hardening color, fading to silver on fences, to silver brown at bottom of action, and is quite vivid in protected areas. Top lever retains 90% orig bright charcoal blue, browned on thumbpiece. Safety retains most of its orig blue, and safety bolt most of its orig fire blue. Lock cover retains 70 - 80% of its orig charcoal blue, pleasingly silvered on high points of engraving, with a few minor marks. Trigger guard is somewhat silvered on bow, but retains most of its orig blue. Detachable locks retain nearly all of their orig damascening with some areas of cleaned discoloration. Stocks retain their orig finish with numerous knocks, marks and scars, some of which are quite deep, especially right side of buttstock toward comb. Checkering remains fairly sharp with numerous deep compressions on forend to right of latch. Orig Silvers pad has crystallized with areas at toe and heel where rubber has chipped off. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Ejectors are in time. Single trigger works. Case leather is dry with some cracking and spalling of grain, and water discoloration. Orig straps and handle are good. Shipping label is missing some bits at bottom. Penciled in information is faint, but readable under black light. Interior cloth is good, with areas worn through, mostly from contact with sights and bbls. Labels are deeply foxed to brown. Large makers label is intact, other instruction labels are wrinkled, somewhat compressed, and torn, but readable. Accessories are fine. Brush is detached from pull-through. Cleaning rod brass is tarnished. Cleaning container labels are foxed, brown, and have patches of discoloration. This is certainly one of the most desirable rifles in the world. If only it could speak - the stories it would tell! 4-36666 MGM1 (150,000-200,000)

More Day Dreaming

Off Season Reads

I picked up a few off season reads before I left for Utah. Unforetunately this book arrived while I was in Utah and I could not use the information contained within. From what I have been reading the areas I was hunting was not far from what Ben suggests. Too bad I never did run into any Huns. Perhaps next year. I'll be more prepared next time.

Lou told me about this book and I browsed through his and thought it a very well made book. It contains all the info one may need while hunting any of the quail species throughout the US. Although I have just browsed through it, it has good info excellent pictures and printed on quality thick gloss paper.

I found out about this book from a Griffin & Howe marketing email. The authors were signing at the G&H booth at the SCI convention. I've browsed through this book as well and never realized that Hemingway owned a Darne 28 gauge. He bought it for his second wife Pauline while in France for waterfowl hunting in Tanzania and sage grouse in Wyoming. Although no pictures exist of his gun, we know that the gun existed. No one knows what became of this gun.

Hemingway also owned a pair of Merkel Over and Unders from Abercomie and Fitch (its really too bad what has happened to that company). These were second hand guns. His model of choice was the 303 in 12 guage each with a set of 28 and 32 in barrels and adjustable combs and buttpads.

Being American, Hemingway obviously owned several American made guns such as the Winchester Model 12 among others. Looks like I have a few things in common with Papa.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fly Fishing in Japan

With the bird season over, I've been thinking of fly fishing particularly Japanese trout species. These fish are absolutely gorgeous. One day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Our search for Huns in Utah was unsuccessful. As with any new experience, we are going through our learning curve. I have never hunted these birds and knew very little before heading out to try and find them. Before I left I did order Ben O. William's book Huns and Huns Hunting. Unfortunately it arrived while in Utah.

Utah is some beautiful country, I have always enjoyed driving the 15 as the scenery changes it seems every 30 minutes. As we drove up and down the freeway, we were amazed at how many deer we saw along side the road. We saw at least 300 total the whole trip. None with antlers though. But we did see several horned pronghorns one day. Its amazing how much wildlife we we able to see, its just too bad none of them were the species we were hunting.

The trip was not a complete bust as I was able to see my good friend Cory and meet his family for the first time. I do intend on returning as I bought a year combo license. I talked with Richard, who was the first to show me Utah some years ago while we fly fished up and down the state, about returning to Utah in the summer. He suggested going during the hopper season sometime in July.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Season's still open somewhere

After researching the nearby States to check their end of season dates, it looks like all the surrounding States have longer upland seasons than CA. AZ closes Feb.6 along with NV and Utah closes Feb.13. Upon finding this out I called a few friends to see if they knew of any good spots in these areas. One such person was my friend Cory Petersen who currently is living in Utah. I asked him whether the upland hunting was any good, (Utah currently has Hungarian Partridge and Chukar still open), he told me that he has been running into them in the mountains although he has not hunted them.

He offered me access to his friend's private land over 1000 acres in the Hansel Valley to hunt. Another one of his friends even offered to "guide" us around with his two GWPs. I did some research from last years report and it looks like the area has some of the best numbers in all of Utah. This is an offer I couldn't resist. I'm heading out Sunday, screw football I could care less. I'm excited to go after a species (Hungarian Partridge) that is unavailable in CA. This should be fun even if we go home with the skunk.