Thursday, September 9, 2010

Woot! I won another shotgun! Now guess what I'm gonna do with it...

After winning a shotgun in a raffle this spring at a California Waterfowl dinner, I kinda wondered what I'd do with myself at future banquets.

I'd started hunting four years ago with an excellent 20 gauge Beretta 391, and with the raffle win this spring, I now had a 12 gauge Beretta 3901, aka Sarah Connor. I am in love with that gun, and I'm shooting so well with it that I really don't want another one.

But gun raffles are a major source of the excitement and fun at duck banquets. So when I went to Cal Waterfowl's Wild Game Feed in Sacramento tonight, I couldn't resist entering the same drawing: For a $200 installment on my $1,000 life membership fee, I'd be put in a very small drawing for a TriStar Hunter Ex 12 gauge over & under.

I felt greedy. Until I remembered my recent lament. Read more...
I've gotten myself in the habit of taking new women hunters out in the field, and sometimes - as was the case when I hunted rabbits with a UC Davis biology student this summer - they don't yet have guns of their own.

I have two guns now. My 12 gauge is my main girl, so I'm happy to share the 20 gauge. The only problem is I've had it fitted to me - for left-handed shooting, for my ridiculously long neck. It'd be a poor fit even for most left handers, and a nightmare for right-handers. If only I had a right-handed gun I could lend out for those hunts...

That's it! If I win this gun, I told myself and everyone who'd listen to me - you'd be surprised how many patient listeners there are at this particular duck dinner - I would not have this gun fitted to me. I'd keep it instead as a loaner for newbie hunters who go out with me.

The raffle gods must have been pleased with my promise. Or perhaps Rebecca K. O'Connor was thinking of me - she's the one who brought me good luck when I won my other 12 gauge. (She was good luck for my dove trapping too.)

Whatever it was, when the time came for my drawing, it was my name that they called. SCORE! I now have a spare 12-gauge for people who aren't giraffe-necked left-handed shooters. (That would be, oh, almost everyone.)

This means a lot to me: Because I don't belong to any posh hunting clubs, I can't offer really primo hunting opportunities to people I take out. If you come on a hunt with me, chances are really good it'll be on public land. Now I'll at least have a decent gun that won't be a horrible fit for my guests. Yay!

And oh yeah, Boyfriend was the winning bidder tonight on a sweet Argentina dove hunt that we'll be taking in the next year. And it was my birthday today, and my students bought me a cake, which was really sweet, literally and figuratively.

All in all, a good day. It's going to take a while to wipe the smile off my face. Life is good.

© Holly A. Heyser 2010

22 comments:

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Lucky you
SBW

Mike at The Big Stick said...

That dove hunt in Argentina is going to be the experience of a lifetime. Go for 1,000. I've heard stories of people coming home from those with bruises that look like an egg plant on their shoulder. That's the good kind of pain.

Walter Bruning said...

Holly

I just threw out my rabbit's foot. I'm going to carry a small picture of you next to any future DU, PF or QU banquet raffle tickets. You are unreal! Next you'd better enter a contest to win a new gun safe.

Walter

Matt Ames said...

WOW! Now I think it's time for you to buy a lotto ticket, Holly! Congrats! And happy birthday!

Josh said...

Wow, congratulations! And the dove hunt, too - that's awesome!

I've wanted to go to one of those banquets ever since a now-former brother-in-law won two guns in one. Now, I'm very happy to see that a couple of friends have beaten his lucky streak, because he's an a-hole.

steveo_uk said...

thats so frustrating, there's me wanting to take up shot gun shooting having never done any and you win 2 shot guns in as few weeks, I never win anything ! gggrrrr

All joking aside congrats and well done even though i'm a little envious and jelous !

Hil said...

Yay! Put the best recoil pad you can find on it...a 12-gauge o/u will kick the heck out of a newbie.

NorCal Cazadora said...

SBW: For sure - it's hard to believe, ain't it?

Mike: I'm in even more disbelief about Argentina. Our biggest challenge is going to be the fact that we love EATING dove, and we'll want to bring home as much as we can. That and this important question: Can I bring in my own gun? I know it's almost impossible in Mexico, but I'm hoping Argentina's better. I will shoot like crap with just any old gun.

Walter: Here's my tip: Don't crimp your ticket. Everyone at CWA dinners does that, and when everyone does, none of them stand out anymore. And I almost entered a raffle for another gun safe, but I can't imagine where we'd put it. Instead, I'm going to have to remove all the ammo storage from my safe and just make it all guns. Not ideal, but gotta keep the guns safe.

Matt: Excellent idea, I'll get on that. And thanks :-)

Josh: We have to get you to one. Though I know it's important for you to stick closer to home these days, and to save your cash for diapers :-).

Steveo: I know, I don't usually win much. I do have a magical lucky skill: I usually get to restaurants just before the huge lines arrive. But two guns in one year? Out of the ordinary, for sure. It was the most exciting birthday I've ever had, too.

Hil: I'm already planning to get a Kick-Eez for it. Not sure if off-the-shelf Kick-Eez pads fit this gun. If not, I'll take it to my favorite gunmaker Dale Tate so he can grind one to fit. And speaking of fit, it looks like TriStar guns are compatible with Beretta chokes, of which I now have a nice collection.

Boy, do I feel blessed.

Hubert Hubert said...

Over here in Blighty when you win a raffle at a fair you get a jar of damson jam, a Victoria sponge cake, a part-used bottle of Old Spice or - on real red-letter days - a warm bottle of 'Blue Nun'. Clearly I'm going to the wrong fairs...

HH

Quackity Gal said...

Holly,

Congrats on the win! I ended up with a Savage 243 bolt action from the raffle - one of the last guns handed out! My first win, too!

Cheers,

Quackity

NorCal Cazadora said...

Nice job, Quackity Gal!!! I love my Savage - fantastic gun.

Chad Love said...

How the hell do you keep doing this? I won my first pointer pup at a QU banquet in college, but since then I've been 0-fer-everything.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Beats me, Chad! But I'm really, really excited, and not taking it for granted at all :-) - I know good luck streaks always end.

sportingdays said...

Congrats on the gun AND the trip to Argentina. I think the O/U is a good choice for new hunters you may be taking afield. It's SAFER, in my opinion, than an auto or pump in inexperienced hands. Can even use it as a single shot for ultimate safety and control when shooting clays, birds, etc.

Yes, you can -- and should -- take your own guns (you want to bring more than one, probably your 12 and your 20) to Argentina. Argentina is incredibly hunter friendly and welcoming and about as hassle free and enjoyable a hunting travel experience as you can possibly imagine. Everyone, including the police who check your guns at the airport, goes out of their way to welcome you to the country.

I went on a bird hunting/trout fishing trip to Argentina a few years ago. Same scenario. Friend won the bidding on a dove hunt. You should think seriously about this: We ended up upgrading our dove hunt to include ducks, pigeons and perdiz (upland partridge you typically hunt with pointing dogs).

Argentina has an incredible wingshooting diversity beyond doves. Depending on what part of the country you're going, you can add ducks, geese, perdiz, pigeons, even wild parakeets (considered an agricultural pest) to your wingshooting menu.

NorCal Cazadora said...

We're really excited about it! We should definitely look in to the upgrade, but that depends on cost. Even with the great price Hank got, we're going to have to shell out a lot for airfare and incidentals, and we don't exactly have a lot of money to spare. But we'll see - we definitely plan to extend the trip to spend more time in the country. Not gonna spend 17 hours flying there to just spend three days there!

oldfatslow said...

Congratulations.

ofs

kmurray said...

Congrats to you Holly and what a great thing to do with it! Just awesome. Congrats again!

Lindsay Macomber said...

Hey Holly...Congrats on the gun! On another note, I have my own gun, but its never gone duck hunting. My husband has, but he doesnt jump up and down for anything with feathers. I would love to go duck hunting with you(or any hunting for that matter.) Last year was my first time pheasant hunting..and I fell in love! I will continue to pheasant hunt this year..but the whole planted bird thing sort of taints it a bit. Anyways, Im looking for a good teacher..if you would like a new student!

Lindsay
From the Auburn trap news thing

NorCal Cazadora said...

Let's do it!!! I love jumping up and down for feathered things ;-)

Lindsay Macomber said...

OH MY GOSH!! Okay...just piddled a little bit...I'll message you on FB.

Seriously...so Excited right now!

NorCal Cazadora said...

Oh, good lord, I hope you don't do that in the blind! ;-)

Lindsay Macomber said...

Promise to be good!