Home-Curing Article in The Field

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Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by hugodrax » Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:50 pm

Ok, so I'm a ponce. I'm addicted to field sports. I like British Best Shotguns. So I read The Field, the toffiest of toff magazines. I can almost feel SteveH's aura bristling. Huddsbaggie, quango man that he is, is organizing a protest of underclass invomprehensibility in my general direction.

So imagine my surprise when perusing the latest number to see an article by Guy N. Smith, pipe smoker, hunter, regular fieldsports contributor as well as pulp horror novel author, lamenting the current lack of homegrown tobacco in the British Isles and sharing his recipe for home curing pipe tobacco with the rest of us.

Take 2 tablespoons black treacle (molasses), 2 tablespoons clear honey, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon glycerine, 1 stick licorice root. Add an inch of water to one's saucepan. Bring to the boil and then add ingredients. Add leaves and simmer for an hour, not letting the pot boil dry. Take leaves and spread to cool, then compress tightly for two to three weeks before shredding. Enjoy.
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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by durangopipe » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:38 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:50 pm
Ok, so I'm a ponce. I'm addicted to field sports. I like British Best Shotguns.
Hello, Ponce!
Coffee is in the back of the room.

I'll never own a British best shotgun, but I like them too. You don't have to be in a position to own a fine piece of gear in order to like it or appreciate it - or have a friend, sometimes, let you shoot it!

Likewise, living where I do, I'll never grow tobacco; however, on the off chance that one day I might, I'll keep your post handy for future reference.

Wishing you many beautiful points and cleanly taken birds this coming fall.
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by coco » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:48 pm

We need a curing thread in the library.
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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by Pepik » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:17 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:50 pm
Take 2 tablespoons black treacle (molasses), 2 tablespoons clear honey, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon glycerine, 1 stick licorice root. Add an inch of water to one's saucepan. Bring to the boil and then add ingredients. Add leaves and simmer for an hour, not letting the pot boil dry. Take leaves and spread to cool, then compress tightly for two to three weeks before shredding. Enjoy.
This needs to be tried out
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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by UncleBob » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:25 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:50 pm
Ok, so I'm a ponce. I'm addicted to field sports. I like British Best Shotguns. So I read The Field, the toffiest of toff magazines. I can almost feel SteveH's aura bristling. Huddsbaggie, quango man that he is, is organizing a protest of underclass invomprehensibility in my general direction.

So imagine my surprise when perusing the latest number to see an article by Guy N. Smith, pipe smoker, hunter, regular fieldsports contributor as well as pulp horror novel author, lamenting the current lack of homegrown tobacco in the British Isles and sharing his recipe for home curing pipe tobacco with the rest of us.

Take 2 tablespoons black treacle (molasses), 2 tablespoons clear honey, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon glycerine, 1 stick licorice root. Add an inch of water to one's saucepan. Bring to the boil and then add ingredients. Add leaves and simmer for an hour, not letting the pot boil dry. Take leaves and spread to cool, then compress tightly for two to three weeks before shredding. Enjoy.
Did he mention what kind of tobacco he was curing? I used something similar (no glycerine or licorice root, bourbon and star anise instead) in a crock pot on Virginia.
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Re: Home-CASING Article in The Field

Post by Rusty » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:49 pm

Casing. Not curing. The farmer who harvested the crop cured it.

Curing is all about how one manages the death of the tobacco leaf and the intended state of the carcass.
That story always starts with picking leaf or cutting plants.
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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by hugodrax » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:20 pm

durangopipe wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:38 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:50 pm
Ok, so I'm a ponce. I'm addicted to field sports. I like British Best Shotguns.
Hello, Ponce!
Coffee is in the back of the room.

I'll never own a British best shotgun, but I like them too. You don't have to be in a position to own a fine piece of gear in order to like it or appreciate it - or have a friend, sometimes, let you shoot it!

Likewise, living where I do, I'll never grow tobacco; however, on the off chance that one day I might, I'll keep your post handy for future reference.

Wishing you many beautiful points and cleanly taken birds this coming fall.
Ah, but do you know how much of a ponce I am? I take cream in my coffee. :D

I'll never own one either. I have a healthy hedonistic side, but I don't think I could ever justify the price. I understand a best Purdey starts at £60,000. Starts. It makes my dream of a Quattroporte seem completely practical in comparison. I could, at least, fit booster seats in the Maserati.

Thank heavens for wealthier friends, as you say. And thanks for the good wishes. I'll be happy if I just get a chance to watch good dogs work!

Be well, Steve. I'm pulling for everything to come together for you and look forward to you being back in the saddle, so to speak. Thanks for the coffee.
Etiam mihi opinio anserem perirent.

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Re: Home-CASING Article in The Field

Post by hugodrax » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:28 pm

Rusty wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:49 pm
Casing. Not curing. The farmer who harvested the crop cured it.

Curing is all about how one manages the death of the tobacco leaf and the intended state of the carcass.
That story always starts with picking leaf or cutting plants.

All that was covered in the article. As it was about homegrown tobacco, the author went from seed to finished product.

Please address all future comments in green ink care of Guy N. Smith, The Field.
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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by durangopipe » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:42 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:20 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:38 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:50 pm
Ok, so I'm a ponce. I'm addicted to field sports. I like British Best Shotguns.
Hello, Ponce!
Coffee is in the back of the room.

I'll never own a British best shotgun, but I like them too. You don't have to be in a position to own a fine piece of gear in order to like it or appreciate it - or have a friend, sometimes, let you shoot it!

Likewise, living where I do, I'll never grow tobacco; however, on the off chance that one day I might, I'll keep your post handy for future reference.

Wishing you many beautiful points and cleanly taken birds this coming fall.
Ah, but do you know how much of a ponce I am? I take cream in my coffee. :D

I'll never own one either. I have a healthy hedonistic side, but I don't think I could ever justify the price. I understand a best Purdey starts at £60,000. Starts. It makes my dream of a Quattroporte seem completely practical in comparison. I could, at least, fit booster seats in the Maserati.

Thank heavens for wealthier friends, as you say. And thanks for the good wishes. I'll be happy if I just get a chance to watch good dogs work!

Be well, Steve. I'm pulling for everything to come together for you and look forward to you being back in the saddle, so to speak. Thanks for the coffee.
You're very welcome.
And thank you, drax.

Keep outshooting the rich boys.
They need the humbling.

I'll do my best to get back in form and do the same.
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by hugodrax » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:48 pm

UncleBob wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:25 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:50 pm
Ok, so I'm a ponce. I'm addicted to field sports. I like British Best Shotguns. So I read The Field, the toffiest of toff magazines. I can almost feel SteveH's aura bristling. Huddsbaggie, quango man that he is, is organizing a protest of underclass invomprehensibility in my general direction.

So imagine my surprise when perusing the latest number to see an article by Guy N. Smith, pipe smoker, hunter, regular fieldsports contributor as well as pulp horror novel author, lamenting the current lack of homegrown tobacco in the British Isles and sharing his recipe for home curing pipe tobacco with the rest of us.

Take 2 tablespoons black treacle (molasses), 2 tablespoons clear honey, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon glycerine, 1 stick licorice root. Add an inch of water to one's saucepan. Bring to the boil and then add ingredients. Add leaves and simmer for an hour, not letting the pot boil dry. Take leaves and spread to cool, then compress tightly for two to three weeks before shredding. Enjoy.
Did he mention what kind of tobacco he was curing? I used something similar (no glycerine or licorice root, bourbon and star anise instead) in a crock pot on Virginia.
He used Brazilian originally from the Tilty Tobacco Centre of Dunmow, Essex. Now out of business and he has been growing from seed. The author suggested mixing the resulting leaf with one's favorite commercial mixture as British tobacco lacks body.

I omitted the part where he toasted the tobacco after the boiling/drying procedure to add flavor.
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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by sweetandsour » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:59 pm

I may have seen that article, but not read it yet. I don't purchase The Field but I'll typically glance through the shelf copy at B&N with a coffee.
There are two UK shooting mags, and I can't immediately recall the name of the other. Both can be paradoxically crude at times.
Anyway I need to look back through the latest copy, it seems. Thanks for posting.
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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by hugodrax » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:07 pm

durangopipe wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:42 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:20 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:38 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:50 pm
Ok, so I'm a ponce. I'm addicted to field sports. I like British Best Shotguns.
Hello, Ponce!
Coffee is in the back of the room.

I'll never own a British best shotgun, but I like them too. You don't have to be in a position to own a fine piece of gear in order to like it or appreciate it - or have a friend, sometimes, let you shoot it!

Likewise, living where I do, I'll never grow tobacco; however, on the off chance that one day I might, I'll keep your post handy for future reference.

Wishing you many beautiful points and cleanly taken birds this coming fall.
Ah, but do you know how much of a ponce I am? I take cream in my coffee. :D

I'll never own one either. I have a healthy hedonistic side, but I don't think I could ever justify the price. I understand a best Purdey starts at £60,000. Starts. It makes my dream of a Quattroporte seem completely practical in comparison. I could, at least, fit booster seats in the Maserati.

Thank heavens for wealthier friends, as you say. And thanks for the good wishes. I'll be happy if I just get a chance to watch good dogs work!

Be well, Steve. I'm pulling for everything to come together for you and look forward to you being back in the saddle, so to speak. Thanks for the coffee.
You're very welcome.
And thank you, drax.

Keep outshooting the rich boys.
They need the humbling.

I'll do my best to get back in form and do the same.
Hah. I'll tell you what, the fellow I know with the collection of Purdeys is the finest shot I've ever seen. The fact that he's the world's nicest guy, a complete and total overgrown schoolboy, with a beautiful wife and a fund of foul yet clean jokes is what really makes me want to deck him.
Etiam mihi opinio anserem perirent.

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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by durangopipe » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:23 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:07 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:42 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:20 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:38 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:50 pm
Ok, so I'm a ponce. I'm addicted to field sports. I like British Best Shotguns.
Hello, Ponce!
Coffee is in the back of the room.

I'll never own a British best shotgun, but I like them too. You don't have to be in a position to own a fine piece of gear in order to like it or appreciate it - or have a friend, sometimes, let you shoot it!

Likewise, living where I do, I'll never grow tobacco; however, on the off chance that one day I might, I'll keep your post handy for future reference.

Wishing you many beautiful points and cleanly taken birds this coming fall.
Ah, but do you know how much of a ponce I am? I take cream in my coffee. :D

I'll never own one either. I have a healthy hedonistic side, but I don't think I could ever justify the price. I understand a best Purdey starts at £60,000. Starts. It makes my dream of a Quattroporte seem completely practical in comparison. I could, at least, fit booster seats in the Maserati.

Thank heavens for wealthier friends, as you say. And thanks for the good wishes. I'll be happy if I just get a chance to watch good dogs work!

Be well, Steve. I'm pulling for everything to come together for you and look forward to you being back in the saddle, so to speak. Thanks for the coffee.
You're very welcome.
And thank you, drax.

Keep outshooting the rich boys.
They need the humbling.

I'll do my best to get back in form and do the same.
Hah. I'll tell you what, the fellow I know with the collection of Purdeys is the finest shot I've ever seen. The fact that he's the world's nicest guy, a complete and total overgrown schoolboy, with a beautiful wife and a fund of foul yet clean jokes is what really makes me want to deck him.
Well, pretty much the same story with my few friends with the means for such guns.
Good guys, in spite of the disadvantage of privilege they've had to overcome.
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by UncleBob » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:29 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:48 pm
UncleBob wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:25 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:50 pm
Ok, so I'm a ponce. I'm addicted to field sports. I like British Best Shotguns. So I read The Field, the toffiest of toff magazines. I can almost feel SteveH's aura bristling. Huddsbaggie, quango man that he is, is organizing a protest of underclass invomprehensibility in my general direction.

So imagine my surprise when perusing the latest number to see an article by Guy N. Smith, pipe smoker, hunter, regular fieldsports contributor as well as pulp horror novel author, lamenting the current lack of homegrown tobacco in the British Isles and sharing his recipe for home curing pipe tobacco with the rest of us.

Take 2 tablespoons black treacle (molasses), 2 tablespoons clear honey, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon glycerine, 1 stick licorice root. Add an inch of water to one's saucepan. Bring to the boil and then add ingredients. Add leaves and simmer for an hour, not letting the pot boil dry. Take leaves and spread to cool, then compress tightly for two to three weeks before shredding. Enjoy.
Did he mention what kind of tobacco he was curing? I used something similar (no glycerine or licorice root, bourbon and star anise instead) in a crock pot on Virginia.
He used Brazilian originally from the Tilty Tobacco Centre of Dunmow, Essex. Now out of business and he has been growing from seed. The author suggested mixing the resulting leaf with one's favorite commercial mixture as British tobacco lacks body.

I omitted the part where he toasted the tobacco after the boiling/drying procedure to add flavor.
Hmm... I pressed it into a cake.
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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by hugodrax » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:35 pm

durangopipe wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:23 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:07 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:42 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:20 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:38 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:50 pm
Ok, so I'm a ponce. I'm addicted to field sports. I like British Best Shotguns.
Hello, Ponce!
Coffee is in the back of the room.

I'll never own a British best shotgun, but I like them too. You don't have to be in a position to own a fine piece of gear in order to like it or appreciate it - or have a friend, sometimes, let you shoot it!

Likewise, living where I do, I'll never grow tobacco; however, on the off chance that one day I might, I'll keep your post handy for future reference.

Wishing you many beautiful points and cleanly taken birds this coming fall.
Ah, but do you know how much of a ponce I am? I take cream in my coffee. :D

I'll never own one either. I have a healthy hedonistic side, but I don't think I could ever justify the price. I understand a best Purdey starts at £60,000. Starts. It makes my dream of a Quattroporte seem completely practical in comparison. I could, at least, fit booster seats in the Maserati.

Thank heavens for wealthier friends, as you say. And thanks for the good wishes. I'll be happy if I just get a chance to watch good dogs work!

Be well, Steve. I'm pulling for everything to come together for you and look forward to you being back in the saddle, so to speak. Thanks for the coffee.
You're very welcome.
And thank you, drax.

Keep outshooting the rich boys.
They need the humbling.

I'll do my best to get back in form and do the same.
Hah. I'll tell you what, the fellow I know with the collection of Purdeys is the finest shot I've ever seen. The fact that he's the world's nicest guy, a complete and total overgrown schoolboy, with a beautiful wife and a fund of foul yet clean jokes is what really makes me want to deck him.
Well, pretty much the same story with my few friends with the means for such guns.
Good guys, in spite of the disadvantage of privilege they've had to overcome.
We've taken this pretty far a, ahem, -field. :D

That disadvantage can be a doozy sometimes, can't it? But the true shooters rarely really have it in the shooting arena, I've found. Oh sure, there's always the guy that owns one 20k gun to show his rank at charity shoots, where he's perpetually in a bad mood because he couldn't hit the broadside of a barn, let alone a live pigeon, but for the most part the real enthusiasts are pretty glad someone is admiring their guns and not telling them they're crazy. And they tend to complement the heck out of the new shooter that makes a fine shot, too.

I know I come off like a dink sometimes, but my criteria for judging a fellow in a social situation is how he treats the servants. Let me watch how a man treats the waiter and I'll tell you the state of his soul.
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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by hugodrax » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:48 pm

sweetandsour wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:59 pm
I may have seen that article, but not read it yet. I don't purchase The Field but I'll typically glance through the shelf copy at B&N with a coffee.
There are two UK shooting mags, and I can't immediately recall the name of the other. Both can be paradoxically crude at times.
Anyway I need to look back through the latest copy, it seems. Thanks for posting.
I feel better knowing someone else reads The Field and Shooting Times on this side of the pond. Other than looking at the guns and reading the game keeper and gun dog articles, it's really a different world. BreeKS and boots, ridiculous bag limits where the Gun pays 50 plus dollars a bird to shoot thirty and take two home, it's all actually a bit startling. Their idea of a pheasant shoot is a carefully orchestrated dance of social class and spectacle I somehow doubt I'd enjoy as much participating in rather than reading about, if that makes any sense.

I much prefer our style, to be honest. A long day with a few birds if you're lucky, followed by a beer and cleaning, seems more rewarding than a carefully prepared slaughter. Not that it looks easy, mind...I doubt I'd hit too many high birds overhead while trying not to fall backwards and grouse shooting seems like Olympic trap in reverse with a zigzagging covey led by a smart old cocktail bird who has seen it all before. But still.

And you aren't kidding about the foulness, either. There's one gal who writes for The Field that tries so hard to be one of the boys she comes off as the Whore of Babylon sometimes.
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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by durangopipe » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:02 am

Regarding driven shoots, British style . . .
They are just that, shoots, not hunts.

That, along with the very clear class divisions that define the participants' roles (and "place") quite clearly, is why I find them distasteful - in theory. I've never participated in one.

But I did participate in a Tower Shoot once, where shooters were arranged in a wide circle around a high tower from which crated, pen-raised pheasants were thrown, hundreds of them. It was a double-gun shoot where only side-by-sides were allowed, and most of the shooters brought wonderful, elaborately engraved, mostly antique, double guns. Many wore regalia that was period appropriate for their guns.

That part was fun.

I shot a few birds but quickly became sick at the slaughter, choosing to sit in the back of my rig with my dogs until the fusillade had ended, after which I and a few others hunted up some of the birds that had flown into nearby cover as requested by the person who had arranged the shoot. Still, it felt odd.

Before an elaborate dinner, the shooters posed with the pile of dead birds for a photo.

This distinction between hunting wild game with my dogs and a good friend or two and shooting dozens of birds raised for slaughter with a group of strangers marks a distinction that remains very real for me. It's not a choice I would force on others, but for me there is little joy in shooting birds. The joy is in the dog work, the knowledge that the vast majority of birds being wild and wily escape, the deep appreciation of the few that are taken for dinner and the more complicated and largely unspoken rituals of friendship and graciousness involved in hunting with an old friend while covering miles of ground together enjoying conversation and the place itself, smelling the soil, watching the sun come up and go down . . .

I choose a couple of birds taken over furry pals in the company of a hunting buddy over dozens of birds shot like inanimate clay pigeons - sore feet at the end of a day and not a sore shoulder - thank you very much.

And, of course, a pipe or two at sunset with a tired dog's head in my lap.

Forgive the long-winded post. I fear I'm going to be insufferable for a bit. Our oldest setter is dying. Threads that include references to bird hunting open the floodgates.

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The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by FredS » Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:53 pm

^^No worries about being long-winded as long as you're not a blowhard. And you're not.

I passed some tobacco fields on the way home from a camping trip two weekends ago. There's actually a fair bit of (Burley)tobacco grown in NW Missouri, specifically Platte County which is where I was. I thought about stopping to swipe a few leaves. The only things that stopped me were the overgrown ditches between the road and the fields and the fact that I was wearing shorts and would have been torn to shreds wading through them, and of course the fact that Mrs FredS would have likely drove off an left me if I'd stopped. Now I sort of wish I'd picked a few leaves to experiment with.
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"One of the things I love about CPS is the frank and enthusiastic dysfunction here. God help me, I do love it so." – OldWorldSwine

"I'd like to put a hook in that puppet and swing it through a bunch of salmon!" - durangopipe

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sweetandsour
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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by sweetandsour » Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:54 pm

Yep, DPipe (Steve?), I participated in one tower shoot, and know what you speak of. It was interesting, but to be honest, I actually began pulling for the pheasants. I'm not throwing stones, though. There were mostly older guys that just wanted to shoot. A couple guys were in wheelchairs in fact. I got just as much fun out of it when the birds didn't come my way. I'd watch while they flew the gauntlet. I've done the same at dove shoots.
From the description, your shoot was much more fancy. My Beretta Silverhawk was probably the only sxs there. There were several OUs but most were light autos of various makes and models. I remember being amused and admittedly pleased, at my gun being passed around and complimented. After the shoot was photos of the pile as you said, then lunch of homemade chili. All in all a good time, but an event that is no longer on my bucket list.
As thus we sat in darkness
Each one busy with his prayers,
"We are lost!" the captain shouted,
As he staggered down the stairs.

O love the Lord, all ye His saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful. Psalm 31:23

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hugodrax
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Re: Home-Curing Article in The Field

Post by hugodrax » Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:18 pm

durangopipe wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:02 am
Regarding driven shoots, British style . . .
They are just that, shoots, not hunts.

That, along with the very clear class divisions that define the participants' roles (and "place") quite clearly, is why I find them distasteful - in theory. I've never participated in one.

But I did participate in a Tower Shoot once, where shooters were arranged in a wide circle around a high tower from which crated, pen-raised pheasants were thrown, hundreds of them. It was a double-gun shoot where only side-by-sides were allowed, and most of the shooters brought wonderful, elaborately engraved, mostly antique, double guns. Many wore regalia that was period appropriate for their guns.

That part was fun.

I shot a few birds but quickly became sick at the slaughter, choosing to sit in the back of my rig with my dogs until the fusillade had ended, after which I and a few others hunted up some of the birds that had flown into nearby cover as requested by the person who had arranged the shoot. Still, it felt odd.

Before an elaborate dinner, the shooters posed with the pile of dead birds for a photo.

This distinction between hunting wild game with my dogs and a good friend or two and shooting dozens of birds raised for slaughter with a group of strangers marks a distinction that remains very real for me. It's not a choice I would force on others, but for me there is little joy in shooting birds. The joy is in the dog work, the knowledge that the vast majority of birds being wild and wily escape, the deep appreciation of the few that are taken for dinner and the more complicated and largely unspoken rituals of friendship and graciousness involved in hunting with an old friend while covering miles of ground together enjoying conversation and the place itself, smelling the soil, watching the sun come up and go down . . .

I choose a couple of birds taken over furry pals in the company of a hunting buddy over dozens of birds shot like inanimate clay pigeons - sore feet at the end of a day and not a sore shoulder - thank you very much.

And, of course, a pipe or two at sunset with a tired dog's head in my lap.

Forgive the long-winded post. I fear I'm going to be insufferable for a bit. Our oldest setter is dying. Threads that include references to bird hunting open the floodgates.

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A lot of good stuff here, sir. It's tough to find anything to argue with.

First and foremost, sorry about your dog. While I tell myself every time I'm purchasing an animal that it will die decades before me, that bit of logic never helps when the time comes. My first dog was a Labrador that was born on the same day I was and lived til it was 15 1/2. Being an only child in the woods, that dog was my bud. There's still a part of my parents land I just can't walk past because that's where Blackie sat down for the last time, looked around, sighed, and just wouldn't move. I'd swear to this day she chose her spot and my biggest mistake was moving her.

That's one of the things I'd actually like to see about a driven bird shoot. There are dogs everywhere. The Guns have them on their pegs. The beaters-in have them. The pickers-up have them. Each, from what I can tell second hand, with their own role and each, ideally, completely broken to the guns and to their master or mistress' commands.

They say they're getting less aristocratic. Less landowners and more syndicates of pretty ordinary guys. Beaters Days where everyone shoots together and more times than not mixed lunches. But still.

The real advantage they have is the fact that the lands are keepered. They can sustain the numbers. From an Eastern perspective, I think that's half our problem. We don't have any trappers around my parents place anymore. There's no vermin control. We have foxes out the wazoo. Racoons behind every tree. Coyotes howling all night long. I suppose that's great from a Nature Boy perspective but it plays merry hell with a hen tried to raise her poults. Besides loss of habitat, I think the lack of land management from landowners and trappers has really been responsible for our lack of wild birds, particularly grouse.

And while we all pretend to not care if we kill or not, I'll be honest. I remember every right and left I've ever shot--maybe because they're so rare--and I'm always proud of getting my limit.
Etiam mihi opinio anserem perirent.

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