ARTHRITIS AND OLD LACE or An Old Folks Outing at the Game Club

The wild, wild west!

Joanne and Pride at the start of the adventure.

The family took a little outing last week to the wonderful game club I belong to in Southern California. 1400 acres of wild high desert country of varied brush, grasses, shrubs and lots of rocks. We arrived at noon on the first day, planted and shot a few birds over Pride. I put out three chukar, one at a time. We make it last. She has to work to find them and we get some exercise too! The game club is my only opportunity now to shoot birds over Pride since severe arthritis has become a factor in my life. With some good meds and by the grace of God I can still get out with her. Having Joanne along just made it all the more special. She is the “combat photographer”. I think you will agree that she does a great job!

The first point! Ilove the tail. Having shot mostly with Brittanies all my life I really relish the “pointer tail” See below for a good reason to have that wonderful sign of bird-under-the-nose.

Being able to shoot birds with my lovely, old AyA XXV sidelock is a special treat. The gun was imported last year from Scotland. I found it in a used gun list from Graham McKinley of Glasgow, a very good dealer. He handled the export end very well and I am lucky to have it.


A great result and a very happy dog! Pride’s retrieving has improved dramatically this year and she is becoming adept at finding cripples that go down at a distance. Yep, I occasionally tickle one and Pride is charged to make me look good in those cases. She has never lost a cripple yet.

Note another symptom of the aging gunner. I shoot left-handed; left eye dominant but right eye crossfire. It is so bad that at skeet shooting I have to cover the right eye completely with a frosted lense. It is really tough on right-to-left shots if the eye isn’t blocked. If any of you are having trouble with crossing shots that look good, but the target doesn’t fall/break, this may be your problem. It comes on with advancing age. Most eye doctors who know about shooting sports will confirm this.

I plant the chukar “hot”, with minimum dizzying. They really bust up and out of the brush. Often they will turn me around and I have to really pay attention when they go.

This is the case the gun was shipped in. The gun was built in late 60s and is about 40 years old. It is bored IC and Mod and is the perfect bird gun. There are those who shy away from the 25″ barrel guns. The theory is they don’t swing as well on longer shots. However, see below.


On the second morning, after spending the night in a local motel and just taking our time to get up and get going, we put out two more chukar. In two days I shot five of them. Later in the morning I asked our club manager to put out one pheasant in a brushy area set away from the main fields of the club. We hunted Pride away from the area where the bird was located for about 15 minutes and then swung around. About 100 yds in front of me I lost sight of her in the brush. I searched left and right and then, there it was! Voila! That great tail, standing straight up above the mesquite shrubs. I got moving as fast as I could but when I was about 50 yds away that rooster rocketed up and out. He was nervous and wanted no part of us. To my surprise, instead of flying dead away, he quartered round and headed back on a line toward me, but at good range. I threw the first barrel away, I was so surprised. I said to myself, “Oh crap! Get your head down and focus on the white ring.” At a measured 40 paces he went down. One ounce of #6 nailed him. Here’s a pointer with a mouthful!

Robert Churchill knew the truth about his creation–they kill birds dead under all conditions. This long crossing shot I made might have been easier with 30″ bbls. I don’t know. I have used this gun on skeet and at 5-stand with light loads and have shot some of my best scores at the latter game. It is quick and deadly.

A wonderful climax to our Old Folks outing. Arthirtis at bay, birds in the cooler, a happy dog and time to rest our creaky joints. A little bag lunch at the clubhouse and then home. We’ll do it again next month, God willing!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Andy W. says:

    Walter, Good to see you and pride out in the field. Before you retire for good, just know that the Royal MacNab is calling your name! You and pride are welcome to walk the uplands of Idaho with me and Sunny any time. I miss you my friend!Andy

  2. That's one good looking pointer! Wish I was there with you guys too! Me and the girls will miss you this weekend!

  3. Greyphase says:

    Good stuff Walter. Give Pride an ear scratch from me. As George Bird Evans said "Each day a jewel and no jewel lost"Rick

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