View Full Version : storytime(long): A not so fine Italian double

June 13, 2002, 11:14 PM
its more about the shotguns than the hunt so I'll post it here...

Once upon a time, about 20yrs ago, I was younger and married to my evil first wife (EFW). She was a secretary/assistant to the marketing exec for a small company here in the western part of Illinois. One day I got a call from her at work with a desperate and interesting offer from her boss. Would I be willing to please, please take off work the next day and play the part of pheasant guide for some business gents on a hunt in eastern Iowa? Seems the company was courting some Italian business interests and had promised somebody a first-class pheasant hunt. Some excellent private land was all set. Only problem was the first-class guide with the first-class dogs had bugged out with the deposit. I had a golden retriever of some local fame with a Phd (thats a pheasant hunting degree) and an Iowa hunting license. Boss offered to pack lunches and drive the VIPs to the hunt the next day and I agreed to do what I could to salvage things.
Next day I drive my rough Jeep cherokee to designated spot to find a shiny rented Town car with EFWs boss and 2 Italian gents parked at the gate.
After intros and a brief game plan I let ol'Buck out as we start uncasing the guns. Gent #1 carries a beautiful leather case over to the dropgate on my Jeep and opens it up to reveal a gorgeous Italian side-by-side in 16g. It had case hardened reciever works, beautiful wood, and stunning engraving. He lovingly assembled it and I got the notion that some serious currency had changed hands over this double. Gent #2 had a more modest over/under and I began to realize he was an aid and interpreter to #1. I had my trusty Browning SxS 12g which I shot very well but it looked like a club next to the others. I had also thrown a 20g wingmaster and a couple boxes of shells in at the last minute.
All set to move when Gent #1 closes the action and BLAM! Right barrel fires just past ol Bucks nose. I'm really wondering what we're in for at this point. Buck is instantly at heel, peeking around my left knee. Eyes are wide open and the Italian is horribly embarrased, opening the action and chattering words I didn't understand.
The calm was gradually restored, shoulders shrugged, etc, but the Gent was visibly shaken. He drops another shell in and carefully closed the action as I watched to see make sure his finger was clear of the triggers. He was directing the barrels well away from all and BLAM again!
At this point I directed #2 to have him remove all shells and try it empty. Sure enough there was a solid "click" every time he closed the action. He carried it over to the jeep like it was a baby that had just died and started putting it away. I actually thought he might cry. Boss was really getting wound up and didn't know what to do next.
I informed all that I had brought another shotgun and the fella could use either my 12g or the 20g pump. #2 conveyed the info but now Gent #1 was shaking his head and headed for the car refusing to hunt. I sat and talked to the dog while #2 and the Boss talked the Italian into giving it a try. He reluctantly handled both and decided to carry the 20g wingmaster. He was still apologizing for the AD and expressing gratitude for the loaner and shaking his head as we all kinda recovered and started to hunt out.
We started getting into some birds and the #1 gent made a couple very nice shots. Buck was working as solid as ever and making me proud. Gent #1 really started to enjoy himself and EFWs Boss started to relax. We had a deluxe field lunch back at the cars and hunted up a few more roosters for a daily total of 10 according to my log. #1 shot about half of those. I don't believe he missed any birds he shot at.
Back at the cars the Wingmaster was returned to me with several comliments on the loaner gun, the dog, the hunt, etc. Boss was fairly glowing. Buck was sleeping under the jeep when a nice fat tip found its way into my palm.
The Italian was truly a gentleman and a fine hunter. I watched as he opened the leather case once more and looked at his treasured shotgun like he was looking at a naughty child. He vowed that it would be repaired by its maker on his return to Italy. By all counts it was a good day and I drove home exhausted but happy.
The sad epilogue is that not much later the EFW ran off and took that 20g Wingmaster with her.
All of this is true.
and I swear I only miss the shotgun...

Dave McC
June 14, 2002, 04:58 AM
Thanks for that, Kingcreek. Of course, the moral is that a shotgun must ALWAYS point in a safe direction.

June 14, 2002, 06:08 AM
Glad nobody was hurt.

My EFW ran off with my Beretta SG. I sure miss it! :(

June 14, 2002, 02:35 PM
Over 17 years, EEFW (Entirely Evil First Wife) loaned out, sold, lost, gave away or otherwise caused me to lose 20Ga Rem Sportsman, Rem Nylon 66, .357, .41 & .44 Blackhawks, Mdl 59 S&W, $600 in Snap-on Tools at 1971 prices, .22 Colt SAA, and damn near every shred of human dignity.
And a couple of promotions in jobs from creating scenes at my workplace.

Current wife is the one I wish I had been smart enought to pick the first time

June 14, 2002, 07:45 PM
Thanks for suffering thru my story.
Gee, I didn't intend it to become an EFW thread. (and I also didn't post the complete list of missing guns and other crimes against humanity)

I would like to highlight a couple things:

1. Even a VERY FINE Italian double can be flawed. I believe this was a maiden first outing for an obviously hi-dollar gun that was probably handmade to order. I didn't have the interest or appreciation then that I might have now for a shotgun of this calibre.
2. The Italian gent was an experienced gunner, a fine shot, and never exibited any violations of safety rules. He was the most upset of the 4 of us, not just at the malfxn of his prize toy but also at what it meant for this day's experience. I had the impression that this Iowa pheasant hunt was something he had planned for and looked forward to, and the double was meant to be an integral part of it. As a true gentleman, he worked his way past the first problem and salvaged an enjoyable hunt. Even tho it was not as he may have hoped, he was grateful and remained a perfect gentleman.
3. Not least is the fact that for some unknown reason I decided to bring a SPARE, reliable, made in the US-of-A, pump action shotgun. With which, said gentleman was able to shoot and kill several longtail roosters. All of these wild birds and in front of a retriever (who was not the expected 2 or 3 pointers) and who worked his tail off quartering for 4 hunters, only 2 of whom could hit anything they shot at.

June 14, 2002, 08:30 PM
A disaster converted to a great day.

Goodon you and your premium dog.


June 14, 2002, 10:21 PM
Thanks Sam
I don't know if anyone else would consider him a premium dog but Ol Buck is buried in my hunting coat in a corner of my field where he flushed and fetched his last rooster at the age of 13, arthritic and nearly blind. I had to lead him to that last downed bird. I planted a stand of switch grass and prairie wildflower and I stay clear away with the tractor and disc.
Buck never would work in water but he sure knew pheasants. Worked as close as I wanted him and had a great nose. Pulled some real hat tricks on birds during his career. Learned to dam near work the runners like a herd dog. His Grandaddy was top field trial Golden on the books for 9 years IIRC. name was "Double J Milo"
I busted frost with a backhoe one February night to bury Buck and came in late with tears froze in my beard.
Thanks again.

Dave McC
June 15, 2002, 11:16 AM
"Men who can't always recall their first ex-wife's name will speak through tears in broken voices of dogs dead for 20 years".- Gierach...

Near Clarksville Md, there's a small farm with some ancient apple trees. In the shade of the northernmost one lies the bones of a few good bird dogs, and there still may be a rock there with names like Babe, Girl, and Long Tall Sally.

We don't own dogs, they own us, starting with our hearts....

June 15, 2002, 11:33 AM
Raised by a Pointer.
RIP Dan, gone for over 60 years but not forgotten.