The Gear


I just bought my first shotgun. I’ve owned a couple rifles (a .22 and a 30-30) for a few years now, but neither of them ever felt worthy of the moniker boomstick. This one certainly does.

Owning a shotgun has opened up an entirely different type of hunting, and I can see why people become so entrenched as waterfowl hunters. I enjoy rifle hunting, but it is all sneaking, hiding, and long-shooting. While there is still a lot of hiding with the shotgun, it also has those adrenaline-packed moments of quick shooting that really are a lot of fun. No buyer’s remorse here.

I picked what I think is the most distributed shotgun in the world: a 12-Gauge Remington 870 Express. There are over a million out there, and they are both relatively inexpensive and touted for their reliability.

They also happen to be just about the most versatile hunting weapon out there. With a 12-Gauge, you can hunt just about any animal in the USA. You can use small shot for doves, heavier shot for waterfowl, even put a rifled barrel on there and use slugs for deer.

I am still getting the hang of it, though. I went out with a couple friends to shoot some clays on the National Forest and it is certainly a new type of shooting for me. The clay thrower that I bought was too small to fit the clays, so we had the added challenge of just lobbing them by hand. Regardless, I only managed to hit one out of the air of about forty thrown for me. The rollers were much easier–maybe I should start with hunting rabbits.