Tis the Season to Dress Sporty!

Three great videos kick off my roster of the best of this season's finest sporting apparel.

"Summer’s been and gone, in its very English way. After all the waiting, the day at last is here. Even the dogs know it. There’s a fresh keenness about them. They always sense the glory of the morning of the shoot." – Purdey Lifestyle – Clothing & Accessories Autumn/Winter 2013– www.Purdey.com

A name synonymous with all things bespoke and sporting, Holland and Holland is pleased to announce the opening of their new U.S. Online Store. Featuring a selection of the finest clothing and accessories the online boutique offers a new platform for U.S. customers to shop with Holland & Holland. Through the two doors shoppers will find shooting attire, including mens and ladies vests and coats, and fine accessories form luxurious scarves to silk ties. www.HollandandHolland.com/us-store

Beretta's unyelding vocation for style, the outdoors and adventure straddles the line between tradition and innovation. In the new collection, Beretta's history, heritage and tradition meet with the modernity of the present and head towards the future. The Beretta brand is a lifestyle, a taste, and the yearning for products and places where freedom can be experienced on a daily basis. www.Beretta.com

Daniel Craig as agent 007 in the movie Skyfall wearing the Barbour Commander Jacket. www.Barbour.com

Daniel Craig as agent 007 in the movie Skyfall wearing the Barbour Commander Jacket. www.Barbour.com

Last year's Downton Abby tweed-inspired craze has given way to a waxed-cotton wonder, due in part to Sky Fall's James Bond and Garden & Gun Magazine. But 007 Daniel Craig isn't the first from Hollywood to stir-up a waterproof and wind-breaking fad, Steve McQueen revved the look up long ago. And if it is cool-looking, weather-comfort style you are searching for look no further than the original, Barbour. Also, check out www.Orvis.com for a large selection of Barbour jackets and apparel.

The Steve McQueen Collection even sports an American Flag. www.Barbour.com

The Steve McQueen Collection even sports an American Flag. www.Barbour.com

Filson & Eddie Bauer.jpg

Stateside, no American company's waterproof outerwear performs better or looks finer than Filson's Vachetta Scout Work Jacket (left, www.filson.com) and Eddie Bauer's Kettle Mountain StormShed Jacket (right, www.eddiebauer.com). Add one of these for the sportsman on your gift list and he'll be a happy fellow come Christmas morn. They both also have a wide array of lightweight jackets, rugged sweaters, stylish shirts and other fine clothing and accessories. In the video below Eddie Bauer Sport Shop Guide, John Burrell, talks about the Guide Built process when it comes to building and designing the best sporting gear.

www.EddieBauer.com

www.Remington.com

www.Remington.com

To my delight I visited my mailbox and found Remington's new 1816 Catalog. "Pride. History. Integrity. Rising from nearly 200 years of hand-forged tradition, the 1816™ field-inspired apparel and accessory collection glows with the rich, vintage patina of the Remington® heritage. Established in Ilion, New York in 1816, generations of sons, fathers and grandfathers worked side by side to hand-forge the stocks and barrels of this Great American icon. Now, 1816™ transcends the timelessness of their visionary forefathers to the sporting gentleman of modern day." Included in this fabulous collection is the Black Hills Shearling Jacket, reminiscent of the 1930s original worn by the one and only Sultan of Swat, Babe Ruth. www.Remington.com

www.Remington.com

www.Remington.com

www.CabinBluff.com

www.CabinBluff.com

Our appearance as sportsmen says a lot about us and the reverence we pay towards the game we pursue. In this post there wasn't any camouflage present. And, certainly camouflage has its a place in our sport, particularly amoung our bow-shooting brethren. But remember tweed was one of the first forms of camo and in the appropriate terrain-matching pattern this woven wool can still be a very effective concealment for today's hunters. Give this look a whirl, toss in a quality waxed-cotton jacket or vest and before you know it, you might just be sporting a necktie to the field.

The Golf Sport

* * * * * 

A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for. – John A. Shedd

 The Golf Sport is now on sale at finer newsstands.

 The Golf Sport is now on sale at finer newsstands.

I remember a Tex Avery cartoon from my childhood, where a truck in transit for a hat company has a mishap with its rear door. This results in hats of all varieties being scattered on the wind. Each hat eventually finds its way onto the heads of Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny, who are involved in one of their usual cat & mouse antics. As each hat, cowboy hat, police cap, bonnet, fireman helmet, etc. settles onto their noggins it changes their characters into the persona of that particular hat. 

My career has felt a little like that, as I have worn nearly every hat in the publishing business at one moment or another. Most of them have been from the art side, where I have been artist, illustrator, photographer, designer and art director. And, while I have dabbled in the other facets of the business like advertising, editorial and publishing, I have always worn the same creative director hat. But somehow along the way, like the transformations of Bugs and Fudd, these other hats have left their impressions, and I have learned quite a bit. I am now taking that additional knowledge into my new role as owner/publisher. 

As the Creator-In-Chief, alongside my good friend and business partner,  Josh Wolfe, we have self-published our very own title, The Golf Sport. It was a concept I spawned about six years ago. I had been developing and evolving the idea until recently when Josh came on board and the two of us decided to give it a go. We are tagging it the Signature Magazine for the Golfing Lifestyle. It is not just a luxury, travel, décor, fashion, sports or men's interest magazine, its all of these rolled into a golf magazine. No swing tips or player statistics, only lifestyle oriented elements and features revolving around the heritage, the romance, the love of the great game of golf. The Golf Sport is currently on sale at finer newsstands nationwide and you can check us out at www.GolfSportMag.com. Now I'm not sure exactly what hat a magazine owner/publisher customarily wears, perhaps a fedora. I'm pretty sure I have one of those lying around here somewhere.

 

The Proper Shoot

Shooting Etiquette from Purdey

www.purdey.com

www.purdey.com

‘Etiquette’     

The idea of shooting ‘etiquette’ may seem somewhat daunting. But really, there is no need for it to be. The essence of field etiquette is really quite simple. Be safe and be sporting. In fact, far from being a pastime heavy in hidden codes and arcane ritual, you will find that most of the unwritten rules are merely a logical means of shooting safely, and with pleasure for all.

The invitation

It is no small feat to lay on a large shoot. The head gamekeeper and his team will have spent the best part of the year building up to it, at times working 18-hour days, seven days a week. If you are fortunate enough to be invited to shoot, it is polite to respond quickly, and in writing. And to make sure that should you accept – and we hope you will – that you arrive promptly on the chosen day. If you agree to attend, it is normal to return the kindness in the future. But it may not be possible for you to offer your host a day’s shooting. If that’s the case, reciprocate in some other way. The theatre and dinner, perhaps. What you should never do is accept an invitation from someone you don’t expect to enjoy spending the day with. Shooting is a sociable sport, best shared among friends, old and new.

www.purdey.com

www.purdey.com

What to wear

It’s important to dress appropriately, not ‘to be seen to be seen,' but rather to make sure you stay warm, dry and good company throughout. You won’t have fun if you’re soaked through on the first drive, nor will you enjoy yourself if your swing is being hindered by your Mackintosh. 

www.purdey.com

www.purdey.com

The gun

You should expect to provide your own gun. If you’re a novice shot, the best initial step will be to book a series of lessons, either as a refresher, or for your very first taste. It is very unwise to arrive at a driven shoot having never hit a clay, and we would strongly advise against that.

 Other things you’ll need

Apart from the right clothes and a gun, you’ll need a gun case or a slip. (Arriving at a shoot with an unsheathed firearm would seem very odd to the rest of the guests.) You’ll also need plenty of cartridges, and something to carry them in. It’s much safer to over-estimate the amount of shooting you’ll do; not only does it avoid the awkwardness of running out, it also says to your host that you’re expecting a good bag. Make sure they’re the right bore. Ear protection is vital, and safety glasses are highly recommended. 

Getting there

Shoot locations can be very obscure, but the invitation will usually give clear instructions on where to meet, and at what time. If there’s any doubt whatsoever, check with your host in advance. Don’t rely on a satnav or Google Maps; country estates often feature unmarked tracks which are unknown to these systems. Mobile phone signals can be patchy, and your host will very likely be busy with final arrangements on the morning of the shoot. If you arrive late, don’t expect to find him or her waiting.

www.purdey.com

www.purdey.com

Loaders, partners, cars and dogs

The invitation will usually make clear whether or not partners are invited; if you will need a 4x4; and whether your dog (gundog, that is) or loader will be welcome. It’s even possible that your host will provide a loader for you on the day. If that’s the case, accept the offer. A loader will be a helpful second pair of eyes, not to mention being vital on a ‘double gun’ day, when he will change and reload your guns.

What to shoot

In her excellent book on shooting etiquette, How to be Asked Again, Rosie Whitaker quotes Mike Barnes, then-editor of Fieldsports: ‘Respect for the quarry is everything. We are not simply shooting targets – pheasants and partridges are real. Knowing something of their ways and wiles is fundamental. It also adds so much to the enjoyment of time spent in the field.’ At the beginning of the shoot, there will be a shoot briefing. ‘Guns’ – ie, the shooters – will be assigned ‘pegs,' and told what to shoot. Some birds may be off limits, usually for reasons of game management. Listen very carefully. If you are in any doubt, now is the time to ask. You will also, of course, need a shotgun certificate. These can take three to four months to process, and as well as being willing to answer some very personal questions about your health, you will also need to be able to show the police that you have a secure gun-safe in your home in which to store it.

www.purdey.com

www.purdey.com

The shooting itself

During the safety drill, as well as being told what you can and can’t shoot, you’ll also be reminded of the signals to look and listen out for on the day. Obey your host, and the keeper, entirely. Follow all of their instructions. It is their job to make everything as safe as possible for everyone, and your responsibility to help that happen. Before loading your gun, check both barrels are absolutely clear. Make certain, too, that you have the right bore cartridges for the weapon. A 20-bore cartridge will slip down and stick in a 12-bore gun. If you fire into that, you risk an explosion which could split your gun’s barrels and take off a finger. When you close your gun, always keep the barrels pointing down, and bring the stock up to meet them. Never, ever raise the barrels to the stock. When walking, always break your gun, and ensure the barrels are pointing earthward. Even seasoned shooters’ guns have been known to go off unexpectedly, and every year there are accidents caused by carelessness. If you hand your gun to someone else, you should always unload and break it. Similarly, if climbing over a fence or style. Only ever shoot when you can see clear sky around and behind the bird. You should never shoot towards woods or hedges, as that’s precisely where the beaters could be. If in doubt, don’t shoot.

Sportsmanship

During the shoot, there are certain conventions designed to keep things sporting. It’s considered very bad form to shoot a low bird, or to poach into your neighbor’s airspace. The exception is if they have already unloaded and there is nothing in your airspace, or to deal with a wounded bird. Similarly, don't shoot a bird at very close range, or one that’s too far away. A ‘pillow-cased’ bird, packed full with lead shot, can’t be sold to a game dealer. And anything you aim at that’s more than 40 yards away will very likely be just crippled or maimed. Your aim is for good, clean kills that bring the birds down quickly and fairly, in a condition that’s fit for the table. Whenever you suspect a bird may have fallen only wounded, make a clear mental note of it. Once the whistle has blown and it’s time to pick up, such birds are the first ones to tell the pickers-up about. If you are a skilled shot, be generous. Let a few birds fly on to your neighbor unscathed, as they’ll thank you for it. If he or she misses, don’t insist on picking the bird off yourself. ‘Wiping your neighbors eye’ too often is considered poor form. Or, if you’re having an off-day, don’t moan. It’s better to be philosophical and stay optimistic. ‘They were too good for me!’ is a sufficiently upbeat, stoical response.

Lunch

The shoot lunch can be anything from a flask of soup on the bonnet of the Land Rover, to a six-course feast. If you do go indoors, your boots should stay behind, with the dogs and the guns – though put some distance between them. Shotguns should be broken and unloaded, and protected in their case or slip. If you’ve been wearing waterproof over-trousers, take them off. Muddy, wet breeks don’t pair well with upholstery. Wherever you’re dining, the time to pack up and head off could be announced at short notice, so be ready to eat up quickly. 

www.purdey.com

www.purdey.com

Alcohol

You may well be offered a glass of sloe gin on arrival, perhaps another mid morning, and possibly beer or wine over lunch. You will know your own limits, though few shots find their aim truly improves after having a drink. The best advice is to treat alcohol as you would if you were driving, and wait until the shooting’s finished until you fully indulge.

Parting ways

You may have had a long journey to the shoot, and the idea of ‘ducking out’ before the last drive might appeal. But a shoot is a communal occasion, and to leave prematurely will appear very selfish. Not only will you miss helping your fellow shots pick up their birds and cartridges, but you’ll also miss taking your brace – and those birds for the table are, albeit somewhat symbolically perhaps, the reason you came to begin with. So stay to the end. Help out. Part happily. And when the guns are packed away, and you’re safely at home fed, bathed and changed, take a moment to reflect on your day. Then write your ‘thank you.' When it reaches your host - as soon as it can - that small show of gratitude will make all his efforts worthwhile.

www.purdey.com

www.purdey.com

Picking up

Always help your fellow guns pick up their birds once the drive is over. And treat all quarry with respect. On the Continent, it’s quite usual for the birds to be laid out in rows at the end of the day, to allow the sportsmen to honour them. When you leave, you’ll be offered a brace, which you should always accept. And whatever you do, don’t throw your birds in a pile, for the meat bruises easily. Your host will probably want to sell them to a game dealer, so set them down neatly and carefully by your peg. Once your birds are all in, you can pick up your cartridges, and help your neighbors pick theirs.

Gifts and tips

Most guests to a shoot will bring their host a present. You should always take cash with which to tip the head keeper at the end of the day, and your loader if you have one. Ask your host what the recommended tip is; as a guide, depending on the shoot it’s likely to be between £40 and £80.

The essence of shooting etiquette is really very simple; you must be safe, and be sporting

The Ansel Adams of the Chalk Streams

The Kennet Below Ramsbury Plate XXI

E. A. Barton was born July 12th, 1863 in England. Throughout his life he took dancing lessons from Emelie, the former queen of Portugal, studied and became a doctor and later the president of the Flyfisher's Club. 

The Old Mill Ramsbury

Barton got into photography in a roundabout way, starting with watercolors, but never discovered his true medium until he picked up a camera. He is described as having been a cheerful and engaging fellow with a disarming smile. Quite the sportsman, he was a skilled dry fly fisherman who occasionally also fished a nymph. A bit the eccentric, he refused to wear a watch when he fished claiming it spoiled his enjoyment. It is said he once caught a tremendous chub of four pounds, seven ounces. He had the fish mounted in a glass case and donated it to the Frank Buckland Museum. Later the taxidermy found its way back to Barton who proudly displayed the case over his bed! 

Boot Island below Stockbridge on the Test Plate XVI

Although he was a reasonable writer and poet, he excelled behind the lens and his photographic recollections of the Chalk Streams are as inspirational as they are haunting. Because you can seldom rely on a model to take the proper pose and positioning, Barton incorporated a clockwork shutter and often used himself as the angler in his photographs. His darkroom method of dodging and burning were the secrets to his bewitching style of creating ethereal settings. This gallery of E. A. Barton's finest is courtesy Andrew N. Herd with the Medlar Photo Library and The Fishing Museum, www.fishingmuseum.org.uk

A Hut on the Leckford Water on the River Test Plate VIII 

Tee Time

With much of this hunting season in the bag, it's time now to polish up the irons and knock the rust off the old golf game.

As many of you are well aware, my oldest daughter Parker, eleven, is a talented junior golfer. This past fall she added hunting to her expanding doisié of sporting activities. After spending the past three months chasing bucks rather than birdies, how would her 2013 golfing campaign unfold? Well, surprisingly enough, quite nicely. Four holes into her first round back and her pretty pink Precept found the bottom of the cup for her second hole-in-one. Apparently, the time off and hours afield were benefitial to her game. Normally, this time of year it's a bit like starting anew, but not the case thus far. Her swing looks better than ever and an ace out of the gate has her confidence at an all time high. But golf is fickle and you never know what lies around the next dogleg. Rather than speculating on the impossible, I thought it might be nice to take a look back to where it all began. Below is a home video I made of Parker back in 2007. At the time, she had only been playing golf for about six months. Enjoy.

Sporting Dogs

A Salute to Mankind's Best Friend

Me with my painting of "May on Point." Photo by Ashley Cantey

Me with my painting of "May on Point." Photo by Ashley Cantey

The painting I did of old May is finally dry. She passed away last fall and a portrait seemed a fitting way to pay homage to the lean English pointer who held staunch for me on covey after covey over the past ten odd years. It's such a shame they don't last longer. Unfair really. Nine to twelve years, thats about all you can borrow. And it hurts. It always hurts. There is nothing like the death of a dog to bring the most manly of men to tears. Each time to swear off of them. "I'll never have another, it just isn't worth the pain," you'll say. Only to be swept head over heals once again whence that brown-eyed bundle bats those big browns at you. And you know it's just a matter of time before your heart is broken once more. Upon reflection I can't help but to remember the others. So many others, the pointers and labs, setters and shepherds, bulls and beagles. And the hounds – hound after hound. Somewhere on high there is the mighty thunderous roar of a pack in full cry. Alvin is laying the bass while Butler and Black Gal carry the chorus. Emma is singing lead with a haunting bugle thats comparable to Gabriel's legendary horn itself. What a wondrous race it must be!

James Marcel "Deke" Sessions with legendary Stalvey hounds Emma and Black Gal.

James Marcel "Deke" Sessions with legendary Stalvey hounds Emma and Black Gal.

Through the ages, the admiration for the dog has been celebrated in many ways. But nowhere is this affection more prevalent than in sporting art. Immortalized in painted coverts brushed with broom and briars, the dog stands stoically as a true symbol of honor and unconditional, unwavering devotion. So, here's to them all, all of mine, all of yours. The legendary icons from the past, the best there ever was and to those whose talents fell short in the field only to become the best friend you ever had. 

And here's to old May.

Bonham's New York will have its annual Dogs in Show and Field: The Fine Art Sale on February 13. The auction will feature more than 200 nineteenth- and early twentieth-century works of art that pay tribute to canine companions 

www.bonhams.com/auctions/20424/

The Cure for What Ails You

Even the influenza can't deter this hunting trip for sporting antiques

This wonderful original 1903 photograph of the Lehighton Pennsylvania Baseball team with roadster can be yours for $99.

This wonderful original 1903 photograph of the Lehighton Pennsylvania Baseball team with roadster can be yours for $99.

Often on dreary, dank, damp, cold winter days I like to visit the antique malls. However, on this occasion, I am buried beneath two blankets, shivering from a fever, and like many Americans, facing that most formidable of foes, the flu. Nevertheless, a bit of internet browsing might be just what the doctor ordered. So I am logging in to eBay, that on-line proprietor of perpetually never-ending perusable products. Okay, perhaps the fever is getting to me. But yes, eBay, where a simple query of sporting+antiques will yield you some 3,000 results. Although from my armchair I am missing that musty smell of nostalgia and Old English, a crackling fire and a soothing libation, for the cough of course, should put me in the shopping spirit. These are some of the interesting and unique items I came across.

car set.jpg

1. 1920 Leather Baseball Mitt - AWESOME CONDITION $49.99 • 2. Vintage Phonograph with CD, Cassette, AM/FM, Aux-In by Pyle $244.88 • 3. 1963 Antique Bourbon Football Player Whiskey Bottle Advertising Display $39 • 4. 1953 Buick Super Eight Woody Wagon - No Reserve! Bid Now! $26,000 • 5. Lot of 5 ARGOSY Weekly Pulp Magazines from 1936 $44  • 6. Rare Antique Antimony Racing Derby Horse Roulette Toy Game with original box $300 • 7. Victorian period, 1880's-90's, authentic "Gone With The Wind" kerosene Lamp. A Beauty! Transfer adorned with hand-painting of English setters. $2,750

cash set.jpg

1. This truly spectacular, one-of-a-kind, large, heavily carved, circa 1890 mirror was purchased at the “Johnny Cash/June Carter Cash” estate auction at Sotheby’s in 2004. 78”w x 72”h x 13.5”d, $14, 750 • 2. Art Nouveau Style Jewelry/Tobacco Box Boar Figurine $268.80 • 3. 1907 Swiss Pocket Watch $99.99 • 4/5. Antique French Sporting Buttons $13.99 each • 6. This remarkable Victorian Inkstand will sell to the highest bidder. Currently $152.50 • 7. Antique Sterling Silver Hole-In-One Trophy with Original Dunlop 65 Number 2 Ball, which 4-Time Open Champion Bobby Locke used to make an ace on the 150-yard, Par-3 6th hole at Pollack Park Golf Club, April 21st, 1938. $3,400

chair set.jpg

1. Classic, 19th Century, French Hunting-Themed Smoker's Chair. $995 • 2. L. C. Smith & Corona Typewriter Model 811. $289.25 • 3. Antique 1700s Wooden, English Fishing Creel. $1,200 • 4. 1927 SPORT STORY Pulp. 79.95 • 5. Porcelain Lord and Lady Fox Salt & Pepper Shakers. $18.99 • 6. Deerstalker Tweed Hat. $31.95 • 7. A wooden, Black Forest style, carved head of a fierce looking wild boar with a shield, oak leaves and acorns. Plaque measures 17 3/4” by 11” $499

clothing set.jpg

1. Movie Worn-School Ties #7 Massachusetts football jersey size XL. $79.95 • 2. Vintage 50s Abercrombie & Fitch Western Jacket size M. $65 • 3. VERY RARE 2003 Anthropologie Shooting Party Sweater Coat size 4/6. $250 • 4. Vintage 50's DUXBAK heavy canvas hunting vest size S. $95 • 5. RARE Antique 1920s Original Carss Green Mackinaw Hunting Jacket size L. $475 

The Russell Boot Project

Here I am with Handsome Dutch and my Russell Gentleman Birdshooters

There was a time when tall all-leather boots and adventure went hand-in-hand, or shall I say "foot and fist." From pilots and jockeys to swashbucklers and explorers to marines and sportsmen, the tall leather boot was the foundation for sure-footed success. As utilitarian as they are attractive, tall leather boots add support, protect the wearer's lower limbs and shield out moisture. Lacing up a pair of tall leather boots gives one a sense of empowerment. With each ascent up the eyelets, the posture perks, muscles poise and the mind focuses, and you know that no matter what the day may hold you are equipped. Besides, how many super heroes have you ever seen wearing flip-flops or chukkas? You may have assumed it was the mask, ring or cape, but the secret behind the super power starts from the ground up. 

Not long ago I teamed up with the Russell Moccasin Company to create an upscale,  tall, all-leather hunting boot. The result is the Gentleman's Classic Birdshooter, 16-inches high and made from a rich chocolate, oil-stuffed Timberjack leather. For a sturdy walking platform the boot is equipped with a light oak-colored leather midsole and a low-lugged Vibram 430 sole with a distinct heel making the boots as practical in the saddle as they are in the field. A double vamp construction adds to the comfort and waterproofing and solid brass lacing studs in the top four eyelets polish them off with an elegant finishing touch. 

I can't say I've shot straighter since donning these dapper hightops, but I can't help but feel that Ol' Gentleman Bob takes solace when he sees the chap responsible for his demise approaching footed in these classic sporting heirlooms, now if I can just find where I put my cape.

The Gentleman's Classic Birdshooter retails for $480 and are made to the client's custom specifications as Russell has done now for more than one hundred years. Below is a moviegram showcasing the procedure and care that goes into each hand-crafted pair of Russell boots. www.russellmoccasin.com

The Yachtsman's Journal

Driving through a gale under jib and mizzen

Some years ago I had the good fortune to purchase this gem of an album. It is the personal yachting journal of Mr. Frederick Gade of New Rochelle, N.Y. It features his sailing adventures at the helm of several yachts including the famed yawl, Petrel. From Indian Summer days aboard the Micmac II, to driving through a gale during the storm of November 1914, this album documents Gade's nautical life from 1900-1915. There is even an August 1913 Saturday Evening Post with cover photograph featuring Gade sailing the Petrel during Race Week 1913. What a wonderful photographic documentary and what a time it must have been. 

Maybe I'm a bit sentimental, but it always disturbs me when I see family heirlooms for sale at estate auctions and antique shops. One can only speculate the journey of these undesirables and how they have made it here to the bidding block. Was it hard times that forced a loved one’s hand, greed, or did the family simply die out? Though the objects themselves are quite inanimate, my heartstrings are pulled towards the original owner. Perhaps it is because I'm afraid one day my precious belongings may too find themselves being sold to strangers. Who knows what the future may hold, but I have hope and faith that generations from now my memory might live on within some of these possessions I have painstakingly created or lovingly collected. But years from now, if by chance, the wolf comes howling at the door, or my lineage is lost, I hope there will be someone who will recognize the value in these things which once brought me such joy, that I might be remembered also, as they treasure the items as if their own. 

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky.
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.
— John Masefield

Gentlemanly Retreats

So nice to come home to, so nice by the fire.

Every corner of artist Michael Coleman's studio is composed as a picture, replete with treasures from his travels and hunting trips around the world.

Every corner of artist Michael Coleman's studio is composed as a picture, replete with treasures from his travels and hunting trips around the world.

A man's study or library is a reflection of his soul. It is where his innermost being is released and he is transposed into a state of ultimate comfort and relaxation. It should be a place for both inspiration and refuge. A place to kick back with a toddy and a 1st edition African Game Trails or the latest issue of Sporting Classics. Here are some rooms where they got it right. Some famous, others fabricated, but all ready for the silk robe, slippers and Miles Davis on the phonograph.

A trophy fish carving by renowned artisan Ellen McCaleb adds to the sophistication of this sportsman's study.

A trophy fish carving by renowned artisan Ellen McCaleb adds to the sophistication of this sportsman's study.

Author William Adolf Baillie Grohman in his Austrian home, circa 1880.

Author William Adolf Baillie Grohman in his Austrian home, circa 1880.

The billiards room at Hearst Castle.

The billiards room at Hearst Castle.

The sporting room of Captain Wade Hunnicutt (Robert Mitchum) from MGM's Home From The Hill.

Theodore Roosevelt's trophy room at Sagamore Hill.

Study from the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

Study from the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

Celia Foote's trophy room from the set of The Help.

Celia Foote's trophy room from the set of The Help.

homedesignpics.com

homedesignpics.com

The library at the Biltmore Estate, a North Carolina national historic landmark.

The library at the Biltmore Estate, a North Carolina national historic landmark.

This room inspired by old English sporting activities was designed by Timothy Oulton. www.timothyoulton.com

This room inspired by old English sporting activities was designed by Timothy Oulton. www.timothyoulton.com

Yet another creative sporting space designed by Timothy Oulton. www.decoholic.org

Yet another creative sporting space designed by Timothy Oulton. www.decoholic.org

Open Fires & Smoking Pipes

Tom Stalvey goes camping.

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What a surprise it was when a neighbor stopped by over the holidays with a handful of old photographs of my grandfather, Tom Stalvey (right), and a pal on a camping trip. He passed away when I was but a young boy, and until now, most of the images we had of him were either from his service in Germany or portraits taken later in his life. So what a treat it was to see him and his buddy letting loose on this excursion circa 1949 following the Berlin Airlift. Looks like they had quite a time cooking over an open fire, smoking their pipes, and goofing around with this hound. Bittersweet and a bit comical, these pics lightened our spirits and, in a way, it was almost like he had paid us a Christmas visit. 

Not sure exactly what they had on the menu, but there is an awful lot of poking around with a knife. Apparently someone forgot to pack the fork.

Not sure exactly what they had on the menu, but there is an awful lot of poking around with a knife. Apparently someone forgot to pack the fork.

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I wonder how this poor hound liked the vanilla-blended Captain Black? 

I wonder how this poor hound liked the vanilla-blended Captain Black? 

Not really sure what to say about this one. It certainly raised some smiles and if Papa were still around he would definitely catch some grief over it, especially from my grandmother.

Not really sure what to say about this one. It certainly raised some smiles and if Papa were still around he would definitely catch some grief over it, especially from my grandmother.

Christmas Wrappings

Happy Holidays from Our Family to Yours!

Aside from being one of the greatest and most patient deer hunters I will likely ever know, my Grandfather Newton is a remarkable bluegrass tenor and guitarist.

Below is a little ditty of him a'pickn' and a'singn' from a Christmas past.

Our Troops Are In Our Thoughts & Prayers.

We Miss You This Holiday Season.

Be Safe & Come Home Soon!

(Left) The Surprise Party and (Right) Not This Trip, Old Pal both by Arthur Davenport Fuller

(Left) The Surprise Party and (Right) Not This Trip, Old Pal both by Arthur Davenport Fuller

chessmen.jpg

I must admit, I am probably one of the toughest guys on the planet to buy a gift for. Though always gracious, I am super peculiar and have almost everything you can think up to give a sportsman. But this year my wife and girls hit one out of the park. They got me these chessmen which were cast in a very unique interpretation of the Isle of Lewis chess set. They have such a sporting look, the King sits proudly on his deeply carved throne with faithful hound at his side, the Queen has an owl perched on her arm, the Bishop is carrying a lamb, the Rook is blowing his horn into battle or to start the hunt and the Knight, in Saint George fashion, is slaying a dragon. A wonderfully unique present indeed, and an heirloom I will treasure for many, many, years to come. Queen to f8, check mate!

The Drunken Boar

Gamey, Earthy and Tart – Wild flavors abound in this tasty Holiday recipe 

Like most artistic chaps, I love to cook. And, the holidays always find me in the kitchen, creative juices flowing, conjuring up some concoction from something wild I have just killed. Christmastime, my meat of choice is wild boar. You'll be hard-pressed to find a medieval or royal yuletide feast in which either a wild boar head isn't on display or a roasted pig isn't part of the main course. These ties to ancient nobility and the sheer regality of this beast somehow make it an appropriate main course to me this time of year. And, I like my meats in wine. And, during this festive season only one wine will do, a cheery wine, a goodly wine, a port wine, the fifth essence of the Christmas spirit.  

Here's my roasted loin of wild boar with black walnut port sauce, bean sprouts with shiitake mushrooms and persimmon and cranberry relish. 

For the sauce

750 ml of a nice strong port, 1 cup rabbit stock or duck stock, 2 to 3 rosemary sprigs, 2 tablespoons of honey (wildflower if you can find it), 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup black walnuts (1/4 cup toasted for now and save a 1/4 cup raw for finished sauce. Black walnuts are not like a normal walnut, they are super aromatic and a tad oily, almost as if they have been marinating in alcohol. And they smell so good, especially in combination with the port and rosemary. But save a fresh 1/4 cup to add to the finished sauce)

toast 1/4 cup black walnuts then add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil reducing down over twenty to thirty minutes and add 1/4 cup raw black walnuts just prior to saucing.

For the Loin

rub the loin down with olive oil, rosemary and cracked black peppercorns

add a bit of olive oil to a glass baking dish and open-cook loin at 425-degrees for about an hour turning loin every 15 minutes, allow to cool before slicing

Shiitake & Bean Sprouts

sauté mushrooms adding bean sprouts (Very simple to do.  Wild boar eat mushrooms and root in the ground and for me it is almost like paying homage to the boar to pair it in this way. And, I do find the earthiness of the shrooms and sprouts to be a nice compliment to the gaminess of the boar and tartness of the cranberries )

Persimmon & Cranberry Relish

slice and dice 1 cup of dried cranberries and 1/2 cup ripe persimmons (I stress the term ripe here, you'll know whether they are ripe or not, they need to be sweet), add 2 teaspoons pure apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/4 cup cranberry sauce 

The Return of the Sporting Gent

Options abound for the trend-setting sportsman

There is a movement taking place in the realm of sporting fashion. A rebirth so to speak. For too long now, many in our hunting fraternity have had a seemingly wear-whatever,  je ne sais quoi fashion sense in regard to the sport. From sweats to jeans and nearly everything in between, anything goes has been the style. This however seems to be changing.

Much of America is now smitten with the sporting life and trends of Europe. This Old World look has transcended from the shooting fields across the pond and has found its way into the mainstream of American culture. Of all things, it is the high-fashion designers and entertainment industry who is at the forefront of this movement and the catwalks have had an overload of tweed, leather patches and fur accents. The influence of the highly popular television show Downton Abbey is certainly prevalent in the fall collection for Ralph Lauren.  And Tommy Hilfiger's new Hunt Club campaign also has a touch of that Oxford English flair. But if it is true Bespoke tailoring you are after, look no further than the firms of Holland and Holland and Purdey. In addition to luxurious made-to-measures, these companies also have ready-to-wear articles.

Back stateside, Eddie Bauer is making a return to its sporting roots with hunting apparel from its new Sport Shop. Stylish form follows function in this new collection featuring featherweight jackets and vests, to fleece and waxed cotton. Born in the field, Eddie Bauer Sport Shop is the newest thinking in design, fit, fabrication, and construction. From the Original Outdoor Outfitter.

You can't talk clothing and the U.S. without mentioning the Orvis company. Orvis has established itself as the new Abercrombie & Fitch, in the context that A&F lost its compass when they abandoned their sporting heritage and resorted to using half-naked models in order to sell tee shirts and sweats to teeneyboppers. Orvis, however gets it, and has become the wish book catalog I look forward to this time each year. In addition to their own signature line, they carry everything from Le Chameau and Barbour to Beretta and Holland and Holland and in virtually every apparel category from belts and boots to ties and chaps.

Seldom can a company be as contemporary as it is classic, but Beretta manages to excel at each. Stylish and distinctive, the Vintage Years collection is the standard for the gentleman sportsman, yet the Active Mite and Active Cool lines are the picture perfect look for the modern hunter. From the shooting peg and stalking wood to a casual ride or even a night out, Beretta has a look for you.

For the sportswoman reading this, aside from Eddie Bauer and Beretta, whom I might add have really nice ladies line-ups, you have to check out the Really Wild Clothing Company. Waistcoats, jackets, breeks, trousers, jumpers, skirts, gloves, scarves, hats, socks and boots, they have it all, and it all is so chic. The Wild Life, indeed, and with elegant cuts in feminine colors and posh patterns, you are sure to set the trends from the town to the country.

www.reallywildclothing.co.uk

www.reallywildclothing.co.uk

One final inclusion. You most likely have never heard of Seeland International. I must admit I just recently happened upon them myself. But they are certainly worth taking a look at. Much of their offerings are from the Scandinavian brand Härkila, a company which prides itself on uniting tradition and technology. Of Seeland's new 220-page Shooting Catalogue there are nearly 170 pages of the most modish assortment of stylish hunting wear and accessories you are ever to come across. 

www.seelandinternational.com

www.seelandinternational.com

There was a time when sportsmen really cared about how they presented themselves, ie. Nash Buckingham, Archibald Rutledge. We should have a reverence to our sport and dress ourselves accordingly. The public is impressionable, and when we take to the forest or field looking as if we just finished mowing the lawn or painting a house we imply that the activity in which we are about to partake is lacking in importance. However, within this audience viewing us lies the future of our sport. It is becoming more popular than ever to look like you just came from a hunt, and, it is the upscale version of the hunter which is taking hold. So how do we convert these posers and potential hunters to the fold? Well, it starts by being role models. We are the guardians and stewards of this land and should look the part. The grey flannel businessman appears successful, the three-piece broker – powerful, the clerical collared priest commands respect and the well dressed hunter looks a sportsman and a gentleman.

These distinguished gents were photographed at Southeast Georgia’s Cabin Bluff. To this day the lodge still offers some of the finest sporting opportunities and accommodations on the entire East Coast. 

These distinguished gents were photographed at Southeast Georgia’s Cabin Bluff. To this day the lodge still offers some of the finest sporting opportunities and accommodations on the entire East Coast. 

Sporting Wish List 2012

Grab your pilot glasses, bass plugs, and left hook, we're going Christmas shopping!


Accurate and dependable, Merkel has established itself as a name you can trust. With the introduction of the new take-down RX Helix rifle, form now follows function. The Helix has the look of an Old World beauty combined with the sleek lines we have come to expect from modern firearms. New innovations like a straight-pull bolt-action and a bolt head ratio of two-to-one places a premium on rapid-fire precision. This firearm is designed to be deadly accurate and lightning fast. It is available in three action lengths and 12 calibers. $4,000 www.merkel-usa.com (Photograph by Ron Spomer)


Ideas and inspiration are certain to take flight from the cockpit of Restoration Hardware's Aviator Wing Desk. Inspired by streamlined World War II fighter planes this desk is a shining swoop of metal. Its shape mimics the bent wing of a plane. Poised for take-off, it features a polished aluminum patchwork exterior accented with steel screws, built around a solid hardwood frame. $2,195 www.restorationhardware.com

1. Have a cup of eggnog and kick back with a 1894 first edition copy of The Wild Beasts, Birds and Reptiles of the World and relive P.T. Barnum's account of his explorations and adventures while pursuing animals for both sport and his menagerie. $45-$200.       2. For around $1,300 the casual, yet elegant Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Elemental Watch in wood & steel is half James Bond, half Bear Grylls.       3. Elegant styling makes the Swarovski Optik Leather Pocket Tyrol Binoculars perfect for any occasion from the opera to the Okavango. $969 www.orvis.com       4. Carry a Dave Hoover tackle box on your next fishing trip and trout will leap into the boat from respect. Okay, probably not, but he will be sure to be the envy of all of his fishing buddies. If you can find one that is. Dave has since retired and locating one of these gems can seem as elusive as catching a new world-record largemouth.  $400-$1100.       5. Even Old Tom Morris would've been smitten with the 61 Cirac Stand Golf Bag in King Croc by Belding Golf bags. Around $600.       6. A knife for all necessities, the Wenger Giant Swiss Army Knife V1.0 weighs in at 2 pounds with 87 implements and 141 functions. $1,000-1,600 www.wengerna.com       7. Care to go a few rounds? If so the Seletti Boxitalia Punching Bag & Boxing Gloves are for you. Made from vintage-style brown leather, these professional-level training tools sport a classic design that will dress up any room from the penthouse office to the man cave. $110-$325.       8. The Beccaccia (woodcock) is a hunting jacket cool enough for James Dean. Waxed-cotton with front-loading game bag. $314 www.maremmano.it

Left to right: Swing for the fences like they did back in the day with this 1880's style vintage bat. Hand-made of professional quality northern ash wood, this bat will go the distance. $139.95 www.redenvelope.com         In a small village at the foot of the Black Forest, a few dedicated master craftsmen have been using their talent and expertise to create the most beautiful crystal in the world. So nice to come home to, so nice by the fire, Queen Lace Crystal 18 oz. Double Old Fashion is perfect for the man of distinction. $250 www.queenlacecrystal.com          Versatile Lemon Peel baseballs are as perfectly suited for stocking stuffers as they are for streetball, pepper and stickball. $34 www.huckberry.com