Beretta Blog

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer and editor who hunts and fishes with his wife Angela, two children and four English setters.
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Recent Posts

It's Training Season: Get Your Bird Dog Out of Mothballs

Posted by Tom Keer on Mar 21, 2019 9:38:00 AM

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Repetitions make the master, short-handle for the fact that if you want to have a good dog during hunting season, then start your seasonal training in the spring. A perfect world has us working dogs all year long, and ideally we'd spend summers training in the cool, Northern climates. And then, at the first accumulation of snow, we'd follow the ducks, geese and woodcock to the more temperate and snow-free Southern regions adding quail, pheasant and snipe to their daily mix. Pro trainers follow that schedule, but for us bird doggers their wise approach isn't always possible. For us, our dogs pace in kennels surrounded by snow drifts just as they lounge around in front of the fireplace. Spring is in 6 weeks, Punxsutawney Phil told us that. When warmer weather finally arrives use these tips from the Eukanuba training pros to properly put your pup back to work.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland, UPLAND

Spring Cleaning Tips: Get your Shotgun out of Mothballs

Posted by Tom Keer on Mar 5, 2019 9:28:00 AM

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On February 4th, Punxsutawney Phil announced spring would arrive in 6 weeks. I don't know about you, but after the long, cold, gray winter, I'm ready for blue skies and bright sun. Warm weather makes for ideal shooting conditions, and if your shotgun has been in the gun cabinet for a while it's time to get it ready for use.
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Topics: Hunting - Upland, Hunting - Duck, Hunting - Turkey, hunting - waterfowl

Too Hot? Too Cold? The Right Upland Gear for Success in the Field

Posted by Tom Keer on Feb 7, 2019 9:45:00 AM

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It's late in the season, and that means a lot has changed since we first cut loose the dogs in the fall. Instead of winds blowing from the warm south, they now come from the cold north. Trees full of leaves first turned colorful and then dropped to the ground. Seasonally warm-if-not-hot temperatures and their associated dryness are replaced by colder weather and accompanying moisture. Scenting conditions are better with the cooler, windier, and damp weather, but what does the weather change do for hunters? If you're not careful, you'll certainly stay warm but you'll miss one heck of a lot of birds. Or you might stay too warm and overheat.

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Topics: Hunting, Hunting - Upland, UPLAND

Want to Quail Hunt? Read These Tips First

Posted by Tom Keer on Jan 30, 2019 11:39:22 AM

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Though it was 20 years ago, I remember looking out of my window like it was yesterday. The December wind honked from the Northeast, and with it came single-digit temperatures and a foot of snow. Sure I could slather up my dogs' paws with Musher's Secret, coat the inside of their bells with Pam spray to keep the clappers from filling up with ice, and slap on a pair of snow-shoes over my boots. My winter grouse hunt in the frozen tundra would be short thanks to the varsity effort required by all of us trudging through the snow. The birds likely would flush wild, I doubt I'd get even a single point, and if I did I'd have on so many layers that I wouldn't be able to move and would miss them anyway. I decided then and there that it was far better for me to head South and run the dogs on Bobwhite quail in ideal conditions. Nowadays, when our bird seasons close or the weather makes them impossible, I take my show on the road.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland, UPLAND

Shotgun Tips: How to Crawl Out of a Shooting Slump

Posted by Tom Keer on Nov 13, 2018 8:35:00 AM

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The season was a quarter century ago but I remember it like it was yesterday. The woods were thick, lush and green, and in the air was the smell of drying hay from the last cut of the year. I lit up the Opening Day woods like a house of fire. It didn't matter that the foliage was full or that the grouse and woodcock were dodgy. I hit most every bird at which I fired. I was unstoppable, or so I thought.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland

How to Unstick Your Shotgun's Choke Tubes

Posted by Tom Keer on Nov 7, 2018 9:36:00 AM

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My buddy laughed when I pulled out a can of a product that plumbers use called Nev-R-Seize. He watched me jack up my new boat trailer, remove the wheels, and coat the threads and lugs. "That's a waste of time," he said, "mine always pop off when I change a flat tire." Well, he got a flat on our way to launch his boat for a sea duck hunt. And guess what? He was right. We jacked up his trailer and with one strong torque with his lug wrench, and he snapped one cleanly off. "Next time I'll try your goo," he said.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland, Hunting - Duck, Hunting - Turkey, hunting - waterfowl

Why We Miss Birds in Upland Hunting

Posted by Tom Keer on Nov 1, 2018 7:58:00 AM

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The pointer was facing me, and I could see that he was locked up tighter than a tick. His head was high, his tail set was ramrod straight, and there was no question there was a covey of quail under his nose. The birds were between him and me, and since it was my turn to flush, and I whistled my pals on either side to get ready. When the big covey erupted, several on the edge flew straight away from my pal. He missed with both barrels.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland

What Dog Best Suits Your Hunting Needs

Posted by Tom Keer on Oct 26, 2018 9:24:00 AM

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The search for a hunting dog is always a mixed bag. Of course, it's exciting, and the process requires a tremendous amount of research. When you're looking at 8-week old pups there is a dash of luck required when you make your pick. It's a big time commitment, for there is hunting to be done. But care and training take up a big chunk, too. The fact that you'll likely have your pup for over a decade puts a lot of pressure on your pick. No one wants to make a bad choice because when the pup comes home, you're committed.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland, hunting - waterfowl

Safety First! Avoid Hunting Accidents with These Gun Safety Practices

Posted by Tom Keer on Oct 10, 2018 8:16:00 AM

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Hunting seasons are opening up across our country, and everyone is excited. Dogs shake with nervous excitement to get out of their kennels, and we hurry up to get back into the fields where we belong. There is no shortage of enthusiasm anywhere. You all know the drill, but it makes sense to do a quick refresh of some commonly missed safety practices.

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Topics: Hunting, Hunting - Upland, Hunting - Duck, hunting - waterfowl

A Clean Shotgun is a Happy Shotgun

Posted by Tom Keer on Aug 27, 2018 9:58:00 AM

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The argument of shotgun cleaning took place in bird camp. In one corner was my buddy who cleans his shotgun like clockwork... which is once a decade whether it needs it or not (it needs it). In the other corner was a pal who meticulously cleans his shotgun at the end of each day. On some days I wonder if he'd like to clean his shotgun after every shot. I'm in the middle and wipe my guns after each hunt and clean them once a month or at the end of the season. My only exception is that I do a thorough cleaning after hunting in a heavy downpour or after use in a saltwater marsh.

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Topics: Clay Shooting, Hunting - Upland, Hunting - Duck, Hunting - Turkey, hunting - waterfowl