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

Whatever You Do, Don't Shoot the Dog!

Posted by Tom Keer on Aug 2, 2018 9:18:48 AM

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I've never seen a bird dog get shot, but I hear of at least one instance per year. When the stories roll in, I get sick to my stomach. They unfold in pretty much the same way. A group of folks reviews the pre-hunt safety talk. All have heard it before; all are in agreement. The dogs are cut loose, the hunt is underway, and spirits are high. Jokes fly around, the conversation is light, and everyone agrees they are more happy in the field than at work.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland

The Things Upland Bird Hunting Guide Wishes Clients Would Do

Posted by Tom Keer on Jul 27, 2018 9:44:00 AM

Dave Brown 2

It's dark when you pull up to the only breakfast place in town, but your guide is already there. How do you know? His is the truck with dog boxes in the pick up's bed, and it's towing, a trailer full of, you got it, more dogs. Your guide knows where the birds are, his dogs are sharp as tacks, and he wants the day to be your trip of a lifetime. It's team play from here on out.

Here are the things your guide hopes you've done in anticipation of your hunt.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland

The Things Your Waterfowl Hunting Guide Wishes Clients Would Do

Posted by Tom Keer on Jul 24, 2018 10:14:00 AM

Duck Blind

The Mallards took a quick look at the spread and kept on booking. They were high in the sky with the afterburners on. Maybe they were en route to yesterday's buffet, or maybe they saw something they didn't quite like. It didn't matter 'cause your guide hit 'em with a mix of calls. There were a few comebacks, a begging hail call and when they got closer the quacks and contented feeding sucked 'em in.

A good guide will make or break your hunting experience, but there's a lot to know about your roles in the guided hunt. Here are some things that your guide would like to see you do to guarantee safety and success.

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Topics: hunting - waterfowl, Hunting - Duck

The Nose Knows: Reading your Birddogs' Signs

Posted by Tom Keer on Jul 20, 2018 8:43:00 AM

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If you own a bird dog, let alone a string of 'em, then the odds are you're a fanatic. You know what their every movement and noise means. But if you're hunting over a buddy's dog, then you might not be as keyed into their tells. That's not a problem unless they're on point and you're far away. Here are some of the many different ways dogs give us clues about what's going on when they're hunting.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland

It's Just a Walk Through the Woods. Or Is It?

Posted by Tom Keer on Jul 18, 2018 9:41:00 AM

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The bell clanged as Rebel carved up the alder run. He blew through the pass-through cover, slowed and zig-zagged in the thick poplar, and picked up speed when he entered the alders. That last patch typically held birds, both he and I knew that. I wasn't surprised when his bell went silent, and his beeper began to sing.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland

Overcoming a Shooting Slump

Posted by Tom Keer on Jul 13, 2018 10:59:00 AM

Ready

I remember the dark time like it was yesterday. I missed very few birds in the early season heat, full foliage, and tough shooting conditions. But later on, when the leaves dropped and the first frost killed the thick understory I couldn't hit boo. Every time a dog went on point I was excited, and after every flush I missed. When the last day of the season game I considered taking up another sport.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland

Position is the key to upland birding hunting

Posted by Tom Keer on Jul 6, 2018 9:45:00 AM

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It was a perfect fall day, with frost on the ground, a light variable wind, and hardwoods bursting with color. The dogs easily differentiated between foot and body scent and were handily tacking down birds. All was right with the world except for my buddy's miserable shooting. His shooting reminded me of a season I had many years ago, one where I didn't know if I should wrap my gunning iron around a tree or take up another sport.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland

Staggered Shells

Posted by Tom Keer on Jul 5, 2018 9:25:00 AM

Staggered shells

There is nothing quite as satisfying as walking up on a staunch point, seeing a bird flush, and dropping it with one shot. The dog gets feathers in its mouth, you smile, and your buddies slap you on the back. But missed opportunities are as much of a part of wingshooting as hits, and by matching your loads to your chokes you'll have more successes than failures. That includes staggering your shells.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland

Don't Overlook the 28-Gauge

Posted by Tom Keer on Jul 3, 2018 9:13:11 AM

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I don't know if there is any one correct order of buying shotguns. That said, my own purchases seem to mirror that used by a lot of folks with whom I shoot and hunt.

Oddly enough, the first shotgun I shot was a .410 which was considered a 'boy's gun.' The recoil was certainly light for an elementary school kid, but the small amount of shot in each shell really meant that I'd have to be an experienced shooter to hit with one. In essence, the .410 is a 'man's gun,' but that description was reserved for the shotgun I first bought: a 12 gauge. I chose that shotgun for use on clays, pheasant, turkey, and waterfowl. A few months later I added a second shotgun which was a 20 gauge. The smaller bore was better suited for grouse, woodcock, quail and other smaller birds. Along the way, I added a 16 gauge, a 28 gauge, and even a .410.

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Topics: Hunting - Upland

It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got the Right Swing

Posted by Tom Keer on Jun 28, 2018 9:05:00 AM

Tom Keer Swing landscape

Recently, Beretta columnist Bill Miller explored different types of wingshooting techniques from a practical perspective of hand-eye coordination and mechanics. Now it's time to look at how those techniques apply in the field for different situations. Tom Keer explores the topic in more detail.

I didn't mind that the week of snow that fell in knee-high drifts ended my grouse season. It had been a great few months of snap shooting over solid points. While inland coverts were now a frozen tundra, the nearby ocean hadn't yet iced over. Add to the fact that the cold snap pushed big flocks of sea ducks, Canada geese, and Brant into the bay it was easy for me to make the switch. All I had to do was to trade my 28 gauge for a 12-gauge, my lead shot for steel, and my blaze orange for camo.

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