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First Lady of Duck Hunting

 
by Adam Brassfield - Pro Staff Contributor

Painted nails, pretty earrings, gorgeous lips and an itchy trigger finger. She is a knock out in a dress and a sharp shooter from the blind. Her Beretta Xtreme is her instrument and killin' greenheads is her passion. Yes, she is absolutely amazing!

For so many years it was never a thought. I mean: the one where you could see a female, day in and day out, in the duck blind. With all the nasty weather and mud, the thought of ever seeing a woman showing me up was a long shot. Then I met Natasha and my whole world changed. Seriously, when you think of a lady duck hunting you think of a backwoods, tobacco spitting woman whom you may or may not mistake for Clay Aiken. But I have to be the first to tell you: I was floored.

The first time she went duck hunting with me I thought it was a nice way to "give back" and something real good to look at, other than the other three mildly disgusting gentlemen that work with me. She shot a wood duck and a few others and looked as though she belonged out there, but I wanted to put her to the test so, the next week in our duck boat, we three guys let her come again...big mistake! She out-shot all of us and she is an incredible professional of the sport. What? I did not know if I should ask her to marry me or throw her out of the boat. I did both.

Watching this beautiful lady shoot greenheads out of the sky, give commands for the dog to retrieve them then load her Beretta without even asking, did nothing short of making me want to have kids all over again! The other two guys are ugly enough to burn a wet mule, so I knew I had a chance. She has changed our company and she has changed this industry.

Natasha is living proof that women have a place in the gun and hunting world. Not only are they coming but they have already arrived. Have I mentioned she shoots a Beretta? I have died and gone to duck hunting Heaven.

Adam Brassfield is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. He can be reached on Facebook.
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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

The 10 to 2 Rule

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest contributor

As an avid duck hunter I get to spend quite a bit of time in the blind with different people from all walks of life.  I have had the opportunity to hunt with professional sports stars as well as with average Joes that have never sat in a blind a day in their life.  One thing that I can not stress more is SAFETY!

When folks whom I've never been hunting with get in the blind with me, we always go over safety and shot selection, first and foremost.  The basic rule that I give is what I call the "10 to 2 Rule."  Basically what the hunter has to understand is that his window of opportunity will present itself between the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock position as he or she directly faces the front or rear of the blind.  If the bird happens to get outside of that range then that bird is off limits to the hunter and is in play for the person standing next to them.

If I have a hunter deviates from this rule, I will give a fair warning on the first instance.  I love this sport and I completely understand that we get caught up in the adrenaline rush sometimes, so if the infraction wasn't blatant or reckless I will give a little leeway.  My delivery will definitely make them think about the shot they took though.  If it happens again, the hunter will be asked to unload his weapon and set it down.  In all the years I have been hunting I have only had to go to this extreme one time.  After a few vollies, it was apparent that he understood where I was coming from and after a little pep talk we agreed that he would be WAY more careful.  I didn't have another problem all morning, and he learned a new respect for his weapon and the other hunters around him.

One exception to this rule is the hunter on the end of the blind.  I normally like to put more experienced hunters on the end because typically their shooting skills are far better than a novice's and thus they can "cover the end" of the blind.  I typically sit on the end where the door is, so I can work the dog on retrieves and cover that end of the blind.

One thing we all should remember: a hunt with no safety is nothing more than a game of Russian Roulette with accidents waiting to happen.  Whether you are in the duck marsh, the deer woods, or just having fun at the local range, safety should be your first and foremost concern at all times.  Always understand that "you are your brother's keeper" and not speaking up about unsafe acts is just as bad as if not worse than committing the unsafe act yourself.

Happy hunting and stay safe!

Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog.  He can be reached on Twitter and YouTube.


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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Did You Say Duck Dog?

 
by Adam Brassfield - Pro Staff Contributor

When you think waterfowl retriever you think Labrador. For years and years this has been the choice for most duck hunters. A few may have gone with the stubborn Chesapeake Bay retriever but, for the most part, black, yellow or chocolate has been the question. Labrador breeders have been busier than a set of jumper cables at a redneck funeral.  Fasten your seat belt because there is a new bread of retrievers coming.


Meet Joey. He is a full blooded English Springer Spaniel. Now, I know what you're thinking: "this guy is dumber than a wedding invitation!" Listen closely: I would put him up against any Lab any day in a hunting situation. I got him when he was around 12 weeks old and started training him myself. At a year old he entered his first hunting season. He absolutely blew me away, as well as everyone else who hunted with me. Never broke, never got cold, never whined and he retrieved over 300 ducks in his first season. At a year and a half he is on full hand signals.


Let me be clear, I am not taking anything away from the mighty Labrador. They are amazing dogs, when well trained. But the intelligence and longevity of the Springer is unmatched. I have owned several duck dogs and this is the first that I am writing about, so that ought to tell you something. They are smaller, quicker, smarter and live longer than the Labrador. When it comes to ice or severe weather, I have Joey on film breaking ice for over 200 yards retrieving a Mallard that sailed on a guy that couldn't hit water if he jumped out of a boat. It was colder than a brass toilet seat in the Yukon!


The art of duck hunting is ever-evolving with the new guns like the Beretta A400 Xtreme, new duck boats, new decoys, new shells, and I could go on and on. It is obvious that, somewhere down the line, a new duck dog was coming. I took a chance on Joey and it was the best decision that I have ever made, when it comes to a hunting dog. The look on your face after reading this is probably like a rat eating guts off a wire brush, but focus. A wise man once told me to do something you have never done in order to see something you have never seen. To get information on where I got Joey go to Upland Meadows Springer Spaniels.

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Adam Brassfield is a professional guide and guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. He can be reached at H.U.N.T.E.R.S. 24/7 WATERFOWL and on Facebook.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Let's Talk Shot Selection

 
by Adam Brassfield - Pro Staff Contributor

Have you ever been hunting with someone who just takes the world's worst shots? How about someone who messes up the easiest of hunts? Well, I know a few people like that, too. Some of them can't help that they are dumber than a coal bucket. I mean nobody wants to spend theis hard-earned money on guns, shells, dogs, decoys, waders and maybe a guided hunt just for someone to mess it all up at the moment of truth. Sometimes there is no help for someone who would screw up a one car funeral.

Shot selection is the most important part of duck or goose hunting. Being able to figure out when the best opportunity is to smoke that duck or goose is sometimes a big challenge. In most groups a single person is elected to do this job and make the call for everyone to shoot. No pressure, but don't screw up or you will be swimming with the fishes! Patience is the key, which is something that I have none of. In every aspect of life patience is not an option. For me to learn this conduct of life in the duck blind was at first impossible. However, as a youngster, the first time that I pulled up too quickly and found a boat paddle connected to my ear, I kinda learned the idea.

The thought that waterfowl hunters would even think about not letting that bird get close enough to read their mail before they shot was as scarce as duck teeth. Oh, but they are out there. If duck or goose hunting were just about seeing how far I could shoot then sail a bird and getting busted because I pulled up too quickly, there would be a lot more pros out there. Waterfowl hunting is an art. It is painting a picture in your mind of what you will shoot at or move to and then carrying it out with passion. I get so frustrated with people who take 50 and 60 yard shots with choke tubes the size of a .50 caliber mortar shell, then get aggravated when they can't find their duck or have trouble shooting a limit. 

Practicing the art of back-paddling and having a little patience will help any waterfowl hunter. For crying out loud, go hunting with someone who knows what they are doing. Watch when they give the signal to shoot. See where the birds are and how they got there, then start putting your own plan in place. Shot selection is easy but we can make it very difficult if we develop bad habits. Trust me: some hunters have two brains; one is missing and the other is looking for it. Excellence is your best "plus one." Find that one thing that you do well and add good shot selection to it. It will make you a better hunter.

Adam Brassfield is a Guest Contributor for Beretta. You can follow him on Facebook.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

The Toughest Waterfowl Gun Ever!

 
By Adam Brassfield - Pro Staff Contributor

Every single duck season I listen to hunters swear by their gun. They say it is the toughest gun ever made. Then about two weeks into season they are swearing at it, throwing it in the truck and changing stories. I only have one response: "If you are up to your butt in alligators, it is hard to remember that you just came to drain the swamp." Translation, if you are not shooting a Beretta A400 Xtreme then you can wish in one hand and crap in the other to see which fills up faster!


The reason I say this is I used to be in that group. I shot guns because of the tradition of my family or I saw a long bearded man shoot one on TV. It is so easy to become an industry "go around". Shooting a different gun than you did last season. When the rubber meets the road there is only one that stands alone when the bad weather moves in, Beretta. Now, you probably are justified to say "he is really harping on that Beretta." Answer: Yes I am and proud of it.


There is a difference in someone being paid to say good things about a gun on television and someone who actually believes in what they are saying. Bottom line is, I have said this before, tough hunts don't last but tough guns do and that is why I shoot the Beretta A400 Xtreme.

I leave you with this story. Towards the end of the season we hunted a day where the weather was everything from snow to hard sleet with the temps in the upper teens. Two of the men hunting with us that morning were shooting another gun that has to do with an eagle and by the end of the hunt they were shooting our Beretta's because there guns would not cycle in the extreme conditions. The moral of that story is if you are shooting a hammer then everything is a nail, but if you lie down with dogs don't cry when you get the fleas.

A true duck hunter has to get to a place in his life where he swallows his pride and decides he is going to shoot the best. I know this because I had to do it myself. So, go get you a Beretta A400 Xtreme and quit getting advice on the color of your car from a blind man.


Adam Brassfield is a Guest Contributor for Beretta. You can follow him on Facebook.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

What does Beretta mean to me?

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor
Now that waterfowl season is pretty much done, here on the Texas coast, other than a few thousand snow goose stragglers that have yet to find their way back north, I have had some time to think back on the season.  One question that kept sticking out in my mind was “What does the Beretta brand mean to me, as a waterfowler as well as a gun owner in general?”  Though I can come up with a long list of pros that come with owning a Beretta firearm, the one word that sticks out in my mind is RELIABILITY!

From my truck to my boat, my decoys to my Beretta A400 Xtreme, I put all of my equipment through the ringer when I am in the field.  I need, no - scratch that, I DEMAND that my equipment performs to my high expectations, and I demand that every single time I use it.  I can be 110% sure that every time I pull the trigger on my A400 Xtreme it will go BOOM, and that is the reliability that I absolutely have to have.  Throughout this season it has been dropped in the mud, been rained on heavily, and was dunked in high salinity salt water (the drought here on the coast was brutal on salt water intrusion).  Every single instance I was able to pick the gun up and know that it was going to fire, and that is a great feeling.  Because of that I am able to have confidence in my tools that aide in my passion to hunt waterfowl.  I have been asked on a number of occasions this season why I shoot the A400, my response is reliability of function and fit.  Having one OR the other will not yield you the outcome that you quest, but when you combine the two the results have the potential to be deadly on the game that you seek.  With the adjustability of the A400 line of shotguns and the reliability that comes with the Beretta name, owning one of these guns is an absolute no brainer.

Knowing how reliable my A400 has been, I recently decided to purchase 2 Beretta PX4 Storm Sub Compacts in 9mm and .40 S&W that my wife and I would both use as our EDC weapons.  After going to the range and burning 100 rounds through each, I would have to say that the reliability of function is prominent in Beretta’s hand guns as well.  One difference between these pistols and my shotgun is that my and my family’s lives depend on the function of the handguns day in and day out.  Unfortunately in the society that us law abiding citizens face every day there is the possibility of some criminal deciding to mistakenly make us a target.  It is a relief knowing that my Px4 Storm will thwart off anyone that decides to make that mistake.  This is why I am able to have confidence in my tools that aide in the protection of myself and my family.  Once again, a no brainer!

So there you have it, two instances on a long list that spans over some 500 years where the Beretta brand has proven that their name and reliability work hand in hand.  I own many different guns, but I can honestly say that my Berettas get the nod every single time I know that there is a potential for me to need to actually use my firearm.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Why do I shoot Beretta?

 
by Adam Brassfield - Pro Staff Contributor


As I travel all over the country I get asked the same question time and time again: "Why do you shoot Beretta?" While there are other logical questions to ask, such as "why does a bear poop in the woods," or "why does a Lion chase a gazelle," or "why does it take air to breath," I am a redneck and this is the best I can come up with. As a professional duck hunter I demand the best firearm made. One that can go through the nastiest conditions, the toughest storms and the roughest elements. Now, I understand those who shoot certain guns because their grandfather shot it or their mom baked it but the difference between us is I HUNT EVERY DAY!! I have to be able to depend on a gun that outlasts even me.

The common answer to most hardcore duck hunters is that they bought the gun and now they display the sticker on the back window of their truck. Let me just say this: tough hunts don't last, but tough guns do. That is why I shoot Beretta, and the fact that I would rather jump bare foot off a 6-foot step ladder into a 5 gallon bucket of porcupines than to shoot another waterfowl shotgun. I would challenge every waterfowl hunter to take the Xtreme challenge: go to your local gun dealer and shoot the knew Beretta A400 Xtreme and then tell me that your other gun is better. By the way this blog prohibits liars.

In closing, I just want to say that all duck and goose hunters work hard for the equipment they purchase and, like most hunters, not everyone can purchase a shotgun in today's market. However, I would much rather spend my hard-earned money on the best - and I mean the best - waterfowl shotgun EVER made than to go hunting like a bird dog trying to point in a field full of elephants. Again, I am a full believer that the new Beretta Xtreme is the best gun money can buy and I would not be caught dead without one in my hands.

Adam Brassfield is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. He can be reached on Facebook.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Concealment is the key

 
by Brad Wilson - Guest contributor


Many folks tend to believe that waterfowl hunting doesn’t require the concealment that other forms of hunting demand. Contrary to that popular belief, concealment could make or break that “once in a lifetime” hunt. Following are a few tactics that I use personally that could potentially help you in the field.
Most late season birds that make it down to the Gulf Coast have been shot at, called at, and have seen just about every type of J hook diver line decoy spread that could possibly be thrown at them. They have been what we like to call educated. Adam already touched on decoy set ups for Field Hunting Mallards, and he or I one will post a separate in depth blog about decoy placement in the near future, but you do need to understand that your spread can aide in your concealment tremendously.
Whether I am in a blind in a rice field or a boat blind in the salt marsh, one thing I will do is get out while everyone is set up in the blind, walk out about 50 yards and look at the set up. If the blind seems to stick out like a sore thumb or someone is not concealed in the blind, then one of 2 things has to happen:

A) the blind needs to be concealed better within the natural habitat in the field or marsh, or

B) we ditch the blind and opt for natural concealment from grass, tree stumps, or any other natural cover.

On many occasions, I had to trade the comfort for a cypress tree, in order to fool the birds into the spread. Don’t be afraid to change your concealment mid-morning if what you are currently doing is not working.
The next misconception is camouflage selection. Many guys think that if their shirt, pants, jacket, waders, socks, and underoos aren’t all the same pattern, they won’t kill ducks. I have guys in my crew that wear anything from the newest stuff to old school camo and hats. Facemasks are another tool that you may want to utilize in certain situations. Your main concern is to have your silhouette broken up. As long as you don’t look like one solid color to the bird then you should be fine. Be resourceful once again and use your natural surroundings to help in your concealment.
One thing that I normally see when I step out to survey my hunters is gun barrels. Your number one concern while hunting should be safety, so if someone is out in front of the blind, by all means have your gun barrel pointed up and away from others. While you are in an actual hunting situation, keep your gun barrel pointed out at the decoys, low, and away from everyone else. One thing my guys tend to practice is "no hands on the gun" until you are ready to “Cut 'Em” and the shot has been called. My personal preference for my Beretta A400 Xtreme was Max4 camo. One reason was the durability of the coating that Beretta uses and its ability to resist rust, which is a huge issue on the Gulf Coast. The other reason is the ability that I have to further conceal myself and my tools.
Remember: you can have the fanciest clothing, highest-end custom duck or goose call, and the best looking decoys on the market, but if you aren’t hidden well, the guy that is will be the one killing the birds. Concealment is 90% of the game so don’t hide from it!

Brad Wilson is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. He can be reached on Twitter or YouTube. You can also Subscribe here.

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Hunting out of Layout Boats

 
by Adam Brassfield - Pro Staff Contributor


In every duck hunting situation there is reason to use different methods. Some hunt out of a stationary blind, some out of boat blinds and some out of smaller techniques. My first thought is I have to be able to pull my Beretta A400 Xtreme up to my line of sight in one motion. This ensures that crazy drake is smacking the water. With that being said, hunting out of a layout boat is acceptable in most environments.

Now that I have all that proper language out of my system, let me break it down for you. I love layout boats especially ones made by Four Rivers. They have three models to choose from, depending on your needs, theyare super comfortable and I can carry all my decoys. They also have motor mounts on the back for a trolling motor or a small mud motor.



In total comfort I can blow on my duck call, control my dog and keep my Beretta Xtreme handy for the shot. I know what you are thinking: a lof of this proper language is killing me too. Bottom line is: I love this tactic in every situation except hunting in the Atlantic Ocean. Most people have never even tried hunting out of layout boats. Mainly because they think there is no way to be effective. This thought process in not logical. I understand to each his or her own, but I am all about killing ducks. To have to look at ducks landing in shallow water 200 yards from your blind or boat is torture. Do not accept anything but the best. That is of course why I shoot the Beretta Xtreme!

The next time you go hunting, be prepared to kill ducks where they are. Doing that out of a stationary blind or boat blind on a daily basis is extinct. Go get yourself a layout blind from Four Rivers and smoke them water turkeys.

For more information on layout blinds go to http://www.fourriverslayoutboats.com/and if you are not shooting a Beretta Xtreme just go take a look at the Xtreme product line.

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Gun Care

 
by Adam Brassfield - Pro Staff Contributor



Every hunting season, most hunters clean their gun once or twice. Some hunters only hunt on weekends, due to work schedules, some only hunt vacations, due to family obligations and, if you are like me, you hunt day in and day out seeking that thrill of smokin’ a greenhead.



I put my Beretta A400 Xtreme through hell, rain, sleet, snow, hurricane or just flat outflipping my boat over due to a village idiot in the front who can’t sit still. I can say that about one of my best friends who is on my pro staff. Great guy, but when God said “brains” he thought he said “Trains” and begin to scream “All Aboard!” He is about as useless as a pocket in your underwear. Anyway, that is why I love Beretta: because I can put those guns through anything and they will never let me down. Never!



There is, however, a pattern of events that I perform every morning before I go to thed uck blind. Prevention is the key here. I would advise you not to wait until your gun starts jamming to break it down, clean it or lube it. Again, prevention is the key. I never break down or clean my gun during the season. Some of you may disagree with that, but it is the truth. Every morning I open my action and spray it with TruRecoil. It makes it slicker than deer guts on a door knob.





Seriously, though, I put it on my Beretta every morning as a preventative. This gives me the confidence, no matter the conditions, that my gun is going to perform day in and day out without ever jamming, sticking or breaking down. This oil separates the moisture from the metal to give you that upper edge. Most other oils lie on top of the moisture and give the hardcore duck and goose hunter no protection. I use my Beretta Xtreme for everything… boat paddle, ice breaker,cattle prod and anything else you could imagine. It works!



Now: the next time you go hunting don’t go like a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat. Spray that gun down with the lubricant of your choice, and do it right. Success is often defined by 14 inches: the distance from your brain to your heart. For more information please visit my website www.hunters247waterfowl.com and find us on Facebook.

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