Monday, September 30, 2013

Hunt at High Tide

 Last Tuesday the call came from Ranney for a rail bird hunt on Wednesday afternoon.
 I cleared my schedule, made sure I had some steel #7's and got my Beretta cleaned and ready.
 It was a perfect day to be out on the Maurice river and in the rice meadows.

 Due the moon, it was an unusually good tide and we got in a great afternoon of challenging wing-shooting.

 At the end of the hunt we were treated to a beautiful sunset over the river and marsh.
Ranney also treated us to some ice cold beers. Days like this make it all worth it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Teal Season

The sunrise viewed from one of our duck blinds on September 14th. I wish I could bottle  the still and calm of these moments and take a long swig from that bottle mid-week while at the office.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Passing of a Great Pugilist

He started boxing in the Marines.He was all Marine Heavyweight champ and a Golden Glove champ.. He was a track star and a football stud in college.  He fought Ali 3 times and lost 2 of 3 on very close decisions. In their first tilt, Ken Norton broke Ali's jaw. He was fighter of the year in '77.This is a fighter who could punch and an all around athlete. He dabbled in film and was the star of the scandalous- at- the- time " Mandingo." He passed away today at the age of 70.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Philly Fighter

Danny "Swift" Garcia retained his title last night in an exciting bout against a tough opponent from Argentina. 
To this aficionado, this bout was far more entertaining than Mayweather v. Alvarez. Based on my geographical bias, I was thrilled to see Danny triumph.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rail Birds

 Normally if I am writing about rail birds, I am talking about the very rare and esoteric form of hunting where we chase migratory rails from ancient punt boats in the rice marshes of the Maurice river in Jersey.
 Today I refer to the term rail bird as it applies to racetrack patrons who hang on the rail watching the "Sport of Kings."

 It was our anniversary weekend. So the wife and I traveled east to Bay Head,NJ to enjoy the beautiful weather last weekend afforded. We relaxed on the beach most of the day Saturday and part of Sunday.
But a Sportsman and his bride crave a little action at some point. Plus, when you are in Bay Head you are a short drive to one of the nicest tracks on the East Coast short of Saratoga. Monmouth is not crowded this time of year and their meet is almost over. We washed the sand from our feet and headed to the track.
 Each Summer "The Haskell" runs at Monmouth: a grade 1 race with a huge purse. Each winning jockey/horse from this race is memorialized with a statue with a plaque giving details of the victory. Some of these statues are arranged in a nice grove just outside the paddock area.
 My wife and I headed to the paddock to pick our horse. We bet across the board on #5 in the 7th race
 Sure enough, this speedster went wire to wire and we cashed a nice ticket.
 The balance of the day was not as lucrative. We missed a trifecta by a nose and only cashed a a show ticket on another race. Regardless, the weather was perfect, the horses were beautiful and  there was no crowd to annoy us. The cocktails were easily acquired. A perfect ending to a great weekend for a couple of rail birds.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Classic Sportsman

Jonathan Sheppard to receive F. Ambrose Clark Award

Thursday, September 5th, 2013Jonathan Sheppard, a record-breaking horseman and a highly respected leader within the American Steeplechasing community, has been selected to receive the National Steeplechase Association’s prestigious F. Ambrose Clark Award. The award will be presented Nov. 22 at the National Steeplechase Museum in Camden, S.C.
“This is a great honor. There have been so many people who have put so much into steeplechasing, and I’m humbled to be among those receiving the F. Ambrose Clark Award,” Sheppard said.
Named for a legendary steeplechase horseman in the first half of the 20th century, the F. Ambrose Clark Award is presented periodically to those individuals who have been leaders in promoting, improving, and encouraging the growth and welfare of American Steeplechasing. The award was most recently awarded in 2007 to Austin A. Brown.
“Jonathan Sheppard exemplifies the finest virtues and values of American Steeplechasing,” said NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri. “As a horse trainer, he has no peer. He has trained young horsemen and sent them on to highly successful careers. He is the consummate sportsman and has contributed to the sport as an owner and breeder. And, he has provided consistent leadership for American Steeplechasing.”

(Reprinted from the National Steeplechase Association website.)

 I have seen Sheppard's horses race in countless steeplechase meets and even a few over the flat track. I was lucky enough to meet him briefly at Radnor several years ago. Not surprisingly, he was a warm and gracious man. It is nice to see that a man of his accomplishments is receiving the recognition he clearly deserves.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Spreading the Gospel

The other day I received a comment on a post from a Marine who is interested in getting involved in upland game and waterfowl hunting. I e-mailed in response to this comment and received this reply:

"Thanks for the e-mail.  Although currently stationed in North Carolina, I'm originally from Philly.  Any tips you can share would be greatly appreciated.

Very respectfully,

Captain, United States Marine Corps

Legal Assistance Attorney

I then replied with some suggestions about getting started on game preserves with release pheasants and chukkars. I also suggested checking at the Officers Club regarding waterfront land where the Captain is stationed to inquire about duck and goose hunting possibilities. I hope the young Captain is successful. He has the shotgun and hunting license squared he just needs the opportunity. I closed my e-mail by offering to personally guide him on a duck or goose hunt when he is home on leave this Winter. It seems my ramblings have reached a few souls out there.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013