Thursday, January 30, 2014

Andover Shop For Waterfowlers

 Many of the men's clothing and style bloggers gush  praise and sputter accolades about J. Press and the Andover Shop. The history and style and personal service provided by these stores endear them to customers. The characters that offer advice on fit and selection  and the goods they offer stand out in the prose of The Trad and Muffy and ADG and Guiseppe.
For those of us who try to spend more time in MaxHD camo than Brooks Brothers 3/2 roll, there are places like Smyrna Sporting Goods. At the waterfowl club we erroneously refer to the place as Smyrna Gun Shop. In terms of sporting goods, you ain't going to find any golf clubs, lacrosse sticks, baseball mitts or running suits or tennis gear. This is a store for hunters. They have shotguns, rifles, pistols, decoys, shooting vests, camo coats and shirts and hats. They have waders and and boots and blind bags and gun cases and rare ammunition like 10 Gauge 3 inch #2's. The guys who work here know their trade and are helpful in picking the right shotgun or set of decoys or pair of gloves. They know their guns and gear like the guys from the shops noted above know their oxford cloth or point collars or rep ties.

A Ducks Unlimited flag flies outside. The door is covered with stickers from Ducks Unlimited and Winchester and Remington and Sig Arms and Mad Dog Gear and Final Approach. When you open the door a bell jingles and the smell of gun oil and leather and canvas meets you. There are locals sitting around talking hunting. Brian is behind the counter. The floors are  wood polished by the boots of countless hunters and the creak reminds me of the sound in the  hardware store I went to on Saturday's with my old man. Your lab is always welcome and know one will glance twice if you drop in with camo face paint still smeared on your cheeks.The gun racks hold consignment guns and new offerings. The selection runs towards semi-auto 12 gauge waterfowl pieces but there are some nice doubles and over/unders.Brian has been selling gear and ammo to our members for many years and he is also the guy who takes care of our hunting licenses. After you are done fondling the guns you look at the photos people drop off of mallards and black ducks and woodies and geese taken from local   marshes and big bucks and pheasants taken in local fields and woods.You can buy a Coke or a candy bar or bag of chips to enjoy while you jaw with the guys about upcoming weather or seasons or tides.
I was in the market for a new waterfowl gun and of course took my business to this shop...no sales tax because it's Delaware and I prefer to give my business to the little local guy instead of Cabela's or Bass Pro for this type of purchase. I bought the above Beretta A300 Outlander and bagged a goose with same that very afternoon. Afterward on the way home the next day I stopped to show Brian the photo of me with the bird and he was thrilled.

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