This past Sunday I was able to accomplish what I set out to do when I started this blog, I went on a hunt in true broke bespoke fashion. It was a great experience that I am happy to be able to share with you here.
The morning started off right when our son decided to sleep for a solid eight hours straight the night before. We were able to wake fully rested and relax while enjoying a nice cup of coffee feeling more human than we normally do. After a pleasant walk along the trail near our house and taking Owen for his swimming lessons I was able to take a bit of time to get ready for my afternoon hunt.
Picking an outfit I thought was worthy of a broke bespoke hunter proved more challenging than I thought. After several failed attempts to get the look I was going for to be cohesive I enlisted the fashionable eye of my wife Kelly to give me a hand. While I had imagined being able to get it right by myself, I was glad I asked for help because I feel the final ensemble really captured the essence of a broke bespoke hunter.
Blue long sleeve dress shirt – previously owned ($20 winners)
Dark blue jeans (straight stretch) – previously owned ($35 Gap outlet)
Black leather combat boots – previously owned ($35-75 used from Army Surplus stores)
Wool vest – previously owned Powder River Outfitters ($90 available online)
Timex gold/brown watch – previously owned ($140-150 at The Bay)
Wool Tie – previously owned Campbell of Argyll Clan Tartan pattern ($30-$50 available online)
Wool hat – Penguin brand $16 at Winners
Canvas bag – previously owned (available at army surplus stores for $10-$30)
So the total cost of the outfit for items I didn’t already own was $16. But If you wanted to put this together from scratch you’d be looking at around $350, which for a broke bespoke hunter I wouldn’t recommend. If you want to emulate it just use what’s in your closet and dress it up a little with items from the Salvation Army or Value Village.
The clothes I chose were incredibly comfortable to wear and the vest provided just enough warmth on what was a very nice fall afternoon. I walked a total of about 5 miles and never once was bothered by the collar, tie or hat. It really did make the hunt seem more special and unique.
Certainly the best part of dressing up to go hunting were the reactions I got from the landowners when I stopped to ask permission to hunt on their property. I must have talked to at least seven people and more half gave me the once over from hat to shoes with a sceptical eye like I was really there to sell them something instead of asking permission to hunt. None of them actually mustered the courage to ask me about my clothes, I’m sure they mostly just wanted the strange yet snappy dressed fellow off their doorstep. It had me laughing out loud in the car a couple of times.
While the clothes I was wearing were a large part of the ensemble, the gun I was carrying was an equally important factor. To complete the look for this, my first broke bespoke hunt, I decided I would field my over under Italian 20 gauge shotgun.
I picked this beauty up for $300 and although cosmetically it has a few issues including; a broken butt plate, a chip out of the stock, some dents in the wood and minor rust flecks on the exterior of the barrels it offered incredible value for light handy bird gun and would be an easy refinishing project. The refinishing will be a fun project I will tackle over the winter and plan cover in a blog article as well.
The gun as I mentioned is Italian and imported by ARMSPORT INC out of Miami sometime in the early 1990’s. The top barrel on this gun has “A.V Marocciui – Made in Italy” inscribed on it and it has been difficult to find much information on this maker.
What I do know is that it is choked Full/Full meaning I can’t shoot steel shot through it for waterfowl hunting unless I have a gunsmith open up the chokes. I don’t particularly mind because this will always be an upland gun. It has 26″ ribbed barrels which make it easy to aim and easy to point. It shoulders and swings nicely and it locks up tight with no play in the action whatsoever. There is a tang safety but no barrel selector as some models have and the single trigger fires the bottom barrel first. A very nice feature of this gun that it has ejectors that will only eject the shells that have been fired otherwise they function as extractors. It was a joy to carry as it is quite light and well balanced.
Unfortunately while I did cover a lot of ground I didn’t find any game birds to shoot. Thankfully I did cross paths with two magpies in a bluff of birch trees and was able to properly test/blood my new shotgun. The first magpie was on a branch and lifted off just as I fired killing it with authority. I was surprised by how very light the recoil was from the 2 3/4″ #7 shell and I was able to swing with next to no disturbance onto the second magpie and drop it handily. The ejectors spit out both shells perfectly when I cracked the action and I was reloaded and ready to go in no time flat.
By the time I walked back to the car from the tree bluff it was time to go home so I wasn’t’ able to fire any more than the two rounds from the gun. But the two I did fired along with the way it handled and carried all day has ensured it a permanent place on my gun wall and many more trips for upland in the future.
Overall I would call my first broke bespoke hunt a resounding success and it truly made my hunt feel more like an occasion. I can’t wait to do it again and hope you’ll give it a go as well.
All the best,