A journey into the timeless world of grouse and woodcock hunting through a legacy shotgun.
For Joel Penkala, host of the Gun Room Podcast, the idea of a legacy shotgun has personally come alive through the pages of ruffed grouse hunting classics. At its core, it is simply the shotgun that is truly worthy of being passed down from one generation to the next, a proven and treasured implement that will continue to not only meet but will exceed the demands of upland covers across time and space.
I was flipping through a George Bird Evans book and in the photos in the center of the book, there are things that don’t change. The only thing that does change is the clothing people wear. The dogs, the guns, and the birds are all still the same . . .
Organic to the world that ruffed grouse and woodcock hunting have become known for is a love for double guns. It’s a switch many of us will take over the course of our hunting journeys. It ranges from our love for American doubles on to the perfection and influence of European shotguns. In this case, Joel dives deep into the Spanish-made AYA Shotguns over the course of a year.
Traveling from Spain to Pineridge Grouse Camp in Minnesota, Joel learns about the legacy of AYA shotguns along with sharing his knowledge of fine gunmaking and personal nostalgia for the grouse woods. Further than that, he muses on how important it is for him to pass this all on to generations to come.
Joel mused on the path that brought him to where he is now in the article Making of a Bird Hunter in the Fall 2019 issue of Project Upland Magazine, venturing from his childhood in New Jersey to his adventures out West with his father. He now owns English setters as well as vintage shotguns, and spends his spare time chasing upland game.
This is a legacy we can pass we just have to make it so. . .
It’s important to remember that for any of these traditions to continue, the future of the ruffed grouse and woodcock are at the very foundation of this lifestyle. With the rapid decline in grouse populations, the closing of seasons in such states as Joel’s New Jersey, the spread of West Nile, and the effects of climate change on critical weather patterns, the need for habitat, lobbying, and education has become a critical turning point for this generation. We must act before all of this is too late. And for that we always urge anyone who cares about the future of these birds to join the Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society.
Presented by AYA Shotguns and the Ruffed Grouse Society
A.J. DeRosa founded Project Upland in 2014 as an excuse to go hunting more often (and it worked). A New England native, he grew up hunting and has spent over 35 years in pursuit of big and small game species across three continents. He has a passion for side-by-side shotguns, inspiring him to travel the world to meet the people and places from which they come. Looking to turn his passion into inspiration for others, AJ was first published in 2004 and went on to write his first book The Urban Deer Complex in 2014. He soon discovered a love for filmmaking, particularly the challenge of capturing ruffed grouse with a camera, which led to the award-winning Project Upland film series. AJ's love for all things wild has caused him to advocate on the federal and state levels to promote and expand conservation policy, habitat funding, and upland game bird awareness. He currently serves as the Strafford County New Hampshire Fish & Game Commissioner in order to give back to his community and to further the mission of the agency. When those hunting excuses are in play, you can find him wandering behind his Wirehaired Pointing Griffon in the mountains of New England and anywhere else the birds take them.