Joseph Defourny
The Upland Almanac|Autumn 2020
Joseph Defourny
One of Belgium’s Finest Shotgun Makers: 20-gauge Bespoke Side-by-Side

If a boy can be said to have a bucket list, quail hunting was an item on mine. Or perhaps it was just a dream that arose from seeing Walt Disney’s The Biscuit Eater and reading Robert Ruark’s “The Old Man and the Boy” stories. At a very young age, I thought quail only lived in the South; I imagined they were hunted by the elite on plantations, with horse-drawn wagons to transport the pointing and retrieving dogs, the hunters on horseback and a brace of skilled, well-trained dogs on the ground accompanied by a professional handler. When a find was made, the hunter would dismount, retrieve his bespoke high-end double-barreled gun and walk-in for the covey rise. If a bird were downed, a pair of Boykin spaniels would be released to make the retrieve.

The bespoke gun (custom-made for a specific individual) was usually a side-by-side, one of London’s “Best,” or some American maker’s finest, displaying engraving; a piece of art that — were it on canvas — would be hung in a museum. This Defourny would fall into that league.


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Autumn 2020