Chances are if you don’t even know how to say “Arrizabalaga,” you’ll probably never own one. And that’s okay by most hunters, for whom the very idea of paying $15,000 for a shotgun sounds a little…well, scatterbrained. Moving higher up the chain of fine guns, most of us have never so much as laid eyes on an English-made Purdy, Boss or Holland & Holland. Even so, if you’ve ever wondered who in the world would shell out $100,000 for a top-quality “London Best,” you might also be curious to know just where these folks hunt with their guns.
For the cost of a Ford F-150–or in some cases the cost of the average single-family home–you can venture across the Atlantic, where, as they say in London, the gunning is “veddy, veddy civilized.” Lots of tweed, waxed cotton, pomp and circumstance. And since driven shooting is the norm over there, the birds–thousands of birds–all come to you.
Fine food. Attentive staffs. Elegant accommodations. (One venue in Scotland lets you bunk in your very own castle and includes your own private secretary.) These high-end excursions appeal not only to heads of state, royalty and corporate barons with a net worth higher than the entire GDP of Djibouti; they are also perfectly suited for well-heeled couples in which one spouse does not hunt.
So, if it helps, think of them as exotic vacations with a lot of bird shooting mixed in. And don’t forget: In some cases the sticker price only gets you in the door. There are also plane tickets (first-class, of course) and, in some cases, shells to buy; plus tips for your loader and “pickers-up” (another word for the little people in the field whose sole purpose is to dutifully collect any bird you happen to down).–Bob Butz
For more information, go to www.outdoorlife.com/news/snapshots
|The Hunt||The Flight*||Ammo||Tips||Total|
|Denmark Four-day driven pheasant shooting (based on 500-bird limit per day): $14,000||First-class R.T. NYC to Copenhagen: $8,000||**Five cases 12-gauge Bismuth: $750||Included||$22,750Per gun|
|Czech Republic Three-day driven pheasant shooting (based on 4,000 birds): $14,000||First-class R.T. NYC to Prague: $7,000||Included||Included||$21,000 Per gun|
|Scotland Two-day driven pheasant shooting (based on 800 birds): $10,000||First-class R.T. NYC to Glasgow: $11,260||Included||Included||$21,260 Per gun|
|Spain Driven red-legged partridge shooting (based on 1,800 birds per day for 6 guns): $79,000||First-class R.T. NYC to Madrid for 6: $30,000||Included||$7,900 (10% of hunt cost)||$116,900 For 6 guns|
|***South Africa Rovos Rail bird-shooting safari (includes 1 shooter and 1 non-hunter): $23,500||First-class R.T. NYC to Johannesburg for 2: $20,000||Shotshells (500 rounds, $14 per box of 25): $280||$600 ($100 per day)||$44,380 1 shooter, 1 non-hunter|
|*All air fares are approximate. **Denmark law requires gunners to use nontoxic shot. Steel shotshells are included in the cost of the hunt. ***Includes six days of travel (four days of hunting) through South Africa onboard an elegant, privately chartered passenger train. Species hunted: francolins, quail, ducks and geese.|