In collaboration with two of the world’s greatest gunmaking artisans, Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy has commissioned a first-of-its-kind commemorative shotgun that will be used to spearhead funding for the Tallahassee-based organization’s wild quail research efforts for 2014.
The “Tall Timbers Bobwhite Gun” is a best-quality 20-gauge over/under built by Luciano Bosis, widely regarded as one of Italy’s finest bespoke gunmakers. Stefano Pedretti, a master engraver famed for his realistic game scenes, has engraved it with images of bobwhite in native habitat surrounded by English scroll. The pair has offered the gun to Tall Timbers at less than cost, as part of their commitment to help raise funds for game bird conservation in America.
Tall Timbers offered this gun for sale as part of a package that included a donated once-in-a-lifetime wild quail hunt on a special Red Hills plantation. Profits from sale are earmarked for the conservation organization’s quail research and conservation programs.
“The Tall Timbers Gun No. 1 is absolutely stunning and lively in the hands as well – just right for a wild bobwhite flush. We are so proud that such a fine shotgun bears Tall Timbers name, similar to how Luciano and Stefano seek to be the best in their craft, we seek to provide the best research-based information in quail management and conservation,” said Dr. Bill Palmer, president and CEO of Tall Timbers Research, Inc. “I have always been a “best gun” aficionado, so to have one of the greatest gunmakers team up with a best engraver, to design a gun to support Tall Timbers quail conservation across the Southeast was incredibly rewarding and effective.”
Tall Timbers Research Station was founded in 1958, by Henry L. Beadel, the owner of Tall Timbers Plantation, at the behest of his friend naturalist and ornithologist Herbert Stoddard, as a research station to study the effects of fire on plant and animal communities in the southern pine ecosystem. Stoddard’s recommendations formed the backbone for wild quail management in the Southeast for much of the twentieth century.
Under Palmer’s auspices, Tall Timbers’ recommended management practices have been advanced and modified in recent decades, and today the private quail plantations in the region enjoy wild bobwhite populations that exceed those of the best years in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—an astounding contrast to the rest of the Southeast, where wild bobwhite populations have plummeted more than 95 percent over the last half century.
“The habitat around Tallahassee, Thomasville and Albany are the last bastions of healthy wild bobwhite populations in the Southeast,” Palmer said, “and we’ve proved we can bring bobwhites back from the brink. Our goal at Tall Timbers is to spread our research knowledge to landowners throughout the Southeast and to provide a model for agencies to implement effective management strategies on public lands. There’s a huge opportunity to help wild quail recover. ”
Luciano Bosis handcrafts about 20 guns per year, many in excess of $100,000 each. Stefano Pedretti—son of famed engraver Giancarlo Pedretti—is arguably Italy’s greatest exponent of realistic game scenes executed with the bulino engraving technique—a method of cutting hundreds of thousands of tiny lines and dots in the metal to create incredible detail and life-like three-dimensional images. Pedretti is an avid quail hunter who has pursued wild bobwhite from South Georgia to Texas.
To oversee the project, Palmer enlisted the assistance of author and fine-gun authority Vic Venters, as well as Elena Micheli-Lamboy, the primary translator to the Italian gun trade and co-author of four books on Italian master engravers, including Giancarlo and Stefano Pedretti: Master Engravers.
This winter, Pedretti will join Venters and the Tall Timbers staff for a reception and showing at Kevin’s in Thomasville, GA (www.kevinsguns.com), date to be announced.
For more information about Tall Timbers and Gun No. 2, contact Dr. Bill Palmer at Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy, firstname.lastname@example.org; visit the website at www.talltimbers.org. For high resolution photos of Tall Timbers Gun No. 1, contact Rose Rodriguez, email@example.com or 850.893.4153, x258.
Images courtesy Tall Timbers