In the meantime, here is part of an article Colonel Smoothbore wrote back in September of 2016:
My dad had little interest in shotgunning when I was very young. Our hunting season only consisted of the general big game season. Then when I was about 9 years old and at the urging of friends and relatives, he decided to try bird hunting. He was hooked, and as a tag along youngster, so was I. It would be three more long years before I would be able to field a shotgun and join in the early fall fun. A while back I wrote of my first bird, a sharp-tailed grouse taken with my little Stevens 20 gauge, a day of vividly wonderful memories that I greatly revere.
After suffering serious health issues, Dad gave me his Browning Sweet Sixteen Auto 5 many decades ago. Over the years old “Sweet” and I took a lot of game birds; huns, grouse, ducks, and even a few geese fell to the lovely little semi-auto.
Thirty-one years ago I took my 10 month old springer pup Spot on his first hunt. He, like most springers, had unbelievable energy and drive. Little did I know that day that Spot would be the greatest gun dog I would ever have the honor to hunt over. He was steadfast, determined, and the best hunting partner I ever had. We were a team, and we were also dear friends. On that first day so long ago, a little ruff grouse flushed, “Sweet” spoke, and Spot got his first bird. While countless other birds came to Spot and me, I’ll always cherish the memory of that little springer prancing proudly as he retrieved his first bird.