Fifteen-year-old Liam becomes the fourth generation to shoot the Zurcher family’s heirloom Ranger shotgun.
“In my family, shotguns and fall mornings went together like pancakes and sausage,” says Cory Zurcher. This past autumn, Zurcher took his sons, 15-year-old Liam and 13-year-old Kohl, to a Pheasants Forever youth hunt in central Indiana. “My boys enjoyed shooting clays and learned not only about pheasant hunting but the hunting tradition,” Zurcher said.
The nearly 90 year old Ranger shotgun displays the hand crafted additions from Cory Zurcher’s grandfather.
The day capped off with each boy going to the field with a guide, a dog and dog handler after two planted birds. “As a parent, I watched from the clubhouse as the events unfolded, what an exciting thing. My oldest son was hunting with my grandfather’s 12 gauge Ranger.”
When his father passed away the previous summer, Cory was blessed to receive this shotgun. “I had long admired it for its history and beauty. The history of this gun is quite a story: when my grandfather was about 12-years-old, he sold a prized 4-H hog so he could purchase the Ranger from Sears, Roebuck & Company – he ordered it from the local catalog store. Shortly after receiving the gun he came down with the mumps and was in bed for quite a while, but he put the time to good use. Grandpa hand-checkered the stock and forearm slide, inlaid a maple checkerboard pattern in the stock, added some maple inlays on the bottom of the stock and as a final touch impressed two copper insignia – one with his name and the other his hometown – on each side of the stock.”
At the end of the youth hunt, the Zurcher’s took pictures and then Cory told his boys the story of the shotgun. “That Ranger is nearly 90 years old and has been used in the field for nearly nine decades. Tears filled my eyes as I told this story. My boys never met my grandpa and never hunted with my dad, but somehow I felt they were there with us in the field that day.”
Do you have a classic shotgun with a story to tell? Email a photo to Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.