There is a happy ending to a story that began Dec. 1, 1948, when beloved outdoor writer and legendary waterfowl hunter (apparently you can be both) Nash Buckingham accidentally drove off without his custom shotgun, "Bo Whoop." It would be 58 years before the gun Phil Bourjaily has described as "probably the most famous waterfowl gun ever" would be seen again.
In 2006, the story of the gun's travels came out. Wes Dillon, firearms sales coordinator for James D. Julia Inc., said, "According to the consignor [who hails from Georgia], this gun was bought by his grandfather with a broken stock for $50 in the 1950s and was passed down through the family to him. The consignor decided in 2006 to have the broken stock remedied and took it to a competent gunsmith for restocking. The stockmaker, seeing Buckingham's and Becker's names on the barrels, alerted the consignor to the importance of the gun."
"Bo Whoop" sold at auction for $201,250 (inluding the buyer's premium) to Hal Howard Jr., whose godfather was none other than Nash Buckingham! Howard Sr. was a close personal friend of Buckingham and he is mentioned inat least a dozenofBuckingham's hunting stories.
Howard plans todonate "Bo Whoop" to Ducks Unlimited, and a formal presentation will take place at DU's 73rd national convention next month in Dallas. It will be displayed at the DU headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., alongside "Bo Whoop Two," which Buckingham had made after the original's disappearance. Aside from the gun ending up inmy own modest collection, I can't think of a more fitting end to the Bo Whoop saga.
"Bo Whoop" is a 12-gauge HE grade A.H. Super Fox custom-made for Buckingham in 1927 by world-renowned gunsmith Burt Becker of Philadelphia.Designed as a heavy, long-range duck gun, the 12-gauge weighs 9 1/2 pounds. Its32-inch barrels are bored full and full and tweaked for Buckingham's preferred duck load of 3-inch, No. 4s.