by Shawn Skipper - Monday, December 1, 2014
Bird hunters and target shooters alike were introduced to the next generation of Benelli shotguns earlier this year, with the announcement of the company's new Ethos model. Comprised of some of Benelli's most successful innovations, both old and new, the Ethos was rated highly by NRA Publications Editorial Director John Zent and American Rifleman's Editor in Chief, Mark Keefe.
To honor the new gun's debut, Benelli decided to put the Ethos on tour. The plan? Have one shotgun visit all 50 states—and be put to some sort of sporting use in each of them—before SHOT Show 2015. Oh, and there would be no cleaning of firearm, either, hence the tour's "50 Weeks, 50 States, 2500 Shots, No Cleaning" tagline.
Being a native of Delaware, I was tapped to handle The First State's leg of the tour. Armed with the Ethos and a box of Federal Premium's Black Cloud FS Steel Snow Goose load, I journeyed home to my home state last week with plans to knock a few birds out of the sky.
The Ethos and I didn't just make it to Delaware in time for waterfowl season—we made it in time for opening day. My party and I rose before 4 a.m. and reported to a field-based blind that my family has long used, located in Smyrna, Del.—just shy of an hour north of our hometown, Milton. Surrounding ourselves largely with Canada goose silhouettes, we readied ourselves for an unseasonably warm opener. There were showers throughout the hunt, and the rising sun brought temperature above 70 degrees. The early morning brought little shooting—from us or from nearby hunters. Three ducks buzzed us early, prompting some of my companions to raise their guns, but I didn't let the Ethos loose just yet.
Finally, around 9:30, we spotted a pair of Canada geese, coming in hard and fast. These two, at least, appeared willing to decoy. The atmosphere was tense, at least for me—I only had the Ethos for a day, and I hadn't fired it yet. I needed these birds.
Fortunately, fate favored me—our two birds decoyed beautifully, and the shot was called. Moments later, the pair had fallen to the ground, where they'd be retrieved shortly by the family Golden Retriever, Tank. One had been felled by the Ethos, fulfilling my obligation and ensuring that Delaware had done its part for the tour.
Not long after that, we called it a morning and climbed out of the blind. There have been better openers, yes—but there have been worse ones, too. And you can't harvest any waterfowl from the couch.
The next day, I packed the Ethos up and shipped it along to its next stop—Missouri. The tour marches on. You can follow it at AmericasEthos.BenelliUSA.com.
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