The Virginia Sportsman is a lifestyle magazine that celebrates sporting life and culture. Since 2003, our publication has been an authentic voice of British sporting traditions. And thanks to our frequent contributing writers, editors and photographers, we’ve been able to convey a distinct lifestyle and heritage through a unique lens that is captured in these pages.
Our magazine’s content supports broad sporting interests—including those that carried over to the United States from the British Isles. Upland bird hunting is among those traditions, and perhaps nothing is more British than a driven pheasant shoot.
Rich in tradition and pageantry, the driven pheasant shoot offers some of the most challenging wing shooting hunters may encounter in a lifetime. The Roman army introduced pheasant to England because the men loved the delicious meat and feasted on it during their lavish banquets. But the arrival of the breech-loading shotgun in the mid-1800’s marked the beginning of the driven pheasant shoot that is still enjoyed by sportsmen and women today.
This issue’s cover feature is a photo essay by Editor-at-Large Eric Kallen, who visited the Preserve at Dundee to document a pheasant shoot in Hanover, Virginia. As you will see in his photography, the tradition is alive and well in the Commonwealth, and the preserve and its participants honored the rituals and birds with a Virginia twist on outerwear, fare and spirits.
In similar “fashion,” Radcliff Menge, founder of the sporting-apparel brand Tom Beckbe, put his own inventive twist on the original waxed-cotton hunting jacket created by John Barbour, a Scot who introduced the Barbour brand in 1894. Menge was raised and educated in Virginia and grew up hunting and fishing in the Tensaw Delta of the Tombigbee River in South Alabama. He turned to his roots when he designed the Tensaw, a transitional jacket well suited for city and country life.
Weatherproof and durable, the Tensaw offers a classic fit with durable field functionality, and Menge artfully lined his creation with cotton that matches the vibrant color and earth tone of Alabama red clay found along the Tombigbee. Tom Beckbe is evolving to address the needs of people with other sporting interests, including waterfowl hunting, fly fishing and equestrian pursuits.
There’s a lot more packed into our Spring 2023 issue, including “Becoming a Hunter” by Michael Tuminaro, a Registered Maine Guide who witnessed his 12-year-old son Noah take his first buck, an eight-point, 190-pound monarch. Tuminaro writes that it’s difficult to get kids outdoors and away from the instant gratification of video games, but when you can pull it off, it’s a terrific feeling to enjoy the sporting life with your children.
Thank you for reading our magazine. I hope you get outside and enjoy the spring season.
Cover Photo: Joe Shields wears the Tensaw Jacket by Tom Beckbe on a spring-like afternoon with Doc in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Photo by Eric Kallen