Custom Carved Shotgun – A Quail Trio

Remington 870 shotgun with Carved Gambel’s Quail


    This shotgun was a wife’s birthday gift for her husband.   She bought him a new Remington 870 pump shotgun with a laminated wood stock.   She wanted a Quail carved in the buttstock and a birthday wish carved in the opposite side.    I thought it looked more natural to carve a Quail Trio.   She agreed and the design was set. 


     The Quail species I carved in the Gunstock was the Gambel’s Quail.   They is by far the most common of the three native Quail species here in Arizona.   You can find Gambel’s in your backyard around here.   I once found my dog on-point in the backyard when a Quail was sitting on top of my eight foot concrete block fence.    He didn’t seem to understand we couldn’t hunt in the backyard…..


    The other two Quail species are the Scaled Quail and the Mearn’s Quail shown below.  The Mearn’sand the Scaled Quail are not nearly as common as the Gambel’s Quail.   They are found in only specific, harsh (full of cactus!) desert areas in Arizona.  


   The Quail Trio I carved was carved walking  and not in flight.  Anyone who has seen or hunted Gambel’s Quail, or “Gamblers” as many hunters call them here,  know that this species of Quail would rather run than fly.   They just run for the thickest cover (or cactus!) and if the covey of birds do bust out and fly, they all go in different directions trying to confuse you.  You know what?  It works !!   Sometimes they never fly and you just lose them in the brush, unless you have a good bird dog.   The carving was done in an inlaid style.  Just the birds were carved deep into the wood.    


      This is the exact opposite of a carving done in relief style with the background carved deeper than the main focal point (birds or animals) of the carving.   I tend to do more relief carving than inlaid carving, but a laminate gunstock does not work as well with true relief carving because the laminate lines usually show through and take away from the backround artwork.   Staining with several colors is requires to keep your birds or big game animals from having unwanted stripes.  As I have mentioned in previous articles, I use  oil paints deluted with mineral spirits as wood stains and use several coats to reach the desired tones.


       This will definitely be a conversation starter out in the field!   If you have any questions about this type of carving, drop me an email.   Your dog pointing a Quail, Pheasant, Partridge, Grouse, Ptarmigan or any other upland game bird is a good look for a shotgun too.


Thanks for stoppin’ by…..


Lance Larson