May 9, 2008
Hey Mike: I wanted to share a story about a special young girl from SD. Her name is Courtney and she is really getting it done this season. She shot her first antelope ever from a ground blind at 18 yards with a bow in late September. Two weeks later she shot her first rifle antelope--90 yards and on public land that she and her dad had scouted. Notice the shot placement on the buck. For a girl who had never fired a gun at a live animal—center-punched him in the shoulder.
The rifle buck measured almost 13”. Quite a trophy for any hunter—Courtney is 11 years old!
She is the daughter of my good friend Tom, a lifelong friend and hunting buddy. He and his father got me into hunting since nobody in my family hunted. Tom has been teaching Courtney how to hunt and fish since she was in diapers. She is a natural with a bow and apparently with a rifle as well.
Courtney is a joy to have in camp with us. She routinely out-fishes the guys and... [ Read Full Post ]
I was at the range the other day, mounting a scope on a rifle, when I started talking to a deer hunter next to me about eye relief. It didn’t take long for us to start trading stories about eyebrow cuts. He told me that years ago he inherited his grandfather’s Model 37 equipped with a scope that had only three inches of eye relief.
Obviously, his grandfather knew how to use it, but the first time this guy shot the gun--at that time he used only iron sights on his slug gun--the scope slammed into his eyebrow and opened up a nasty cut. Did he get any sympathy from his deer camp buddies? Nope. Just peals of laughter.
Years ago I was trying to fit a bargain-basement scope onto a new .270. No matter how much I fiddled with it, the scope didn’t quite provide enough eye relief. But because I didn’t want to spend any more money--or admit I bought the wrong scope--I pronounced the fit correct and pulled the trigger. Next thing I know, blood is pouring down my face. But did I call it a day? No. I decided I was going to make that scope fit. I... [ Read Full Post ]
Where do drivers have the highest odds of hitting a deer with their vehicles? According to data released today by the State Farm Insurance Company, it’s West Virginia, where a driver’s chances of hitting a whitetail in the next 12 months are one in 57.
According to the company’s deer claims data from the last half of 2006 and the first half of 2007, combined with state motor vehicle registration numbers from the Federal Highway Administration, State Farm confirms that The Mountain State is number one—with a bumper!
Coming in at number two is Michigan, where the likelihood of a specific vehicle striking a deer in next year is 1 in 86. Rounding out the top five are Wisconsin at 1 in 99; Pennsylvania with 1 in 100; and Iowa, 1 in 109.
The bottom half of the top ten consists of Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota.
The state where motorists are least likely to smack a deer is Hawaii.
On the accompanying map, high-risk states are colored red, medium risk states are yellow, and low-risk states are green.
If you think like a racing handicapper, State... [ Read Full Post ]
In an industry made up of largely middle-class, middle-aged white men with a typically conservative bent and equally conservative, yet predictable look—khaki pants or jeans and flannel, Oxford or golf shirts depending on the weather or setting—Duck Commander Phil Robertson and his Duckmen really stand out. With long, wild hair and even more amazingly ZZ Top-like beards, these boys make the Geico cavemen look like clerks at a Birkenstock's Outlet. Put them behind the business end of a shotgun in their beloved Louisiana swamps and they bring duck hunting action to DVD like nobody else.
It's this look of untamed wildness that has made Duck Commander one of the most recognized brands in waterfowling. And if Willie Robertson has his way, it may soon be one of the most recognized looks in all of hunting.
Willie, a Duckman and son of the elder Robertson who founded Duck Commander in 1973, was in New York City last week with his lovely wife Korie to share the secret behind the beards and to tout his latest venture, Buck Commander.
Sitting in one of OL's... [ Read Full Post ]
The “psycho in the woods” is one of the most enduring (and clichéd) movie plot devices employed by Hollywood. Usually the people who meet Mr. Psycho are in the act of transgressing against societal norms (the college-boy term for behaving badly) when the chainsaw gets fired up—teenagers indulging in drink and nudity is a favorite. This is why once you look beyond the blood and gore most horror flicks are really just prissy morality tales. Serves the little sex maniacs right. (Cue the wood chipper.)
Well, this formula is being applied to hunters this time in the film Trigger Man, which claims to be based on true events. Now I haven’t seen the film yet, which is in limited release, and I’m not sure I will, though it is getting some good reviews.
A synopsis of the plot says it is the story of three old friends from New York City who travel down to Wilmington Delaware (at 7:04 a.m. to be exact) for “a day long hunting (sic) excursion.” During the trip, “the hunters become the hunted.” [ Read Full Post ]
Twenty-two-year-old Casey Heine may well have already peaked as a bowhunter. But that’s only because of what the Beaver Dam, Wis., man accomplished on the evening of Sept. 28 when he arrowed the biggest deer of his life—a massive 35-point buck! It’s a feat that he will likely never repeat as few hunters ever get to even see, much less shoot, a buck with so many points.
Heine told the local Daily Citizen that he was close to being run off of his stand by mosquitoes that afternoon, but by 6:30 p.m. he had his eye on a doe and fawn that he hoped would step from nearby brush. Suddenly, he heard something running along the fence line that bordered a bean field near his stand.
“I knew it was a nice buck,” Heine told the paper. “However, I only glanced at the horns once or twice while it was running toward me.” The monster, with a 4-point, cut behind the hunter’s stand and was heading toward the marsh where the doe and fawn were when Heine bleated with his... [ Read Full Post ]
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is reporting that some deer hunters are apparently playing loose with the state’s “earn-a-buck” program rules in order to acquire a tag allowing them to shoot a whitetail buck.
And they’re using road-killed does to facilitate their deceitful act.
For the past several hunting seasons, the Wisconsin DNR has operated a hunter incentive program aimed at reducing excessive whitetail doe populations in certain regions of the state. In selected units, a hunter must first shoot and check-in a doe in order to qualify for a buck tag.
Tags are issued directly to the qualifying hunter at the state-authorized deer-registration stations. Hunters who shot and checked a single doe in 2006 automatically qualify for a buck sticker in 2007.
On paper, the earn-a-buck (EAB) program sounds like a sure winner, right?
Well, the DNR evidently received reports from some of the state’s deer registries that they have seen a few does brought in that appear... [ Read Full Post ]
I was exchanging e-mails the other day with Chris Ellis, who does p.r. for Timney Triggers. I’ve hunted with Chris, and during lunch breaks we often ended up talking about accuracy. Given that deer season will soon kick into high gear around the country I’d like to offer you his thoughts on deer rifle accuracy.
“1. Make sure the scope bases and rings are tight. I’ve seen shooters blame the scope, the rifle, or the ammo for poor shooting when, in fact, a loose mount was the culprit. If the scope moves during recoil or shifts while you travel in a truck, plane or ATV, the point of impact will shift. And that causes a miss. This just might be the most overlooked part of the accuracy equation, but it’s the simplest to check. [ Read Full Post ]
As recently as a decade ago sightings of Nessie, the famed monster of Scotland’s deepest freshwater loch, ranged into the high teens every year, though still nothing to match those claimed during the runaway hallucinogenic ‘60’s and 70’s. Sadly, in 2006, the creature was reportedly seen but three times, and thus far in 2007 only twice. Is Nessie dead? Were there other like beasties in Loch Ness responsible for monster reports that have also passed on to that big pond in the sky?
I say sadly because not only is Nessie responsible for bringing an estimated $12 million annually to the economy of Scotland’s Highlands through tourist trade, but also because there’s a certain idiosyncrasy in our makeup that needs myths.
One of the more telling technological blows to the legend landed in 1987 with Operation Deepscan. Lowrance sonars (fish finders) were fitted onto 19 cruisers that were followed by another boat sporting a Simrad Scanning sonar to sweep the loch with a sonar curtain—one end to the other. Hundreds of international reporters and TV crews were present. Hotels were filled.... [ Read Full Post ]
Dan Siudut, a trapper from Brentwood, New Hampshire, has captured hundreds of nuisance animals as a licensed wildlife control business proprietor, but even the experienced critter-catcher was in awe when he nabbed a beaver built like an NFL linebacker last week.
In fact, he caught a pair of enormous tree-chewing dam-builders with a combined weight of 153 pounds!
In responding to a call to remove beavers that kept chewing through a woman’s electric fence around a backyard pond, Siudut used submerged, conibear-type traps to catch 93-pound and 60-pound buck-toothed mammals.
That's right--93 pounds!
We can only imagine the two of them swimming together caused a wake like a river barge. (Photo by Eric Parry, North Andover Eagle-Tribune)
The trapper didn’t know offhand if he’d caught a record animal approaching the 100-pound mark, but he knew it was one humongous Castor Canadensis.
“It’s just obnoxious how funny and huge this thing is,” Siudut told reporter Eric Parry, writing for the North Andover (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune. “I didn’t even charge the woman for these because they’re so big.”
The professional trapper said he normally charges $50 for his services, sometimes more for coyote and... [ Read Full Post ]
“You probably don’t even know the bluegill’s Latin name, which is Lepomis macrochrisus. I don’t care what its Latin name is either, but I quote it to shame those who can Latinize a whole batch of trout-stream flies but feel a bluegill is beneath their dignity.”
“Panfish Get No Respect”
Ridge Runners and Swamp Rats, 1983 [ Read Full Post ]
Today’s challenge is to come up with ideas for “reasonable” gun control. We know that anti-gunners are always braying about the need for “reasonable” restrictions on our firearms in order to create a crime-free society. Restrictions like getting rid of those nasty barrel shrouds, those nasty .50 caliber projectiles, those nasty Saturday Night Specials, those nasty…well, you get the point.
The inspiration for this exercise is this post over at Of Arms & The Law about the alarm over the muzzleloader “loophole” in New York State.
Here are my two suggestions:
In the spirit of recent news out of California, I vote for mandatory micro-stamping on all bullet molds. You know, to track crooks who like to “roll their own.” (Lee Precision, I’m putting you on notice!)
My other proposal is for mandatory tattooing of all gun owners. This law would require that we put the serial numbers of all our guns on our forearms. This regulation should appeal to history buffs.
What other “reasonable” gun laws should we put on the books? Your turn.
John Snow [ Read Full Post ]
My first rifle was my grandfather’s Remington Model 510 Targetmaster, as plain and perfect a gun as a 10-year-old could want or deserve. Though I later corrupted it by crudely mounting a $15 scope on its slim receiver, it had all the elements of a first gun: reliable, simple and capable of holding only one precious round.
That gun taught me about restraint, about judging distance and making a single shot count on squirrels, rabbits, dirt clods and tin cans.
This fall I’ve reconnected with my single-shot tradition, hunting with one-shot rifles on a pair of antelope hunts. While firepower can be an asset on any big-game hunt, I really didn’t need a backup round. A missed first shot on a West Texas pronghorn didn’t flare the buck, and I was able to slip another .308 cartridge into the chamber of the Merkel K1 and drop him at more than 300 yards.
Then last week I killed a dandy Montana antelope (pictured) with a single 85-yard shot from my Ruger Number 1 in .243.
Both guns are elegant pieces of work and while the Number 1 has nearly two pounds on the... [ Read Full Post ]
Last month I wrote about a bill that had been placed before Governor Schwarzenegger of California mandating that hunters must use non-toxic bullets when hunting in areas inhabited by condors. Now, it’s reported that Governor Schwarzenegger has signed the bill.
According to Safari Club International, “The law, called the Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act (introduced by Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara), usurps some of the authority of the State Fish and Game Commission to regulate hunting in the State. The purported purpose of the Act is to protect endangered condors from lead ingestion. The Act mandates non-lead ammunition for big-game and coyote hunting in condor range. The Act defines condor range in an overbroad fashion using deer zones and highways in an area of south and central California.”
But worse than the very broad range this act effects is that it “requires completely lead-free ammunition, which does not currently exist, according to testimony given to the Commission.” By the way, according to SCI, “violations of the Act can result in fines of up to $5,000.” [ Read Full Post ]
All this talk about first guns has me thinking that it is time for the Gun Shots regulars to pony up: show us your first guns, your favorite deer guns, your newest guns or any guns at all. Send your pics to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll run them in a photo gallery here and on outdoorlife.com. Be sure to tell us the story behind your firearm.
This is my daughter’s first gun (pictured)—a tricked out Ruger 10/22 that has been pimped out big time by Tom Hines at Tactical Solutions and by the Leupold Custom Shop. Check out the photo gallery HERE.
My own first gun was a lot less glamorous but very dear to me still—a Marlin Model 60 that I bought for a whopping $80 or so. I still have the rifle but to say that it is in rough shape is a bit of an understatement. My pals at Marlin have offered to refurbish it but to date I’ve declined. The rust and dings and other imperfections reflect the tough love I dished out... [ Read Full Post ]