As you read this, I’m in and around Port Aransas, TX looking for ducks. Saturday morning, the South Zone duck season opens here in Texas, and I’m a very willing participant. As the picture suggests, Benelli has been nice enough to supply me with a Super Black Eagle II for my journey. I picked up a fresh case of 3-inch #2 steel shot, and my hunting buddy Will has gone over the finer points of what to do to take ducks from the sky to the cast iron skillet . . .
“The hook-and-bullet crowd isn’t always a natural partner with environmentalists, but even in this era of hyper-partisan politics, the groups’ commitment to healthy habitats gives them a common cause. Whether or not they realize it, land set aside for hunting is often enjoyed by other outdoor recreation enthusiasts such as hikers and birders, too.” – Christie Aschwanden, How Skyrocketing Gun Sales Are Helping To Conserve Butterflies [via fivethirtyeight.com] [h/t CB]
Another elk season has passed for me and a few of my friends. Dozens more miles under the boots. Some new freeze-dried food sampled. Some forgotten country seen again. Lessons learned, and plans made. This season began as we have every other season. Phone calls among friends, invitations to those who always make excuses why not to make it, and knowing there are those who will make every effort to go . . .
Alyssa Caldwell and her father had been hunting all day. The weather had been nasty; cloudy skies with snow and rain alternating. They had seen a few elk, much too far away to try a shot. They left their makeshift blind to see if they could spot another elk before the end of the day. It was the middle of the afternoon . . .
Back in the day, before I was of legal age to drink, I used to spend my post turkey, tryptophan-induced coma in the woods. I’d always tell my family that I was off to do some “hunting” but in reality, I’d find a comfortable tree to lean up against, and take a snooze for a few. Now that Thanksgiving in the Kee house includes liberal dashes of Jameson and orange juice, my afternoon hunting excursions have been called off in the name of safety and UT football . . .
So there we were. Off to my nephew’s property in The Dalles to bag some spring turkeys. He has 80 acres of rural property with wild game everywhere. He told us, “Yeah, come on over. Kill those sumbitches. They’re always waking me up and crapping all over my porch. Kill all of them if you want to.” Excellent. Wild turkey for the holiday in 6 months. We arrive late and set up camp. OK, not you’re everyday kind of camp. We are in his man cave, complete with woodstove, pool table, couch, cots, cable TV. My God, it was rough. No shower. I guess we’ll only stay one day . . .
- Completely unload firearms at the conclusion of the hunt and keep the action open. Be sure all shells or cartridges are removed from both the chamber and the magazine.
- When in a vehicle, boat or on an ATV, transport firearms unloaded with the action open and in a secure position – preferably in a case.
- Always be sure the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction. This basic rule applies in the field, in a vehicle and in the home.
- When cleaning a firearm or putting it away for storage, double check to be sure it is completely unloaded. Anytime you pick up a firearm, make it a habit to make sure it is unloaded before doing anything else.
- Keep fingers off the trigger and outside of the trigger guard whenever handling firearms in a situation where you do not intend to shoot.
- Store unloaded firearms and ammunition in separate and locked locations.
- Consider use of a lock to make your firearms inoperable while being stored or transported.
- Children and even adults are often curious about firearms, so make sure your firearms are inaccessible to persons who may be visiting your home.
- Discuss firearm safety with members of your household and set rules for firearm access and handling.
Over the last couple years, there has been a considerable push from gun companies to produce a new entry level hunting rifle to replace the quickly deteriorating Remington 700. Ruger has their American Rifle, Weatherby has their Vanguard S2, and now Winchester looks to be getting into the game with the XPR. The website for the new gun is live now, but certain details (like pricing) seem to be withheld pending SHOT Show 2015. What we do know is . . .
The anti-hunting movement has overwhelmed the consciousness of the hunting industry. Hunters, hunting land, firearms, and the sporting way of life are under attack politically and socially. Millions of hunt-able acres are shut down in Oregon to “protect” the spotted owl. Lead ammunition is banned in California. Increasingly legislators, not biologists, are making wildlife management decisions . . .
AmmoLand.com‘s HCom writes:
What a terrible afternoon! Two horseback riders had ridden by down the neighbor’s property line and now the other neighbor’s boy was out on his ATV tearing up the ground. He was buzzing by so close I had to turn my face because the breeze was blowing the dust in my eyes. Disappointed, I was about ready to get down out of my treestand when I saw a slight flicker of antler in the sunlight. My binoculars picked out a massive buck bedded down within 100 yards. Now I couldn’t move, nor did I want to! . . .
For the last two years I have been hunting with suppressed rifles in the state of Texas, and in my experience silencers just make everything better. For starters, it removes the need for hearing protection so you can hear your surroundings much better and often hear animals before they approach. The real reason they rock, though, is plain common courtesy. Guns are loud, and especially in an area densely packed with hunting blinds, one or two big loud guns can scare the game away for everyone else. Plus, the barking of the guns ruins the early morning calm for non-hunters looking to just enjoy the beauty of the day. According to the American Suppressor Association, it looks like those in Florida can now enjoy this same awesome experience effective immediately . . .
It’s been a little discouraging of late, what with the keyboard commandos attacking hunters and outdoors sportsmen, and sportswomen. This, on top of the constant attacks from all fronts to us as firearms owners. Consider most recently, Eva Shockey. She is the daughter of noted sportsman and hunter, Jim Shockey. She has come into her own right as one who has hunted on more than one continent. Just this week she and her dad were in North Carolina to hunt their notedly huge black bear.
After posting a picture of her prize, all 510 pounds of it, on Facebook . . .