Hunting season is coming up fast — in fact, in some parts of the country it has already started. Hunting is a long-standing American tradition, and the run-up to that opening day is typically the point in the business year where gun stores start edging into the black. With the blessed date fast approaching, I figured there would be one or two people out there who might be researching which of the bolt action rifles that have come out in the last few years is the best. Here’s my opinion on the matter . . .
The gun culture permeated the part of Wisconsin where I grew up. In that area and time, we didn’t think of it as a separate culture. The gun culture and the culture were one and the same. Guns and hunting were simply integral parts of everyday life. If a boy was not a hunter, he aspired to be one. There was considerable game, ruffed grouse, woodcock, rabbits, squirrel, ducks, geese, deer, mink, muskrats, raccoon, fox . . .
By Tom in Oregon
Recently, Tyler Kee posted a story about dove hunting in Texas. While reading it, I started getting excited about an upcoming bird hunt I get to participate in. Mind you, this is while I’m in the middle of bear hunting, while also looking forward to elk season in December and another trip back to Africa for more plains game. You see, I am a hunter. As noted hunter and conservationist Jim Shockey has said, “If I’m not hunting, I’m thinking about hunting.” I take that a little farther. Even when I’m hunting, I’m thinking about hunting . . .
“Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reminds hunters that bears are very active this time of year, searching out food from late summer berry crops,” the State agency warns [via ammoland.com]. “FWP Bear Management Specialist, Jamie Jonkel, said that he has received a lot of reports from archery hunters in recent weeks that have seen grizzly and black bear scat and tracks at all elevations throughout western Montana. ‘It seems to be a very active fall for bears around western Montana, based on the number of reports of bear sightings and sign I’ve been getting lately,’ Jonkel said [ominously]. Bears are moving between river bottoms and mountain tops this time of year and can be distracted as they feed on berries, Jonkel said, which can sometimes prompt a surprise encounter. Hunters should think ahead about what they would do in an encounter and carry and know how to use bear spray.” And carry a large caliber firearm of some sort as a backup, yes? Well . . .
I’ve often heard that doves aren’t worth it because there’s not enough meat to make the work worthwhile. I’ve also heard the same of crawfish. Both opinions are wrong. Your typical mourning dove yields about 1 oz of meat. Likely a little less, but 1 oz is an easy number to work with. That’s not exactly a 54 oz porterhouse, but its nothing to sneeze at either. Dove is incredibly protein-dense and therefore a fine source of energy. Also, wrapping it in bacon and stuffing it with jalapeño and cream cheese, then cooking it slowly over an open fire makes it a fine source of delicious energy.
After I received a Super Black Eagle II from Benelli, I knew I needed to proceed immediately to the field to attempt knocking birds out of the sky. At the moment, dove season is in full swing in the Texas Hill country and they’ve been flying like crazy. So I placed a call to my buddy Kyle who just moved back to the good part of Texas and he met me out at the ranch.
As much as I write and talk about hunting, here and elsewhere, you might think I’ve been doing it all my life, but the truth of the matter is that I didn’t pick up a gun and shoot a deer until I was 17 years old. My buddy Will thought it was a travesty that I lived on 40 acres of land, and I hadn’t yet hunted it. I didn’t own a rifle, or camo, or doe urine to spray on my boots, or anything else that I’d seen on hunting shows on television. Will told me not to worry, that he’d take care of everything, spent the night at my house, and woke me up early on opening morning to take me out.
I had read about Moms Demanding Action’s shrill demands for a boycott of Kroger over their dislike of the exercise of the Second Amendment. I also noted the new media’s urging to show support for Kroger’s polite reply that the MDA’s should mind their own business. Of course, political manipulation is MDA’s stock in trade…and that runs exactly contrary to the limits on government that allow for toleration of others . . .
Hunting in the United States is an extremely safe sport, much safer than swimming, football, baseball, or soccer. Accidents are rare. Accidents involving five-year-olds are rarer still. When they happen, though, they make national news. In Humble, Texas, a five-year-old accidentally shot himself while he accompanied his 11-year-old brother who was hunting dove . . .
“I’d already hiked about three miles so I sat down to take a break before I tried to push some (game) back to (my son). I took my backpack off and sat my bow down and as I was sitting there I started looking around and … I saw a black head which I thought was a bear.” As a matter of fact, Washington state bowhunter Jerry Hause was right. That was a bear cub. Ruh roh. “Knowing…it’s unwise to come between a cub and its mother, he looked for a way to leave the area.” And that’s when a very protective Mrs. Bear charged him . . .
My wife and I took a vacation over the long Labor Day weekend and headed up to Incline Village, Nevada for some R&R with her side of the family. A grand time was had by all, and by all rights I should have been ready to go back to work Wednesday morning. But I wasn’t. And I knew I wouldn’t be, because I’ve learned that the best course of action is to take a day off after you take a week off. So I packed up some guns that needed shooting and headed out to my ranch. But I kept my eyes peeled . . .
Last year, I wrote about mentoring a new hunter. It’s harder to bring new hunters into the gun culture now than when I was a child. When I started hunting at age 11, with an air rifle on the farm in northern Wisconsin I grabbed a gun, stepped out the door, and was hunting. My father had carefully told me what pests I could hunt. In a year, I was using a real rifle, a .22. My father taught me to shoot, but most of my early hunting was alone or in the company of one or both of my younger brothers, who at three and five years younger than I, were not yet allowed to carry a gun themselves. Every boy that I knew hunted, or wanted to. The idea that a 12 year old was not responsible enough to carry a gun around the woods . . .