Saturday, August 27, 2016

An Infidel and an Odyssey Part 6





A buddy at work told me about a guided hog hunt where you pay $100 to shoot a meat hog and they skin it, quarter it and put it in your cooler. It sounded too good to be true but it planted a seed.

I thought about doing a pig hunt as sort of the next step in The Elfen Niece's journey into becoming a shooter and it seemed like a way to maximize the odds of her having a successful first hunt so I made the call.

Turned out to be $150 but the rest of the story was true so I set it up while TEN was off at spring break.   I ordered two boxes of 240 grain Nosler soft nose bullets to load for the Ruger 44 Carbine.  I selected that rifle for her because it is the old model and looks so much like her 10-22 that I thought it would give her one less thing to learn.

I talked to a buddy who had a son that been skunked a couple of times hunting on their property and they wanted to go too so we set up a party of four. Two shooters and two watchers.

Setting up my CH press and my Lyman powder measure, I eyeballed the drum and set it for what looked like it would throw close to 23 grains of Winchester 296.    I threw the first charge and it weighed 23 grains.   Well, the first one is sometimes a little off from what  its going to throw so I threw another and it was 23 grains.   I threw another and it was 23 grains.  Holy smoke.  I set the measure by eye and hit it right on the nose.  I won't live long enough to so that again but  it sure looked like a good omen.

TEN came waltzing though the door about supper time (that's dinner time if you are a yankee) and asked what I was doing.   I explained that I was loading 44 Magnum ammo because I was going on a guided pig hunt the next weekend.   She said "I could do that" and I told her that was good because she was going and she was going to shoot the pig.   She was all in.

I loaded up some dummy rounds so she could practice loading the rifle.   The first time she picked the rifle  up she gave a huge smile and exclaimed "this is awesome!"  We did dry fire practice from the kitchen table.  I explained that she needed to hold it tighter to her shoulder than she did her 10-22 and why.

We got it dialed in at the range.  It will shoot minute of pig out past 100 yards.  We were good to go.

The appointed day arrived and The Lovely Bride managed to get The Elfen Niece out of bed a good 5 minutes before we were supposed to leave.  She usually doesn't get up for anything until 10 minutes after so that was a good sign.

We drove to a little crossroads community and met up with my buddy and his #1 son.  The guy in charge of the hunt showed up a few minutes later and led us to an old farmhouse on the edge of some woods.

We had a little meeting where the hunt boss impressed upon us the dangers of getting out of  the stands or doing pretty much anything besides exactly what he told us to do.  Mostly he impressed upon us the fact that he was in charge.  Marshal Dillon would seem bashful by comparison.  When I told him what each shooter was shooting, he took TEN aside for a little lecture.   I was talking to the others and didn't pay attention to what he was telling her but later that morning  I wished I had.

Walking to the stands, the hunt boss insisted on carrying TEN's rifle.   He told me that he wanted first dibbs on buying it if I ever sold it.  I said that it was was TEN's rifle, not mine and that we had no reason to want o sell it.

"SHHHHHHHHH!    The hogs will hear you.  They're all around us right now."

Whatever.

We get to our stand and the hunt boss sends us both up to the top and then he hands us our rifles.  We sit back and we are looking at a feeder that isn't twenty feet away.  I guess that's about all you can expect out of a $150 guided hog hunt.  They guide you to the feeder so you can assassinate a pig while its having breakfast like its someone with the goods on Hillary.

We get our Thermacell cooking, put our electronic hearing protection on and start to load our rifles when

Grunt

Oh crap.

"What was that?"

"Hogs."

Grunt Grunt

And two dozen pigs swarmed the feeder.

"Which one do I shoot?"

They were all black except one that was white with black spots.   Saying "shoot the black one" wouldn't tell her which one  would just result in the rest of them looting and burning their woods down so I told her to shoot the white one with the spots.  She nudged her rife into position and her pig saw the movement.  While I was waiting for the shot, it stared at her for a few seconds and took off.  All the other pigs followed.   

Well Crap. What did Archibald Rutledge always say about being ready the moment you get to your stand?

So the hunt is over  and we are under orders to not get out of the stand until the hunt boss comes to get us.  I asked why she hesitated to shoot and she told me that the hunt boss told her that she had to shoot the pig in the side behind the shoulder because her bullet would bounce off its head.  The pig was looking straight at her so she never had a broadside shot.   Thanks hunt boss.  The pig weren't that big.

We sat there whispering as if there was any use.  We heard the feeder come on behind us.  We watched a hawk in the next tree.  We heard our feeder come on.  We watched spiders and squirrels and birds.  We listened to cows in the next pasture and TEN was fascinated by all these sights and sounds that she had never heard before.   Mostly we waited for the hunt boss to come give us permission to get out of the stand.

He finally arrived about 8:30 and we told him our story.  He asked if we wanted to hunt them up with his dog, Magnum.   Of course we did.

Magnum is really still just a puppy and is in training to be a cattle dog but he got on the trail.  We followed and pretty soon saw the whole herd moving through the palmettos about a hundred yards off to our right.  We heard the dog behind us, saw him jump and a palmetto thicket exploded as a big spotted boar tore through it not thirty feet away.   The boar ran to join the herd and TEN and my buddy's son were entranced.   Marlin Perkins would have been proud.

NOW we're hunting.

The dog kept the herd moving and the day was getting warmer.   There were only two watering holes in the area and the herd kept going from one to the other trying to get a drink but  little old Magnum kept them moving.   The hunt boss kept Magnum cooled off and hydrated so he could keep the herd moving.  After about 30 minutes of that, he called Magnum in and had my buddy and his son set up at one of the watering holes.

Sure enough, it wasn't ten minutes before the herd came to them and they had their pig.

Our turn was next.   I was carrying a Savage Model 99 in 303 Savage (big surprise there) and TEN had her 44.   I don't know why but the hunt boss told me to leave my rifle in the truck.  It was his hunt so I did.   

We set up by the watering hole and waited.   TEN was propped up against the base of a pine tree listening and I was about two trees in back of her shooting pictures on my cell phone.   Pretty soon the herd came up from behind us on our left.  They milled around in the brush for a few minutes and then quietly went back the way they had come.

(OK. So that's the stuffed pig at the Bass Pro in Orlando. Its for illustrative purposes. If the History Channel can show footage of German Mk IVs while talking about Tiger Tanks I can use somebody else's dead pig).

 I'm too deaf to hear it but they circled around behind us and came up from our right.  Before I could get my phone camera set to video, they had spread out around the watering hole.

TEN picked out a nice eatin-sized pig and fired.   The pig jumped, spun around several times and then took off after the herd with a gait that looked like it needed new spark plug wires. I yelled to shoot it again and TEN said the gun wouldn't shoot.

I didn't have my rifle because the hunt boss told me to leave it in the truck so the pig got away.

Sure enough, the 44 had misfed from the magazine and it took five minutes to get the thing cleared and reloaded.

TEN made the comment that the gun hadn't kicked nearly as bad as she expected. That was odd so I asked what she meant and she explained that her little talk with the hunt boss consisted of him telling her that the 44 Magnum Carbine would kick so hard that the scope would split her forehead open and she'd have to get stitches.   That was right before he told me that he wanted me to sell it to him.   

Sabotage.

Only the plan backfired.  She hit the pig anyway.   

The hunt boss was late for an appointment and kept insisting that we show him where the pig was when she shot it and where the blood was.  He wasn't convinced she'd hit it.   She kept insisting that she had hit it and we had to find it.   We found the spot soon enough.    She had definitely connected with some part of that pig.   There was blood on the ground and it was red.   Hunt boss decided that she'd shot it in the butt because butt-shot hogs spin around in circles.  I didn't think so because it wasn't running like its back end was hurt.  It was more of a stuttering trot.  Either way, we had to find it.

After a cursory search, the hunt boss left us in the hands of the assistant hunt boss.  He cleaned my buddy's pig and then called a friend to come help hunt down the wounded one.

We split up to search the woods again.  The assistant hunt boss said to shoot the last pig in the herd because that's where the wounded one would be.   We were a couple of hundred yards away when he found the herd.  Trouble was, there were three pigs hanging back, not just one.   Then he noticed that one was limping and he shot that pig.   

We moved toward the sound of the shot and found everyone examining the pig.  Before I got up to it I asked to see where the first bullet had hit.

It was the off-side front foot.

She was so rattled by the hunt boss telling her she'd get her forehead split open by that incredibly powerful 44 Magnum carbine that the he wanted me to sell him that she flinched and shot it in the foot at all of twenty yards away.  

She has never fired a gun without me being there and I have never seen her flinch, even with that rifle, but she flinched that day and the only reason was she was told she would get hurt and need stitches when she pulled the trigger.   I was actually proud of her for shooting with that stupid story planted in her mind.  She was going to do this stitches or not and she did.  






The assistant hunt boss cleaned our pig and put it in the cooler.  I paid him a little extra because he was so helpful.

This is fresh meat:

video



So far we have had pig steaks and pig sausage gravy biscuits.   It will go down in history as the most expensive pig I ever bought but over lunch TEN told me the she was sorry that the hunt boss got upset but that it really worked out better because we actually got to hunt instead of just shooting a pig at a feeder.   Worked out pretty well.

 I took the 44 to the range the next day and fired 30 rounds trying to make it miss or jam and it did neither.  I think the jam might be due to the scare job the hunt boss put on her too.  If you can limp-wrist a Glock maybe you can limp shoulder a rifle.  I don't know.  I just know I can't make it jam.

This week she informed me that we need to find someone who will let us hunt deer on their land.

This is what its all about.

I made that call today.   The food plot is going in next weekend.    She will be shooting a custom Mark X Mauser in 25-06 with a muzzle brake on it.  With Accubombs its as accurate as a drill press and kicks about like a 22 Hornet.

The venison might as well just throw itself in the pan right now.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

An Infidel and an Odyssey Part 5

After helping get a few batches of new shooters going, it seemed like I wound up being the group's designated range safety guy every time we went shooting.  I got to thinking about that and decided to take the NRA Range Safety Officer course.

Everybody on the road knows everything there is to know about driving safely.   I know they do because they will tell you so right after they run into the back of your car at a stop light.  My thinking was something along the lines of "what if I'm really as stupid as half the drivers on the road and I'm teaching these people wrong.?"   I didn't think I was but I thought it couldn't hurt to take the class just in case.   Since Aunt Clickity, The Elfen Niece and the rest of the bunch were looking to me for instruction, it just seemed that I owed it to them to be officially recognized as having a clue.

The good people at Harry Beckwith's had the RSO class on their schedule so that's where I went.   It was a small group -  maybe ten or so students.    Only two of us were guys. 

The class was good.   I can't say that I learned anything new about safely handling firearms but I did learn a lot about range operating procedures.  

We always have a little range safety briefing before we shoot and the class says you should do that so that made me feel good.  The class covered it in a lot more detail than I have ever done so that's an area where I definitely learned something. 

The biggest thing that I learned was more of an attitude than a technique.  I came away from the class with a much stronger focus on safety.   Its not just,  "Oh, I always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction."  Now its "I AM keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and I know it because I am focused on keeping it pointed in a safe direction."   Some people would say "Its all just common sense" and there may be some truth to that but its also about being aware and USING that "common sense."   The using it part is where most people mess up.



The one thing that seemed odd about the class was that it was so different from the internet.   They said we were supposed to make sure everyone was safe and that we should try to help make shooting fun.   There wasn't a single page in the manual about policing the internet, making believe you are so stupid that you see a picture of a girl with a gun and think the picture was posted to demonstrate gun safety or even making believe you are too stupid to understand sarcasm.   Seriously.  I say it was odd but it was odd in a really nice way. 

You can despise the NRA if you want but I'd recommend the RSO class to any shooter.

In order to avoid always having to RSO for the group and never getting to do any shooting of my own, I joined the local range a few weeks after taking the class.   I'm not doing any RSO-ing there but, once I get some hands-on experience, I would work that into my schedule if they need me.

The local range has a mandatory safety briefing for all new members and it was kind of a combination of the NRA Basic Pistol and the NRA Range Safety Officer courses.  I had to sit through six hours of that "briefing" and then demonstrate that I had paid attention and that I can hit the target before they would give me my membership card. I didn't mind.   I can go shooting by myself and actually get to shoot now.

After the briefing, I was able to sight in The Elfen Niece's Ruger 44 Carbine for part 6 or 7 of this little saga.  (If Archibald Rutledge can call a girl "Elfen" without it being weird, I can too).   

She is a shooter and is becoming a hunter (ress?).

This odyssey keeps getting better and better.  

And before anybody goes off on ol' Barn, how do you know the muzzle isn't pointed down range?  Maybe he just turned to his right and is keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
 




Legs For Days


From Girls of the Marsh Do It Better, (a Facebook Page).


Sunday, June 12, 2016

They Sure Sing Purty






Stumbled onto this while listening to some Bluegrass on the confuser