I may leave the computerized antler-scorer and the bag of trail mix at home, but I am never without the two most useful items any hunter can carry—duct tape and parachute cord, or p-cord, or 550 cord. Between these two items, there is almost nothing you can’t fix, rig together, or make work for just a little longer.
Duct tape (not “duck,” for God’s sake; why would you tape a duck unless you’re some kind of pervert?) can be used to put up targets, close major cuts, cover holes in radiator hoses (at least for a little while), cover holes in cabin walls where the wind is coming through, pad the points on caribou antlers, and repair cracked gunstocks.
Waterfowlers have always been obsessed with tight-shooting guns and ammunition. Yet, when ducks decoy in your face, long range patterns become a serious handicap. The other morning I left my gun in its case (I was saving my limit for an afternoon hunt) and sat in the blind watching three experienced hunters blaze away at ducks decoying at 15 yards.
It was a calm day and birds would come in unseen over the top of the blind and all of sudden there they were, hanging in front of the guns.
Two of hunters were using HeviShot, the other was shooting Black Cloud Snow Goose. Both are loads that pattern very tightly through almost any choke. Everyone eventually killed a limit, but as you can tell by the empty Black Cloud box, they shot quite a few shells to get their ducks.
A year or so ago I was talking to someone at SHOT Show about public attitudes toward hunting. “If we can get Oprah on our side, we’ve won,” he said.
I don’t know if that’s true, or even if Oprah really is on our side (she did go fly fishing recently), but you can find this story about shooting and cooking your own Thanksgiving dinner by former F&S editor Kim Hiss on Oprah.com:
My Christmas dinner was up in one of those trees. It was snowing lightly on a minus-two-degree dawn, and I was lying on my belly bundled in white camo, pointing the muzzle of a Benelli 12-gauge through a cluster of fireweed. The cold hurt my hands in a way I wondered if I should worry about. In front of me, a snow-coated field stretched for 500 yards to a line of bare trees silhouetted against a blush of sunrise. The trees' branches were dotted with roosting turkeys, and their occasional gobbles carried back across the field to where I waited, breathing into my face mask.
Just when I felt I had jointed the 21st century by mastering the Burris Eliminator scope, John Blauvelt sent me word of the Elcan Digital Hunter, which takes electronics and scopes to their logical, and inevitable, conclusion. Unlike the Eliminator, which is a conventional scope with built-in laser rangefinding, the Elcan is completely electronic. The only mechanical component is the diopter focus. The reticles (plural because you can program in new ones) are digital; magnifcation is digital, not optical. Everything is digital.
In response to my recent punt gun post , Tim Romano sent in this video made by some of his friends. The subject line reads: “Punt Guns are For Sissies.” Tim’s friends have made a bowling ball mortar and they achieve some very serious hang-time and distance.
A few mornings ago, despite wind gusts of 30 mph, I took my Nosler 6.5/284 to the range to check its zero so that I can go to Maine and freeze for a week. The first shot, out of a clean barrel, went precisely where it should. I mean, precisely. The second shot went through the hole made by the first. I let out a senile cackle of pure joy, packed up my stuff, and left. Treasure moments like these. They make up for all the times when your bullets are flying everywhere but where they should.
Occasionally we run items in this space that fall under the heading of “don’t try this at home.” I think we can all agree that bullet catching stands at the top of that list. The first clip shows the Great Throwdini becoming the only person to catch a bullet, a knife and an arrow.*
The bullet catch is a dangerous** illusion that magicians have done for years. Usually the bullet is “caught” in the mouth and there is trickery involved. The bullet catch here looks real. True, Throwdini doesn’t pluck the bullet out of the air but it would take a lot of nerve to stand motionless while someone shoots a bullet into a metal cup in your hand.
A while back I attended a class given by Peter Kummerfeldt, the former chief instructor of the survival courses given at the Air Force Academy. It was one of the most fascinating hours I’ve ever spent, and one of the things Mr. Kummerfeldt talked about was not losing stuff, because at the least it can inconvenience you, and at the worst it can kill you.
We all know it’s important to keep your eye on the target. The bird here is proof that you need to keep your eye on the target before, during and after the shot. In fact, you need to watch the bird until it’s out of sight.
This rooster flushed wild and gave me a longish crossing shot. I shot twice. The bird never reacted. I kept an eye on it, thinking it might land someplace where we could hunt it up again. As I watched the rooster flew 200 yards then, to my surprise, collapsed in mid-air and fell dead just over the crest of a hill. I got a good mark on the fall, we took the dogs over and found it.