Saturday, February 15, 2014

Patience Is Rewarded With A Trophy White Tail

Today is a repost of the very first blog entry I ever posted on this blog: the story of my first trophy white tailed deer. Some of you, especially those who have began following the blog more recently, may not have had the opportunity to read this story and I'd like to share it with you all. I hope you enjoy it! 

As I grow older and more experienced as a hunter, one specific trait seems to become more important to success than any other: patience. I have missed many an opportunity while hunting due to lack of patience and a desire to rapidly accomplish something. However, there have been several events where I have been very successful due to slowing down and waiting. The story of my first “trophy” white-tailed deer is a key example of how patience can pay off.

My family owns a small parcel of land in east Texas where we have camped and hunted for years now. We built a small wooden cabin there where I have spent many days with my father and grandfather. It was there that I shot my first deer as well as my first feral hog. As I grew older, other obligations reduced the amount of time I was able to spend hunting and camping there. However, my father and I were usually able to sneak out to the woods to hunt during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The .45-70 Government

Today I’ll be discussing a cartridge that, while popular in certain circles, does not get a lot of attention these days: .45-70 Government. The .45-70 delivers bone crushing power at close range, but is difficult to shoot accurately at longer ranges because its big, slow moving bullets have a very steep trajectory. So, while the .45-70 is relatively popular among black powder silhouette shooters and among those who hunt big game in heavy cover, only a relatively small percentage of hunters utilize it.

Designed in 1873 for use in the “Trapdoor” Springfield, the .45-70 (originally known as the .45-70-405) fired a 405 grain, .45 caliber bullet propelled by 70 grains of black powder. This original black powder load pushed a cast lead bullet at a velocity of about 1350 feet per second. With a muzzle energy of about 1600 foot pounds, this cartridge was one of the most powerful loads available at the time and was effectively used by the Army through the Indian Wars in the late 1800s. The Army continued to use this rifle and cartridge in limited numbers through the Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

A .45-70 with a 350gr cast lead bullet compared to a 7.62x51mm (.308 Winchester) cartridge. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Outfitter Review: Double Barrel Upland Bird Ranch

This weekend, I took my wife Tricia on her first ever hunting trip: a guided pheasant hunt on the Double Barrel Upland Bird Ranch just south of Spokane, Washington. I wanted to ensure that she started her hunting career off on a good note and took great care in selecting an outfitter for the hunt. Fortunately, we hit the jackpot with the Double Barrel Ranch and had a great time and a very successful hunt.

The Double Barrel Upland Bird Ranch has been around for over a decade and specializes in pheasant and chukar hunting. Additionally, they do offer guided turkey hunts, a fantastic sporting clays course, and dog training sessions. The ranch also has a beautiful lodge available for hunters to stay in during their hunt.

The lodge has beds for up to 10 people, a full kitchen and dining room, a living room with a fireplace, a full bathroom downstairs, and a half bathroom with laundry facilities upstairs. The owner of the ranch, Ron Olmstead, is quite the craftsman and hand built most of the beautiful wood furniture in the house, namely the beds and the dining room table. However, perhaps the most interesting part of the lodge is the impressive collection of taxidermy. There are some very impressive elk, moose, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, white tailed deer, mule deer, sheep, coyote, turkey, pheasant, duck, quail, and grouse mounts in the lodge.

I wish I had a trophy room that nice...
Below is a short video tour I made of the lodge showing the accommodations as well as the impressive taxidermy on display.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Introducing New Hunters to the Sport

Just a few minutes after starting the hunt, our dogs picked up the scent of a pheasant. “We’ve got a runner!” our guide shouted as the pheasant bolted from the knee-high grass, running away from us. My wife, Tricia, and I followed behind the dogs as they tracked him up the hill. “He’s going to find some cover and hold up there, thinking we won’t be able to find him” said Joe, our guide.

Sure enough, the pheasant disappeared into a clump of thick grass surrounding a three foot tall pine tree in the middle of the field we were hunting. The dogs stopped a few feet short and pointed at the tree. My wife and I approached the tree carefully, our shotguns held at the ready. I carefully searched the grass behind the tree for signs of the pheasant, but he stayed still and well hidden.

Just as I was starting to think that the pheasant might not actually be there, he exploded out of the cover with an angry squawk and a vigorous flapping of his wings. Tricia tracked the pheasant and fired a single shot as the bird flew in front of her. The pheasant disappeared in a puff of feathers and dropped into the grass.  My wife just shot her first pheasant on the first hunt she had ever been on.
Tricia and I with the dogs and our birds at the end of the hunt.

Introducing New Hunters to the Sport

Training new hunters is an important task and one that all hunters should take seriously. Expanding our ranks by introducing family members and friends to hunting not only provides us an opportunity to enjoy something that we love with those who are important to us, but also helps to secure the future of the sport. More hunters means more money spent on licenses and hunting equipment, which means more money directed towards conservation efforts.  

Unfortunately, becoming a new hunter is not always an easy task. The barriers to entry into the sport can be high and it is increasingly difficult to become a successful hunter unless you have someone to guide you along the way. The very nature of the sport means that there can be long periods where hunting can be cold, boring, and frustrating. When faced with these challenges, it’s easy to understand why many people give up learning to become a hunter after a few rough experiences.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Winchester .223 Remington 55gr Varmint X Review

Today I completed my second video review testing Winchester's .223 Remington 55gr Varmint X bullets. While they did perform well, they did not do as well as Hornady's V-Max bullets in the testing. Watch the video below for all the details. 

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