Posts Tagged muzzleloading

Notes From the Field, Fall Muzzleloading Season, Final Report

The Kansas Muzzleloading season has come and gone again. This year was slightly better than last year’s hunt. I did shoot a dear this, but I didn’t find it until the next morning. So, still no venison in the freezer.

I made a really stupid green horn mistake and didn’t follow the trail to its end. I happened to see another buck run out of the corn and thought it was my the one I had shot. Same size, running the same direction mine was. I just assumed it was mine. I followed the running deer and searched for an hour for that trail. We finally gave up in the dark. The next morning, I backtracked and came across the deer.

So yes, I’m extremely disappointed. No meat. That’s the main reason I go out. It seemed like such a waste.

On the plus side, I did make my shot. And it was a good shot I must say.

I’m taking my daughter out in December for her first deer hunt. I will probably pick up a game tag when I go along with her. Looking forward to shooting the Marlins.

Hopefully, Keith will have better luck as he finishes out the season this weekend.

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Notes From the Field, Fall Muzzleloading Season

The Kansas fall muzzleloading season kicked off this week. We’ve had deer sightings, but so far, nothing on the ground.

Keith is on the prowl for a buck he scouted in early September, but so far has only had a couple of does wander by his stand.

I finally was able to get out Wednesday evening,. There is plenty of sign around so I’m fairly certain I’ll see deer come in to feed on the corn still standing on the field I’m watching.

The wind is near gale force, so its noisy. Around 7:30, a spike buck wanders out of the corn about 10 feet from me. I never heard him coming. For the next several minutes, he just stands there and stares at me. I was able to take a few photos of him, he just would not spook.

I told him to “bugger off” a couple of times, “come back when you’re bigger.” But he wouldn’t. I just couldn’t bring myself to shoot him, he was too small. Not enough meat on him. Besides, I couldn’t show up with his tiny rack next to the brutes Keith has shot.

I set back and watched him feed in front of me, hoping that he would draw others in. he wandered about a 100 yards out. About the time the sun set, I could see a few other deer feeding around him. It was too dark at that point to determine what they were, but I plan on moving my stand  bit closer to that end. I’m looking forward to the next day as I drive off in the dark.

So here it is Thursday, and I’m writing  blog post rather than hunting. Why, you ask? It’s pouring out, has been since the early morning. Black powder and rain don’t mix very well. But its supposed to end and be clear tomorrow, I’ll be back out then.

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At the Range

I spent Saturday shooting with my hunting buddy. Both Marlins are shooting great at 50 yards. Took some shots with the 50 cal plains rifle (there is only 3 1/2 months until muzzleloading deer season by the way!). And we did a bunch of pistol shooting.

I’m planning on taking my conceal carry exam this summer, but I need more practice before taking the class. I don’t get around to shooting my handguns as much as I should. Keith gave me some good tips and I did pretty well. Another couple of times at the range and I think I’ll be ready. I do need to find a class and get signed up for it. I need to do some looking around and find out who teaches it around here.

The Marlins are doing great so far. Each time I get them out, I’m more and more impressed. No wonder this rifle has been so popular for so many decades. We got the iron sights adjusted for 50 yards. I managed a bullseye at 50 yards with the scoped Marlin. A few more sessions at the range at 100 yards should do the trick for those two rifles.

Keith brought out his 30-40 Krag and put a few rounds down range. What a sweet shooting gun that is. First time out with it and it hardly needed adjusting. Smoothest bolt action I’ve ever felt.

I also managed to get some shooting done with the Plains Rifle. I was pleased with the results, especially after the disappointing year I had last deer hunting season. I seemed to get a better understanding of the site picture. Now I just need more range time to make sure I’m repeating the results.

So, all in all, it was a great day. There’s just nothing better than spending a day shooting with a buddy. I wished I would have remembered a camera. We shot up an old computer of his (sorry Dell!). The Dell logo made a great target circle. And for me, destroying a computer like that just puts my soul at peace. A 50 cal round ball sure puts a nice big hole in the thing!

Keep your powder dry.

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Hunting Bag Decisions

I’ve been looking for a new hunting bag to use mostly when I’m muzzleloading. So I’m needing a possibles bag. Problem is, I just can’t figure out which style I want.

Currently, I have an old milsurp musette bag. It looks good with the Enfield, not so much with the black powder rifles. I’m not really interested in playing dress up, but I would like the bag to match the rifle a bit better.

So I’m thinking about making my own bag. I kind of know what I want, but I can’t really find it out there. Most of the inexpensive bags just look to poorly made. The others are just way out of my range, like this English Hunting bag.

Here’s some of the things I like. Jedediah Starr has a couple of canvas bags I like, this Haversack and this Long Hunter’s bag. They are both very reasonable, not sure how well they might hold up though.

I like this Shooter’s bag at Crazy Crow, but it’s a bit out there in price also.

So I’m thinking of making my own. Probably something similar to the Shooter’s bag style but I want a canvas or woven strap. I’ve seen these straps that aren’t necessarily canvas as the weave is much looser, more belt like. Not sure what it is exactly. I also like a knife sheath on the back of the bag, I’ve seen that a couple of times and can look pretty cool. A couple of pockets on the inside to keep everything in its place and I’d be good.

So it looks like I might be learning how to do leather work. Just need to decide on the leather and get busy.

So you muzzleloaders out there (and I know you’re there because I see what you’re searching for), what do you guys use out in the field? Did you make it yourself or buy it?

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The Words of a Good Wife

The other day at lunch with my wife, I heard the words that every guy wants to hear…

No, not that, the other words…

OK, let me rephrase. I heard the words every hunter or shooter wants to hear.

“I think we need another rifle. I don’t want to shoot the ones you have,” she said.

Internally, my mind is jumping for joy like a 12 year old at Christmas.

“Oh yeah? What are you thinking about?” I said very cavalier.

Basically, I got out of her that she doesn’t want to shoot black powder, which is 2 of my 3 rifles. The other is an old military surplus, 303 British Enfield. Evidently, those just aren’t sexy enough for her. But she does want a big enough caliber that I, uhm, we can be use it for deer hunting. Yay for me!

Fine. I can go sexy. Nothing’s sexier in my mind than a lever action rifle. I’ve had my eye on a Marlin for quite some time. So I do what I normally do (and what any hunter in my situation would do), I run with it. I’m going to see this one to the end. I’ll either get another rifle or I won’t, but it won’t be for lack of trying. So, I’m showing her pictures and checking auction prices.

“Oh yeah, that’s nice,” she says, barely glancing at the plethora of photos on my computer screen. Now she’s the cavalier one. Man, women are frustrating sometimes.

Well, on to the good stuff. Let’s say I go with a Marlin 336? I knew they came in 30-30 caliber, my brother hunts with one. Didn’t realize they came in .32 or .35 Remington. Not even sure what those rounds are. So which round? 30-30 or .35 Remington? More running, more research. The Marlin has a great history, being made for a century or so. Fit’s into the gun philosophy fine (of using something with a history, a story to tell).

Maybe I should look into a Winchester rifle? I’m sure it will cost more than the Marlin. That is one thing she stipulated, it can’t be expensive.

I suppose I’m going to have to let her be a part of the decision here? I know, bad thought… bad, bad thought!

So give me your thoughts. I’m probably going to have to go used since I have a price limit. And a used Marlin fits into that price limit fine. Anyone have any thoughts on 30-30 versus .35 Remington?

Meanwhile, I’ve got some convincing to do.

Keep your powder dry and “watch your top knot”.

Follow up, 1/8/2010: Here is a great write up on the Marlin 336 vs. Winchester 94 over at the Guns and Shooting site. Even the author like the Marlin in the end. Although I do agree with him that that 94 stock does look better.


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Hunting Site Review: Black Powder Notebook

Black Powder NotebookOne of the things I want to do with this blog in the new year is add reviews of other hunting related web sites. Well, it’s the new year, so here’s our first review.

I was turned on to this site by my hunting buddy and co-blogger, Keith. The name of the site is Black Powder Notebook and it chronicles the adventures of Bob Spencer as he sets out to hunt and camp as our forefathers did as this country was being founded. He strives to re-enact exactly as a late 1700’s homesteader or pioneer would have hunted. He has logged many of his treks through the years and it’s very entertaining reading.

He seems to favor squirrel hunting (something I’ve never done but am curious after reading his site) .and he begins his first article reminiscing about how he came to be at that moment while hunting squirrels. He talks about how he got started in the black powder world his love of flintlocks. What I like is how he’s out to just do just more than hunt, but to experience it from a different viewpoint. I like these quotes (from various articles):

“As each new aspect of the subject opened to me, and I acquired new skills associated with it, I began to have a better understanding of our ancestors. It is impossible to know what they and their life were really like, but muzzle loading has opened a small window into the past for me, and I thoroughly enjoy the view.”

“Sitting there under that walnut tree, I realized with surety that black powder had been for me a siren song, leading me inexorably onward to more wonderful experiences. Because of it, I have become a better, more thoughtful hunter, a more involved and knowledgeable citizen, a happier and more satisfied person.”

A Siren Song

“I truly do enjoy hunting them more than killing them, and I’ll miss all those early mornings, watching the woods come alive.”

Perfect Doe Hunt

“The center seam elk skin moccasins made ala Mark Baker may be the best thing I’ve ever made. They are, I suspect, the real secret to my enjoyment of this season, because there’s something elemental about traipsing through the woods and streams with nothing between you and the good earth but a soft layer of elk hide. Contact…I can’t describe it better.”

Special Turkey Season

One of my favorite stories is Squirrel Stew, a story about an overnight trek where he describes the entire trip. It sounds so peaceful and relaxing, enough so that I envy him. I would really love to experience the outdoors in that way.

Along with his hunting stories are some black powder related articles on loads, shooting, fire making, tomahawk throwing and casting round balls over a camp fire (which is another thing I’ve been wanting to try my hand at).

This is a great site to get in the mind of a hunter and outdoorsman. It’s refreshing to read about someone who enjoys being out in nature more than just bagging a trophy buck. It’s a feeling we attempt to reach at our deer camps as well, but I think Bob has us beat, by a really long shot. Even if you’re not into black powder hunting or shooting, this site is a definite must read.

Hunting Site Review: Black Powder Notebook

One of the things I want to do with this blog in the new year is add reviews of other hunting related web sites. Well, it’s the new year, so here’s our first review.

I was turned on to this site by my hunting buddy and co-blogger, Keith. The name of the site is Black Powder Notebook (http://home.insightbb.com/~bspen/) and it chronicles the adventures of Bob Spencer as he sets out to hunt and camp as our forefathers did as this country was being founded. He strives to reenact exactly as a late 1700’s homesteader or pioneer would have hunted. He has logged many of his treks through the years and it’s very entertaining reading.

He seems to favor squirrel hunting (something I’ve never done but am curious after reading his site) .and he begins his first article reminiscing (http://home.insightbb.com/~bspen/song.html) about how he came to be at that moment while hunting squirrels. He talks about how he got started in the black powder world his love of flintlocks. What I like is how he’s out to just do just more than hunt, but to experience it from a different viewpoint. I like these quotes (from various articles):

As each new aspect of the subject opened to me, and I acquired new skills associated with it, I began to have a better understanding of our ancestors. It is impossible to know what they and their life were really like, but muzzle loading has opened a small window into the past for me, and I thoroughly enjoy the view.”

Sitting there under that walnut tree, I realized with surety that black powder had been for me a siren song, leading me inexorably onward to more wonderful experiences. Because of it, I have become a better, more thoughtful hunter, a more involved and knowledgeable citizen, a happier and more satisfied person.”

Siren Song – http://home.insightbb.com/~bspen/song.html

I truly do enjoy hunting them more than killing them, and I’ll miss all those early mornings, watching the woods come alive.”

Perfect Doe Hunt – http://home.insightbb.com/~bspen/PerfectDoeHunt.html

The center seam elk skin moccasins made ala Mark Baker may be the best thing I’ve ever made. They are, I suspect, the real secret to my enjoyment of this season, because there’s something elemental about traipsing through the woods and streams with nothing between you and the good earth but a soft layer of elk hide. Contact…I can’t describe it better.”

Special Turkey Season – http://home.insightbb.com/~bspen/SpecialSeason.html

One of my favorite stories is Squirrel Stew (http://home.insightbb.com/~bspen/squirrel.html), a story about an overnight trek where he describes the entire trip. It sounds so peaceful and relaxing, enough so that I envy him. I would really love to experience the outdoors in that way.

Along with his hunting stories are some black powder related articles on loads, shooting, fire making, tomahawk throwing and casting round balls over a fire (which is another thing I’ve been wanting to try my hand at) (http://home.insightbb.com/~bspen/runningball.html).

So, this is a great site to get in the mind of a hunter and outdoorsman. It’s refreshing to read about someone who enjoys being out in nature more than just bagging a trophy buck. It’s a feeling we attempt to reach at our deer camps as well, but I think Bob has us beat, by a really long shot. Even if you’re not into black powder hunting or shooting, this site is a definite must read.

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2010 Hunting Resolutions

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. And I hope you all have a happy new year. I know I’m looking forward to 2010, I have a lot of disappointments – in regards to hunting – that I hope to rectify in the new year. As the 2009 hunting season winds down, I’m looking back and thinking on the things that I want to work on in 2010. So here’s my 2010 Hunting Resolutions list.

My first resolution is plain and simply, become a better shot. The three misses of this year’s deer hunts have gotten into my head and I’m just not confident in my shot or my rifle. I need to rectify that. Which means put in time at the range. A win-win for me there. I certainly don’t mind spending time at the range.

As far as the rifle is concerned, my 50 caliber Ardessa Woodsman, I want to experiment with different loads and possibly different rounds and see if I can come up with the optimum load/round combo for it. I’m even thinking about getting into casting my own rounds as well.

My second resolution is to get my daughter out into the field more. She’s active in a couple of sports that keep her active during the school year, so there’s lots of conflict trying to line up a free weekend for her during any hunting season. But the hunting bug has definitely bit her so I’d be remiss not to help her get out more in 2010. She’s a pretty good shot with her Stoeger side-by-side, but she hasn’t had the chance to drop a pheasant yet. That needs to get resolved in 2010.

My third resolution has to do with the positive things of the 2009 season. I rattled my first buck in this year and that was indeed thrilling. But I want to get better on my stand. Whether that’s calling in deer or just being better on the stand (I really have a problem setting still), I wan to improve there.

And fourth, I just want to continue to have fun. The 2009 season was a blast, even with the disappointments. I learned a lot, had some great times with all the guys and had some good experiences. I can’t imagine hunting not being fun, and I’m not about to let it go down that road.

I guess, if I had to sum those up, I just want to become a better hunter in 2010. I want to become a successful hunter in 2010. And really, that’s probably every hunter’s resolution. So how about you? What are your resolutions for the 2010 hunting year?

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