Tools of My Trade, part 1

Since I’m due to leave in a couple of days for the beginning deer season, felt like I’d write a short article on the guns I use for deer hunting. I’m not a very experienced deer hunter, this is only my third season out. I did go out with a few friends several years back, but don’t really count it since I was borrowing a rifle and didn’t even take a shot.

enfieldOne of the things I like about the group of guys I hunt with is that they like and enjoy shooting historic firearms. Most of them hunt traditional black powder or cowboy era rifles, but they also collect antique guns. Keith got me hooked on British firearms, so 3 years ago I picked up an old WWII era Enfield (303 British) made by Savage for the lend lease program during the war.

I shot my first deer with it 3 seasons ago during the winter rifle season. It was a doe, but I’m more of a meat hunter anyway. I scared a group of does out of some brush walking back to my vehicle for lunch and one of stopped and gave me a 30 yard side shot. Season over.

It’s a great gun to shoot, a little heavy, but there’s no kick to it and it holds a great pattern at 100 yards. I’d love to find a place to do some 200+ yard shots to see how I do, but haven’t found a place to do that yet.

woodsmanI recently picked up an Ardesa Spain, Hawken Woodsman in 50 caliber for an amazing price (too good to pass up). I’ve been shooting it steady for the past couple of months and am taking it out for muzzleloading season this year. I can hold a 6 inch group at 100 yards with it fairly consistently. I was never real taken with the Hawken style rifle until I picked this on up. It’s shorter than the traditional Hawken style, so it swings well and has a good feel to it.

I plan to make some changes to it after the season when I have some more time, didn’t want to try to get that done before the season. I’m going to put more traditional sites on it, let the brass tarnish a bit and refinish the stock to look original. But I’ll do that after the season is over.

musketMy last rifle is a Civil War era musket reproduction that I picked up last summer. I really wanted to use this rifle, but I’ve had difficulty getting it sited in at 100 yards. I like the looks of the muskets of that era. This one is closer to a Springfield rather than the Enfield. But it’s still fun to shoot. It’s in 58 caliber.

As you can see, I don’t really have any of the modern rifles that most use when hunting. I’m more drawn to historic firearms. There’s just something about shooting a gun that has some history behind it. I have it as a goal to someday have all my hunting rifles be British firearms. I really love the British military rifles and would love to add a Baker flintlock, an Enfield musket and a Martini Henry to my collection. Someday. Hopefully.

So those are my tools. I’m hoping Keith will give a write up on some of his. He’s a lot more knowledgeable about the history of some of these than I am and he has some great firearms and stories about them.

So what are some of you taking out into the field? Tell us about them.

We’re Not The Only Ones Out Early In The Season

It seems the guys over at Addicted To Hunting had a big Muley in their sites. There are Mule Deer running around in our area as well and I’m hoping to see some when I get out next week. Doubt we have the snow that those guys did though!

Talked to my partner and he’s stoked about the upcoming hunt. The first part of the week will just be the two of us and another couple of friends will be coming out for the weekend.

I hope they got to see the big Muley, nothing is more exciting than seeing a huge buck in front of you. I can’t wait to see the follow up to their storey.

August 2009 Deer Scouting Trip In South Western Kansas

the water hole we were watching
the water hole we were watching

We recently did our last scouting trip before muzzleloading deer season starts up next week. We went to a new piece of ground that we haven’t hunted before and has just become available. From the road, you can’t help but think that nothing can be out there, it’s way too flat! But we’ve always seen deer and this time wasn’t different.

We were watching a water hole about 30 yards in front of us, sitting in waist high grass and weeds when a small 6 point and a little larger 10 point whitetail came in. The 10 point’s rack was beautiful and very symmetrical. I apologize for the poor photos, I only had the use of an old camera that weekend.

We watched them drink and graze for nearly 30 minutes before the two got in behind us where the grass was much lower. It didn’t take them long to figure out we shouldn’t be there and they ran off over the hill.

Look through the weeds to see Mr. 10 point.
Look through the weeds to see Mr. 10 point.

It was pretty exciting and I hope Mr. 10 shows up next week, although, one never knows. I haven’t watched this ground enough to know the habits of the deer that come out here

There is a large gulley to the north of the water hole that the deer seem to use quite frequently. We’ve seen trails and bedding areas back in there, so I’ll definitely be watching those areas as well.

So, wish us luck next week.

Hello World!

Yes, hello! Welcome to our adventure as we chronicle our hunting out in the western Kansas prairie. We might be a little unconventional at times, but it keeps things interesting.

Muzzleloading Deer season is about to kick off next week (September 21 to be exact) and we’re excited to get out in the field. We hope you enjoy our adventure, but probably not as much as we will.

Keep your powder dry.

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