Kansas Deer Season Kick Off

Well, deer hunting kicks off next week here in Kansas. I’m looking forward to it, more so then years past. Mostly because the rifle is built, sited in and ready to go!

And because I really need some time in the field. It’s how I recharge. There something about being out in the country, away from the city and the noise that energizes me. I can’t wait.

Anyone else going out next week?

Rifle Build Is Done!

I was wondering if I would ever make it to this point. But I have finally finished the Hawken Rifle or Plains Rifle, whichever. It’s not a true Hawken, but pretty dang close. I’ve put a few rounds through it, and it didn’t blow up! Need a bit more work on sight adjustments and then I’ll give a range report. I never thought it would take me this long. I think it turned out awesomely!

It has some neat little touches that we did to make it unique. The front site is an old Mexican silver coin. We poured a pewter for-end cap. Had to add some metal around the lock as it didn’t line up. The walnut wood grain is beautiful and took the stain and finish well.

I’m really looking forward to taking it hunting this year.

Here’s the beginning

Here’s about midway through it

Below are some pictures.

Full View
Full View
Cheek Rest
Cheek Rest
Right side of butt stock
Right side of butt stock
Pewter foreend cap
Pewter foreend cap
Front sight
Front sight
Left side of stock
Left side of stock

Deer Season 2012

We just returned from our 4 day hunting trip, the Good Wife and I. We had a blast this year, it was a great year. The Good Wife got her first deer. Keith’s dad took the best buck of his hunting career. And a new deer hunter, Keith’s son, nearly shot his first. With a flintlock none the less!

It was truly great seeing my wife shoot her first whitetail deer. She took a great shot. It was nice 10 point, but one brow tine was completely broke off and another tine was half gone. Still, a nice buck for her first deer. Nicely done my dear!

Keith’s father, Wes, shot a really nice looking muley this year. The best of he’s ever shot. And he has shot a deer almost every year he’s hunted. We’re talking over 40 years here. I would have like to have seen it play out, he had to stalk it a bit and hold the shot for several minutes until the muley buck came out from behind some bushes. Nice 70 yd shot with a cap and ball muzzleloader, that he built by the way.

The photos are below, hope you enjoy. Let us know how you did this year.


It was the rifle, really!

So another muzzleloading season has come and gone, and my luck has proved itself out again.

I spent 4 days in Meade County the first week of the season and only saw deer 1 of those days. I made a quick trip out to El Dorado reservoir on the last Saturday of the season and came up short there also.

In Meade, I was hunting a silage field. They had a test cut through the center of the crop circle and the irrigation pivot was leaking so there was a nice little marsh of fresh water that I was sure the deer would come in to. I sat off the pivot about 30 yards watching back to the east figuring the deer would come in from that direction since the generator for the irrigation equipment was running and sitting at the west entrance to the cut.

Sure enough, about 30 minutes before sundown, a small 4 point buck stepped out of the crop about 150 yards or so and walked away from me to the east. He was joined by a few does who came in from the east entrance. I watched them for nearly 20 minutes before they spooked at something (probably me) and ran out of the cut.

I set back and contemplated my plans for the next day’s hunt, figuring I’d need to move my stand further east in the cut.

Have you ever had that feeling something was watching you out on the stand? As I was sitting there thinking, I happened to glance towards the pivot and there he is, a nice 8 point standing there watching me. I’m frozen in place as I’m caught totally off guard.

I slowly pull the rifle up to my shoulder. He doesn’t move. I pull the hammer back. He’s still there. I set the trigger. He doesn’t flinch. I pull the trigger…

My view is blocked by the black powder smoke as there was practically no breeze that night but I can hear him crashing through the crop back to the east. While reloading I’m thinking how bad I don’t want to have to try to track the buck through that silage. He was so close, there’s no way I could have missed, I’m sure of it.

A bit later I see him step out of the silage into the cut. He’s about 100 yards or so and walking away. He stops, turns and looks back down the cut towards me. I’m frozen again. I’m afraid to move thinking he’ll run so I hunker down and glass him watching to see what he’ll do.

“Drop! C’mon, drop!” I say to whoever…

I watch him for over thirty minutes, until it gets too dark to see. So I get my flashlight and head down the cut to see what’s up. Meanwhile I had texted Keith to let him know I thought I had a deer down. I get to the place I think he should be…

Nothing. Nothing! No deer, no blood.

I keep walking, nothing. I don’t see a trail at all. As I meet Keith at the east end of the circle he asks if it was a nice looking 8-10 point. Yeah.

“Well, he was just in my head lights and then took off across the next field to the east. He didn’t look hurt to me.” Keith says.

That can’t be right! I’ve been to the range, the gun was shooting fine. I can’t believe it.

The next day I do some target practice, trying to figure out what happened. I set up  a steel target at 25 yards ad put a square of orange duct tape on it. First shot, dead on. Next shot, 4 inches to the left. Next shot, dead on. Then 4 inches to the left.

I check the front sight and find that it’s moving back and forth about a 1/16th of an inch. So sometime between my range time and the hunt, I must have knocked it loose. So really, it was the gun.

I didn’t see any deer the rest of the hunt or the last Saturday. I blew it by not checking my equipment over before going into the field. Stupid mistake.

Oh well, there’s always December right?


Rifle Build, The Beginning

Since getting into black powder a few years back, I’ve often looked with envy on many of the custom built rifles and muskets of the other shooters and the club. “Some day,” I’d say, “When I have the money.”

The rifle partsI also thought it would be cool to actually build my own, but that seemed even more remote than buying a custom rifle. Well, eventually I was able to acquire a Lyman Plains Rifle that hadn’t really been started and I got it for a REALLY good price.

Yeah, I’m crazy. But it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a few years. Luckily, I know a master gun builder. He’s built dozens of rifles, muskets and pistols over nearly 50 years. It’s also who I bought the kit from. Keith’s father has built some beautiful long guns over the years, so how could I refuse his offer of assistance on the build?

The beginnings of the build have been him showing me the various parts, the things we should change from the kit as well as the things we have to fix from the kit. We discussed some styles and finishes and came up with a plan. I think it’s going to be a great Hawken styled rifle when we (erm, Wes) get done with with it. I’m not sure exactly how long it will take, my goal is to have it completed and sighted in before September’s muzzleloading deer season. I’m going to chronicle the build here, if anything to keep a record of the progress but also to showcase Wes’ talent.

So to start, I thank Wes for taking me along on this journey and for sharing a bit of his knowledge with me.

Keep your powder dry.

Hunting Season Begins

So the traditional start of the hunting season here in Kansas kicked off over the weekend with Dove season opening up on September 1st. I went out with a co-worker and good buddy Tim to see what we could find.

We made it out on Sunday afternoon and took a look at a few sunflower fields that were set up on some public hunting grounds. The sunflowers looked a little worse for wear from the summer heat and lack of rain we’ve had. We picked a field but still had a few hours before the dove would really start flying so we decided to do some scouting for a possible place to deer hunt during muzzleloading season coming up in a couple of weeks (since I won’t be heading out west as I’ve normally done the last few years).

We found a nice looking field and made note on my map and decided to head back to the dove field. I grabbed some vitals and decided to sit in some shade and watch the field for awhile since it was still a little early yet. One thing that had bothered me on our way out there was the lack of birds we were seeing on the power lines and roads. Way unusual. So as I’m eating my snack, I’m just not seeing anything flying around outside of songbirds. I’m starting to get worried.

Another group of hunters pull up and we chat a bit and work out where everyone is going to sit off the field so as not to interfere with each others shots.

Well, needless to say, the rest of the evening was pretty much the same. We saw a couple of birds. Heard the others guys take a few shots. But the birds just weren’t there. The opening hunt was a bust for me.

Towards sundown, we’d had enough of nothing and decided to go watch the field we like for deer hunting to see what might show. We were rewarded with a couple of does wandering out to feed about 30 minutes before sundown. So at least we know that deer are using the field. So the trip wasn’t a total bust.

I did feel sad that I won’t be spending this year’s muzzleloading season with Keith, it almost feels wrong. But he is doing better a little bit every day. So keep the prayers up for him.

So let’s hear it from the rest of you, did you make it out dove hunting and how’d you do?