Tag Archives: hunting

reloading recipe

150 gr tsx

For the reloaders out there.

I had some good results today with some handloads for my 30-30 levergun. But for my trigger control from supported prone I almost achieved a one-hole at 100 yds.

The recipe here is:

Barnes TSX 150gr
Win 748 33.5 gr (I don’t have a chronograph but Barnes manuals put it around 2100 fps)
Federal once fired brass
Winchester Large Rifle primers

I’m no benchrest guru and I’m sure others can do better, but out of a levergun at 100 I can’t complain. I have some high hopes for this load this season.

10 things you can do to be better than you were yesterday


I subscribe to the philosophy that if someone can’t manage to find the time to train 8 hrs a day, the next best thing he can do is focus on 1 thing a day to make himself better than he was the day before.

Keep in mind that you can’t be doing the exact same thing everyday as if you are on auto-pilot. You should be broadening your horizons by looking for new experiences or by pushing yourself to exceed your last attempt.

These are some of the things I do to keep myself from feeling that I’m slacking off when I cant spend as much time as I would like on training. If I can do at least one of these things every day I feel like I accomplished something. Everybody’s list can be different depending on their focus and goals. As well as their time, budget and motivation.

1. Exercise: Beyond the obvious health and functional benefits, exercise provides you with a sense of confidence and well-being that bleeds over into all other aspects of your life. It is not an “instant fix”, you have to stick to it day after day, but if you keep at it you will start to notice the gradual changes in your fitness and appearance. Its a strong motivator to keep at it.

2. Dry-Fire Training: I cant always get out to the live fire range and don’t have the ability to spend as much money on ammunition as I would like, but there is always dry practice. Draws, reloads, movement, malfunction clearing can all be done dry just about anytime and anywhere. Just remember to follow all safety precautions and practice “perfectly”.

3. Martial Arts: Since I’ve been moved back to the midnight shift I have been slacking a bit on this one. I have been an off and on practiconer since my early teens. I was going two nights a week to a boxing/MMA class and hope to get back to it after the holiday craziness. If chosen well you can kill two birds with one stone by getting your physical conditioning in here. Boxing/MMA has a larger fitness and conditioning component than some of the classic arts.

4. Read: Read a book or trade magazine on your chosen profession or pursuit. Educate yourself on the latest developments. I read various books and magazines on law enforcement, fitness, technology, history, philosophy and others. This is not just picking up a comic book or novel, thats entertainment reading. Read as if it were “homework”, but homework that you enjoy.

5. Live Fire: I get out to the range or the field to do some live fire training (in addition to department training) whenever the opportunity arises.

6. Hunting: I only hunt big game in my part of the country, but I try to get out a few days every season. Hunting, if looked at as training (no booze or partying for me..Im a purist) combines many traits;

  • Discipline: getting out in all weather and hours and staying out there.
  • Meditation: there is an aspect of introspection that comes with sitting by yourself in the woods for long hours.
  • Fitness: if you stalk hunt you have to move over some rough terrain carrying a load. Dragging your quarry is hard work as well
  • Marksmanship: shooting here is “for a purpose” vs. training
  • The Kill: This may be a sensitive issue, but the kill, if approached as a “necessity” and something done with respect and not enjoyment or pleasure; can be a reassurance that you can “pull the trigger” if the necessity is forced upon you. Killing big game is…well…killing. It bleeds, it makes noise, it tries to escape. It’s never been a pleasure for me to kill a deer, but I am a hunter and a meat eater. I feel remorse after a kill but temper it with the knowledge that I at least have come to grips with what it means to be an omnivore. Some people chow down on a quarter pounder then preach that eating venison is somehow wrong. My venison at least had a chance. Many famous soldiers and law enforcement officers who have survived shootings credit their hunting experiences.

7. Write: I have found that blogging and posting to forums helps me to clairfy my thoughts. It forces me to put down in words what it is I think and believe. If you write about your “calling” it can be a powerful tool to see exactly what it is you do and do not know.

8. Watch Video: One of the wonders of our modern age is the wealth of visual knowledge available to us. You can find instructional video everywhere, including the internet. Be selective in what you feed into your brain, not all knowledge is created equal. Be aware of everything thats out there but remember that some of it is going to be “out there”.

9. Learn new skills: You never know when a skill could prove useful in a “tactical application”. One of the faults I see in “martial artists”, “gun nuts” and armchair warriors is that their knowledge base is somewhat narrow. Everything boils down to martial arts, guns and Samurai philosophy. Learn many skills; learn how to fix a car, how to tie climbing knots, first aid, how to replace a computer hard-drive, how to do basic household repairs, grill a steak, build a fire, do a magic trick, gut a deer, set-up a wireless computer network, the list is as long as you wish to make it. I subscribe to Robert A. Heinlein’s philosophy:

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

10. Compete: Most of my competitions of late have been 5K-10K races, but in the past I have tried my hand at shooting competitions, SWAT round-ups, climbing competitions, etc. While I have placed in a few, the aim isnt so much to win as to feel “in the game”. Competition is as much for the mind as it is for the body. Probably even more so. Most physical improvements are found through day-in day-out training.

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gone hunting

Male Kansas White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virg...
Image via Wikipedia

“Civilized life has altogether grown too tame, and, if it is to be stable, it must provide harmless outlets for the impulses which our remote ancestors satisfied in hunting”
-Bertrand Russell

Shotgun season starts Nov 20th here. Time to wake up way too early, go out in the way too cold, and wonder exactly why I do this every year. But every year I look forward to it nonetheless.


well…i think they should give the deer guns…

I once addressed the ethics of hunting in a forum discussion. The topic of Hunting can sometimes devolve into accusations of “cruelty”, the necessity of it, the evilness of calling it/considering it “sport”, etc. and some of that came to light here. This is how I addressed MY experience with hunting and how I see it’s place in my life.

I hunt Whitetail Deer every year. Have done some small game (rabbit, duck, pheasant, grouse, etc.) and have taken boar w/rifle.

In terms of “right and wrong”. I am a meat eater. I eat what I kill…always. I think that if you are a meat eater you have no grounds to criticize my “cruelty”. My food can and often does get away to live another season. Your meat (and mine too because I eat “store meat”) is born, raised and taken to slaughter. It NEVER had a chance.

I think that hunting has given me many gifts. I respect what it means to be a carnivore. I have a respect for the wilderness. My licensing fees do more to conserve wildlife and land for wildlife than almost all private foundations in this state combined. And to be “sadistic” in some people’s worldview..I know how various caliber weapons “work” on animals of large size and get to have a yearly reminder of what it means to kill. I take no pleasure in the kill but I know that I have the capability. And for those who think that martial arts is about “warriorship”. Hunting has been the pastime of “Warriors” (and probably the prehistoric forerunner to the fighting man) for eons.

 The photo below is of a boar I took in the late summer of 2010:

I was invited to a private hunt at a game preserve, something I don’t normally do, nor something I can really afford to be honest; but as it was a “gift”, I went. I like ham, we buy quite a bit of it from the local markets. While many of the “anti-hunters” may like to ignore this fact, the plain truth is that this animal suffered no more (and hopefully less) than the animal that we buy in those sterile foam trays from the supermarket. It was fed and allowed to roam free till I took it as expediently and with as little “malice” as any other predator in the wild would when it hunts for its sustenance. It wasn’t cooped up in a pen till it was time for that terrifying ride in a truck and then the herding down the slaughterhouse chute. Mind you, I don’t really have an issue with the necessity of that scenario either, it’s the reality of feeding the people of this world.

The additional benefits I gained from this hunt and from hunting in general was a field testing of my weapon and my marksmanship. Unlike simply shopping for ham, I got food PLUS  real-world training and a testing of the effectiveness of my “tools” and ammunition selection. So while the vegans out there have my respect as far as putting their “morals where their mouths are”, the meat eating “antis” need to explain to me where my choice of acquiring some food is so wrong.


that time of year

The air is growing colder, the sky is growing greyer and the change of the season is something that can be felt all around, like the coming of rain. Something that has always marked the change of the year to me has been the beginning of deer season. As a child I remember my father, grandfathers and uncles going off to hunt. It always signaled the start of the holiday season to me back then, shortly after opening day came Thanksgiving, then Christmas and the New Year. Then snow was something looked forward to.

When I was old enough to hunt it was back when my grandfathers were alive. Opening day was a ceremonial event, remembered for the gathering of my father, my grandfather, my uncles, my friends and their brothers and fathers. For a while even my sister participated. Opening day was a valid excuse to be absent from school in my hometown. The hunting was enjoyable, but the real memories were in the gathering around the thermos cups of coffee and telling tales of the big ones that got away, the hunts of years gone bye and the family legends and tales that we all have.

As the years have gone by, the grandfathers have passed away and the friends have moved away or moved along. For a number of years it was just my father and I. Now, after his bypass, I have gone out to the woods only a handful of times. While I am blessed with three beautiful daughters, none of them are interested in getting up in the early morning hours and braving the weather and the cold to walk the woods. Last year my partner decided to pick up the shotgun again and we went out a for few days and plan on going again this year. While it is still enjoyable and my partner has become a good friend, in some ways deer season has changed from being a ceremony of community and continuing tradition, to a symbol of the changing of human life.