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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 110-----------AUGUST 2011

SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'

WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY

August 7, 2011

Isn't it amazing how much information can be inferred via a one to three word email?  For example, I recently received one from brother Ed that had only this:  Well?

I replied to that one with:  Well, What?

Then I received:  You know what.

I ignored that one, only to get the most recent one that said only: Really?

Even though I could plead ignorance and continue to procrastinate, I suppose I'd better get busy and post the August newsletter.

Last month I wrote about the 16 gauge Sears bolt action shotgun that was given us by a friend to use in our Hunter Education classes.  Here's some additional information I've been able to find about this model.

While there are some differing opinions out there on the internet, the most logical information I've found indicates that this J. C. Higgins shotgun was manufactured by H&R (Harrington and Richardson) and designated their Model 120.  It was reportedly marketed under the H&R name from the 1930's to 1941, and then under the Sears/J. C. Higgins name until about 1945.

While I could find no reference to problems with the 16 gauge model, the identical shotgun in 12 gauge, had a recall on the bolt assembly because of instances where the bolt released upon firing and flew back into the shooters face.

When I disassembled the gun for inspection and cleaning, I found no indication of bolt problems, but the frame around the trigger assembly had been repaired(?) at some point in its life.  The repair consisted of some welding that didn't appear to be factory original and left some doubt in my mind as to the advisability of actually shooting the gun.  Having no intention of ever shooting it anyway, I removed all doubt by disabling the firing pin so the gun cannot be fired.

I have acknowledged and thanked both the people who have given me guns to use in our classes via my Hunter Ed. articles in the Elks Lodge monthly bulletin.  This apparently prompted a third Elks member to offer yet another firearm.  Just happens that this gun will nicely fill a remaining gap in my supply of demonstration guns; a break action, external hammer, 20 gauge shotgun.  This one will join the 12 gauge break action we are using and allow us to demonstrate, and students to learn, yet another type of action release.

Jennifer turned 15 years of age on July 31st.  Doesn't seem possible that Little Heifer and I could be old enough to have a granddaughter that age!  We delayed our little birthday celebration until earlier today, because the kids left for vacation on the birthday day, and didn't return home until yesterday.

Birthday loot at our house included a fat curling iron, full length mirror for her bedroom, bubblegum balls, some framed pictures, and of course, a little bit of cash money.

Here are some pictures of the event:

           

Jennifer's 15th Birthday

I'm still so involved in Hunter Education and chairing the Board of Directors at the Elks Lodge, that I continue to suffer from a serious lack of reloading, shooting, and smelling burning gunpowder!  Our last Hunter Ed. class of the year ends next Saturday, so perhaps that will ease the pressure a bit.

About the extent of gunfire around here has been a couple of afternoons of effort at pocket gopher eradication.  A couple of weeks ago we observed some renewed gopher activity behind the house, with more in the south lawn and near the shop buildings.

As those who have read my past newsletters know, my preferred method of gopher control is to dig out and open a burrow entrance under one of the dirt piles they push to the surface and await the inhabitant's effort to refill the hole.  If I can manage to be there at the right time, a shotgun blast down the hole will usually take care of that particular gopher.

In years past, I would open a burrow, settle into a lawn chair, and wait until the critter appeared.  If the resident didn't show up within a hour or so, I would usually give up until another time.  I now do this a little differently, which makes for more efficient use of my time.

I now dig out multiple gopher holes, and go about my other chores, simply taking a timeout every so often to grab the shotgun and tour the openings.  This often results in finding evidence of some new dirt in the opening and indicates the gopher is actively in the process of filling the hole.

When I find the fill work started but not complete, it usually means a short wait before getting a shot.  If I find the hole completely filled, I simply dig it out again and continue my periodic tours.

On the day in question, I began by opening five different gopher holes mid-afternoon.  Rick's old 20 gauge Winchester pump was pressed into action.  By dark, I had killed three of the five targeted gophers.  The other two escaped because one didn't refill the hole at all that day, and another was filled once between my visits, re-opened, and not filled again until after dark.

I did notice a repeat of a phenomenon that I've observed before.  When I've opened multiple holes, it is quite common for two or more gophers to begin repair work on their respective residences at roughly the same time!  When touring multiple openings in the past, I've seen this too often for it to be pure coincidence.

I'm wondering if this is a function of astrological influences that some 'experts' claim can predict fish feeding times or periods of activity of other animals?  I am reasonably certain that the dang things don't have cell phones or telepathic abilities that let them communicate when to go to work!

A week later, I found time to go after the two gophers I didn't connect with in my earlier effort, plus another that Ann discovered had been digging dirt southwest of the house.  I soon finished off two of the three, but that #$@&* in the middle of the south lawn eluded me again.

I've gone after this bugger several times this summer.  I'm not sure if he is the smartest gopher in the county, or if I'm incompetent, but this guy is just unpredictable!  On three occasions I've observed this gopher begin filling the hole, get about halfway done and quit the effort.  That is very unusual behavior!

All my experiences tell me that once the refill job is started, the gopher doesn't quit until the job is done.  Not the case with this dude.  I've not been able to pattern this one, except to say that most of his refill work is done in the dark of night!  I'll try again after this last H. E. class is over!

I've continued to follow whatever news I can find about the ATF's "Operation Fast and Furious" scandal, and am still not seeing much of anything on the part of our local media.  I've seen nothing on local TV news, and only two articles in the Spokesman Review.  Both newspaper articles were pickups from the Tribune Washington Bureau, so there was no local slant on anything.

Of course, the big flap about the national debt ceiling and the deficit has absorbed most of the media attention in recent weeks, but even considering that, mainstream media just doesn't seem to want to delve into how high in the Obama administration this might go.

I understand that more congressional hearings will be held after the summer recess, so maybe someone will get to the bottom (or top) of this yet.

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from a facebook posting found by Little Heifer.  No citation was given, so it may be an original.  Whatever, it sure struck a note with me.

"Handle every stressful situation like a dog.  If you can't eat it or play with it, pee on it and walk away!"

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

THE OL' HILLBILLY
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