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VOLUME 59-----------MAY 2007

SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'

WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY

May 1, 2007

Happy May Day!

Spring has finally arrived.  It hasn't really been all that warm, nor have we had much sunshine.  The grass is growing faster than I can mow it, and the springtime chores are accumulating faster than I can do them so its gotta' be Spring!

Our Wheelin' Elks RV club is having its first gathering of the year this coming weekend.  The Spring outing, called the "First Roundup" is held at the Elk's RV park on the Lodge grounds.  This is the first opportunity for those of us who have stored our rigs all winter to make sure all systems are working properly in anticipation of RV season.  Our "Snowbird" members are beginning to trickle back to the North country, so they've been living in their units all winter.

A (volunteer?) committee was formed at the RV meeting in early April to plan and oversee the campground activities at the Roundup.  There is a scheduled tour of the Buck Knife factory in Post Falls, Idaho, but other than that, secrets are being kept.  Buck Knives moved their factory operations from El Cajon, California a few years ago and has been a welcomed employer for North Idaho.

I think this story made the National News, but I'll repeat it here with a little Hillbilly embellishment!  A huge pre-fab expansion joint for the end of a major highway bridge in Tacoma, Washington, was manufactured in Minneapolis, traveled to Washington State, and  then spent the better part of a month sitting at the Port of Entry at the Idaho/Washington state line.

Seems that the Washington D.O.T. found the bridge part too heavy for the number of axles under it and would not allow it to be transported further on Washington highways!  The undercarriage was modified, axles added, and other changes were made to correct the weight distribution but when D.O.T. found that some of the extra axles didn't have brakes, that plan was nixed.  (Never mind that the rig as originally configured had traveled over 1500 miles and navigated the Continental Divide with nary a problem!)

Finally a new contractor was hired, a complete new undercarriage was built, three cranes were utilized to transfer the bridge part to the new axles, and the monstrosity was delivered to Tacoma with a mere one month delay and major fines for the contractor on this publicly funded highway project.

Here's the twist!  I have not seen this personally, mind you, but I hear that the southbound lanes of Interstate 35 from Minneapolis to Sioux Falls and the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 from Sioux Falls to the Idaho/Washington border were sunken to a depth of over a mile and a half by this heavy load, thus creating the longest, deepest canyon on earth!

Now, I understand, the interested parties are going to court to dispute whether this eighth world wonder will be called the Grand Canyon of:  Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, or some combination thereof!

It really is a good thing that the intrepid Washington D.O.T. experts halted the dangerous progress of that thing before it was reconfigured.  Otherwise Puget Sound would now be a puddle somewhere near the Montana/Wyoming border!

Could this bureaucratic BS be one reason businesses like Buck Knives and Cabela's, who want a presence in this general area tend to choose the Idaho side of the state line?

That's probably enough of this BS too!

We had a visitor yesterday morning.  As I started for the shop to get the car, I glanced behind the house and saw a large moose!  I ran back in the house to alert Little Heifer, but by the time we both got back outside we only saw a big butt disappearing into the brush.  Since antler growth is only just starting, and with only the quick glimpse, we couldn't tell if it was a bull or cow.  There's no question it was BIG!  It had to stand well over 6 feet at the shoulder.

Ann, Rick, and I continue to apply for moose tag drawings every year, but so far we haven't been lucky.  While the drawing odds are not good, the success rate for those who do draw a tag is nearly 100%.  This is a "once in a lifetime" tag, and the really sad thing is that more tags could become available if some idiots didn't poach moose every year and leave 'em to rot!

Turkey season has now been in full swing for over two weeks.  We had two Toms within 30 yards of the shop the day before the opener, but have seen only a lone hen on the place since.  We do hear gobbling in the surrounding timber, but mainly to the west of our property where we can't hunt!

I do admit to being a lazy turkey hunter.  I have my decoys, a hen and a Jake, set up in the back yard.  If a gobbler chooses to visit the decoys, and threatens suicide, one of us will put him out of his misery!  Otherwise, we ain't lookin' too hard.  Some criticize me for not being more dedicated and hardworking at this, but I've found that wild turkeys taste exactly the same whether shot by rising early, getting cold and wet, or by just stepping outside the door of a warm house!

I did probably miss my chance last Monday morning.  While I try to keep this website rated no more risqué  than PG, I will have to talk about sex to describe this incident.  I awoke Monday at about 5:15 AM.  It was just coming daylight, and looking out the bedroom slider door, I could see that all was well with both my turkey decoys.  I decided it was too early to rise for the day, so went back to bed.

About 7:30, with coffee in hand, I again looked out at the decoys.  the Jake had been knocked off his stake, and was lying several feet down the embankment behind the house!  About the same time the lone hen we'd been seeing was pecking around in the front yard.

Closer inspection showed the Jake had a number of small holes pecked or poked in his back, and was otherwise pretty well stomped and muddy.  Now here's the sex part!  Either I missed my chance at a Tom who attacked because he thought the Jake was going to do something, or the lone hen was the assailant because he wasn't doing anything!  Anyway, the Jake decoy is now back on his peg, not much the worse for his experience.

I finally did a little shooting with the new Kimber .338 Federal that I've described in previous newsletters.  I'm still not able to find the ATK 200 grain loads I wanted, so ended up buying Federal Premium stuff; one box of 210 grain Nosler Partitions and one box of 180 grain Nosler Accubonds.  I chronographed both loads, and the 180's are running near 2840 fps while the 210's are hitting just over 2500.

Even though the .338 Federal cartridge does not have the kick of a .338 Win Mag or especially, my .338 Ultra Mag, the lightweight Kimber does set back briskly!  Even so, I think Ann can handle it OK, and it will be a dandy to fill that moose tag she might draw this year!

So far three shot groups are running a mediocre 3+ inches at 100 yards.  While it's too early to tell for sure, the slim, trim barrel on the Kimber may be a bit heat sensitive.  I can't rule out operator error, but the first two shots of a group have tended to be close, with the third spreading things out into the 3 inch arena.  Next session I'll let the barrel cool longer between shots to see if this makes a difference.  Stay tuned on this one.

This month's hillbilly wisdom is another gem from that list of advice on the wall at the Hauser Lake Gun Club:

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta' that comes from bad judgment!

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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