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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 71-----------MAY 2008

SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'

WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY

May 12, 2008

Yes, I know.  I'm late again.  I am however, considering filing a harassment suit.  My Brother and my Wife have ganged up on me and have begun engaging in email and telephone terrorism!

Ed started the campaign with an email a mere five days after this newsletter should have been done. (signed: Impatient Brother)

As if that wasn't enough, Little Heifer had to get into the act by emailing Ed on May 8th, to ask if he'd seen the May newsletter yet.  To that he replied, that he'd been getting up in the middle of the night to check for the dang thing and found himself "so disappointed, I think I'm gettin' irregular."

He followed that one the next day, with an email to me containing what he called a "pretty catchy tune" that again discussed his feigned "irregularity" for lack of "first of the month reading material."

Saturday, after a tough morning at the shooting range with our latest Hunter Education class, I received a threatening 'phone call, with yet another Brotherly reminder that no May newsletter had been observed, and made further reference to this "irregularity" issue!

Ed, today marks the cure for the lack of new reading material!  However,  my thoughts about the other problem would include either a massive dose of prunes or a half dozen glycerin suppositories!  (To be taken in conjunction with your complaints about my sloth and laziness!)

As I write this, Mother's day has come and gone, and we are nearly into mid-May.  We can still see a few remnants of the snow that was with us for so long and so deep.

Our Wheelin' Elks RV Club's 'First Roundup' was scheduled for May 2, 3, and 4, so I needed to get the travel trailer out of the shop to de-winterize the water system.  I hitched it to the tractor and pulled it outside the week of April 21st, but not before having to push more than a foot of snow off the asphalt pad outside the rear shop door.  After that we did have a few warm days that rid us of much, but not all the white stuff.

On May 1st I hooked up with the big red Ford to pull into the Elks Lodge campground.  Didn't look like a lot of snow remaining where I needed to pull forward and back out to the driveway.  Got stuck!  Had to wade around in the snow, lock the hubs and go to four wheel drive to get the blasted thing out!  At that point, my thought was that this had better be a dang fine campout!

I shouldn't have worried.  We had about a dozen trailers and motor homes in the campground, with a number of other members of the RV Club, coming and going daily.  As usual, the major highlights of the weekend nearly all involved food.

Thursday evening's Club meeting was preceded by a potluck with everyone bringing something to grill and something to share.

Friday night we had a Chicken Fried Steak meal prepared by Guy Shattuck, one of our volunteer chefs and his crew of 'kitchen slaves.'

Saturday night we celebrated Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Cuisine; Enchiladas and all the trimmings,  put together by the Naccarato family.

Sunday morning was the 'Officers Breakfast' with eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, gravy, and pancakes, courtesy of the Lodge Officers.

All in all, an enjoyable (and fattening) weekend for everyone.

On Wednesday, May 7th, a G & S Landscaping crew began demolition of the concrete slabs in front of the ranch house, preceding the installation of a new front porch and patio.  Pavers, colors, and layout have all been cussed and discussed, and putting it all back together should begin sometime this week.

The past week also included five evenings of teaching Hunter Education classes at the Spokane Sportsman's Warehouse, and then live fire evaluations at Center Target Sports shooting range in Post Falls, ID on Saturday morning.

NOW, do I get any sympathy for being late with the newsletter?????  I didn't think so!  Guess I'll just get on with talkin' about the shootin' and huntin' stuff!

You already know about the Pink Lady revolver won by Little Heifer, and the Weatherby Vanguard that came my way at the same NRA banquet.  I'm sad to report that neither has been fired!  I've cleaned them both, but it's a bit hard to get excited about going outside to shoot when the target stand is buried in snow!

My impeccable logic about saving enough money by wining those guns, to justify buying the .204 Ruger barrel for my Encore frame, did result in permission to make the purchase, but alas, it too remains unfired.

We intend to change this 'unfired' business in the near future!  I recently received a UPS package from Leupold down in Oregon, that contained a number of goodies required to get the shootin' irons in shootin' shape.

One necessity was scope bases for the Weatherby.  Those were found in the box, and will be screwed down and matched up with an old Bushnell 3-9 X variable scope and an ancient set of Redfield rings which were hanging out on a shelf in the reloading room.  The Bushnell is an old economy model that originally resided on my Remington 7MM Mag.  We'll see how the Vanguard shoots, and then upgrade to another Leupold when I get permission to buy more 'gun stuff.'

Outfitting the .204 Ruger requires a few more gunsmithing gymnastics.  My highest power variable scope now sits atop the .25-06 Ruger Number One.  While the .25-06 is a fine long range varmint cartridge, it is overkill on creatures the size of prairie dogs, ground squirrels, and gophers.  It also has enough recoil that extended shooting, as in several hours of thinning out a ground squirrel colony, can get somewhat uncomfortable.

So, the 4.5-14 Leupold VariX III will come off the Ruger No. 1 and go on the .204 caliber Encore.  The aforementioned box contained the requisite mount base and scope rings to fit the Encore and allow this switch.

Now that would leave me with a Ruger No. 1 without a scope and it does not have iron sights either.  This won't do!  Digging deeper into the UPS shipment revealed a new Leupold 6X scope for the Ruger, with one of their latest fancy reticles.

Built on the old standby Duplex reticle are two extra little dots.  These dots are located on the vertical wire, just below the horizontal one.  I was assured by the customer service representative with whom I spoke, "If you sight in that .25-06 for 200 yards at the crosshairs, the first dot will put you right on at 300 yards, and the lower one at 400!"  Wow, ain't modern technology wonderful?

I mentioned earlier that the target stand has been buried in snow all winter, and that along with some stray bullet holes in the framework made it necessary to replace two or three boards.  I completed that project last week, and sprayed on a fresh coat of red paint, so at least that part is ready to go.

As soon as I get the scopes mounted and/or switched around, I'll report on how all this new stuff works in a future newsletter.  (That one will probably be late too.)

You may have noted that the Leupold brand has been mentioned often in this and many past newsletters.  I should mention that Leupold, one of several national companies that support Hunter Education, provides price incentives for certified instructors to order products directly from the factory.  It also doesn't hurt that Leupold products are first class, and are backed by a lifetime warranty like no other.

Other manufacturers providing similar incentives, include Henry and Savage firearms companies.  Instructing Hunter Education classes is strictly volunteer work and most of us use our personal firearms in the classroom.  These price incentives are a nice way to recognize our efforts and is much appreciated.

As the snow slowly receded here on the ranch, we noticed that the pocket gophers had plenty of time to do their dirty work under the heavy snow cover.  I had nearly forgotten the gophers' propensity for being active under heavy snow cover because we haven't had much for several years.  In fact, I can't recall a winter since living here where the ground was covered so deep for so long.

I noticed ribbons of dirt atop the ground when the snow left our back yard.  These pictures were taken in the area where I was gunning for a gopher last fall.  As you can see, he escaped.

   

Gopher Trails Beneath the Snow

I'm not sure what activities occur when these dirt trails are made.  I speculate that the gophers can rummage around beneath the snow, and eat fresher vegetation than that they store deep in their burrows.  I'll need to do some more research on this.  The main problem of course, is that these dirt ribbons kill the grass, and must be raked flat in order to mow the lawn.

I've read that these gophers don't truly hibernate, but become lethargic and largely inactive in winter.  I do know that in winters when the snow cover doesn't last so long, the critters don't venture above ground and make this kind of mess.

For those who are new readers and others  who may not recall my previous writings on the subject, I exterminate pocket gophers from our lawn areas via a lethal dose of .410 shot shell.

Some years ago the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) bankrolled a citizen's initiative which resulted in outlawing most forms of trapping in the state of Washington.

Unfortunately, people tend to see the words 'Humane Society' in the HSUS name and think of local animal shelters.  They don't realize that absolutely none of their multi million dollar budget goes to rescuing or sheltering abandoned or unwanted animals.  For HSUS, it's all about outlawing hunting, trapping, research, or other utilization of animals for any purpose.

Of course the PETA pukes are most famous for their advertising antics such as equating slaughtering animals for food, to the Holocaust and suggesting drinking beer instead of milk so as not to irritate the cows!

Well, these two stellar organizations were successful in convincing the vast majority of the urban dwellers in the Puget Sound area to vote for this nonsense, so trapping is now prohibited statewide.  One small glitch in the law was unforeseen.   No one bothered to write language into the law to exempt such nuisance pests as moles and gophers!  Now that these creatures can't be legally trapped, they are wrecking havoc on lawns and golf courses throughout the state.

Numerous attempts have been made to legislatively 'fix' the mole and gopher prohibition, but so far, the eastern Washington legislators have been able to hold their ground on, "Either fix the whole trapping prohibition problem or live with the moles and gophers!"  Personally, if it takes ruining every lawn, park, and golf course west of the Cascade Crest to get the stupid ban repealed, I'm all for it!

Meanwhile, there ain't a law on the books that prevents anyone from shooting the little buggers wherever discharging a firearm is legal!  This has been my method of extermination for the past 3 or 4 years.  For details on how I do this, go to the Newsletter table of contents page and click on any of the links that list 'gopher hunting' as a subject.

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from a quote by Thomas Dewar:

"Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open."

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
Copyright 2002 - 2008 - All Rights Reserved

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