VOLUME 72-----------JUNE 2008
SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'
WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY
June 2, 2008
I realized when I typed the volume number of this newsletter, that I have now published one of these things every month for six years! Yes, they're often late, but they always get here eventually.
Sometime Friday evening there was a transformer explosion and fire in the Houston, Texas facility where my web hosting company, Lowesthosting (and several others) house their servers. The explosion supposedly destroyed the panel and switching gear that would allow emergency power to kick in, so the servers were down until just this afternoon.
You probably think that I will blame this unusual occurrence for being late with this posting again, so I will. (Not) But seriously, if any of my readers sent email to Little Heifer or me at our oldmissourihillbilly addresses, from last Friday until the afternoon of June 2nd, it is lost forever. I do feel sorry for those of the 8000+ customers of Lowesthosting who depend upon selling products or services from their websites for their income.
I would expect some serious fallout from this. I followed the developments of the situation via a web hosting chat room. The biggest issue was the inability of people to contact Lowesthosting by telephone to find out what was going on. The company literally provides all support via 'support tickets' with email or chat, which you can only access through their website. They deliberately discourage telephone communication, to the degree that no one knew how to contact them when their website went down.
If the threats to move to other hosting providers are as serious as they sounded on the forum I followed, they will likely lose some customers. I've been with them for about 5 years as owner of 4 registered domains and two websites, and until now, have had relatively few problems, so I haven't decided whether to 'go shopping' or not.
Enough of that! Let's talk shootin' and huntin'!
I finally got the scope off the .25-06 and mounted on the Encore .204 Ruger barrel. In fact I found a break between rain showers yesterday afternoon and actually got to shoot the thing a few times.
I had two different Hornaday factory loads. One load contains a 40 grain V-Max bullet and the other a 32 grainer. I decided to chronograph a few of each to get a baseline for velocities I can expect when I begin reloading for this caliber. The 32 grain load averaged 4008 fps and the 40 grain, 3734 fps. These numbers are slightly slower than the factory ballistics say they should be, but close enough to 'fastlikehell' to suit me!
In the hands of an accomplished bench shooter, and with a bit of trigger work, I think the dang thing will shoot purty good too! The trigger on the Encore has a bit of creep and is not as consistent as I would like, but I hadn't noticed that when using it with the .410 handgun barrel for gopher shootin'.
I will need to make a run to the nearby Cabela's store (Don't you just hate it when you have to do that?) to pick up a hammer spur side extension for the Encore. When wearing the rifle barrel the hammer is situated directly under the scope and difficult to get my fat thumb on for cocking. This is not a problem with the .410 handgun barrel, because the long eye relief scope sits well ahead of the hammer spur.
I shot less than 20 rounds through the .204 but after getting the scope adjusted to print near where I wanted, it seemed to settle in and shoot well. I do not claim to be a top notch bench rest shooter, but with the scope cranked up to 14 power and the mild recoil of this round, I did manage to turn in a couple of decent groups. As I recall, the better group was shot with the 32 grain bullets and the other with the 40 grainers.
Both are 3 shot groups at 100 yards. With a steady hold, anything from ground squirrel to coyote could be in serious trouble way out there! (The lower hole in the left hand target is likely operator error)
The stainless Encore 'Pro Hunter' barrel is 28 inches in length. The chamber end is 1 inch in diameter, tapers to .800 of an inch in about 6 inches and remains at .800 all the way to the muzzle. The crown is recessed and appears flat with little, if any degree of taper. The barrel has 5 shallow flutes beginning 12 inches from the chamber end and extending to about one half inch short of the muzzle. Because of the break action, single shot configuration, the overall length is only 42 inches even with the 28 inch barrel.
As I understand it, the Encore rifle barrels all have the same contour regardless of caliber. With only a .20 caliber hole in the middle it leaves this barrel quite heavy, as compared to say a .45-70 barrel. In theory, this extra metal and resultant stiffness should contribute to good accuracy. The rifle with scope and mounts as I fired it, weighs 8 pounds 15 ounces on my postal scale.
Be interesting how this will work out with a carefully tailored handload. I think I'll keep it!
Turkey season ended here May 31st. I did manage to bag a gobbler on May 15th. As I've often said in these pages, a good portion of our game is shot right here on the ranch. It sometimes seems that the critters come into view of the house and contemplate suicide. If the season is open and the proper tag is in hand, they are sometimes accommodated.
In this case, I was downstairs and Ann and Jennifer were in the kitchen. Jennifer was recuperating from softball practice and in the midst of an after school snack when three turkeys meandered into the little meadow south of the house.
Ann yelled down the stairs, "Turkeys!"
I ran upstairs, and we determined through the kitchen windows, that one of the three was a nice sized gobbler. Both Ann and Jennifer have turkey tags, but neither was interested in making a try for the big guy. (I've come to realize that sometimes our girls are hunters and other times they are, well, GIRLS. What male can figure them out?)
With that I gathered up the old Winchester 12 gauge pump and sneaked out the back door. I dropped into the draw back of the house and circled to the east to attempt an intercept in their line of travel. I think they may have seen me, because travel in that direction suddenly ceased.
With no further movement in my direction, I backtracked and sneaked into position behind the rock wall east of the house. I peeked over the wall and was again spotted by the hens. As they began walking toward the brush line, still not too frightened, the gobbler stood still too long. The payload of #6 shot centered his head and neck at about 30 yards and dropped him in his tracks!
Weighing in at 18½ pounds with an 8½ inch beard (the turkey, not Jennifer)
Some say turkeys can't read a calendar, but I believe they not only can, they do! How else to explain the blatant display of audacity here, just 2 days after season's close! Right next to my target stand too!
These two gentlemen were attempting to impress a lady in this series of photos. Look closely at the picture on the far right and you can see the lady in the tall grass between the two trees.
I'm not one to attribute human thoughts and feelings to birds and animals like the P.E.T.A. Pukes (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) or the H.S.U.S. Crazies (Humane Society of the United States) but I've seen scenarios like this amongst my fellow men and women. Can't you imagine the girl hiding in the weeds, feigning indifference, while showing just enough of her 'goodies' to keep the boys struttin'?
On May 18th Jennifer and I went fishin'! Rick and Christi were driving to Chewelah, WA to scope out a campground where they'll be 'wagon masters' for a Wheelin' Elks RV Club campout in July. Jennifer and I motored to Williams Lake, about 40 miles southwest of here.
Outlook Magazine, Sportsman's Warehouse, KIX 96 FM Radio, Klink's Resort, and others, sponsor an annual kids fishing derby on the lake. I had never attended, but was invited to bring Jennifer out for the festivities. Jennifer has some new fishing equipment, courtesy of the Easter Bunny, so we decided to give it a try.
As we walked down to the main dock, we met up with Dan and Sue Henderson. Dan and Sue are fellow Outlook Magazine writers who had just returned a load of kids to the dock in their new Duckworth boat. Those fisherpersons had limited out with five trout each, and Dan and Sue were eager to show Jennifer the ropes.
After registering, we boarded the Duckworth and set out upon our fishing journey. After motoring to mid lake, Sue took over the piloting duties and Captain Dan set out trolling lines for Jennifer. One trip up the lake and halfway back resulted in Jennifer's five trout limit! There were no giants in the bunch, but all were fryin' pan size. (Dan and Sue had caught a 6+ pounder the day before, so there are some good sized rainbow in the lake.)
Dan and Jennifer
Reel him in Girl
Sue and Jennifer on the ride back to the dock
After returning to the dock, we gathered at Dan and Sue's camper, where ham sandwiches were built by Sue and devoured by Dan and Jennifer. Thank you very much, Dan and Sue for your help and hospitality. It's truly appreciated.
Wow, I was about to forget the most important news! At least it is to me.
As many of you know I'm in my fourth year of teaching Hunter Education classes here in Washington. (If born on or after January 1, 1972, you must successfully complete a certified Hunter Education course in order to purchase a regular hunting license here.)
About 2 years ago the State Legislature passed a law authorizing the Fish and Game Commission to offer a few 'special hunting permits' to certified Hunter Education instructors to encourage more long term participation in the program.
Last year 25 such permits were awarded and another 25 were authorized for 2008. An instructor must have completed three continuous years of service to be eligible for the drawing awarding these permits, and if successful, cannot re-apply for 10 years.
This year's allotment consisted of seven 'any elk' permits for the central and western Regions, two 'antlerless only' moose permits for the northeastern Region, and the rest are various deer permits scattered about the state.
The great thing about these permits is that they are 'extras'. Meaning that whatever tag you are awarded allows you to take that animal without regard to any other annual or lifetime limits on the species. The permits are not free. You must still purchase the appropriate species tag at regular price.
In mid April a series of 35 applicant's names were drawn, with number one choosing first, number two next, and so on, until all 25 permits are taken.. I was number seven in the pecking order for choosing the special permits. When my turn came, there was one elk permit remaining and both moose permits.
Come the October 1 season opener I will be the proud owner of a cow moose permit. The season lasts until November 30th.
Washington's moose habitat, with hunt-able populations, consists exclusively of the northwest quarter of the state. This will give you an idea of how moose permits are sought after: Including some limited youth hunts, there are a total of 128 moose permits available for lottery drawings for 2008. Most of the permits are for 'any moose' with 40 being antlerless only. In 2007, applications for these 128 permits numbered 53,756!
The other important aspect is, if you draw an 'any moose' permit, that's it for your lifetime, successful or not. My special permit however, will allow me to continue to be eligible to draw for any other future permits. I know some people who have applied for moose tags for 15 or 20 years, and even with Washington's preference point system, have never been drawn.
I suspect you can tell, I'm very excited about the moose hunting! Rick and Gary, one of Rick's husky young friends, have already volunteered to help with the recovery and packing out if I'm successful. This could be a big job because the Game Management Unit I'll be hunting consists of some 'steep and deep' National Forest lands with limited road access.
Wish me luck!
This month's hillbilly wisdom is a quote from an unknown source:
"When you speak, be sure the things you say are an improvement over silence."
Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!