Angus Gets His Gun

I’m feeling proud this morning about #3 son, Angus.

Saturday morning, I ran into Angus and #2, Moose, in the basement. Moose had spent the night. They had decided to get up and go early to the gun show that was being held on our side of town. I have taken them many times when they were younger. They were meeting friends.

Before Noon, I had reason to get hold of them to discuss plans for later in the weekend. It was then I found out. Angus had purchased a NIB Highpoint 9mm carbine and 300 rounds of 9mm ammo at a good price. He and Moose were on their way to the farm to shoot.

They came in late. Angus showed me the piece. It was not really my taste, but it was sturdy and did what it needed to do. I heard the alarm in the Shamanic Secret Underground Reloading Facility reset about 11 PM. He had gotten in to clean the rifle and put it up on the rack. Despite being tired, he had stuck to my advice: don’t go to bed with a dirty gun.

So why am I so proud? First off, this was a calculated decision. It appears to be something other than mere impulse buying. Angus and Moose went to the show to find a rifle that would be cheap to shoot. Angus has been plinking with the M44 Mosin I bought him 10 years ago, but he got tired of feeding it. The house is already filled with semi-auto .22 LR and .223 Rem rifles. This would be neatly nestled between the two in cost and performance. The Hi-Point is heavy and butt-ugly, so I know he did not pick it for any romantic reason. He went researched what would be the system with the lowest cost to operate and went for it. He did it all with money he’s been saving from his job.

I’m also rather happy he didn’t bring me in on it. He did not worry what I would think until it was over. Both Moose and Angus have now stepped deliberately out of my shadow.

I’m pleased that they decided to go to the farm to shoot rather than head to the nearest range. Sure, it’s a 60-some mile drive to get there, but it shows my sons appreciate the place as much as I do.

Overall, it was a perfect, well-timed operation. They hit the gun show as it was opening up, got what they needed. Made the farm just as the temperature was hitting an unseasonably high peak in the 60’s, shot their ammo and made their way home with a nice sunset and the windows open. I call that sucking the last bit of life out of a day.


Woke up this morning (and bought myself a gun)

It’s raining graupel this morning. It’s above freezing; the little ice balls are hitting the roof and making such a racket that it woke me up. This is not the sort of day for thinking about turkey hunting, but there it is. The switch inside my head has but two settings. One setting is for deer. The other is where it is now.

I have already been to the basement once this morning to check on supplies of ammunition. I have enough 3-inch #4’s to last for a few more seasons. My calls are still all packed up. However, I’ll probably bring up the box and start working them later today.

Looking out towards Gobbler’s Knob

Normally, it is  one of those deeply cold bright January days that knocks the switch. This year I think I know what did it. I was playing around with a graphics program the other day and took a photo of the view from the Thoughtful Spot, looking out towards Gobbler’s Knob and used it to test the oil painting effect. The result must have stuck in my head.

As I was putting away the turkey gear last May, I noticed that my turkey bag was starting to see signs of its age. If memory serves, I started carrying it about 15 seasons ago. I picked it up from a couple from Wisconsin that had a booth at the Cincinnati Outdoor Show. That was a big thing for Mooseboy and I, going to that show every year. He shot a BB gun for the first time at that show. We always visited that couple’s booth. They had good luggage cheap.

While I was at Hibberd Armory with Big Bob the other day, I spied my turkey bag’s replacement. It is a Rothco Advanced Tactical Bag. You can call it whatever you like, but I recognized it immediately as a turkey purse. Its only drawback is that it is not camo, but I really do not see that as a drawback. There is a camo version you can get on Amazon, but I was taken with the green. I am keeping it by my desk, helping me visualize the coming season. What I like about this one is that it has more room without adding much extra weight.

Both the old and the new bag are what’s called a messenger bag.  I prefer this over a vest for a bunch of reasons.  First off, a shoulder bag comes off with one buckle. I find this much easier when I am in a jam.  Second, I found I weighed myself down with too much kit when I wore a vest. This holds me to the essentials.    This bag has a lot of advantages over the old one.  For instance, that beverage holder looks more like a box call holster to me.  It also closes up for rain a lot better than the old one.

The other thing that followed me home from Hibberd’s was a Ruger SR9. My reasons for buying were rather odd. In fact, the whole trip was a bit unusual. I don’t usually wake up in the morning with the intent of buying a new pistol, but the impulse was unmistakable. Bob laughed when I told him about the impending trip. He has had urges like that too in the past. Sometimes you really do need to wake up one morning and buy yourself a gun. In retrospect, it was something that had been rolling around in my head since summer.


It started when I decided that I wanted to make some reloads for my Walther P1-P38. I’ve had the pistol now for over a decade, and I have seldom ever shot it. Instead, it rode with me in the back of the truck back and forth to the farm with the intent that it could take care of something in the middle of the night. The P1 is a great pistol within its limitations. It was built to fire moderate full metal jacketed loads, and it does so with the precision of a sewing machine. It was built for the West German Police to fire their particular German Police cartridges and nothing else. Once I found a load that duplicated their cartridges, that was fine. However, for a fellow that likes to reload, that was a rather limiting challenge. I was determined over the summer to find a way to get the P1 working with cheap cast lead. That turned out to be not so easy. I was looking for a cheap plinker. Instead, what I got was a black hole of a project. The cast lead had the odd habit of submarining, head-first, into the magazine. I tried several fixes, but finally realized I was spending a lot of money on a project that was meant to save money overall. I finally put the P1 away and vowed to wait until I had the scratch for a 9mm pistol that had a more omnivorous appetite. The SR9 has that reputation.

My first loads for it are mixed brass with my cast lead Lee 358-125-FN’s sized to .358 and lubed with 45-45-10. I also loaded 124 grain Hornady XTP’s and Berry Hollow Base Round Noses.

I was hesitant about a striker-fired, manual safety pistol for self-defense and CCW purposes, but the whole world seems to be going that way these days.

That’s what I’ve been up to for the past month.


Possible new Ohio Record Buck

The forest telegraph just came across with this:

BIG BUCK ALERT! New Potential Ohio State Record Typical Buck




Post Season Recap

There is a brief window in our yearly hunting schedule where the lessons of the season just past are still fresh. I need to make record of them before my head fills with holiday glurge. My apologies for not doing this sooner.  I just started a new day job, and it has been consuming everything.

We celebrated our 16th season of Deer Camp.  Everybody got a big buck. Everybody got a doe for the freezer.  By weight and by antler, we bagged the new #2 and #4 bucks.  Supercore’s buck had a bigger rack but was about 5 lbs lighter than mine.

This was SuperCore’s first season with the ATV. I have purposely eschewed these vehicles in the past for reasons I have stated. However, SuperCore’s bypass surgery left him unable to get back and forth to the blind. Something needed to be done. My first impressions were that his bright red Arctic Cat was a noisy contraption and it would scare the deer. I was glad to be on the other side of the property on the Opener. He even forgot the camo cover. However, SuperCore got The Monarch this year. So much for my sensibilities having anything to do with the deer’s.

What I can say is deer activity declined dramatically at SuperCore’s two blinds as well as the rest of ours after the first two days of season. Whether this was due to the weather or hunter activity I cannot say. I can also say that riding about in the deer wagon collecting gear, hunters and such must be counted into this. The bottom line is that the ATV did not have a serious negative effect on the deer.

We had about a week’s worth of lousy hunting after the Opener. Some blamed this year on a “trickle rut.” What I saw was anything but a trickle. The rut was getting to the peak right as The Opener started. My guess is that breeding was occurring during the next week. We do not usually have an Opener this early in November. When it does happen, we see big bucks. After nearly a decade at D&DH arguing over Alsheimer versus LaRue, I’m left thinking they’re both bunk. Ruts peak just one side or the other of Veteran’s Day in this part of the world. If Rifle Season coincides with it, you’re going to have a potentially good year. All but two of our largest bucks have been taken before November 15.

The woods were comparatively silent this year. Shooting activity was well under 1 shotstring per minute in the first 2 hours of the start of season. That’s remarkable. However, it is also remarkable that it did not show up in the Telecheck tallies. Bracken County, the Northeast Region, and the state of Kentucky as a whole had the second best season with last year setting the record. What I can say is that mid-day activity on the Opener was high. There were shots going off all day. This would have been a good day to stay out the whole day.

The past few seasons, I have noticed that our most remote pastures get a lot of activity Opening Weekend. My surmise is that deer are running onto our property from the neighbors. This year was no different. I was viewing doe from mid-afternoon on.

All deer we shot this year were taken with 30-06. The 150 and 165 grain loads seem to do as well as you can ask. We were all shooting loads that have been the same for at least a decade. I had a lot of experiments planned, and they just did not happen. Angus took the longest shot to date at our camp, 220 yards. I know this is not an extreme distance, but until recently the average shot we were taking was well inside 100 yards.

We did not have a lot of new gear this year. The L-E-Vator was the one big new addition. You already know what I think of that. This was one of those years where everything worked just the way it should.

One gear standout worth mentioning again is my Buck 113 Ranger Skinner knife.

I bought it for last year’s deer season. So far it has been through 4 deer and two turkeys and I can still shave with it. I’ve been carrying a Buck 110 Folding Hunter since Reagan’s first term. I tried a bunch of others over the years, but kept coming back to the Buck. I bought the 113, because I realized the 110’s clipped point was just too long for working in the chest cavity of a small deer. I needed a slightly shorter blade. I still carry the 110 in the field. I keep the fixed-bladed 113 back at camp.

At the top of the Do-List for 2017 will be serious work on the treestands.  I have a half-dozen older buddy stands.  The last one was purchased in 2006. The manufacturer, Hunter’s View, is out of business.  Some of these stands have just not been producing the past few years.  Others, like the one at Newstand, are situated where they are just too hard to access.  Shooting a deer at Newstand invariably ends up with hours spent dragging the deer from the lowest elevations of the farm. There are just easier places to hunt.  Finally, time has taken its toll.  The stand at Virginia is the oldest. It has been up since 2001.  It is rusting in some potentially critical spots. It needs to be retired.





Hundreds of Deer Poached

Fleming and Mason Counties are just a stone’s throw away from our deer camp. Two brothers were arrested with over a hundred counts of taking deer illegally. Here’s the report from Channel 18 in Lexington

Fleming Co. Brothers Face Over 100 Counts Of Poaching

FLEMING COUNTY, Ky (LEX 18) Two Fleming County brothers face more than 100 counts of poaching in a case that State Division of Fish and Wildlife says could have gone on for years.

Conservation officers say that they discovered dozens upon dozens of deer antlers in a shed on a plot of land.

They said that the deer were hunted illegally by 69-year-old Larry Fryman and his 63-year-old brother, Danny.

Officers say that some of these deer may have been dead and mounted for years.

The investigation began on November 7 in Mason County when authorities say they discovered Larry illegally hunting.

After an investigation, the officers went onto the Fryman’s family farm and discovered the antlers.

Neighbors say that the family owns a lot of property around the small community between Ewing and Flemingsburg.

Each brother faces 114 counts of illegally taking and pursuing deer.

Larry reportedly told the conservation officer, “If you come back to serve me without the Sheriff, there will be a dead game warden, and I know enough to drag you in the house.”

He has an additional charge of terroristic threatening.

Both Larry and Danny bonded out of jail last night. is rife with comments about these two. Guys who know them say they’re surprised they only found a hundred or so racks. They’ve been doing this for over 50 years.