Tag Archives: Small Game Hunting

In The Eyes Of A Pigeon

Superdove: How the Pigeon Took Manhattan … And the World (Hardcover)

Why do we see pigeons as lowly urban pests and how did they become such common city dwellers? Courtney Humphries traces the natural history of the pigeon, recounting how these shy birds that once made their homes on the sparse cliffs of sea coasts came to dominate our urban public spaces. While detailing this evolution, Humphries introduces us to synanthropy: The concept that animals can become dependent on humans without ceasing to be wild; they can adapt to the cityscape as if it were a field or a forest.

Superdove simultaneously explores the pigeon’s cultural transformation, from its life in the dovecotes of ancient Egypt to its service in the trenches of World War I, to its feats within the pigeon-racing societies of today. While the dove is traditionally recognized as a symbol of peace, the pigeon has long inspired a different sort of fetishistic devotion from breeders, eaters, and artists—and from those who recognized and exploited the pigeon’s astounding abilities. Because of their fecundity, pigeons were symbols of fertility associated with Aphrodite, while their keen ability to find their way home made them ideal messengers and even pilots.

Their usefulness largely forgotten, today’s pigeons have become as ubiquitous and reviled as rats. But Superdove reveals something more surprising: By using pigeons for our own purposes, we humans have changed their evolution. And in doing so, we have helped make pigeons the ideal city dwellers they are today. In the tradition of Rats, the book that made its namesake rodents famous, Superdove is the fascinating story of the pigeon’s journey from the wild to the city—the home they’ll never leave.


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By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

a vintage photo of a boy watching his homing pigeons exercise their wings after being released from their catch pen
Come Home Soon!

A willing and observant person can gather some extraordinary insights about the natural world in the most unlikely places. It can happen in the short time that it takes to blink an eye, no matter if that eye belongs to you, or to something else. Nature abounds with beneficial lessons and the teachers of true meaning are everywhere. I just happen to gain some of my clues from the clear-eyed and attentive stares of my backyard pigeon flock. You can learn a lot from an otherwise ordinary and common creature.

I spend a fair amount of time with this captive audience of one hundred in their outdoor aviary. I am their provider, and their lifeline from the outside lands. I supply them with their daily ration of grains and clean water, irregardless of the weather or the many other duties or time constraints I may have. I fill their pickpots with grit and minerals. I break ice from their bowls in the winter, and suffer the same stinging snows and biting winds of the day. I clean their flypen and pigeon-house, and keep a sharp eye out for the telltale signs of distress or disease. I study them closely, and through it all, they watch me too.

I am a constant in their lives, and a spoke in their wheel of life. I have come to know of them and their world just a little bit, and they of me. It could be said that they would rather prefer that I was not involved at all, but I am a necessary intrusion they must tolerate, at least for a brief time.

Yet, they wait for me each morning and afternoon, the anticipation building as I drive up to the entrance doors. They mill about excitedly as I approach, ready to perform just for me. I touch the door handle, and they begin their wild jig, dancing like ecstatic puppets on hidden strings. They hop about and swirl their wings like crazed whirligigs, or slap their wingtips smartly as they launch from their perch for a short flight across the pen.

They chant their pigeon talk and coo even louder as I step in through the inner doors, to become completely surrounded by frantic birds, eager to fill their crops before the other’s. They push and shoulder for each speck of grain as if their life depended on it. Perhaps they bicker and fight to establish or maintain some imperceptible pigeon pecking order, or maybe just to remind themselves that life can be a struggle. You would think that they would know by now that their will be enough food for all comers, but it is a wild ritual that they simply must abide for reasons known only to the pigeon.

We have repeated this madcap scene a few thousand times and more, the pigeons and I. It has become routine, with little deviation from the usual suspects. That is until yesterday, when our normal interaction abruptly and inexplicably changed.

It was immediately obvious when I pulled up in my truck. The absence of sound or flashing wings struck me first, and what pigeon heads I could see sat on top of outstretched necks, alert, with searching eyes. They crouched in the classic manner of all prey, with feet tucked under their bodies, coiled and ready to spring out and away from impending danger.

A close up photo of a common pigeon with eye

The birds stood frozen and paid me little mind as I entered and searched the ground for an animal intruder. I investigated the pigeon houses and the nest boxes and found nothing. I checked every nook and cranny of their limited world and came up empty. I paused to scratch my head, and ponder this puzzling circumstance.

Hand on chin, I stared at the closest pigeon and wondered, determined to discover just why he would not fly. And then he cocked his head, and I saw his eye focus on something high as he grounded himself more tightly to his perch. At that moment I spied a wide, dark shadow moving across the dirt floor, and smiled. I knew exactly what belonged in that kind of shadow, as did my fine feathered friends. All I had to do was look up, to see just exactly what it was that had struck such all-consuming fear in their hearts.

I had no doubt that the shadow maker was an eater of birds, but there were several possibilities in this category. A red-tailed hawk maybe, or a gleaming eagle from the nearby river. In this case the black shadow belonged to an animal of equal color, with a distinctively naked neck. It was not what I expected to see.

The Turkey Vulture, or Buzzard as it is sometimes called, is quite common to the American West and many parts of North America. A six-foot wingspan casts a long shadow across the land, and he covers a lot of it as he travels. That great red and bald head is immediately recognizable from afar, and known by all. His sentinel like posture and hovering demeanor create and perpetuate his iconic image. It is a form often associated with death, and it is a meaning not entirely lost on my domesticated, but anxious, pigeon flock.

The Vulture is classified as a bird of prey, after all, even though he finds most of his meals by smell after they are already dead. I suppose that it is a distinction utterly lost on the brain of a pigeon.

His generic name is Cathartes, which means “purifier”.  It is an appropriate name, as the Buzzard is the sharp-beaked “tearer”, and recycler of flesh and feather. He is part of nature’s cleanup crew, and a perfectly ordained sanitizing unit. His kind is often referred to as “carrion eaters”, as if it were a derogatory term used to define the sordid parameters of their defective character. Nothing could be father from the truth.

I, for one, am a defender of this homely yet beautiful animal. The manner in which he makes his living should not be used to demean or degrade his standing in the larger scheme of things. His shadow may strike terror in the souls of countless scurrying and furtive creatures, but he has not come for them. Not now. He is where our lifeless bodies might naturally go, may we all be so lucky. There are far worse fates to suffer than those borne through the belly of a bird.

Still, it makes me wonder about the sensibilities of the pigeons in my charge. None of this buzzard business should be of any concern to a bird so far removed from a natural environment. It may be true that their only protection from flying marauders is a thin, nylon mesh that forms the roof of their cage. But what of it?

Most of my birds have never known anything else than the limited boundaries of the aviary. They were hatched here, reared by their parents and brought to adulthood without having to worry about danger and death from above. They have never enjoyed a truly wild moment in their lives, and I doubt if the thought of escape and a different kind of life has ever occurred to them.

Likewise, their parents have grown up in much the very same way, as did their parents, and their parents, and so on and so on. In fact their domestic lineage goes back for thousands of years, to the days when the first man-made his first hopeful departures from the relative safety of the caves. They are mankind’s first domestic animal partner, and their history is our history. One would think that very little of the wild would be left in the soul of a pigeon. On the contrary, it would appear that the thin margin of safety above their swiveling heads provides little comfort.

It makes me wonder about the level of domestication in the so-called domestic pigeon. How much wild is left in an otherwise non-wild creature? What does he remember of his life on the cliffs? Is it some latent genetic memory, or something else that keeps him looking skyward? Something tells me that there are some wild yearnings left behind, and that it might not take them very long to surface if given some small opportunity.

Truth be known, the story of the vulture and the pigeon is a tale as old as time and one not so easily forgotten. Each has something to tell us in their own way. Their interactions remind us that the primordial spark of life burns on as brightly as ever. They beckon us to live fully while we are alive, no matter the circumstance or the crosses we bear.

They tell us that danger is but a heartbeat away, though we try to deny it by surrounding ourselves with shallow and petty distractions. The realities of life and death lie closely behind the delicate veil, no matter how hard we may try to separate and protect ourselves from the natural world with the cages of our own clever designs.

The Turkey Vulture occasionally wishes to feel like a master predator on the wing, and a hunter of live prey. Perhaps he flies over our birds to feel the power of his blood and history. He dares us to be watchful, yet hopeful, lest we gain the finality of his steady gaze. We all must eventually return to replenish the elements of the earth. We are needed, we are welcome, but perhaps not today.

The great purifier embraces the rising thermals and circles ever upward, hanging on the edge of consciousness to remind us that a little bit of wild remains in the most cowered and tamed of the earthly realms below. We shall all have plenty of time to rest, and to watch, in our time.

 

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) riding the air currents while searching for prey or carrion and something to eat
Patience Is A Virtue For a Vulture

By Michael Patrick McCarty

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https://steemit.com/homesteading/@huntbook/in-the-eyes-of-a-pigeon-observations-of-an-amateur-naturalist

A Skunk Is A Down Low Odiferous *Weasel (But That’s O.K.)

Havahart 1030 Live Animal Two-Door Rabbit, Squirrel, Skunk, and Mink Cage Trap (Lawn & Patio)

The Havahart Medium 2-Door Animal Trap has been designed for the safety of animals. This humane trap, with its two spring loaded doors, has many features to allow safe, quick and easy catches. Constructed of sturdy wire mesh with steel reinforcements for long life, and galvanized for maximum resistance to rust and corrosion. Mesh openings are smaller than competing traps of comparable size to prevent escapes and stolen bait. Two spring loaded doors allow animals to enter from either direction. Sensitive trigger ensures quick, secure capture. Solid door and handle guard protect user during transportation, while smoothed internal edges protect and prevent injuries to animals. Havahart recommends checking with your local authorities to determine the trapping laws in your area before using a live trap.

New From:$41.96 USD In Stock
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By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

 

A striped skunk on the prowl in green grass, ready to spray if threatened.
Giving Pause to Both Man and Beast

 

Just about everyone with a most basic understanding of the natural world knows to stay away from the back-end of the black and white critter called skunk. Forget that little fact and they will be quick to leave an indelible impression upon your person. Or ask any family dog that has disregarded that squared up stance and upturned tail and suffered the indignity of a well-aimed spray. Unfortunately, this is a minor inconvenience when compared with the real damage often inflicted by their front end.

Skunks possess powerful forelegs which they use to burrow and scratch about for food. Digging and the churning of earth is really what a skunk is all about. They are also great fans of a free or easy meal and a frequent backyard visitor. A poultry dinner is top on their culinary hit parade, and they are notorious nighttime raiders of the barnyard and chicken coop. Their tunneling skills are legendary and deviously effective, much to the chagrin and unmitigated consternation of small animal breeders and poultry keepers for hundreds of years.

I was reminded of their penchant for tragedy when I entered my pigeon keep a few days ago. The telltale signs of the obvious break-in were written plainly on the ground, as was the bloody aftermath. Once again, the scene screamed of dastardly polecat, and the wind held the last remnants of that unmistakable and musky perfume.

I soon discovered that my favorite bird was among the casualties, and it hit me like a primordial punch to the solar plexus. He was the biggest of our Giant Runt’s, and he had always been scrappy and bold and proud. I had bred him down from a successive line of top-notch parents and he had never let me down in the squab producing department. We called him “the bomber”, and I had always looked for him first amongst his comrades.

Skunks have an uncanny ability to make it deeply personal in some unpredicted way. We have probably lost more birds of various kinds to them than any other predator, though I have worked hard to stem the tide. Once locked on to a target they can become incredibly determined, often working for several days to accomplish their clandestine mission. You have a full-fledged skunk problem when they do, because they will not give up without a fight. They can be incredibly bull-headed about it all. Once joined in battle they generally need to be forcefully persuaded, often with hot lead,  to see the error in their ways.

They are also extremely good at pointing out the errors in yours. An unwanted entry means that you have not done your job as an animal husbandman, whether you care to admit it or not. It means that the cage or coop is not built as well as it could be. Or perhaps that small repair you have put off has returned to haunt you. In the end it is your fault and your’s alone, although I cannot say that the acceptance of such responsibility can make one feel much better.

It would be easy to hate the skunk out of  hand, but I refuse to accept such an easy fix. A skunk is a skunk after all, and he is just doing what he was designed to do. They are a necessary and vital component of a healthy ecosystem. Perfect in form and function, they are more than beautiful in their own way.

Still, I am sad for the loss of our pigeons and it will be some time before I can stop myself from looking for the big guy. I have no doubt that he faced his end as best he could, with dignity and noble character. In my mind I like to picture him wedging his body in front of his mate, staring his adversary down and delivering a solid shoulder punch or two before being overwhelmed. At least I’d like to think so.

It makes me wonder what other beastly trials and backyard tribulations take place under cover of the dead black night.

By Michael Patrick McCarty

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Skunks can have devastating effects on waterfowl nesting success, as well as on upland game and song bird populations. If you would like to learn more about the dynamics of predation, we recommend that you pick up the classic work titled “Of Men and Marshes” by Paul Errington. It is a fascinating and eye-opening read. We often have a copy for sale. Please email for availability.

You Might Also See Nuisance Wildlife Laws In Colorado and Coping With Skunks

— *Historically, skunks have been classified in a subgroup within “the weasel family”, or Mustelidae. Biologists began to understand that they had been misidentified all along. They were assigned new classification in the late 1990’s, and now belong to the family Mephitidae. So you see, they never were a weasel, after all.

—Weasel (Informal) – a sly or treacherous person.

 

minka2507 / Pixabay

 

 

A photo of a skunk caught in a havahart live trap at night
Caught Red Handed – And Probably Only Once

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https://steemit.com/homesteading/@huntbook/a-skunk-is-a-down-low-odiferous-weasel-but-that-s-o-k

NBCI’s State of the Bobwhite 2018 Reports 24% Increase in Managed Bobwhite Acres Over Last Year

For the Health of the Land: Previously Unpublished Essays And Other Writings (Hardcover)

Aldo Leopold’s classic work A Sand County Almanac is widely regarded as one of the most influential conservation books of all time. In it, Leopold sets forth an eloquent plea for the development of a “land ethic” — a belief that humans have a duty to interact with the soils, waters, plants, and animals that collectively comprise “the land” in ways that ensure their well-being and survival.For the Health of the Land, a new collection of rare and previously unpublished essays by Leopold, builds on that vision of ethical land use and develops the concept of “land health” and the practical measures landowners can take to sustain it. The writings are vintage Leopold — clear, sensible, and provocative, sometimes humorous, often lyrical, and always inspiring. Joining them together are a wisdom and a passion that transcend the time and place of the author’s life.The book offers a series of forty short pieces, arranged in seasonal “almanac” form, along with longer essays, arranged chronologically, which show the development of Leopold’s approach to managing private lands for conservation ends. The final essay is a never before published work, left in pencil draft at his death, which proposes the concept of land health as an organizing principle for conservation. Also featured is an introduction by noted Leopold scholars J. Baird Callicott and Eric T. Freyfogle that provides a brief biography of Leopold and places the essays in the context of his life and work, and an afterword by conservation biologist Stanley A. Temple that comments on Leopold’s ideas from the perspective of modern wildlife management.The book’s conservation message and practical ideas are as relevant today as they were when first written over fifty years ago. For the Health of the Land represents a stunning new addition to the literary legacy of Aldo Leopold.

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October 5, 2018

By The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative

Now reported at nearly four million acres, bobwhite management across 25 states is up 24 percent over the 3.2 million acres reported the year before — or 771,345 acres added — according to NBCI’s Bobwhite Almanac: State of the Bobwhite 2018. That’s just one insight provided by the eighth annual report by the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI), its 25-member states and partners on progress in restoring wild quail to the landscape.

“Because habitat is managed for bobwhites doesn’t necessarily mean quail are there,” cautioned NBCI Science Coordinator/Assistant Director Dr. Tom Dailey in reference to the Bobwhite Habitat Inventory Index. “It means it’s suitable for bobwhites in the year it’s reported or will be in the near future. It can take some time after initial management for a population response. But habitat management is trending in the right direction.”

You Can Read The Full Post Here

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*Bobwhites have always been near and dear to my heart, and it is heartwarming to know that groups like the NBCI are working so hard to preserve one of our most cherished gamebirds. The future of bobwhite quail may very well depend on private land partnerships such as this.

Michael Patrick McCarty

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In Defense Of the Pigeon

Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail: Upland Birds and Small Game from Field to Feast (Hardcover)

A comprehensive, lushly illustrated cookbook devoted to preparing and cooking upland birds and small game, both wild and domesticated, from the author of the award-winning website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook.

Game birds have always held a high place at the table, whether it’s a hunter’s prize of roast grouse or the turkey we all eat at Thanksgiving. Pheasants, quail, rabbits, doves, grouse and more – these are singular species with grand culinary traditions that offer the cook an unmatched range of flavors. Many cooks fear the fowl, however. Lean and athletic, game birds, rabbits and hares can dry out in a hurry. Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail shows you how to cook small game like a pro: perfectly crisp skin over tender breast meat, melt-in-your-mouth braises and confit, stews, sausages, and more.

Hank Shaw, an award-winning food writer, hunter, and cook at the forefront of the wild-to-table revolution, provides all you need to know about obtaining, cleaning, and cooking birds ranging from quail to pheasant, turkey to dove and beyond. Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail also covers a range of small game animals such as rabbits, hares and squirrels. You’ll find detailed information on how best to treat these various species in the kitchen, how to select them in the market, as well as how to pluck, clean and hang wild birds. Shaw’s global yet approachable recipes include basics such as Roast Pheasant and Buttermilk Fried Rabbit; international classics like Tuscan Hare Ragu, French Rabbit a la Moutarde, Mexican Turkey Tamales with Pumpkin, and General Tso’s Pheasant; as well as unique dishes such as Roast Woodcock Michigan. It also features an array of small game charcuterie, from fresh sausages to confit and terrines.

The most comprehensive guide to preparing and cooking upland birds and small game, whether domesticated or wild, Pheasant, Quail Cottontail will be a valued companion for hunters as well as home cooks looking for new ways to cook store-bought turkey, rabbit or quail.

What’s more, every purchase of this book helps our wild habitats. A portion of the proceeds of every book sold will go to help the non-profit conservation efforts of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, which will use the money to restore, maintain and expand habitat for all upland birds.


New From:$28.00 USD In Stock
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By Hank Shaw

“A pigeon, any pigeon, is a remarkable game bird. It is faster than any other bird we hunt, tougher than most, and is a treasure at the table. Call it “squab” and people will happily drop $35 for an entree at a fancy bistro. But call it “pigeon,” and people start judging you and your life choices.

I am here to say that pigeons, especially our native band-tailed pigeon, ought to be as cherished as the mountain quail and blue grouse they live among. All three are symbols of the Sierra, of early autumn days spent hiking dusty slopes, ears tuned, neck craned, shotgun ready. They are hard-won birds, to be cooked with reverence”.

You Can Read The Full Article Here  or at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

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And, let me add that I could not agree more. Pigeons of all kinds have always fascinated me, and to be honest they are largely responsible for my shotgunning skills, such as they are.

I have yet to hunt for band-tailed pigeons, but I can tell you I hope to try that sometime soon. They will be on the dinner table too, providing I can get lucky.

I’ll keep you posted…

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Black Canyon Wing and Clay

BH Outdoors Hunting Dog Training Pack – Strong Bumpers – Retrieving Dummies – Lanyard – Work/Training Whistle – Durable Throw Rope Dummy (Sports)

Team Realtree Natural Canvas Hunting, Retrieving, Training Dummy 6 Pieces Total 4 Canvas Dummies (2 orange, 2 natural) Readily holds scents For use on water or land Size Small Each dummy is; 9″ long + Throwing rope, 2″ diameter Durable and Floatable Work whistle/dog whistle Orange lanyard Team Realtree Hunting Dog Training Kit Durable Long-Lasting Canvas Material Includes Throwing Rope Floatable Dummies that can also be dog toys Whistle is Versatile Dog Training Tool which Produces Varied Sounds and Pitches

New From:$19.99 USD In Stock
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“Soak it up, go into it softly and thoughtfully, with love and understanding, for another year must pass before you can come this way again”.

Gene Hill, Wingshooter’s Autumn, 1986

 

October 2015

Recently, I was honored to be an invited guest of a member of Black Canyon Wing and Clay in Delta, Colorado.

The use of their hunter friendly facilities and their gracious hospitality will be forever appreciated. And thank god for good friends too.

Give them a call if you are looking for a well-managed shooting property and a fine place to train your dogs or spend a stress free afternoon in a field of upland birds. And oh by the way, a round of wobble trap shooting is a whole bunch of good time (if you hit them).

Here’s a small look at some of the fun, and a couple of game recipes too.

A hunter, Michael McCarty, poses with a shotgun and a ring-necked at Black Canyon Wing and Clay Shooting Resort in Delta, Colorado. A great place to shoot trap and enjoy a hunting shooting reserve
Who Could Ever Tire of Pheasant in the Hand

 

Hunter’s “Go To” Pheasant Marinade

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • juice from one lemon

This should be enough marinade for about 4 pheasant breasts and 8 legs. If not, adjust amount of marinade to the amount of meat (It is not necessary to completely immerse it). Marinade in covered dish in refrigerator. Best cooked on a hot grill. Don’t over cook.

*This is a fairly powerful marinade, so shorter marinade times of 20 minutes to 2 hours are best.

**It is difficult not to overdo it with this simple marinade. It’s that good! This works equally well on many kinds of wild game. Give it a try on some prime elk steaks and you won’t regret it.

A upland game bird hunter shoots some wobble trap at Black Canyon wing and Clay in Delta, Colorado. Trap shooting is a great way to practice your shotgunning skills for upland birds
Time To Check The Eye
An upland game hunter poses with a Rooster Pheasant at black Canyon Wing and Clay in delta, Colorado
Pheasants Always Make You Smile
skeeze / Pixabay
Logo found on a pickup truck for the Black Canyon Wing and Clay in Delta, colorado. A colorado shooting and hunting preserve reserve
Where The Action Is!

“Now you know your first big cock pheasant is a sight to see. There maybe ain’t nothing as dramatic, whether it’s an elephant or a polar bear. A cock pheasant is like a mallard duck. Maybe the pintail or the canvasback is better to eat, but there is nothing in the flying department as wonderfully gaudy as a cock pheasant of a he-mallard. Well, maybe a peacock, but we have so few peacocks around our neck of the woods”. – Robert Ruark

Read More About Black Canyon Here.

CHUKHAR WITH SHALLOTS

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 4 chukhar
  • 1 pound shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

Brown the birds in 1/2 of the butter and salt and pepper to taste. Set Aside. Add the shallots, and cook until soft. Set shallots aside. Melt the remaining butter and add flour; stir for two minutes. Add broth, return the shallots, chukhars, and thyme. Cover and cook until tender (about 15 or 20 minutes).

At Mesa's Edge by Eugenia Bone. A celebration of the food from Colorado's North Fork Valley of the Gunnison
Bring On The Chukhars, and the Pheasants Too!

*This recipe was taken from At Mesa’s Edge: Cooking and Ranching in Colorado’s North fork Valley by Eugenia Bone. It provides great insight into the Gunnison Country and the unique pleasures of this area.

You May Also Like Our Thoughts On  Pheasant Hunting HERE, and a recipe for pheasant burritos that we love.

By Michael Patrick McCarty

And, You Might Also Read Our Post About Trophy Pike Fishing at Manitoba’s Silsby Lake Lodge

https://steemit.com/hunting/@huntbook/sporting-destinations-black-canyon-wing-and-clay

Jim Kjelgaard – Patron Saint of Dogs, Boys, and The Great Outdoors

Stormy (Paperback)

Allan Marley and his father have lived together  in the untamed wilderness of the Beaver Flowage all  their lives. But when Mr. Marley is jailed because  of a bitter feud, Allan suddenly finds himself on  his own. Then he meets Stormy, an outlaw dog who  has been accused of turning on his owner. Allan  knows that the big black retriever has been  mistreated, and he works hard to win the noble dog’s trust  and affection. As allies, Allan and Stormy overcome  every danger they encounter in the unpredictable  wilderness…but can their bond protect Allan from  the viciousness of his father’s human enemies?

New From:$5.99 USD In Stock
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big red dvd of book by Mr. Jim Kjelgaard Patron Saint of Dogs, Boys, And The Outdoors, movies
A Boy and His Big Red Dog

BIG RED – BIG FRIENDS

 

I often wonder where I would be were it not for a man called Jim Kjelgaard.

More than likely I would not have become nearly half the man I am, or strive to be, had we not been introduced.  Nor would I have lived the life of a hunter, biologist, an outdoor writer, or an ever hopeful wildlife photographer.

I probably would not have left my home in the New Jersey Pine Barrens for the wide open views of the Rocky Mountains, either.

Chances are you may not know him by name, though his reach and influence continues to this day. His work captivated a generation of young boys, soon to be men, searching for the soul of adventure and the heart of the wild outdoors.

Wikipedia defines Mr. Kjelgaard as an American Author of Young Adult Literature, which in my way of thinking is like saying that an ocean of water is very wet. As an author of forty novels and countless short stories and other works, he was certainly that, and more. Much, much more. He meant everything to a young boy bursting to learn what lived beyond the outer limits of his own backyard.

I have always been a reader, blessedly so, and born for it I suppose. I took to books like black ink yearns for the creative freedom of an empty white page. My face became well-known in any library I could enter, until I had read almost everything on animals and fishing and all things outdoors from their limited selections.

And then an angel of a librarian handed me a copy of “Stormy”, a story about an outlaw Labrador Retriever and his owner, written by this fellow with the strange name. It was unlike anything I had ever read and I was hooked deep in my insides like a catfish on a cane pole.

I was to discover very soon that dogs were a prominent feature in a Kjelgaard story. It’s easy to see why, since there is something completely natural and magical about young boys and their dogs. The combination just begs for adventure and open space to run and roam. They encourage each other on and on, over the hill to the next discovery,  past the bend in the ever beckoning road. Together, there is nothing a boy and a dog can’t do.

I have read a little about the author’s life and I am convinced that he understood and loved the outdoors with a passion that even he could not convey. You can feel it on every page and in every character of every sentence. He had a remarkable ability to put you in the moment, in and of the scene, as if it were written just for you. He tells you that you can experience it too, if you chose.

Don’t wait, he says, just get out there and listen to the music of the hounds between deep breaths of pine and sugar maple under the brilliance of a harvest moon. His books hold the waving fields of marsh grass and the woods full of white-tailed deer and bobwhite quail and the screams of brightly colored blue jays. He shows us boys with guns, back when it was a natural and good thing that made you smile, knowing that some lucky family was sure to be enjoying a meal of squirrel or cottontail rabbit very soon.

Open to any page, and you can hear the sounds in your head as if you were standing there yourself. It was a guaranteed transport to a technicolored world of motion and light with a dog by your side. A world defined by the movements of animals and the rhythm of the seasons, punctuated by the sounds of drumming grouse and the chorus of frogs in the evening.

The comforts of family and home life ran strong throughout his stories. It was what made it all work.It was the knowing that safety and the comforting hearth of home stood solidly back where you had come from, when you needed it, which give us all the strength to be brave and venture out and abroad.

Sadly, Jim has been gone for some time now, just like the world he once knew.  He was taken from us much too soon, by illness and despair, and though that world he inhabited may be gone his voice is as relevant today as it was back then. In fact it is even more important than it ever was. He is a beacon of light for the spirits of young boys and their four-legged companions, filled with the quest for exploration and the simple, unmitigated joy of being a boy.

Of course I never met him personally, though I wish I had. Sadly, he was already gone when I was barely born. I would give much of what I have just to thank him for all of his precious gifts to me. It is because of Jim Kjelgaard and men like him that I have wandered the wilderness and spirited air, and lived a life filled with my own stories to tell.

Turning to face the world, what more can a young boy hope for?


To hear an excellent audio reading of this post, listen at  ADVENTURECAST.

 

Trailing Trouble, Dave and His Dog Mulligan, Big Red, Swamp Cat, Fire-Hunter, A Nose For Trouble By Jim Kjelgaard. Most Pictured Here are First Edition Copies With Dustjackets and Are Highly Collectible. From The Book Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
A Prized Collection of Jim Kjelgaard Titles. Photo by Michael Patrick McCarty

Jim Kjelgaard books are prized by collectors. First Edition copies with dustjackets in collectible condition are extremely difficult to find. They can be expensive, too!

Signed First Edition Book Fire-Hunter by Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated By Ralph Ray. A Rare Autographed Inscription to Kjelgaard's Former School Teacher and Librarian. From The Book Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
A Man’s Best Friend! From The Book Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty

This amazing inscription reads: “All best wishes to the best darn teacher – librarian, and best friend in the world. Jim Kjelgaard”.

Something tells me that this teacher was very proud of the student!

—————————————————————————

*Many of Jim Kjelgaard’s books are still in print across the globe, and he is a pre-eminent favorite among those who wish to home school. So, if you somehow missed him, it’s not too late. You may also want to track down a copy of the 1962 Walt Disney film “Big Red”, named after that marvelous and unforgettable Irish Setter of the same name. It will make you want to run out and acquire an Irish Setter too!

A photograph of Jim Kjelgaard and His Irish Setter, Taken from The Dustjacket Biography of Dave and His Dog, Mulligan. Illustrated by Sam Savitt
One Hell of a Dog

 

See Our Post About Stormy, by Jim Kjelgaard, HERE

See our book catalog for Jim Kjelgaard Titles HERE.

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

———————————————————————-

 

The Dustjacket Biography of Jim Kjelgaard, Found on a First Edition Copy of Dave and His Dog, Mulligan. Illustrated by Sam Savitt
A Brief Biography of Jim Kjelgaard

THE BOOKS OF JIM KJELGAARD

 

Forest Patrol – 1941, Holiday House

Rebel Siege – 1943, Holiday House

Big Red – 1945, Holiday House

Buckskin Brigade – 1947, Holiday House 

Snow Dog – 1948, Holiday House

“Born in the wilderness, the puppy had to learn the ways of survival like any other wild thing. Staghound and Husky ancestors had given him speed and stamina, but it was his own courage and intelligence that brought him through when a weaker dog would have perished. He learned to hunt, to find shelter, to protect himself from enemies”.

The Dustjacket From a First Edition Copy of Sow Dog by Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated by Jacob Landau
The Dustjacket From a First Edition Copy of Sow Dog by Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated by Jacob Landau

 

The Endpapers From a First Edition Copy of Sow Dog by Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated by Jacob Landau
The Endpapers From a First Edition Copy of Sow Dog by Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated by Jacob Landau

Kalak of the Ice – 1949, Holiday House

A Nose for Trouble – 1949, Holiday House

Wild Trek – 1950, Holiday House 

“Wild trek is an adventure story involving Chiri, the half-wild hero of snow dog, and his trapper master. Their problem is to find and rescue a naturalist whose plane has been forced down in the Caribou Mountains, deep in the Canadian wilderness”.

The Dustjacket From a First Edition Copy of Wild Trek By Jim Kjelgaard
It’s all About The Trek
Illustrated Endpapers From A First Edition Copy of Wild Trek By Jim Kjelgaard
Illustrated Endpapers by H. K. Faye From A First Edition Copy of Wild Trek By Jim Kjelgaard
An Autographed Copy of A First Edition of Wild Trek by Jim Kjelgaard. Dedicated to Roberta Forsyth, One of The Author's Teachers. A Unique Association Copy.
A Very Special Double Dedication

Chip the Dam Builder – 1950, Holiday House 

Irish Red, Son of Big Red -1951, Holiday House
                                               – 1962, Collins Famous Dog Stories

Fire-hunter – 1951, Holiday House

The Endpaper Art From a First Edition Copy of Fire-Hunter By Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated by Ralph Ray. From The Book Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
Saber-tooths and Bears and Wolves Oh Boy!

“This is a story of the days when sabertooth tigers and wooly mammoths roamed the earth. When men lived in wandering bands and stalked their prey with spears and clubs. When fire was their greatest friend, and human hands and brains their only advantage over wild beasts”.

The Explorations of Pere Marquette -1951, Random House

Trailing Trouble – 1952, Holiday House

Outlaw Red, Son of Big Red – 1953, Holiday House 

The Spell of the White Sturgeon – 1953, Dodd Mead 

A First Edition Copy of The Spell of The White Sturgeon by Jim Kjelgaard, Showing the Front Panel of the Dustjacket. Art By Stephen Voorhies. From The Book Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
The Sturgeon Abides!

“The vivid, action-packed story of a boy from the New York waterfront who sought adventure on tempestuous, yet fascinating Lake Michigan when the Midwest was growing hardily and fishing was the chief energetic industry of that great body…and he found too, that the giant white sturgeon who cast a spell of fear over the sturdiest fishermen whenever it appeared, could mean good fortune for him”.

"To The World's Best Librarian From The World's Worst Writer Jim". A Uniquely Personal Inscription, Found On a Signed First Edition Copy of The Spell of The White Sturgeon By Jim Kjelgaard. From The Book collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
“To The World’s Best Librarian From The World’s Worst Writer Jim”. A Uniquely Personal Inscription

The Coming of the Mormons – 1953, Random House

Haunt Fox– 1954, Holiday House 

Cracker Barrel Trouble Shooter – 1954, Dodd Mead

Lion Hound – 1955, Holiday House

Collins Famous Dog Stories

The Lost Wagon – 1955, Dodd Mead 

Desert Dog – 1956, Holiday House

Trading Jeff and his Dog – 1956, Dodd Mead

Wildlife Cameraman – 1957, Holiday House

A First Edition Copy of Wildlife Cameraman, with Dustjacket, by Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated by Sam Savitt. Photo by Michael Patrick McCarty
A Book That Inspired a Generation of Wildlife Photographers

 

The Endpaper illustrations of a First Edition Copy of Wildlife Cameraman, with Dustjacket, by Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated by Sam Savitt
Wilderness, a Camera, and the Promise of Adventure

Double Challenge – 1957, Dodd Mead 

We Were There at the Oklahoma Land Run – 1957, Grosset & Dunlap 

Wolf Brother – 1957, Holiday House
                         – 1963, Collins Famous Dog Stories

Swamp Cat – 1957, Dodd Mead 

The Wild Horse Roundup-Collection of Stories by Western Writers of America, 
                            Editor – 1957, Dodd Mead 

Rescue Dog of the High Pass – 1958, Dodd Mead

Hound Dogs & Others-Collection of Stories by Western Writers of America
                          Editor – 1958, Dodd Mead

The Land is Bright – 1958, Dodd Mead

The Black Fawn – 1958, Dodd Mead 

The Story of Geronimo – 1958, Grosset & Dunlap

Hi Jolly – 1959, Dodd Mead 

Stormy – 1959, Holiday House

Ulysses & his Woodland Zoo – 1960, Dodd Mead

Boomerang Hunter – 1960, Holiday House 

The Duck-footed Hound – 1960, Crowell

Tigre – 1961, Dodd Mead

The Front of Dustjacket Illustration by Everett Raymond Kinstler, Found On A First Edition Copy of Tigre by Jim Kjelgaard, From The Book Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
The Front of Dustjacket Illustration by Everett Raymond Kinstler, Found On A First Edition Copy of Tigre by Jim Kjelgaard

 

“Pepe, the youthful Mexican goatherd, had many battles to fight…and hardest of all, against the killer tigre or jaguar which had taken the life of Pepe’s father and threatened to destroy the family herd of goats, their very livelihood”

Hidden Trail – 1962, Holiday House

Fawn in the Forest & other Wild Animal Stories – 1962, Dodd Mead 

Two Dogs & a Horse – 1964, Dodd Mead

Furious Moose of the Wilderness – 1965, Dodd Mead

Dave and his Dog, Mulligan – 1966, Dodd Mead

“…his great wish was to become a game warden…Dave had a second big dream for the future. He wanted to prove that hunting the “varmints” – the coyotes, the bobcats and lions that ran rampant in the nearby countryside – could prove a challenging, diverting sport to the countless hunters who swarmed into the area each open season, mostly in quest of deer. This would also put a stop to the reckless placing of poison bait by certain ruthless sheepmen whose flocks were being raided by the varmints”. (From the Dustjacket Flap)

Internal Illustration of Buck White-tailed Deer by Sam Savitt, Found in the Book Dave and His Dog, Mulligan by Jim Kjelgaard
Illustration By Sam Savitt, From a First Edition Copy of Dave and His Dog, Mulligan

Coyote Song – 1969, Dodd Mead

Front Cover of Dustjacket of A First Edition Copy of Coyote Song By Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated By Robert Maclean
Front Cover of The Dustjacket of A First Edition Copy of Coyote Song By Jim Kjelgaard. Illustrated By Robert Maclean

 

See Our Post About Stormy, by Jim Kjelgaard, HERE

See our book catalog for Jim Kjelgaard Titles HERE.

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

https://steemit.com/hunting/@huntbook/jim-kjelgaard-patron-saint-of-dogs-boys-and-the-great-outdoors

It Was the Best of Food, It Was the Worst of Food

Close-up photo of a Brown Bear Track in Comparison to the Size of a Human Hand
A Good Reason To Look Over Your Shoulder
Close-up Photo of Cottontail Rabbit Running
Full Charge!

 

The best meal I ever ate, anywhere, featured cottontail rabbit fried hot in an electric skillet, hunted up fresh from the fields within sight of the big picture window of my friend’s southern New Jersey family homestead.

I had eaten many a rabbit by the time I had nearly finished highschool. Cottontails were our sportsman’s consolation prize. They were everywhere in our neck of the woods, and we could always count on bagging a brace or two when we could not find a covey of bobwhite quail or other small game.

But the rabbit of my experience had never tasted like a lesser prize. My friend’s mom knew her way around the kitchen, and she knew exactly what to do with farm fresh ingredients, be they wild, or not. She was, in fact, a culinary wizard, conjured up to look like an ordinary woman.

What she did I suppose I will never really know, but I suspect it had something to do with buttermilk, flour, a perfectly matched selection of spices, and hot lard. The meat hit the pan with crackle and sizzle, and it spoke of blackberry leaves and sweet clover and sun dappled woodlots.

It literally melted in your mouth, and I remember watching as a heaping plate of rabbit pieces disappeared into smiling faces around the long farm table. It was ordinary fare, dressed in high style, and I was the honored guest of their simple realm. I knew then that I would never forget that wonderful dinner, and I have never looked at the unsung cottontail in the same way since.

A long farm table setting for a large group
Farm Table Magic About To Happen

Contrast that with the worst meal I ever had, which I had the displeasure of ingesting in a windswept Quebec-Labrador Caribou camp north of Schefferville, somewhere below the arctic circle.

It was a vile concoction of rancid grease, pan drippings, and rendered fat, and we ate it with a big metal spoon of questionable cleanliness. My native guide kept it stored in a good-sized mason jar, and he carried it around like it was the holy grail of gourmet cuisine. He ate it while sporting a huge grin, and I tried it because he wanted me too, and because he acted like it was so damn tasty. Who knew?

It seems that many people in the far north country can develop a bad case of “fat hunger”, as a result of their super lean, high protein diets. This affliction is also called “rabbit starvation”, having been given its name by those unfortunate souls who at one time or another subsisted solely on rabbits.

A hefty jar of partially congealed fat can be a highly prized commodity in that world, where calories count, and the lack thereof can literally mean the difference between life and death.

One throat gagging spoonful was quite enough for me, followed by an old candy bar of some kind to dull the taste, and washed down with some lukewarm canteen water. To this day, the occasional thought of that wretched goo turns my stomach inside out, now almost 40 years later. It definitely gives one some perspective on the otherwise fine cuisine of Canada.

With that in mind, an honorable mention must go to the partially raw and burnt slices of elk heart I skewered over an aspen fire one clear, brisk night in the Colorado back country.

I should have been more than happy that lonely, star filled night. I had taken a fat four point bull elk with my recurve bow just hours before, and I was headed back to my friend’s small hunting shack when I ran out of daylight, and flashlight batteries.

I took a breath snatching fall from a low cliff, and by all rights I should have hurt myself badly, but did not. So, I gathered up some branches and hunkered down for the night, and thanked my guardian hunting angel. The animal’s heart and liver was all that I had packed with me.

It wasn’t so bad, after all, if you enjoy rubbery, half-cooked offal, but it could have used some salt. And it would have been far better if I had some water, which I had run out of during the hot afternoon. The head pounding hangover left over from the previous night’s shenanigans was still with me, which did not help my predicament.

In my defense, let the record state that it was the weekend of my bachelor party, and it is fair to say that the boys’ and I had just a little “too much fun”. I had been the only one to stagger out of camp that early morning, and only then because I had somehow managed to pass out in my hunting cloths, with boots on. One downhill step, and I was on my way.

My head and parched throat told me that I was in for a rough night, but my heart said that there were far worse places to be than in the abiding lap of the Rocky Mountains, with elk bugling all around, even if the meal was merely marginal. It’s how memories are made, and I would not trade them now for all the world. We laugh about it still.

The supper I am most grateful for consisted of one big can of yellow cling peaches, packed in heavy syrup. I ate them while huddled in a sleeping bag, in the low light of a small gas lamp. I did so from a short bunk in the cabin of a small crab boat, anchored just off the beach somewhere in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

My guide and I had spent the day above timberline hunting mountain goats and glassing for coastal brown bear, and we had been late getting back to our pick up point. Loaded with the heavy hide and meat of a white-robed goat, we struggled down through the rocks and heavy underbrush in a race to beat the faltering late night sun. We didn’t make it.

Left with no easy choices, we made our way to a gurgling stream in the bottom of a canyon, and waded in. We thrashed and slipped and bullied our way down through knee-deep water for more than a few miles, while desperately trying to keep our feet under us.  It was a truly dark and soul-searching night, made far worse by the occasional loud crashes of large, big things, just out of sight. These things most probably had huge tearing teeth and long, flesh ripping claws to go with them. It was not a pretty picture, and I am not proud of the terrified thoughts and hobgoblins which danced and screamed inside my head and nearly got the better of me.

I have never been so happy to break clear of thick brush, and to see a low slung skiff waiting hopefully on an open cove in the light of a wispy moon. My father could barely speak, relieved from his duty of pacing the shoreline and imagining the worst. Once on board the main boat, and safe, I had enough energy to slurp down those aforementioned peaches that had appeared under my nose, to then lie back and fall instantly asleep.

A can of peaches is certainly not much of a meal, but it was heavenly sustenance to me. It was much better than the alternative, which most importantly meant that I had not become the hot and ready to eat snack of a snarling 10 foot beast. Thank god for life’s little graces.

Last but not least, I savored my most memorable meal on the day after my wedding in the high mountains of Colorado. We spent a pampered night or two in Aspen’s only five-star hotel, and dined in its’ fine restaurant.

The company and the conversation was grand, to say the least, as was the atmosphere, and the setting. The hotel has a grand view of the area’s towering, snow-covered peaks, and sits within close proximity of summering herds of elk, and the occasional black bear. It was a most appropriate location from which to approach a colorful plate of elk tenderloin with sun-dried cherry sauce and sweet potato fries, duly crafted by the expert hands’ of one of the world’s greatest chefs. I can only describe the entire experience, as well, absurdly, …grand…

Now that was a preparation for the ages; a far cry from a flame scorched elk heart to be sure, and almost as good as that lovingly tendered rabbit dinner of my youth.

So, these are some of my food highs, and lows, in the proverbial nutshell.

No doubt you have several of your own. If you do, we’d love to hear about them.

Care to share?

 

A close-up photo of canned peaches in a mason jar
Canned Peaches – Nectar of The God’s

 

You may also wish to see the recipe for grilled elk loin and cherry sauce here.

skeeze / Pixabay

Posted By Michael Patrick McCarty

https://steemit.com/life/@huntbook/it-was-the-best-of-food-it-was-the-worst-of-food-of-an-outdoor-life

The Biggest Small Game – Young Boys and Bushytails

A vintage photograph of a boy with shotgun and a limit of squirrels taken after a morning of squirrel hunting in Maryland
Fried Up Squirrel Tonight!

 

My friend and my brother and I used to hunt squirrels, and other game, on a game-filled property in the heart of the Maryland farm country. Things with wings were the main attraction, like ducks or mourning doves. Canada geese, however were the real lure that brought us there, and populations were on the upswing in the early 1970’s. The shooting was often truly extraordinary.

The goose hunting was more than satisfying for our fathers and their friends, but not always enough for us. We were, after all, young boys bursting with inexhaustible momentum, and guns, and we badly needed something to do when the morning flights of Canada Geese had ended and the birds had laid up to rest.

For me, it was not just a way to pass the time until the late afternoon hunt. Goose shooting is thrilling, and fun, but squirrels…now that’s a young hunter’s big game.

werner22brigitte / Pixabay

Fortunately, the hardwood fingers between the cornfields and the backwaters of Chesapeake Bay were absolutely jammed with the elusive bushytails. We spent a lot of time still hunting through the autumn leaves, sharpening our eyes behind the rifle sights and practicing our future whitetail hunting skills. Squirrels fell all around us, though I doubt that we ever really put much of a dent in their numbers. They are, among so many things, a restless and boundless survivor in the long-term scheme of things.

I miss those days spent within that colorful cathedral of canopy, slipping soundlessly around the trunks of tall trees with my chin pointed to the sky. Patience is a virtue in this game, as is focus and sharp eyesight. A flash here and a flash there was sometimes all you got, but sometimes, if you were lucky or good, you got a little more too. A squirrel’s head is a tiny target, and you could fancy yourself quite a marksman if you could drop one cleanly and quick.

Long ago I graduated to hunting much bigger and glamorous game, in places where the terrain and scenery could not be much more different from that gentle land. But those squirrels of my youth have never journeyed very far out of mind, and that is a good thing.

I long to hunt squirrels. I crave those simple and rewarding days in the land of sassafras and scolding bluejays. Some are quick to say that the world moves on, and that you can never really revisit a time gone by. Perhaps that is true, but certainly not in all things. I would like to think that squirrel hunting is one of those.

I feel a well deserved squirrel hunt coming on, and some Brunswick Stew to go with it, wherever they may be…

You?

By Michael Patrick McCarty

You Might Also Like Our Post The Promise of Deer HERE

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A photograph of the front cover of dustjacket of All About Small-Game Hunting in America Edited by Russell Tinsley
Looking For That Flash of Tail

“Sure, the usually available squirrel is fine game for the beginning hunter. No game animal will give him better training in hunting fundamentals – stalking, concealment, woodsmanship, and shooting and gun handling. And should he become so fortunate that he has a chance at them, those early lessons will serve him well on this continent’s most prized big game animals…Frequent jaunts to a convenient squirrel woods season the long and colorful careers of many of our most famous hunters…

The hunter pussyfooting through the squirrel woods is not seeking a trophy animal, is not concerned about the behavior of an expensive bird dog, nor is he attempting to impress a hunting partner with his wingshooting. He is in the hardwoods for the pure joy of hunting…

-By Bob Gooch, found in All About Small-Game Hunting in America. Edited by Russell Tinsley.

For Sale:

All About Small-Game Hunting in America. By Russell Tinsley

Published by Macmillan, 1984. Very Good condition in Very good Dustjacket.

$12.95 plus $4 shipping (in U.S.)

https://steemit.com/hunting/@huntbook/hunting-for-the-biggest-small-game-young-boys-and-bushytails

“Aim Small, Miss Small”

Jumping Targets AR500 Steel Reactive Shooting Targets (Misc.)

Jumping Targets advantage
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Choosing the proper steel is only half of the equation. A good design is just as important as the right steel. Some manufacturers use brackets, clamps, or bolts in trying to hold their target together. Remember, anything that can be hit, will be hit eventually. Why is this an issue? Because you can do a reasonable job of predicting and protecting against a bullet’s splatter pattern when it hits a flat, uniform surface. If the steel is damaged or if anything else is in the way, then you cannot know where the bullet is going. Bullet fragmentation and ricochet are inherent and acknowledged issues when shooting on steel targets. Proper target design helps you address those issues with the highest degree of safety possible. Our targets present a target at a 90 degree angle, and have a calculated ricochet angle of 20 degrees, ensuring that you have a safe as well as enjoyable experience using our targets.All of our targets are made with these facts in mind, and all are AR 500 steel targets. In short –they’re meant to last!


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A hunter shoots the .17 caliber rifle for target practice and fun, and to to sharpen his eye for hunting season. Photograph by Michael McCarty.
Tuning Up The Mighty-Mini .17 Caliber

 

It is that special time of year again, and for many of us it can never come quite soon enough. The promise of a weather change hangs suspended in the air and the hunting season – our season – is just around the corner. For some lucky soul’s it has already begun.

It’s time to oil up that favorite rifle and send a few well-placed bullets down range. Of course, people of our persuasion rarely need an excuse to do a little target shooting, and there’s never really a bad time to brush up on the exacting skills of fine marksmanship. Besides, it is also a constructive way to get some sun on the face and some fresh air for the lungs, and it delivers a lot of bang for the buck in the fun department too.

Yet there is a most serious side to our right to own firearms, and it becomes more and more obvious every day. There are those around us who obsessively scheme to take our guns away, and they constantly pick at the edges of The Constitution and The Bill of Rights like a rabies-crazed vulture. They are a constant reminder to the fact that like any critical muscle in the body, a right must be exercised to remain toned and ready.

Let us never forget that it is an inalienable right of all free citizens of the United States to keep and bear arms, for the simple reason that we can. We earned it, or at least some of our ancestors did. My father shed blood for it – for me, and for us all. Perhaps you, or someone else in your family did too.

It is the quintessential sobering thought. This reality means that it is not always just about hunting or shooting, for to hold a gun in the hand is a great responsibility. When in doubt just recall the images of the founding fathers, who were more than happy to record their opinions on the matter under threat of quick arrest and certain death. Their foundational actions have always held the obvious solutions for times like these.

I, for one, do not take their words lightly, and they continue to ring loudly with ultimate truth and inexorable consequences. How could anyone disregard the forewarnings of George Washington or Thomas Jefferson, or the thousands and thousands of patriots who laid down their one and only life for the life of liberty?

They also fought with unending fervor for the rights of those who simply wish to touch off a few harmless rounds in the privacy of their own backyards.

I sometimes think about these things with each tightening pull of the trigger, as well I should.

In the realm of what really matters it is an easy choice.

Live free or die” truly are words to live by.

“Use it or lose it” is not just a catchy phrase.

“Stand up and be counted”, leaves no doubt. Standing is the most important part, as my father used to say.

“Aim small, miss small”, I say, and pass the ammunition!

It’s time to get a little hunting in too.

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“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike especially when young, how to use them.” (Richard Henry Lee, 1788, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights, Walter Bennett, ed., Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican, at 21,22,124 (Univ. of Alabama Press,1975)..)

“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . . . the very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good”  – George Washington

“I must wonder – just exactly what do you not understand about the meaning of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed?” – Michael Patrick McCarty

————————————————————————————-

Michael Patrick McCarty

Food Freedom, and Rifles Too!

You Might Also Like Tarantulas…

*”Aim Small, Miss Small” is from the movie “The Patriot”, starring Mel Gibson.

https://steemit.com/liberty/@huntbook/aim-small-miss-small-is-the-patriots-creed

Boy, (Or Should I Say Girl) Do They Grow Them Turkeys Big in Wisconsin

Lynch Fool Proof Turkey Box Call (Misc.)

Featuring a fixed pivot lid and automatic lid stop, the Lynch Fool Proof 101F is the perfect go to turkey call. This solid wood box call produces realistic hen yelps that will have turkeys come a running. This call was made for turkey hunters by turkey hunters and has been a favorite for more than 75 years.

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skeeze / Pixabay

 

A Young Wisconsin Girl Poses With Her Trophy Spring Eastern Turkey, Taken on a Youth Hunt in 2017
Jenna McBride Celebrates Her 26 Pound Wisconsin Gobbler

A big thumbs up to Jenna McBride, who took this magnificent  Wisconsin Eastern Turkey in April 2017.

Jenna is becoming quite the huntress too! At fourteen years old, this is already her second bird…

“It was an interesting day,  we were in a blind and I called once or twice early when the turkeys were still roosting.

We then had a hen come to our two decoys and stay by the decoys for 2.5 to 3 hours or so until this tom came in.  We had one other tom that stayed just out of range for almost two hours before leaving once it started to rain.  So I never had to call again as I had a very cooperative hen with us all morning.

Jenna did all the gun work though.  She told me if she gets a shot, she would get a turkey.  She didn’t miss!

And I forgot, I’ve never got one that big”. – Kevin McBride, Proud Father

__________________________________________________________

Not to be outdone, 16 year old sister Molly McBride followed up in May with an even bigger 27.1 pound tom.

Now that’s a turkey hunting duo to reckon with!

A teen-aged girl poses with a 27 pound eastern wild turkey harvested with a shotgun in central Wisconsin
A Beautiful Day To Be a Turkey Hunter

Dad had a tag in his pocket too but never picked up the gun.  He says that it is much more fun to be their guide. And yes, Kevin also acknowledges that “the girls had a good year”.

Now that’s the turkey hunting understatement of the season…

My biological nature makes me wonder if there is something in the water out there, or just what in the world these turkeys had been eating to get so big. Whatever it was, it certainly did the job. If registered, both birds would fall in or near a list of the top 50 heaviest birds ever recorded with The National Wild Turkey Federation in Wisconsin.

Search The National Wild Turkey Federation Record List Here

As for Jenna and Molly, something tells me that this will not be their last turkey hunting adventure. I can only hope that I get a chance to hunt with them sometime, or at least follow them around for a bit. No doubt they could show me a thing or two about how it should be done.

Congratulations all!

A Young Women and Her Dad Celebrate Her Trophy Eastern Gobbler, taken with a shotgun on a wild turkey hunt in central Wisconsin during the spring hunting season.
Like Father, Like Daughter – A Hunter’s Bond Runs Deep

Now that’s a mean set of wheels, and some spurs to be proud of!

A Close-Up Photo of the Spurs of a Trophy Eastern Wild Turkey, Harvested in Wisconsin During The Spring Hunting Season
A Spur To Make You Glad That You Are Not Another Male Wild Turkey

 

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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