Gary's Gun Notes #81

All across the country our big game hunting seasons are starting and in some cases, already started. It is a time of year that we look forward to for 8 or 9 months and is quickly gone. Back east the deer seasons normally tend to start around Thanksgiving for gun hunters. Archery and black powder seasons normally a bit earlier than that. Out here in the west, if we get drawn, the seasons begin earlier. Our archery season is pretty much over with and gun season for deer and elk are underway. 

I went out this morning to sight in a couple of guns that I plan to take on the next HHC (Handgun Hunters Challenge) coming up in about 2 1/2 weeks. The roads here were bumper to bumper traffic, mostly trucks hauling campers and camping trailers. We live well out of town, in the edge of the National Forest and the hunters from just about everywhere are here. This is good for the local economy but in the abundance of hunters there is always a few that should have stayed home. 

A week or so ago one of my men that works for me was archery hunting and had worked night and day getting a big bull elks habits worked out. He knew where the bull bedded down at night and where he hid during the day. This was a big bull, probably green scoring 350 to 360, a big bull. When archery season opened he was ready for him.

Opening day wasn't a good day with the influx of hunters everywhere. It took a day or two for the elk to settle down and then my guy, Nate had his chance. At about 45 yards he put an arrow into the bulls lungs. The bull immediately ran off across a big field and up a slope on the other side, maybe 1/4 mile away from the hunter. Nate, the hunter sat still, waiting for the bull to get sick and lay down. 

Within a minute after the bull laid down, another group of hunters, on ATVs converged on the elk. One of the hunters obviously called a friend as within a minute or two a truck came roaring across the field. They all jumped out, grabbed the bull, who by now was presumably dead, and pitched him into the back of the truck. When this was done, they all headed out across the field toward the nearest road. To have converged on that bull that quick, they had to have been watching Nate and that bull. 

Stuff like this happens all too regularly here. To lose a record book bull is bad enough, but to lose him to game thieves is even worse. We have some strict laws here, especially about ATVs in the National Forest, but these morons pay no attention to them. Several times I have seen hunters chasing an elk herd on their ATVs, presumably toward their buddies who were hidden. To say I wish they would ban the use of ATVs in the National Forest would be a big understatement. 

We have had some monster bulls taken so far this year. There was one that green scored 435, which is huge, and supposedly one that green scored 460. I haven't seen the 460 bull but heard about it from a friend who guides. We had a very wet winter last year with 18 to 20 feet of snow and then after the snow melted, we had a wet spring and lots of knee high grass, so the deer and elk are really in good shape. Lots of sightings of twins and triplets in the deer and elk herds. We should see some record book heads all thru the season this year. Unfortunately none of the Reeders got drawn this year. That is unusual as Colleen normally gets drawn for bull elk. There is one civilian tag they draw for on the military reservation here and as many as 6000 hunters from all across the country put in for that one early bull tag, mainly because the military base is home to some truly monster bulls. Colleen has been drawn for that one tag 3 times since about '97 and has taken 2 good bulls. 

As I mentioned above, our next HHC is coming up in about 2 1/2 weeks. We arrive there on Thursday Oct 15th, hunt that afternoon, hunt all day Friday and Saturday and Sunday morning if we haven't tagged out. This is a special hunt as it is a memorial to Al Goerg, the man I consider the father of handgun hunting. Al was killed in a plane crash in Alaska in 1965 which is a real shame. There is no telling what advances in handgun hunting there would have been had he lived. His son Jim Goerg will be at the hunt and we are looking forward to that.

Besides this hunt being a memorial to Al Goerg, it should be a grand hunt all the way around. We have 39 hunters signed up for this hunt and the acreage is huge and the animals vary from 15 pound Muntjacs to 2000 pound water buffalo and bison. There are also large elk there, many types of exotic deer and sheep and many large Russian type wild hogs. There are record book animals like Nilgai, Gemsbok, Oryx, Blackbuck, Aoudad, Wildebeest, Fallow Deer, Sika Deer, Muntjac, Dall Sheep, and a lot more. Alan Wilson, the owner of Wilderness Hunting Lodge in Monterey Tennessee has some monster hogs there too for those that want a truly huge boar. 

The hunt, being it is a memorial to Al Goerg, who used small calibers to take large game, is sort of leaning toward the smaller calibers but it is not required at all. Goerg took Brown bear with 44 magnum S&W revolvers, Mountain goats with the Colt Python 357, Dall Sheep with the S&W 44 mag, Black Bear with the 218 Bee and the 22 K-Hornet, Caribou with the 256 Winchester and much more. My hunters can use whatever caliber they feel comfortable with, but I imagine we will see some smaller calibers there. I have several calibers in mind that I am shooting and testing them with bullets for larger game, but no decisions as yet. By the way, we have 4 openings left on this hunt and you are more than welcome to join us. If you are interested, call me for more details or call Terry at the lodge in Tennessee at 931-260-1600 to put down your $250 deposit.

Well, let's see, what is new and amazing on the market these days. Those of you that use bipods on your guns know that if a shot comes up to one side of you, you have to bounce the bipod around to get a shot and in doing so sometimes spook the game. Well, a company called Vanguard has released a pivoting bipod that swivels to each side which should be a big boon to those using bipods. Lasers and lights are pretty much available on every gun out there except for the single action revolvers and It wouldn't surprise me to see Ruger coming out with a rail on their Blackhawks and Vaqueros to hold a flashlight and laser. 

Speaking of lasers, you did know that red lasers are out of style, didn't you? You wouldn't want to be seen in public with one of those out of style red lasers, would you? Green is in style this year. It is the Viridian laser. The reason for this is that red lasers are invisible in sunlight to most except for those of you in the primate family. Maybe that is why little blue haired old ladies in Florida never stop at red lights. The human eye sees bright green in sunlight better than red, and the green laser reaches out farther. The green, called the Viridian Laser reaches out 200 yards during the day and 2 miles at night. This makes me wonder who is taking those 2 mile shots with a handgun at night. I try to keep most of my 2 mile shots to early morning or late evening. 

There is a company that is setting up a virtual reality shooting training aid. It is a large sphere (a ball to those from Arkansas). You are in this sphere with the virtual reality glasses on and your handgun, which is an electronic handgun. The ball is set up on a large frame and you walk down this alley (in virtual reality) and run toward or away from the enemy. The ball rolls under your feet so running or walking is no problem. You are sort of like the hamster on a treadmill or like a gerbil running from Richard Gere as the sphere moves with you. You can also run it with an AR-15 or AK-47. The ultimate combat range. No word yet on the cost but it is on a lease contract and some of the larger shops will have one set up late this year. 

With the large 1911 makers raising their prices to ridiculous levels, several smaller companies are moving in and taking home the cash. 1911s by Springfield Armory, S&W, Kimber and some others are excellent guns but the companies don't seem to realize that we are in a bit of a recession. And this is hurting them. We have dropped Kimber all together as they have priced themselves out of the average man's pay scale. Other companies like High Standard, Regent, Charles Daly, Rock Island and several others are filling in the gap, and selling a lot of guns. These are excellent 1911s but are selling for less than $500. They don't have the frills or fancy features (AKA gimmicks) but are well worth the money and you can then add the special features you want or need. If you are thinking of a new 1911, check these out. You won't be disappointed. 

The AR-15s are pretty much dead in the water now and are gathering dust on the dealer's shelves, even at sale prices. The high end guns from Sig and S&W are priced $500 to $600 less than they were 3 months ago. The police style shotguns and handguns are still moving well as they, in most instances, are priced considerably less than a full blown AR-15. 

It is sort of humorous that we have people in the gun shop every day asking for the new small 380s that I mentioned way back in January and February but don't know which one they want. Every gun manufacturer seems to have one out. Companies like Kel-Tec, Walther, Ruger, Magnum Research, Taurus, Sig, Kahr, and several others have little lightweight 380s on the market and other companies are coming out with ultra compact semi autos in 9mm and 40 S&W. Companies like Springfield Armory, Kahr, Kel Tec, Glock, Taurus, Beretta, Para Ordnance and several others have 380 size autos out in 9mm and 40 caliber. The 380 ammo is still scarce but the guns are here. 

That's it for this issue of Gun Notes. Hopefully I will get to meet a lot of you at the HHC hunt coming up in a couple of weeks, and will have a full report on that hunt in the next issue. Til then, hunting season is here, hit the fields and take a youngster hunting with you.

God Bless,



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