Monday, January 31, 2011

Doe tags and deer tracking.

.223 at 125 yards with Remington softpoint. Exit side up.

The Good Doctor and I both shot deer that didn't go down in place. We had to follow blood trails and sign. Very important to note EXACTLY where the animal is when the shot breaks and very hard to train yourself to do that. I noted where the deer was up against the treeline and after the shot EXACTLY which trees she ran between leaving. When I got to the site there wasn't a trace. No blood and a jumble of old and new tracks.
I went into the woods between the two pines she had run through. Nothing. I'd seen her cut left and then straight back before disappearing. After a minute I noticed a few hairs nearby- long ones. I could see some torn up leaves in the forest floor but it could have been anything. Squirrels make the same sign. The dot sight at 125 yards was about at the functional limit and I began to worry about grazing her. Further in was a bigger clump of dry hair. No blood. I did a semi-circle sweep about five yards in, (being very careful not to step on any sign), without result. I scanned the woods ahead looking for a body, (sometimes you can see the white belly hair shining on a downed animal). Nothing. Back to the clump of hair. I shucked off my hunting sack and thought about what I had seen after the trigger broke. I double checked the position of the tower from the hair pile. Another sweep a little further in. Back to the hair pile. I was about to decide I had grazed her with a .223 softpoint when I noticed a very small fleck of blood on a leaf. It was smaller than the head of a paper match. A hit.
On the same line about two feet away was another very small fleck of blood. I followed the line and found another about five feet away, all on the same line. I'd looked this area over just a minute before- these were just VERY small flecks. 15 yards in I began to get a trail I could follow walking. She ran in a straight line, sometimes going between trees close together for about 60 yards and was in the bottom of a small crease. (never seen a mortally struck animal climb) When I tracked I stayed a yard or so to one side of the trial so I wouldn't disturb it and didn't move forward until I saw the next blood ahead. She was actually very well hit. The .223 went through both shoulders breaking a bone on the entry side and leaving an impressive exit wound. Heart shot, low. The clump of hair must have blown off the exit side or she bit a chunk off in the seconds after the hit. Most of the trail was over pine needles.

The doctor's deer was a riverbirch-thicketed area. All the sign was on very dry curled softwood leaves. He had tracked and marked the trail until it disappeared. When I got there we went to the last blood and looked around. I picked up the trail on the same line and we kept it between us, calling out and pointing to blood sign and never moving forward until we saw the next mark. His deer was shot in the front chest with a 270 at about 225 yards and went about 200 yards. She left "wipes" where she left blood on an upright sapling as she pushed past. She was down at least three times and got up and kept going. We found her in thick brush that she had gotten through but we had to go around.

I've heard Coleman lanterns work best on blood at night though I have never used one. I've tracked deer that laid down and died on their stomachs- head laid down like a dog, that you couldn't see until you were just a few feet away. Also spotted them ahead in the dusk by the shine of their white bellies. The most important thing is to notice EXACTLY where the deer was when the shot broke and the EXACT place they went into cover so you can get started.

I've looked at deertracks and people tracks a lot. It's mostly just seeing a deer walk by and going down and looking at the tracks that day, the next day, after the rain and dew, et. Very uncertain business. I've watched my own tracks age in sand and clay. Sometimes very fresh looking sign can be a week old. I wipe the tracks out of scrapes and smooth them over just to get a date-certain reset. Very tricky business.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sharpest knife in the drawer.

Theater-made WWII Knives. Seems to me that the Pacific WWII knives are more likely to have the leather-washer handles replaced with aircraft acrylic and aluminum than the European knives. Pacific tropics rotted leather faster. All these are Ebay low-end knives. Going to use all of them to butcher deer. I guess I will have to learn leathercraft to make some sheaths.

Tyler Gunshow at Harvey Hall on Saturday and Sunday. Seven bucks to get in. Big crowd and lots of guns on the tables. Gunshows ought to be worth 3 semester hour credits for the history, economics, street smarts and ability to thrive in a social situation. Firearms from pinfires to folding-stock SKARS. It's all jumbled together with jerky, optics, cases, ammo and the latest gimmicks.

Ammo prices were too high. I can get it shipped for less. Reloaded 9mmFMJs were 11.00 per 50...and the price didn't break much for bulk.

I use Glock 19s as my pricepoint gun. At a dealers table I check the price on this common pistol and can tell where the dealers numbers are going to be on just about everything. The good dealers had new G19s at 499.00. The expensive dealers were at 469. This is for the basic new model without nightsights, porting, et. I saw used earlier model G19s for more. Gets crazy.

I was scanning for leather knife sheaths and vintage WWII knives. Not many and usually far overpriced from Ebay. Nothing I was tempted to buy and very little price haggling. I couldn't move several of the knife sheaths I found by a nickel.

Several custom knife makers. I have to comment that I have never met a custom knifemaker who isn't clinically treatable for a mental disorder. Is it the grinding? The forging? Making handles? Inhalants from the steel or leather? They trend nuttier than mad hatters. Must be something in the process.

Should have sprung for a cheap little Warthog knife-sharpening jiggy. 75 bucks for the plastic model, 95 for the metal. It seemed to really work and be easy and straightforward to use. British-made. I found them on Ebay at about the same price in pounds. Couldn't get them to move a nickel on price. If they had knocked off five bucks I would have bought it. Guy is from Longview. Sneed was willing to go for half but I wanted to see them on the internet. Certainly put an edge on the knife I was carrying. Quickly. Nothing on Amazon that I don't already have.

Glad to have gunshows around. Thriving market. I think it's a healthy sign.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Daily Deercam.

Mostly squirrels and a few does and yearling fawns on the cams. Crows. One nice buck came by in the deep brush.

Still working the scrape to see who is around.

Not sure I have seen this buck before.

Limping along. One Moultrie doesn't fire the flash. Another eats the rechargable battery in a couple of hours. Cold out there. Today was the first day I could have crossed the creek and I had to carry Lucie both ways. Beautiful time of year to be in the woods.

Good Dogging.

This week is Lucie's first birthday. In dog years that's seven or eight, except that we pamper her so it's more like for or five. She sleeps with us, for goodness sake. That gotta retard the aging process.

On the other hand it's obvious that she is really at a smart, physically fit, learning peak. She knows many faces and words. When the mailman walks by Katie's studio Lucie hits the door to go out and beg a dog bisquit off him. If she sees the mail truck she heads that way because she knows those guys have dog treats. She knows the way to the studio and around the neighborhood.

She can find the deercams without me.

Just filled up, (2.92) at the grocery store. I have to clean dog snot off the inside of the truck windows every fill-up, plus a few extras. They make barkless dogs and hairless dogs but not snotless dogs.

She's fun to have around. Worked herself right into the system around here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hateful Political Rhetoric.

The words of Limbaugh and Palin make folks go crazy and shoot everyone......but Hollywood Movies don't?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy 1-9-11

Old and new: Bills USGI Ithaca on the bottom and my Les Baer Service Pistol on the top. His shoots Minute-of-Nazi, mine is a bullseye match pistol that shoots 3 inches at 50 yards. Tape on my trigger guard from Camp Perry.

Bill Brittain's Government issued 1911 he got in England during WWII. He was a ball-turrent gunner on a B17 in the 8th Air Force. He was shot down over France with this pistol and hidden by the French until the Allied Forces liberated his town. Still has the original issued ammo since he never fired it after qualification. Shown with a PAL RH-36, Cattaraugus 225Q and a theatre-made knife with handle of Japanese aircraft plexiglass. All WWII knives.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Garmin in space.

Very generous friends gave me a Garmin navigator thingie thing for Christmas. I hooked it up used it to find a New Years party that otherwise would have been as remote and obscure as Shangri-La run by Sasquatch monks. Sneed came up and I turned it on for the Clarksville doetag run. On the way back, I hit "home" to get some exact time/distance/shortest route info and it tried taking us out the gate down a closed road. It recalculated when I went left instead of right and got data but when we took the new loop around the North of Clarksville the little car icon just floundered in open space on the display. I guess the Texas downroadload isn't the latest.
It's a great day to have new tech. Gotta love it. I'd hate to be without the internet or digital imaging. Nice to have a map in your head as well.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Buck on the cam.

Little buck at the new cam position. This scrape deep in the brush. Moved one of the cams off the far end to cover it.

Nice young buck. Not legal.

Still wandering around. Nice looking deer but not even legal width. 2 1/2 year-old. Might be great in two years, but by then he will be as sage and suspicious as Bigfoot.

New guy on the blogroll.

Popgun. Right next door. Go give him a look. He actually took the time to contact a raving anti-gun lunatic.....and take him to the range. Sounds like he even managed to get him turned around.

Another example of how GOOD people are, in general. If people were basically evil, divorce attorneys would be shot dead by the long ton, government folks wouldn't make it from the office to the car and pro-civil-rights folks would never bother to fool with anti-gun idiots who foam at the mouth. But that doesn't happen, does it? Instead, most folks are very, very good.
You see the elites and the government folks layering up on useless security and treating the general public like they are rabid, cannibalistic hobos. They KNOW what they do and what they deserve. Even traffic cops fingerprint your tail-light and walk up with one hand on their pistol and the other on the radio for back-up. They KNOW a 450.00 fine in a kangaroo court is outrageous and are waiting for the public to explode. Interesting times. Those security defenses rarely get tested because of how GOOD the general public is and how much they mostly just want to be left alone.
Thank God for the good folks. Go take a look at Popgun!

Clarksville Follies

Wearing nitrile gloves. Plenty of deerticks still in the hide though you could tell they are slowing down. Probably none in two weeks as the current crop dies with no replacement. Freezing temps will finally shut them down. About 40 in the shade. Takes about 45 minutes to dress, skin and quarter a deer, pull the jawbone and rinse off the slab. Except for being shot dead the does are in great shape.

Top: Very old Westcut K5.
WWII Western Shark Knife.
WWII Theatre-made file-blade knife with Japanese aircraft plex handle.
Nepalese Armory 160-year old patch knife.
Modern Buck.

Packed up the deer-murdering Dr. Sneed and headed out to shoot more doetags. We were out Saturday evening with only Cardinals and a hawk to watch. Our host joined us and Sunday morning the Good Doctor Cooperized a nice doe on one stand while I placked away at an unfortunate coyote on another. I'm sure I had one hit, maybe two on Wiley while I saw the middle round miss. The fourth round stovepiped shutting the gun down and he limped off. I could have fired three more aimed rounds. Still got AR carbine problems. BSA dot sight. Need a little four-power scope of some sort with a real crosshair.
Cut up the doe with a series of vintage knives. Sneed had put a fresh edge on all of them and I dulled several. Soft steel. He resharpened them again using a Rube Goldberg contraption that keeps a consistent angle. Seems to me that the more you use it the better edge it gives.
Perfect cold weather for processing deer. Glad to have the venison. More doetags to go!