Office time: I was sitting in my office/trophy/gun room catching up on my writing, I have article deadlines in Airgunner, Airgun Hobbyist, Predator Xtreme, and Fur Fish Game, and my time was coming down to the wire. For a couple of these projects I needed specific photographs, and got a jolt as I realized what a mess I have on my hands……. Over 75,000 airgun/hunting related photos stretching back to 2007 on hard drives, and approximately 20,000 more spread out on CD’s and thumb drives going back before I started archiving to hard drive. I have hunts and Airgun related events going back to 2003, that have taken me to more than 20 states, five countries, and an island in the Caribbean! I thought it might be of interest to share some of these photos, some have been published though most have not, and reflect on some of these events in my airgunning life!
Visit to Daystate: A couple years back I was in Scotland on business, then was to head down to London for a conference (pertaining to my “day job”). On the way, I scheduled to stop in for a visit with my brother in-law (Roger) and his family, he’s an ER doctor and lives in Shrewsbury. We had a free morning and as I’d set up a visit to Daystate, which was an hour by car, he decided to join me. We had a great tour of the facilities and an enjoyable lunch with Tony Belas …. But one of the things that sticks in my memory, is that I had a chance to look over a prototype of a new gun. It was called the Compatto, and was to be the first gun from Brocock since the acquisition and merging of their engineering with Daystates team. I fell in love with this compact little semi-bullpup at first sight…… and as you know if you follow my writing and videos it’s proven itself to me in the field!
The Hunt and the Missing Trophy: Next I stumbled on a few scattered pictures from a hunt down in South Texas several years ago, I was after hogs but it was the small game hunting that stands out on this excursion. In one night, I shot close to a dozen raccoons that were raiding a farmer’s corn bins down by a river bottom that bordered his property, but I also called in the first ringtail cat I’d ever seen. I was doing a rodent squeak and spotted a set of eyes moving towards me. I thought it was a bobcat, and as it ran in towards me, stop and hang up occasionally. Then it jumped up in the fork of a tree at about forty yards. I got my first clear view as it poked it’s head out and looked at me. Having seen in the regulations that this was legal, I line up with my Sam Yang 9mm and dropped him on the spot.
Here’s where my story is less good, one of the guest visiting the ranch was a taxidermist, and said he could do a mount like the one he’d done for the rancher. It was beautiful, so I left my ringtail cat with him to transport back to his workshop in Montana. After waiting about six months I called to see how it was going, only to reach the guys father who told me his son had quite doing taxidermy and moved to Alaska to guide. Long story short (or maybe you think it’s too late for that), he had no idea where my mount was. I hadn’t paid so there was no money lost, but I’ve only shot one other since then, and he wasn’t a good candidate for mounting. I like these little animals, and will eventually shoot one to mount, and that will probably be my last one.
Biltong, the other dried meat: I would hardly call myself a prepper or a survivalist, but a few years back I write an article for Backwoodsman in which I explained how to make Biltong, which is the South African equivalent of jerky …. though it is more like a cross between jerky and prosciutto and I like it more. It is air dried meat, and the easiest way to make it is to build a special drying box. I made the box out of a large storage bin, created mesh covered vents, a computer fan mounted on top to pull fresh air through, a light bulb below to dry the air, racks to hang the meet and you’re ready to go! Cut the meet into strips, wash it in vinegar, spice it with coriander and pepper, leave it in the fridge for a couple hours, wash it in vinegar again, and hang it in the box for 3-4 days. Slice it and eat it afterwards, never last long around my house. I’ve had it made out of kudu, springbok, eland, impala, and my South African butcher when I lived in Australia made it out of kangaroo and emu as well!
That’s it from me this week. I received several new guns that started rolling in post SHOT Show that I’m currently working with. Also, got in several new scopes and a lot of adjunct gear I’ll be using on hunts over the course of the year. I’m on my way to Denmark for work in mid-March, but going out calling for coyote tonight (in Minnesota) and over the next few nights, then jumping down on a hog/predator hunt in Texas next week. I’m committed to doing more than 20 traveling hunts this year, and plan to do at least 2 per month, so will have some hunting news coming your way as these progress.
Winter is winding down in a lot of the country, so get yourself out there and keep shooting!