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Saturday, October 31. 2009
During the late summer of 1971, while we were out of town, my trusty Winchester, Model 12, twelve gauge pump with a modified barrel, that I had shot for over twenty years, along with all of my other guns, a new Sony TV that I won in a sales manager's contest and my brand new Buick Electra 225, were stolen.Â What really upset me was that the thieves took my Dadâ€™s Fox, sixteen gauge, side by side.Â Many times I have wished that I had that old one back!
The car was found undamaged the next week, but nothing else was ever recovered.Â The police told me that my guns went to Mexico and that someone in Arizona (probably) got a real good Sony TV!My insurance settlement, received in early fall, was quite generous and I headed to Oshmanâ€™s in Scottsdale to restock my weapons.Â Having become interested in trap shooting, my first purchase was a Remington 870, twelve gauge, with a trap barrel and ventilated rib.Â This shotgun served me very well over the five years that I shot competitive trap and it was also a deadly weapon on ducks and geese!
But, if I had been real smart I would have invested in a Perotzzi trap gun!Â Laughingly, I say that, but I was never a good shot with a trap gun.Â The stocks high comb, and me being blessed with a short neck and arms, precluded me from getting my head satisfactorily down on the stock.Â A simple lengthening of my 870â€™s stock was all it took to give me the correct sight picture for trap shooting.
As soon as we moved to Arizona, we started seeing Gambel quail and our roamings in the foothills and the deserts only showed us more of these remarkable, little runners.Â This led to my second purchase, a Remington 870, twenty gauge, pump with a ventilated rib and skeet barrel that I shot for over thirty-five years.
However, not planning to shoot skeet, this shotgun, shooting â€œheavyâ€ one ounce, reloads of seven and a halfs or eights, chalked up amazing numbers of quail and doves.Â One afternoon in Mexico, using the twenty gauge, pump, I shot one hundred white wings with one hundred twenty-nine shells!Â On the skeet field it was equally impressive, helping me to shoot many twenty-fives European style.Â My Son, Randy, has this gun now.
I donâ€™t think that I was a â€œnaturalâ€ shooter although in the Army I shot Expert with the M-1 Garand and M-2 Carbine.Â Probably friendly pasters!Â But I did learn early on that if youâ€™re going to be a good, competitive shooter, you had to practice regularly.Â This practice carries over into the field, helps in judging shot distances and reinforces correct shooting techniques â€“ see the proper sight picture whether you track, lead or swing on the target, keep your head down on the stock, keep swinging after you shoot and pretty soon the hits will really start to add up whether youâ€™re shooting clay or real birds.
In 1975 returning to Arizona on a business trip, I found out what befell the thieves that broke into my house and stole my stuff and how they were finally apprehended.Â Their â€œbusinessâ€ was so good they had opened a used furniture store on Indian School Road in east Phoenix and of course much of the stock was stolen goods.
They had just committed another home robbery taking a TV and some guns. Of all things, the latest victim showed up in their used furniture store looking for a TV to replace the one these guys had just stolen.Â Spotting one just like his, he looked a little closer and saw his Social Security number that he had engraved on the back. He left the store without a purchase, went to the police and thus ended the careers of a vicious gang of thieves.
Their store closed too, but they had a get your stuff sale, not a going out of business sale!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Shooting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, April 4. 2008
Lucky for me the Skunk, 10 feet up wind, didnâ€™t smell or see me, lying prone on the ground patiently waiting in ambush between a small Turkey roost and a freshly plowed field.Â Hoping that both the Skunk would move on, which it did, and some Turkeys would move our way, which, minutes later, 4 hens did, made this apparent foolishness worthwhile.
The Skunk missed Rick Haney too, who was in ambush about 40 yards to my left.Â We were enjoying the opening morning of spring Turkey season on Rickâ€™s ranch, near Abilene, Texas.Â We had scouted the roost the previous evening and guessed it held about a dozen birds.Â It had been eerie, in the pitch dark, walking along a ranch road and listening to the night sounds and then hearing the unmistakable sounds of the Turkeyâ€™s â€œsnoringâ€, a peculiar sawing or sighing sound, difficult to describe.
Silently, the hens, as we lay still as rocks, walked within 30 feet of us!Â We hoped they would draw a tom, or 2, close enough for us to get a shot.Â They walked on to the edge of the plowed ground and began nibbling away, and always, at least one would have its head up alertly scanning for danger or maybe a boyfriend, and they all were making soft, clucking hen sounds.
Sure enough, from our right oblique we heard the gobbles of several toms and soon, still gobbling, we saw them and they were an exciting sight, gobbling and strutting, wings dragging and tension building in us!
They came within 60 yards of us and stopped for a moment, then came on and about, 40 to 50 yards, laying down, it was hard to tell exactly, Rick jumped up and boom, boom, his 12 gauge barked twice as the Turkeys took wing, right over me.Â Picking one out, swinging and covering the birdâ€™s head, boom and it crumpled.Â Then acquiring another, putting the bead on its nose, boom and down it went a double on Turkeys, both of them flying!
Having hunted for a long time and many times, having â€œdoubledâ€ on Doves, Quail, Ducks and Geese, this was a first, and probably, a last for me too, a thrilling, unusual situation and one that, chances are, wouldnâ€™t be repeated!
Of course, no pictures of this feat, but at least, I didnâ€™t lead the big, birds too far!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, March 6. 2008
The pigeon shoot, a benefit for Jubalee Junction, a non profit organization that provides deer, duck and wild hog hunting for severely injured people who have the desire to be in the field and take part in hunting activities. The founder of this group, David Gates, is a banker in a small East Texas town and a wonderful guy! He is a severely injured victim of an industrial accident but spending time around him you could never tell.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Shooting at 08:05 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, August 3. 2007
My last trap shoot was in 1975, at the Moccasin Bend Trap Club, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and we decided to make a family weekend out of it. The family piled into our camper and we took the leisurely 2 hour drive from Sandy Springs, Georgia to Chattanooga and checked into the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, a real neat hotel converted from an old bunch of sleeper cars, complete with a dining car. The kids still talk about it.
We saw â€œSee Ruby Fallsâ€, as advertised on barn tops along the freeway, visited the Incline Railway, Lookout Mountain battlefield and Chickamauga, the site of the largest battle fought in the western theatre during our Civil War.
Sunday morning found us on the way to the gun club and I was going to surprise the â€œgood â€˜ole boysâ€ in Tennessee. Being a real â€œhotâ€ shooter out west, but not known east of the Mississippi, I â€œboughtâ€ myself in the Calcutta for a whopping $3.00, the minimum amount. The handicap event began, and I was placed with the long yardage shooters and I was breaking clays automatically. Walking to the last station and leading the shoot, the thought of my potential winnings, over $1,000.00 flashed through my mind and was quickly pushed out and my concentration returned.
â€œPull,â€ I barked and the clay pigeon wobbled out of the trap machine, a hard right bird, which I led and pulled the trigger, no Bam, no ignition of the shell. The puller/ scorekeeper called out â€œlost birdâ€ with just me looking funny at my trusty Remington 870, Trap Model Shotgun.
The trigger mechanism had broken. I had five minutes to fix the trigger, or get another gun, otherwise I would be disqualified and my only option was to get my ex-wifeâ€™s Remington 1100 Automatic, with a shortened stock.
I missed three out of the last five clays and finished second, which paid $200.00, plus another $150.00 from the Calcutta. So much for a big â€œhitâ€ and after this shoot, I retired myself from competitive shooting. My kids were very active in sports and my day job required too much of my time.
As I have mentioned before, â€œSometimes a good day job can really interfere with your avocation.â€
Posted by Jon Bryan in Shooting at 08:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
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