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12 Tips for Keeping Traditional Muzzleloaders Functioning in Rain and Snow


Thompson Center Arms Gray Hawk and Brunswick Rifle with mule's knee.

  In Idaho, Washington and Oregon where exposed-ignition muzzleloaders must be used and on flintlock-only hunts in other states, is it considerably more difficult to keep these types of guns functional in rain or snow.  The following tips will help keep flint guns sparking and percussion guns popping.

A. Load your guns in a warm dry place.

B. Cover your guns whenever possible. You can keep in waterproof cases or even wrap them in waterproof materials on the way to your stand.

C. Use accessories like leather mule’s knees to cover the action parts.

D. If you have nothing else carry the gun with the hammer under an armpit – uncomfortable, but helpful.

E. Check frequently not only for snow in the ignition area, but also on open sights that could prevent you from making a rapid shot should you walk up on something.

F. Plastic sleeves are available from Traditions for no. 11 cap guns as are tiny balloons to keep snow out of the muzzle.

G. Use plastic electric tape to protect the muzzle.

H. Hunt from covered temporary blinds or built-up blinds – even some climbing stands like the Tree Lounge have covers.

I. In wet weather, fire the gun off each day, clean, dry completely and reload. Using alcohol can help speed the drying process and an alcohol-dampened Q-tip can clean and dry the pans of flintlock guns.

J. Seal the pan of a flintlock gun with a heavy grease or wax.  

K. Before reloading fire three caps to clear and dry the ignition passages.

L. Lay out your percussion caps in a warm place to air dry. Wet caps, or even black powder, can be restored to potency if  allowed to dry. Do not put them directly on a heat source.

  For more information on muzzleloading consult my book, X-Treme Muzzleloading, which will be available in Winter, 2010 and my blog entries at on the Brunswick rifle and YouTube videos. For general information on deer and other backyard hunts, see Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound  at

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Backyard Merriam’s Turkey Hunting in Idaho, Fall 2010


Hen Mirriam's turkey taken on Fall backyard turkey hunt in Idaho with Stevens Long Tom 94 A.

   Wild turkeys are not  native to Idaho and were stocked to provide sportsmen with a Spring hunting opportunity. In time, Merriam’s turkey populations grew to the point where in Idaho’s panhandle Game Units there is not only a Fall season where hens may be taken, but residents may take up to five birds to help control problem populations of turkeys around ranches and rural homesteads.

  Many live in Idaho because they enjoy the outdoor lifestyle and often keep horses, cows, barnyard chickens and other fowl. The newly imported turkeys recognized an easy food source when they found one and came in to feed with the livestock. As their numbers grew beyond a few pair, they could drive the smaller birds away from their feed and even occasionally injure larger animals, like horses, at feeding locations. No one minded having an occasional turkey visit, but when their numbers grew to 50 or more they became more than a little troublesome.

  The reason that wild turkeys congregate around barnyards in this part of Idaho is that there is little natural winter food that the turkeys can access. Acorns, the mainstay of many eastern turkey populations, are absent in this part of the state, and after the snow sticks on the ground there is little natural food available for the birds. These turkeys live near people because they can survive nowhere else in this conifer-dominated mountain habitat.

  Landowners discovered that if they were to successfully keep chickens they had to keep them in caged or protected environments if they were to have their flock survive, much less prosper sufficiently to produce eggs and fryers. The hunt shown in the video is where I filled an unused Spring turkey tag to take one of these excess turkeys out of a flock of about 30  birds. I shot a young hen, because these eat better and also to recover the wing bones to make a traditional wing-bone turkey call. If you have problems viewing the video below I also have it up on YouTube at the following link:

  While rattling corn in a  plastic bucket is a calling method, putting corn on the ground to attract turkeys, or any other game to a hunter is illegal in Idaho; although it is permitted in some other states.  

I will add the video here when I have a faster connection.

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Squirrel Stew for the BBC


A country meal consisting of squirrel dumplings (center), squirrel stew (R) and cornbread with sweet potato (L).

  These recipes will appear in the December-January issue of  the on-line magazine, “Hunting Fitness” as part of  the  forthcoming book, “Hunting Fitness Presents: Hovey’s Healthy Recipes for Game and Fish.” 

  The radio broadcast is now available using the following link:


From coast to coast, Matt Frei presents an insider guide to the people and the stories shaping America today

Available now on BBC iPlayer

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    As the holiday season hits the USA, Americana examines food choices and money struggles.

  My experiences with squirrels outside of North America is in the U.K. and Ireland where the woods and parks may be overrun with gray squirrels, and very often the people do not know what to do about them. My solution is simple, “Kill ‘um and eat ‘um.” Squirrels were a mainstay of early American settlers in the 1700s and later when many a family meal consisted of a half-dozen squirrels in the cook pot.

  I was surprised when I received a call from Jocelyn Frank, a Producer of the BBC radio show  “Americana,” about me appearing on the show and talking about squirrel hunting and cooking. The interview was set up.  Susanna Capelouto of Georgia Public Radio would come from Atlanta and act as “Sound Engineer” to connect me with  Matt Frei, the host of the show.  However, Frei had to returned from Peru where he was covering a story about a group of miners who had been trapped underground for more than a month following a cave-in.  

  I had a week to get ready.  I hunted squirrels with a crossbow, handgun, muzzleloader, .22 pistol and shotgun – for the sake of variety. The morning before Susanna was to arrive, I was up at 2:00 AM to start cooking the stew. The following video takes up the story from that point.  An expanded treatment of  making dumplings is available at “BBC Squirrel Dumplings” that is on YouTube  and can be viewed by clicking on the following link:

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Index of First 150 Post, New Intern

  Below is a listing of my first 150 post done by David Martin, who will be interning with me for three months early next year. Martin is interested in film and we will be doing a number of videos and commercial projects in February, March and April, 2011. He will also place occasional posts here about his working experiences with me.

Backyard Deer Hunting

Getting the .75-Caliber Brunswick Rifle and a .50-Caliber Traditions’ Magnum Hawken Ready for Idaho Elk (Nov 13, 2010)

Selecting a .22 L.R. Handgun (Nov 7, 2010)

Tiny Knives for Deer Cleaning (Nov 5, 2010)

Brunswick Rifle at Hard Labor (Nov 5, 2010)

Combination Guns for American Hunters (Oct 29, 2010)

The Rule of Thirds in Buying Hunting Lands (Oct 23, 2010)

Shooting 9mm Handguns from World War II (Oct 20, 2010)

Getting Lost in Small Areas (Oct 18, 2010)

Sponsors, Ads and Book Sales Needed to Keep Radio Shows on the Air (Oct 15, 2010)

What’s Going to Be in Hovey’s New Radio Show (Oct 14, 2010)

Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures Radio starts in Nov. (Oct 14, 2010)

Who Wm. Hovey Smith is and What He Does On The Web (Oct 13, 2010)

What About the 16 Gauge? (Oct 11, 2010)

First Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, PA (Sep 26, 2010)

A Big-Game Load for The Nepalese Brunswick Rifle (Sep 19, 2010)

Can I Hunt with my Cowboy Action Guns and Loads? (Sep 12, 2010)

The Colt Walker and other Percussion Revolvers for Hunting Deer and Big Game (Sep 2, 2010)

Elongate Bullets and the Brunswick Rifle (Sep 2, 2010)

Backyard Squirrel Hunting with a Muzzleloading Gun and Squirrel Cleaning Video (Sep 1, 2010)

Sauce, Poached Pears and Pie Filling from the Hard Canning Pear (Aug 27, 2010)

Crossbow Pistols: Worthwhile or Worthless? (Aug 18, 2010)

Black Cherry Bounce: A Homemade Cough Syrup and Cordial (Aug 2, 2010)

Greek & Roman Wine Drinking: Mixing Water with Wine (Jul 21, 2010)

Tips for Gathering and Using Wild Peaches (Jul 19, 2010)

Targeting the Nepalese Brunswick Rifle (Jul 9, 2010)

The Backyard Sportsman: New Radio Show Features Hunting, Hunting Tools, Home Cooking and Home Businesses. (Jun 24, 2010)

Bullets for Brunswick Rifles: A source for molds. (Jun 14, 2010)

Joel Davis’ Extendable Survival Knife (Jun 8, 2010)

Free Advertising from Customer-Generated Guerrilla Ads (Jun 1, 2010)

Getting in Shape for Your Hunt (May 31, 2010)

Cooking Bear Meat with Red Kidney Beans (May 22, 2010)

Cooking Meat From a Spring Bear (May 18, 2010)

America’s Best .45 Auto (May 18, 2010)

Creative Minds with Writers’ Block (May 17, 2010)

Industrial Food in America’s Heartland (May 17, 2010)

Getting the meat home (May 16, 2010)

Buck’s PakLite Knives Become a Recommended Product (May 14, 2010)

Instant Crossbow Kill on Black Bear (May 12, 2010)

Taking Hunting on the Road (Apr 27, 2010)

Low Cost Bowfishing Information (Apr 17, 2010)

I Did It Anyway Bowfishing (Apr 14, 2010)

4-Minutes About Crossbows (Apr 12, 2010)

Hunting Big Game with Muzzleloading Pistols (Apr 12, 2010)

Road Kill Deer Roast Internationale’ (Apr 11, 2010)

Can I Hunt with Grandpa’s old 1903 .30’06 Springfield or Japanese 7.7? (Apr 6, 2010)

An Inexpensive Meal from Rutabagas, Carrots, Onions and Wild Hog (Boar) (Apr 3, 2010)

Bowfishing Across North America (Apr 3, 2010)

Practical Bowfishing: Cleaning and Cooking Gar and Carp (Mar 30, 2010)

Beginning Bowfishing: Equipment, Fish and Cooking (Mar 28, 2010)

Road Kill Deer Cleaning: Narrated Slide Show (Mar 25, 2010)

Cleaning and Cooking a Wild Turkey (Mar 23, 2010)

Minimalist Turkey Hunting: Gun, Calls and Decoys (Mar 21, 2010)

Mossberg’s 835: A User’s Point of View (Mar 21, 2010)

The Bison Bull: A Huge .45-70 Revolver (Mar 21, 2010)

Why Troops Hated the Brunswick Rifle (Mar 20, 2010)

Writings Available to International Viewers (Mar 17, 2010)

Cleaning and Shooting the .75-caliber Brunswick Rifle (Mar 14, 2010)

Barnett RC-150 Crossbow – Approved (Feb 28, 2010)

Tree Lounge Tree Stands – Approved (Feb 27, 2010)

3-Minute Seminar: Marketing Books, Movies and Creative Content in a Down Economy (Feb 26, 2010)

Cooking Deer Stew (Feb 23, 2010)

Getting Muzzleloading Rifles and Shotguns Ready for Turkey Hunting (Feb 21, 2010)

Cooking Deer, Wild Hog and other Wild Game Livers (Feb 16, 2010)

Stryker Crossbows for $750 (Feb 11, 2010)

Guns and Uses for the .410 Gauge (Feb 11, 2010)

More about Swan Hunting (Feb 11, 2010)

Swan Hunting and Cooking 8-Minute Video (Feb 11, 2010)

Two Videos, “Road Kill Deer Cleaning: The Graphic, Unedited Video,” and “Hunting, Cleaning and Cooking Swan” (Jan 30, 2010)

Coot Soup & Carp Salad for New Year’s Eve (Jan 1, 2010)

Best American Lever-Action Rifle (Dec 24, 2009)

Christmas Prayer (Dec 21, 2009)

Texas Hogs with Traditions’ Flintlock and Horton Scout Crossbow (Dec 19, 2009)

Christmas Gift for New Hunters (Dec 12, 2009)

Making Head and Neck Shots on Game (Dec 6, 2009)

Coot Soup (Dec 9, 2009)

Salvage Cooking when the Freezer Thaws (Nov 28, 2009)

Getting the Most from Your Deer (Nov 25, 2009)

Can I Shoot a Deer? Post 2 (Nov 22, 2009)

Meals from Deer and Wild Game (Nov 20, 2009)

Hunger Figures Expand to 50,000,000 U.S. Families (Nov 19, 2009)

A Man’s Gun for a Man’s Work (Nov 19, 2009)

Taking on that Thanksgiving Goose (Nov 16, 2009)

Cleaning and Cooking Black Bear (Nov 15, 2009)

Flintlock Reliability in Hunting Guns (Nov 13, 2009)

Cooking North America’s Rabbits and Hares (Nov 12, 2009)

Choosing Bullets for Muzzleloaders (Oct 31, 2009)

Buying Used Crossbows (Oct 30, 2009)

Mossberg 500 and 835 Shotguns (Oct 29, 2009)

Hunting Knives for Deer and Other Game (Oct 28, 2009)

Squirrel Stew, Part 2. (Oct 25, 2009)

Persimmons: Good for Cooking, Eating and Game (Oct 24, 2009)

Urban Deer Control Programs Ongoing in Many States (Oct 23, 2009)

Best Production American Made Revolver and Bolt Action Rifle (Oct 22, 2009)

Reusing Hunting Arrows and Points (Oct 21, 2009)

How to Shoot a Deer (Oct 20, 2009)

Inexpensive Deer Guns for New Hunters (Sep 30, 2009)

Knives and Alligator Hunting (Sep 26, 2009)

Identifying and Using Puff Ball Mushrooms (Sep 26, 2009)

Hovey’s Postulate (Sep 24, 2009)

Stone Knives: Beauty and Utility (Sep 24, 2009)

Simple Muzzleloaders that Work (Sep 19, 2009)

Crossbow Range and Accuracy (Sep 14, 2009)

Deer Hunting: Basic Equipment. (Sep 10, 2009)

If the Queen of England can serve and eat deer, why can’t you? (Sep 8, 2009)

Choosing among today’s crossbows (Aug 30, 2009)

Cooking Wild Pears (Aug 19, 2009)

Video: Salvaging Road Killed Deer (Aug 18, 2009)

Why I Wrote Backyard Deer Hunting (Aug 18, 2009)

T-Shirts Available for Backyard Deer Hunting (Aug 13, 2009)

Eating Wild Hogs (Aug 7, 2009)

Friend. Take a Friend Hunting program launched (Aug 6, 2009)

Alligator hunting and gator eating (Jul 28, 2009)

Practical Bowfishing brings record prices (Jul 26, 2009)

Backyard Deer Hunting Video Clip (Jul 24, 2009)

Can I shoot a deer? (Jul 23, 2009)

Deer Cooking: Cleaning out the freezer. (Jul 21, 2009)

Backyard Deer Hunting now available for purchase (Jul 10, 2009)

For Index and Contents of Backyard Deer Hunting (Jul 4, 2009)

4th of July Hogs (Jul 4, 2009)

Flood of New Hunters Expected (Jun 20, 2009)

Sheet-Iron Cookery – A Guift (Jun 20, 2009)

Placing deer stands (jun 17, 2009)

Blackberry time (Jun 13, 2009)

Road kill is certainly under the $10 mark (Jun 7, 2009)

Hunting Africa’s Real Big Chicken (May 22, 2009)

Put some fish in your diet (May 3, 2009)

Table of Contents (Apr 30, 2009)

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Getting the .75-Caliber Brunswick Rifle and a .50-Caliber Traditions’ Magnum Hawken Ready for Idaho Elk

A Nepalese Brunswick rifle with belted balls cast from a mold made by Jeff Tanner.

  Now that the Brunswick rifle has taken its deer, the next step it its hunting evolution is to take on larger game, like elk. To ready the gun, I lapped the bore again to help preserve the patches that go around the belted ball with the hope that smoothing the bore would allow me to increase to gun’s powder charge to 110 grains of GOEX FFg.

   Chronographing the Brunswick rifle gave velocities of between 1,121 and 1,131 fps.  which is stepping along for a 471 grain belted ball. This translates to 1,326 ft.lbs. at 10 yards.  The comparative range of velocities indicated that smoothing the bore combined with an 11-gauge over-powder card and 30 grains (vol.) of Cream of Wheat helped to provide a more-or-less consistent gas seal. The gun, at 100 yards, shot 4-inches high and 10-inches left with an 8-inch group. This pie-plate sized group can take elk at that range, but I much prefer to shoot them at 50 yards.

  The rough bore still tears the patches because of irregularities in the bottom of the barrel’s two grooves, but the patches hang together well enough to stabilize the ball. This is much improved from when I first shot the belted balls through the gun and had difficulties in finding any traces of the patches because they where torn into tiny burned bits of cloth.  Bore lapping much improved the shooting qualities of the gun. However, it is still a touchy gun to work with, and the barrel must be cleaned every couple of shots to maintain good groups.

  The Brunswick’s coarse and crude sights are the next largest detriment to good shooting. If I can obtain another barrel, I may lap that one and install modern adjustable sights. That may or may not be possible as each of these guns was hand-built. It is unlikely that the barrel from one gun will fit another without modifying the second barrel.

  The Traditions’ Magnum Hawken was one of the very few Hawken-style rifles designed to use Pyrodex pellets. I added a musket cap nipple to my gun and a set of Ashley Ghost Ring sights. This gun was targeted at 100 yards with a 348 grain lead PowerBelt bullet. Idaho does not allow the copper-coated PowerBelt bullets to be used during their Muzzleloading Season. These bullets chronographed at 1,360 fps. for a 10-yard muzzle energy of 1,430 ft. lbs. The Traditions rifle shot a 3-inch group at 100 yards which will certainly anchor an elk, provided that I put the bullet in the correct spot. This gun has worked for me before, and I have previously taken a Florida gator with it.

  The Brunswick rifle would  be my 50-yard gun and the Traditions would serve as a back-up or for longer-range shots.

  For more information go to my website,, and consult my books Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound and my forthcoming book Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures Presents: X-Treme Muzzleloading which will be available in the Winter of 2010. This book contains a story of my gator hunt with the Traditions Hawken rifle.

  A shot opportunity did not present itself during my late November elk hunt. It snowed almost continuously during the six-day hunt, but I kept the guns dry (see related post for 12 tips for wet-weather hunting), and they fired reliably even after being loaded and carried for days. Just for the sake of insuring reliability, I fired and cleaned the Brunswick rifle after three days.

  A video of this testing is below. If you have trouble viewing it here you can also see it on YouTube by clicking on the following link:

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Selecting a .22 L.R. Handgun

Thompson/Center Arms' Contender (top) with Ruger semi-auto (bottom) are both fine .22 handguns for those who want to learn to shoot pistol and hunt small game.

  There is no question that anyone who wants to learn to shoot pistol with any degree of efficiency should start with a .22 L.R. The guns are readily available, the ammo is much less expensive than any centerfire, the new handgunner does not have to get a bunch of reloading gear, recoil and noise are minimal (however still wear ear protection at the range) and the .22 L.R. with hollow-point bullets is an excellent small-game cartridge.

  Advertising has over the past decades promoted light-weight firearms of all kinds as being convenient to carry. What these ads do not tell the user is that the lack of weight makes them very difficult to shoot – particularly handguns. For accurate shooting barrel weight and length are desired. Although I shoot comparatively few .22s today, over the decades I have carried many and shot competitively with them in the NRA three-gun matches where the shooter competed with a .22, centerfire (usually .38 Spl.) and the .45 ACP.

  In my opinion every .22 that is intended for serious use should have adjustable sights. This will enable the gun to be zeroed with pinpoint accuracy for game and target use. It is an accidental event if a fixed-sighted pistol will shoot to the point of aim. The next most important thing is trigger pull. The less the gun weighs the better the trigger has to be for accurate work. Light weight guns with poor sights and bad triggers shoot terribly. Save up for a better gun.

  The grips should be large enough to be controlled in the hand. Target grips are excellent for range use, but too large for the field. With proper grip control, a shooter can use a smaller profile gun that is much handier to carry.

  I like 6-inch and longer barrels on .22 pistols used for hunting and target work. There are guns with 4-inch bull barrels and revolvers like the .22/.32 S&W Kit Gun with short barrels that can work, but longer barrels are generally to be preferred for anyone who is seriously considering taking up pistol shooting and can only afford one gun. It is better that a shooter own one good gun than a drawer full of sub-standard ones that are nearly impossible to shoot well.

  It makes no difference if you are starting with revolvers, semi-autos or single-shots. Select a large gun with adjustable sights and a long barrel. Guns that I  have owned of this type included the Thompson/Center Arms single shot .22 with a 10-inch barrel and I used an old Hi-Standard .22 target gun at the range. There are fortunately a large selection of modern handguns to choose from. Among the most accessible are the various Ruger semi-autos. The bull-barreled version are best for target shooting, and I have used the slimmer “regular” version with after-market adjustable sights for hunting.

  Once you have mastered your “big” .22, then you can consider taking up the challenge of using S&Ws .22/32 Kit Gun which has a much smaller carry profile, is pocketable in a coat and one I used for years to shoot rabbits and small game. Once you have your shooting techniques mastered, then you can do passable work with this much-more-difficult-to-shoot gun.  However, this is a terrible gun to start with because it will teach you a lot of bad things and your learning curve will be much longer as you continuously fight to overcome these now-ingrained poor shooting techniques.

  Rapidity of fire in a hunting handgun has little practical value. Precision placement of that first shot is what will get your game for you year after year; not spraying lead all over the country side. Rapid-fire shooting is fun, and there are shooting games where you can bang away to your heart’s delight. For hunting and target work, concentrating on one shot at the time placed as close to the bull or kill-zone of the animal as can be managed will result in higher scores and more game in the pot.

 First you have to learn to shoot pistol, and the .22 L.R. remains the best entry point for lifetime handgunners from which to progress to extremely powerful hunting calibers or digress down the technological ladder to muzzleloading firearms.

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Tiny Knives for Deer Cleaning

Tiny knives like these can be used for cleaning and gutting deer, but longer blades and larger knives are more efficient.

  As a guy who commonly writes about knives I came to realize decades ago that huge knives were not needed for 90 percent of deer skinning and gutting. I also found that almost any steel knife would do, provided that it had a sharp edge.  and that steel blades would outperform knives made of stone, bone and wood (although these work too).

  However, I had never investigated the lower limits of blade length. I decided to take three knives with the shortest blades that I owned to try out on a deer hunt at  Georgia’s Hard Labor Creek State Park. I was shooting an original Brunswick Rifle that used a patched round ball. My knife/knives would need to cut the tough cotton patch material (no problem for any of them) as well as work up the deer.

Horton, Buck and Hartsook knives used to work up Georgia deer.

  All the knives were provided by the manufacturers. The larger knife on the left is a pocket-clip, lock-back folder distributed by Horton that is made in China, the central knife is a small lock back also imported from China and sold by Buck while the fixed-blade neck knife is made by Hartsook Knives in Kernersville, N.C.  ( None of these knives were  recommended by their makers for processing deer.  These are ultra-lightweight knives made of good steel designed to handle general cutting chores.

Small Buck knife almost lost among the leaves.

  Two problems arose with these knives. One was anticipated, but the other was not. The short blade lengths required more cuts, so the skinning and gutting tasks took longer, both outside and inside the animal. When working blind inside the carcass I seriously found myself wanting a longer blade. The other problem is once a knife was put down, it was easy to lose it in the leaf  litter. I had enough trouble finding them once they were put down in the daylight. It would have been very difficult to recover one of these tiny knives in the dark if  it was put down or dropped.  

  The hatchet shown in the top photo was used to chop the pelvis and ribs to open the carcass. Meat cutting with these knifes was a pain. Yes, they were sharp and would cut, but there was not sufficient blade length to be efficient. They were acceptable for working off the hide from the skull plate were a scalpel might have been used, but not for all-around deer cleaning and processing.

  These can work. Throw one in your survival kit as a back-up, but take something with a bit longer blade for serious work.

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Brunswick Rifle at Hard Labor

A Georgia spike buck taken with an original 2-groove Nepalese Brunswick Rifle on a deer-reduction hunt at Hard Labor Creek State Park.

  A regular deer harvest has taken place at Georgia’s Hard Labor Creek State Park for the past several years to keep the deer population within check. The first hunts allowed hunters to take as many deer as they could, but in more recent years the deer population has been reduced to a more sustainable level and the limit is now two deer per hunter. Often from 80-90 deer are taken each year, and these deer do not count towards a hunter’s annual allowed state harvest of 12 deer (2 bucks and 10 does).

  During the 2010 hunt about 200 participated. Many hunted around the golf course, and it was there where the most deer were seen and taken. One hunter, who had already taken his two deer, said that he saw eight more within shooting range.

  I purposefully hunted away from the crowd, and saw one deer the only day that I hunted. I killed this deer with a single shot at about 20 yards with a Nepalese Brunswick rifle.  This gun was in the British service for about 30 years, some were used by Russia, others in Germany and about 200 were carried by Confederate troops in the Trans-Mississippi Region during the American Civil War.

  It was difficult to develop a load that would shoot accurately enough to hunt with. Only by reducing the height of some ridges in the bore that cut the ball’s patches, was I able to obtain reasonable accuracy.  Even then, the gun shoots 1-foot high and left at 50 yards and 2-feet high and left at 100. This gun was poorly rifled, and those made in England and Belgium could be expected to give better performance with Jeff Tanner’s custom molds.

  The deer was apparently turning as I shot. The .75-caliber ball penetrated the neck, passed through one lung and exited through the left shoulder. The 120-pound deer dropped on the spot. It aged at 1 1/2-years, which is a healthy weight for this age-class whitetail. Deer in the same age range taken during the first years of the hunt averaged only 60 pounds, indicating that the deer harvest program is having its desired result of increasing the general health of the deer while reducing browse damage to the park’s vegetation.

  A video of the hunt is below and a duplicate has also been posted on YouTube.  If you have any problems viewing this version click the following link to the YouTube video: