Posted on Leave a comment

Toy Promotes Drug Use to Pre-School Children

IMG_1920 (3)

A toy jeep sold at the candy counter of a mass-market outlet in Georgia has a pill bottle that is filled with objects that look like pills in an apparent attempt to encourage children to think of potentially dangerous pills as candy.

While shopping at his Sandersville, Georgia, Wal-Mart, Outdoor Writer Wm. Hovey Smith noticed among the candies at the check-out station an appealing camouflaged model of a WW II Jeep with a transparent plastic bottle on the back filled with what appeared to be pills. Contained in the sealed screw-topped bottle were 51 white, yellow and green pill-shaped objects which were described as candy on the product label.

Smith immediately purchased one of the toys and took it to the customer-service desk and asked to speak to the store manager. He explained to the manager than these looked so much like real medications that they could be construed to be nothing else. The result would logically be that the toy would encourage preschool age kids to think that all pills were candies. Smith thought that there was a real danger of active 3-year-olds raiding their families medicine cabinets looking for more.

The local store manager agreed. He said that he would contact Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, and ask for permission to removed the product from his store’s shelves. In addition he said that this could also result in this product being withdrawn.

The nation already has what the Centers for Disease Control and President Trump has described as a opioid epidemic.” This product’s candy pills can encourage children to think of medications as candy and contribute to even more overdoses in children. This is especially dangerous as a child may come down with symptoms and not be able to tell anyone what medications he took.

While visiting his local dentist, chiropractor and veterinarian, he showed the toy to professionals in these offices and found universal agreement that this product should not be sold. His local vet called it , “A really bad idea.”

An attached label revealed that the toy was the “Tough Traxx Off-Road Vehicle with Candy” distributed by Frankford Candy LLC. of Philadelphia, PA. The contents of the pills were listed as being Dextrose, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Corn Syrup, Gum Arabic, Citric Acid, artificial flavors, artifical colors and Titanium Dioxide. The company’s website is listed as The product is also labeled “Product of China,” but does not definitively state the origin of the candy pills.

After a half-hour of trying he managed to contact the Customer Service Department in Bentonville, and lodged a formal complaint (no. 171030011163). The person at the help desk said that this information, “would be forwarded to her superiors.”

In the meantime Smith also contacted the Environmental Health Specialist at the Washington County Health Department who informed him that this was not in her jurisdiction, but provided a number for the State Department of Agriculture who had jurisdiction over matters of retail trade. No one was available at the Gainsville office to take the call as of the close of business on Monday.

I encourage all who read this to contact their local stores and request that this product be pulled. If you would like a copy of this photograph or for more information in regards to a story for your local media contact me via E-mail at


Posted on Leave a comment

During a Disaster Could You Kill, Clean and Cook an Animal to Feed Your Family?

SRI-Smith Urbandeer Urban deer Horton Legacy HD 225

This deer taken from an urban environment could provide food for your family and friends for several days in the event of a natural disaster. Would you know how to process and cook it?

It seems that we have a new horrific natural disaster hitting somewhere in North America every week. It might be a record-strength hurricane like Irma that left millions of people in Florida without power for weeks which was followed by Maria which has just ravaged Puerto Rico with projected power outages for months. In the meantime, people are still digging out from an earthquake in Mexico City while forest fires are ravaging much of the Western U.S.

For those of us fortunate enough not to be hit by any of these present disasters, it appears nearly certain that sometimes during our lives we and our families will someday be at peril. With electric power out and food distribution systems torn up, being able to make meals from live animals will become an increasingly vital skill. This is something that many of our grandparents did every day, but these skills and arts are now largely lost to most in modern society.

The percentage of the population in the U.S. that actively hunts is usually said to be about 7 percent. The percentage of those who actually process their own meat is likely now down to about 2 percent. So even among hunters, this is a rapidly vanishing skill. Only in that segment of the population who are recent immigrants, particularly those from Central America, is this percentage of people who know how to do live-animal-processing appreciably higher.

If you do not have electricity and refrigeration, the only practical way to transport animal products is while they are still alive. Humans are not the only creatures impacted by natural disasters and thousands of heads of livestock also perish or are injured. Some of these may be salvaged for food. When people are threatened with not only hunger but starvation, using local resources becomes increasingly important.

E-mail new cover backyard deerOne reason that I wrote my book, Backyard Deer Hunting: From deer to dinner for pennies per pound, was to provide a primer for those who had seldom or never hunted on how to kill, process and cook a variety of wild game animals. Included in the book are recipes than anyone can cook. The soft-cover book is supplemented by an E-book version along with a video versions. Among my over 650 videos are those that show the details of processing deer, wild hogs and alligators.

The value of owning a printed book is that it does not depend on the presence of electric power or access to the Web to be useful. My book, and others like it, should be on the shelves of community libraries and in community shelters all over the country. The softcover is available from, other E-commerce book outlets and on order from your local bookstore.

E-sources for information on game processing are presently being restrained.  I was recently informed that my videos that featured game processing would no longer receive money from Google placed ads because, “They are not suitable for all advertisers.”  I strongly disagree as I am showing the advertiser’s audience how to keep themselves alive in stressful times by being able to process their own food. Blood and guts are shown, but the great majority of the population still feed on living creatures, even if they are packaged in Styrofoam and plastic wrap. Mine just come packaged in hide and fur.

Billy Joe Chopper and blank reduced

Prototype Rib Chopper (bottom) with blank for commercial version (Top).

More recently I have introduced the Billy Joe Rubideoux line of cooking tools, where I make cutlery instruments from found steels. These have included Chef’s knives made from found steels and a heavy cleaver forged from a lawnmower blade and handled with water pipe. These were made on a homemade forge. I also have YouTube videos on this topic. The governing rule for the Billy Joe line is,  “Take what you have and make what you need.” The easy way to find my videos is to Google “Hovey hunts video” or any other combination of terms that reflects your current search interests.

A couple of cautions if you are attempting to cook in a disaster situation. Do not use racks from refrigerators for grilling. They are often coated with toxic cadmium. This metal is fine at room temperature, but is vaporized with heat and may result in a difficult to diagnose heavy metal poisoning. Also do not cook using painted or preserved wood. The paint may contain lead and the preserved wood arsenic and/or other toxic materials. Similarly, avoid burning tires or asphalt shingles unless you need to make a smoke signal. Remember the potential for Carbon Monoxide deaths resulting from burning any fuel in confined spaces. The gas has no odor, it cannot be seen and is deadly.

Disasters, both natural and man-made are now parts of many people’s everyday lives. If one should visit you and your family at some stage be ready and learn how to secure and process your own food should the need arise.


Posted on 2 Comments

Modifying and Shooting the Ruger Old Army and Other Large Percussion Revolvers

Ruger 14 (2)

I have long maintained that Bill Ruger’s Old Army was the best percussion revolver yet made. I have owned the standard stainless steel 7.5-inch model for decades and taken deer and alligators with the pistol. During my work with other percussion revolvers such as Pietta’s 1858 Remington .44 Buffalo with a 12-inch barrel and a Uberti Colt Walker Replica, I had made various modifications to enhance the hunting capabilities of the revolvers.

On the 1858 stainless Remington, which was sold by Cabela’s with a mirror-bright finish, I had the gun nitride coated by H&M Coatings of Akron, Ohio. This dulled finished was much less likely to spook close range animals, particularly deer and wild hogs. More work was needed on the Walker. It not only received a nitride coating, it had a new loading lever, sight base, action job and cap-retaining pin installed by Dykes Reber and Michael Brackett, Gunsmiths in Arkansas and Georgia who are specialists in reworking percussion revolvers.

Although I had built what I called a Super Walker and successfully hunted with it, I was still not satisfied. The Walker was/is a powerful pistol, but it is a weak design. I thought a better choice for a deer and hog-capable percussion revolver would be my Old Army with bored out chambers to increase its power capacity and a longer barrel. Dykes Reber mentioned that he did such modifications years ago when the Old Armies were readily available, but had not done any recently because the supply of new guns had dried up.

I had Reber install a 14-inch barrel on my pistol, deepen the chambers and install a sight base so I could scope the gun. Thus modified I was convinced that I had built as good a percussion hunting revolver as could be managed, short of modifying the frame and lengthening the cylinder. My intention was to load this shorter-cylindered gun with Hodgdon’s Triple7even to make it as powerful as the Colt Walker in a more reliable platform.

This objective was achieved. When the three pistols were shot, the 14-inch Old Army with Kaido Ojamaa’s 255 grain Keith-style bullet generated 1039 fps. and 611 ft./lbs. of muzzle energy. This compares with the Colt Walker which with a 200 grain Ojamaa bullet and load of 55 grains of Olde Eynsford FFFg recorded 935 fps. and 388 ft./lbs.  The round ball load from the 1858 Buffalo with 25 grains of Olde Eynsford had a muzzle velocity of 1060 fps. and energy of 352 ft./lbs.

In previous testing the 7.5-inch Old Army had produced 50 fps. less energy than the 14-inch-barreled gun. The longer-barreled Old Army had a higher velocity and greater energy that the unmodified pistol, but  not tremendously so.  It did produce energy figures that were better than black powder loads from the Colt Walker and shot significantly better groups, 5-inches vs. 12 inches, at 50 yards. The Old Army was an easier to use, more durable and more reliable hunting handgun. You can see the results of this shooting at:

Although the modified Old Army is a more powerful and reliable hunting handgun than the Colt Walker, it is not a .44 Magnum. In terms of cartridge handguns, its load of Triple7seven most closely compares with Elmer Keith’s loads in the .44 Special that he shot from his single and double-action revolvers in the 1930s. His pioneering work ultimately resulted in the Remington .44 Magnum. Keith used his .44 Special loads to finish off deer and elk when he was guiding clients in the Idaho wilderness.

While I am confident, and have demonstrated, that these percussion revolvers can kill deer and hogs up to the 200 pound range with good shot placement, I do not  know what the reasonable upper limits of these loads might be on big game. My suspicion is that the Triple7even load from the Old Army will work on animals up to about 300 pounds, but I have not demonstrated this capability. After this season’s hunt with the modified Old Army, I will have a better grasp of what size game animals can be reliably taken with this pistol.

I have killed hogs with the .22 short rim fire shot from a single-shot pistol, although I do not recommend the caliber as a hog-killing round.  Earlier this year a person killed a 800 lb. wild hog in his yard with a .38 Special. I do not recommend that round either. What I am looking for in a pistol round is one that will penetrate through the gristle plate and shoulder of a boar hog, go through both lungs and disable the off-side leg. Big hogs are dangerous. Once a boar reaches a weight of over 200 pounds, he has little fear of anything that walks. At 600 pounds and larger he is the undisputed king of the Southern forest. Will the longer-barreled Old Army reliably kill such a beast? I don’t know, but before I make claims about the magical killing power of this load, I want to see it done.

The Super Walker now has a new home with a new owner in Texas. He has access to hogs, and is anxious to see what it will do, as am I. I feel as if I had sent a child off to school and am looking for their first report card.

Posted on Leave a comment

Media Exposure Planned for Fall-Winter 2017-2018

Hovey at desk in library

I will be doing a major media push in Print Media, Radio and TV in coming months to promote my new company, Hovey’s Knives of China, new book, Ideas for New Businesses: Finding ideas for your million or billion dollar business and business consulting activities. Some of the radio materials have already been recorded such as two segments with Ric Bratton’s “This Week America” which is a news-format show originating in Ft. Wayne, Indiana carried by 150 radio stations throughout the country.

Bratton was exposed to two of the gag ads that I used on my Radio Show, “Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures.” These were for Misty Mange, The hair-care product that you and your pet can share and SIN, Inc.’s red  white and blue turkey made from the best of “coal tars, petroleum by-products and agricultural waste” for your holiday enjoyment. The Skype video recording may be seen at:

If you would like to have an hour-long consultation with me to help determine the best possibilities are for your new business venture send me a letter to describing the subject materials that you want to talk about. If I think I can help you, we can arrange a follow-up group telephone call. After we have our conversation, I will send you a written report with my recommendations. The charge for this service is $200.  I can assist those who want to do consulting, outdoor media and products, publishing and discuss how to contact appropriate foreign partners.

I recorded both shows at my writing station in my office after doing a mucking out. As one might suspect,  I had accumulated years worth of print photos, 35mm slides and old printed-out stories and photos that needed to be cleared out and this was a good-enough excuse.

As commercial items the old prints and slides are now nearly useless. Few of the editors that I write for will accept prints or slides, and those who still do will have them only if they are the photos of some historic event that I reference in the text.  Authors have limited use of these old materials when they write their books and want to show some photos of their former selves or activities.  I have already done that with my books and E-books on bowfishing, crossbow hunting and muzzleloading, and can no longer justify hanging on to these dusty folders of long-gone life events.

I posted this problem on Facebook, and the general experience of my fellow outdoor writers and photographers was that this material had no real value to anyone and was best sorted and the extra and excess disposed of. I am taking a real “walk down memory lane” now as I sort through these materials. The great majority of them will wind up in the burn pile. I will retain some of the prints and rephotograph some of them in a montage or as single digital images. Others I will keep for someone else to throw out after I am long gone.

Posted on Leave a comment

RFD (Rural Free Delivery) Wild Hog

Woodman Hog 1


Hunter’s luck may sometimes  be good or bad.  In this instance I had RFD (Rural Free Delivery) of a wild hog which fed its way into my back yard in time to be cornered by my dogs and taken by a Woodman Arms .50 caliber muzzleloading rifle.   That particular rifle had completed  Georgia’s nearly six-months-long deer and turkey seasons without a  kill. As an outdoor writer, I shoot almost every different piece of game with a different gun. When a maker sends me a gun it is with the understanding that I will test it, with the hopeful culmination that I use it on a successful hunt. It was past time that the Woodman rifle needed to have some dead game on the ground.

The rifle had been carried on more than a dozen hunts on my farm and also on a trip to Florida in hopes of taking a deer, hog or wild turkey. I liked the way the 6-pound rifle carried.  In order to retain its favorable carrying characteristics,  I had equipped it with a Red Dot sight that weighed only three ounces. This combination resulted in a fast-acting rifle that was  perfectly sighted for my usual close-in shooting, which is often in thick cover at under 30 yards. This sight is also adequate for game out to  100 yards, should I have such an opportunity.  Despite many hunts  in two states, I could not put any legal game that I was willing to shoot in front of the gun.

A small doe had provided an early opportunity for the Woodman rifle early in Georgia’s muzzleloading season, but I hit the animal badly because the stock loosened on the mile walk into the stand. I finished this animal off with my 1858 Remington percussion revolver and made a repair on the stock.  From then on, it was like the gun was jinxed. I just could not see any game to take, despite many hours spent in some of the best game country in the Southeast.

Because wild hogs may be taken on private land any time of year and without limit in Georgia, I had kept the two guns I had prepped for the 2017-18 hunting season loaded. I prep two guns each season so I have a back-up gun, should I have a mechanical failure while on a hunt.  One gun was the Woodman Arms with its repaired stock and the other was a Markesbery .50-caliber muzzleloader from the 1980s that had the same barrel length, but was a pound heavier with its iron sights. I had also done a repair on the cracked fore-end of the Markesbery  by fitting steel reinforcing rods in the fore-end and a new desert ironwood fore-end cap.

To simplify loading I the 209-primed Marksbery, I used 90 grains of Blackhorn 209 and a 250 grain copper Markesbery  copper (bronze) Beast Buster bullet which had a very deep hollow point. In the Markesbery rifle I used a  no. 11 percussion cap in the out-of-line ignition system and 90 grains of Old Eynsford FFg Black Powder and a 295 grain Power Belt bullet. The heavier Markesbery with its larger stock was the more comfortable gun to shoot, and I also liked that I could silent-cock the external hammer. Silent cocking is important when you may have  hogs only a few feet away.  I had every reason to expect that both guns would be equally effective on hogs and deer.

Getting my Hovey’s Knives of China products ready for the International Blade Show in Atlanta consumed a lot of my  hog hunting time after the close of turkey season.  In previous years I had often hunted them in June. One year I took six at one time and on another occasion I killed one that weighed over 200 pounds under June’s blue moon.

The day I shot the hog I was working on rebuilding a Dexter boning knife. This had been a dirty, knife with a heavily stained grip. I had ground the grip away and replaced it with one   made of rosewood designed to fit a large hand. This grip, like many of my knives,  is designed to rest upright on the table with the blade clear of the surface. It also thickens towards the palm and has a thumb rest. This was one of the knives I was hoping to finish for the Blade

My work was interrupted by loud, insistent barking from Hera, my white Lab-Sheppard mix, and my half-dog Fred. Fred is a mixed breed with some Lab, Sheppard and hound. I call him a half-dog because of the time-share arrangement that I have with his owners who live nearly two-miles away. Fred is spooked by thunder, storms and gunfire. When he thinks a summer thunderstorm might be approaching, he comes to my house for shelter. This is no real problem. He is welcomed, fed, watered and comforted. He also provides a playmate for Hera and acts as effectively as a guard dog for my house as he does for his own.

When you live with dogs, you know from the tone and persistence of the barking episode when something serious is happening. I thought that they had found a 7-foot black snake that I had scooted off my back porch the day before and went out to rescue the snake. What I saw was a medium-sized hog standing under one of my pecan trees being confronted by the two dogs. The hog was not too much disturbed by the dogs. I went inside the house, retrieved the Woodman rifle, made sure it had a primer on the barrel and returned to the yard.

Although there was nothing that might be called a chase, the dogs and hog had moved about 30 yards from where I first saw them.  I had to shoot while I had a clear shot before it stepped back into the briers and timber. I turned on the Red Dot sight, took the safety off the gun and aimed low on the neck to pass the bullet transversely through the hog. When I fired the hog went down instantly. Good thing too, as I had no reloads with me, although I did  grab my 1858 Remington Sheriff’s Model and stuff it in my belt as I walked out the door.

In a very few seconds the hog was dead. Surprisingly Fred, the thunder and gun-shy dog, was  interested enough to stay around. Hera  cautiously sniffed the hog, but Fred would not approach it closer than 10 yards.  He obviously wanted nothing to do with it. Good thing too, because that 125-pound sow  outweighed them both. That is the reason that the hog did not run. It was confident that It could take on both dogs and win, should they be so stupid as to attack it.   Although I tried to get the dogs to pose with “their hog,” they would not. The best photo that I could  get was a picture of them sitting in the seat of my truck when I took Fred home before I started cleaning on the hog.

I thought it fitting that I use the boning knife I was working on to clean the sow. I also took advantage of my RFD hog to test out my Aspen Leaf Skinner and Billy Joe Rubideoux Rib Chopper. The Skinner has a leaf-shaped blade with two cutting surfaces, palm swell, flat-topped grip and an unusually long grip. The Rib Chopper was forged from a lawnmower blade, has a pipe grip and a hook to help handle meat. I will admit that my Rib Chopper would make any New Guinea Head Hunter proud, but it use is purely culinary. Both the skinning blade and the rib chopper worked fine, but the one-pin attachment allowed by the single hole in the boning knife’s tang allowed the blade to swing upward in the rosewood grips, threatening to break out of the grip scales.

The field testing on this hog allowed me to identify this problem with the boning knife, detach the scales, install another pin and correct the problem. All of these actions regarding testing the knives and working up the hog are recorded in my YouTube video, “Backyard Adventures with Hog, Hera and the Half-Dog Fred.”  Just as our ancestors did when they settled this part of Georgia in the 1790s, one has to be ready for the unexpected. Sometimes these happenings are adverse advents, but on other occasions they may be beneficial.







Posted on Leave a comment

Tree Lounge Replacement Parts and New Stands Available from Tree Lounger


A new company , Tree Lounger is making climbing tree stands using the same jigs and much of the same equipment used by Tree Lounge in their new facility near Cummings, Georgia.  The first stand produced is the Ground Lounger, a strap-on tree stand, and they are now taking orders for the Tree Lounger climbing stand. The climbing stands are the original square-aluminum tubed design. They are shipped with a safety harness and booklet.

Also offered are replacement parts for the Tree Lounge stand, including knobs, gun holders, bow holders, seats and the complete bow adapter with an aluminum floor, instead of the plywood used in the original stands.  They can also replace the cloth chill paths and cushion.   For information on current offerings and prices go to their website at

I visited the facility last week and did the following video which you may see at:



Posted on Leave a comment

Hovey’s Knives of China in Hometown Magazine

Hovey’s Knives of China in Hometown Magazine

It is often said that, “a profit is not honored in his own land,” but in this instance I was when I was interviewed by Taylor Hembree for a story that ran in Summer Issue 1, 2017,  of the Sandersville Scene Magazine. This is a town promotional magazine published by The Union-Recorder news staff in nearby Milledgeville, Georgia. After the interview in Milledgeville, photographer Will Woolever visited my shop and took supporting photos for the feature. Many more photos were shot than published, and I have included some similar pictures to provide a more complete look at the knife-making process.

Hovey’s Knives of China offers three distinct services. The first is to make our original custom knives that are based on ancient patterns of cooking knives from China and other cultures. These are made in Sandersville by me and  bladesmith Paul Hjort. The second is to rebuilt old cooking knives so that they are again presentable enough so that Grandma’s knives can again be used in today ‘s kitchens and the third is to take found steels and salvaged woods from old homesteads and make useful cooking implements from them. Although the house may no longer be there, these tools become lasting, functional reminders of a once vibrant, but now long gone, rural family history.

Hembree included several quotes that I often use. One was how I first learned about the unique qualities of Chinese cooking knives through photos of the knife money, which were cast bronze pieces used as currency during the Waring States Period, before the rise of Imperial China. Another quote was, “These knives are derivative designs, not exact copies of any particular knife of that period, but take the spirit of the knife and transform with modern stainless steels into functional tools for the modern cook and chef.”

Perhaps the best expression of my philosophy of knife making in the article was, “To be sellable these days, knives have to have several different characteristics. One, knives have to be distinctive – you have to look at these knives and know that the knife is not like any other. Two, it has to be intrinsically useful. I have no use for fantasy knives, I have no use for fancy knives; but I do have great use for functional knives.”

I am also a believer in the proposition that the best kitchen knives are designed by those who use them. I am a recognized outdoor cook, and have recipes and common mentions on cooking game and fish in Backyard Deer Hunting, Crossbow Hunting, X-Treme Muzzleloading and Practical Bowfishing.  As an outdoor writer I have been publishing on knives for two decades, with many articles in national knife magazines. In 2015 I made two trips to China as a guest of the People’s Government as a presenter and attendee to international conferences. While there, I had a chance to visit museums and see some of their historic artifacts and cooking techniques.

Since the article was written, I have received several inquiries about knife making classes. I will offer a 2-day class where the student will make a knife of his choice under my supervision from materials that I will supply for $350 which includes meals and lodging if they are from out-of-town. For locals there will be a shop-time charge of $150 a day.

Photos that were used in connection with the article was one at me in the exterior portion of my shop grinding using an angle grinder to profile the blade of my Billy Joe Rubideoux Rib Chopper and another of  some of my knives and a plate of cut deer being guarded by Hera, my Yellow Lab-Sheppard mix.  A more complete selection of photos appears below.

Hera with blooming bells 2Hovey's Knives of China June 2016 on pegboardBilly Joe's Chef's knife in kitchen

Hovey, center, with Chef and Hotel Manager for the J.W. Marriott In Zhengzhou, China

Blade being tempered in forge