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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.


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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.

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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.