Temperature Control

It started to rain a couple days ago as storms have blown in from the Pacific and come down from Alaska bringing a real chill to the region.
Adding insult to injury, just yesterday (after the deer-season closed here) an 4-point fork-horn buck ran across the “Prairie” right across the fence line.
Now this morning after all the rain, there was snow up in Pollock at my friend Pete’s. Also chain requirements on 50 from Kyburz to Meyers (unless you have mud-and-snow tires, and 4×4). Roads we had just ridden only a few weeks ago on the Gentleman’s Express in comfort, sunshine, and heat – now are frozen over.
UPDATED: Woke up warm-enough under the silk blanket and rolled over and flung my arm about – and felt the well overheated area next to me.
Seems like I had put the controls for the electric mattress-pad on the wrong sides. No wonder the past week has been so chilly on my side!

Where for art thou Winchester ?

When is Winchester gonna start making AR’s? I want a gun with the famous Winchester script on the side, and not just another .30-30 Model 94. It’s time for a modern Model-16 as in “2016” – preferably in .308 Winchester caliber. C’mon man, get those end-mills rolling and cut out some aluminum receivers. And make the barrels too. And put the Horse and rider on the side – though to be modern it should probably be an iron-horse…so they would have to team up with Harley for cross-branding because you KNOW Honda would never endorse a firearm. Mitsubishi might, there was a time when THEY did that sort of thing…
UPDATE: Does FN have a “FN Mystery House”-?? Noooo, I don’t think so. Do they have any real “brand” recognition besides the SCAR train-wreck? Nooo,just sorta.
“Winchester” has so much more history and current PRESENCE than they can possibly hold in their little Belgian Hercule Poirot tea-cup finger. John Moses went to the Well in his last days and they (began) produced the Hi-Power – but only after he died, and then the rat-bastard Progressive Nazis took it.
Has Olin built any brand recognition besides some cool skis back in the 70’s that All The Cool-Kids Had (parent’s bought)? If that was even them (back then) – and especially not their current crop of Ferrari-driving Executive Board trust-fund baby nitwits? I don’t know, “Hey, nice turtleneck!” What a metaphor for the Euro-weenie sports industry…
What a supreme lack of vision and poncey-weenie leadership. They could ride that horse to Big Sales, but they must not want to — or more realistically the burden of Union Squatters is holding them back.

Happy Gunstuff

UPDATES: Various switcheroo and moderation for the hothouse flowers of political correctness: the #Idiorati&Ignorati:
After just twenty minutes at the show and a couple of interesting conversations with neighbors, I came across this for sale at the State of Jefferson table that called out my name. At first I didn’t even notice that it was a slick-side. Woot! Story: the Guy who built it switched to a 6.5 upper for deer hunting from his trail-bike. M4-feed-ramps and BCG included, with scope. The only identifying characteristic is the DoubleStar gas block. $375 out the door.
I’ll have to see what difference the shorter gas-system makes in regards to recoil impulse, since my other AR’s all have rifle or medium-length gas circuitry. Also I want to swap the black glacier-guards for FDE and maybe the new Magpul ones as the grip they provide is very large and round. IMG_0208x1000

Fun Show!

Looking forward to the upcoming Fuunshow at the County Fairgrounds, and the night-before-dinner-and-raffle at the American Legion Post. I could win a Glock – something I had never considered before – becoming a hunter doesn’t change that, but buying a raffle ticket opens up the prospect. The “Pick A Glock Raffle” offers the Weiner a choice of (notice the gaps in the lineup): 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39. I ave no idea, they all appear to have those “finger divots” on the grip that need to be removed with a Dremel tool and re-stippled with a soldering pencil. Since this is a fantasy-camp exercise thing I’m leaning towards the leetle ones in standard caliber, 26, 30, 36… The .45GAP and .357Sig could be interesting too. Not sure about a teeny .10mm but that could be fun too!
UPDATE: No Banana-glock — but the banquet was fun and done by 9:30, in a smaller and more intimate setting than the Big Friends show, and I sat-in with a nice group of local people and had a good time for a good cause.

Evolution of a Hunter (partial)

Deer Season is over here, and No, I’m not really evolved-there yet because I didn’t succeed, but things are different now. That bit I mentioned a while ago about coming to an understanding and appreciation for MossyOak™ and RealTree™ camo and clothing has deepened in the past few days. I had to get in my hot-air balloon and go up a bit and elevate my perspective.
To paraphrase and mangle 1 Corinthians 13: When I was a Shooter I talked guns like a Shooter, I shot steel like a Shooter, I Carried like a Shooter should, and I reasoned like a Shooter pie-ing a corner in a shoot-house – but when I became a Hunter I put the ways of raw-Shootiness behind me…
It’s also because of the new up-Country location, where Hunting is accepted as natural and normal. Early in the morning while dressed in Mossy-Oak and waiting for my hunting partner to show-up, I had a few hunt-related conversations with passers-by, and none of it was negative and most offered good-wishes for good luck. People asked where we were going, “Up past Ice-House to Loon Lake.” “Oh there’s bear up there too, got a bear tag?” And yesterday, “Last day of the Season and I didn’t fill my tag.” “Oh that’s too bad, my cousin got a big six-pointer but I didn’t get out and missed it too, felt real bad about that, first time in years.” There’s a whole ‘nother conversational topic available, and a box of ammo just sitting on a shelf that still has many rounds in it. Hunting is not a high round-count kind of activity – but I did put a lot of miles on my boots last week and almost didn’t even notice that fact. I wasn’t tired and wore out, only a bit cold (or too-hot) and generally felt pretty good and mostly refreshed and invigorated by the whole experience. There’s still Bear-tags available and that season ends at the end off December – but I’m not going after bear with a .243 Winchester that’s for sure! I do have a .30-06 rifle I can use for that, but I have to return to Shooty-Ways and zero the thing. So my collection of mostly mil-surps is also changing.

Hunt the High Country

Loon Lake up in the Sierras at 6,358′ altitude is across the “hilltop” from Lake Tahoe below (6,224′) and one of the destinations along the famous Rubicon Trail. I’m blessed to have like-minded and enthusiastic neighbors one of whom had heard there was big bucks up there, and invited me to hunt-along with him.
The plan was to leave at 5:00AM. I prepped the truck the night before stowing my long un-used camping cooking-gear in a Rubbermaid ActionPacker bin along with the tent and some (warm) clothing, an and threw EZ-Up and a collapsible table into the back of the Ford and cinched the tie-downs.
I got-up at 4:O’dark-freezing-30 on Friday, and showered (to warm-up, brrr!), then threw together the remaining ice-chest amenities: some frozen meatloaf, beer, milk, water, beer, Starbucks doubles-shots (the last coffee I would see for 24-hours – and grabbed the rifle…and that set me back a half hour. In a hurry I hopped in the F-150, keyed the ignition, and took-off up to Highway 50 heading-up to the turn-off at Ice House Road to hunt.
As I passed through the small community of Camino I opened up the cell phone to call (illegal here in CA, wrong to do it but I did it anyhow) and let him know I was just a half-hour behind and making-up time. As I bombed up the mountain in the dark I got a call and picked it up to find out his alarm had failed and he was the one behind me. For once! I stopped up in Pollock Pines to wait and meet-up, and imagining I was on a more relaxed camping-type expedition went in to Safeway and got: some salt-and-pepper, ground coffee for the little Italian espresso maker, a bag of chips – and fortunately, two ready-made sandwiches.
Up at loon Lake (and way out of cell-phone range) it was a gorgeous morning, and the sun came out to warm us up. We walked and glassed down a power-line road off the side of a high bluff. We went out to a drop-off and looked over the deep ravine 200-feet below and across the majestic mountains. On the top the wind swirled around, so we hiked back into cover and tramped across marshy high-alpine meadows covered in beautiful weathered lodgepole pine deadfall. We snuck between fallen trees and through stands of young evergreens. Every shiny broken tree branch looks like an antler, and each weathered gray stump looks like a doe bedded-down in the tall grass. We saw signs of bear everywhere and I felt a bit under-gunned with just a .243 but my neighbor was carrying a Winchester Model 70 in 7mm Magnum so I felt a little better – Plus I also had my P245 on my hip and two re-loads.
After seeing more bear poop and beat trails through the very congested underbrush, we beat a path around another rather large swampy “lake,” past bear-bushes and through densely woven thickets of manzanita and bear-berries, and made our way back to the truck. No does up here for the rutting bucks to chase and little deer sign. No rubs on trees and more coyote scat than deer prints. What we did see looked days or even weeks old, half-filled with pine needles and tree-duff.
So we headed down off the top-country to high-alpine country where there was a bit more cover and warmth. Van Vleck is a horse camp and there’s a Forest Service Bunkhouse and large meadows with plenty of cover and forage to hunt. So we went out and hunted.
Hunting is a lot like tramping through the woods looking at stumps and shadows with binoculars and enjoyin Nature while carrying a rifle. We hiked around for several miles in every direction and repeated the experience on the following morning until around midday when we called it a day. In the absence of deer we ensured our rifles were properly sighted-in on a stump, lasered at 180yds., and were rewarded with satisfying THWACKS with each shot. OK not our fault.
Deer are not stupid and it was freaking cold at night, as evidenced by a heavy layer of frost on the ice-chest in the morning. They probably all went down to lower and warmer elevations to frolic, eating all the fallen apples at Larsen’s Apple Farm, and rutting about in the land of plenty. There’s a whole bunch of them piled up in ditches by the road where they ended up after an automotive encounter.

First Hunt

We got together around 3:00 in the hot afternoon to transport the freezer (the private hunt-bait/price), and Aaron says to me “Get your gun and gear on, I guarantee we’ll see deer and you may want to shoot one.” What? I thought we would have a sit-down meeting first, discuss impact points, catalog – shit, hurry-up! I guess it doesn’t work that way – still we weren’t burning daylight yet and I had time to go gear-up.
We returned to the Ranch and I got into my $14 WalMart MossyOak pants and $7 shirt. Got the rifle into a case, filled the water-bladder in the RealTree day-pack, threw in the box of ammo and first-aid kit, grabbed the binocs and the hunting tag, and away we went to the private 160-acres. Must have got up there about 4:00.
Turns out “hunting” is just walking around in the woods wearing funny-looking dye-sublimated forest-prints on a hot day carrying a rifle.
This drought and the current leaf-drop season has had the added benefit of making such walk in the woods like a walk through a giant bag of potato-chips. CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH. Every step up the hillside through the trees to the ridgeline was amplified in my Peltor electronic muffs so much that they kept “clipping” the noise, as if shots were fired. So I took them off. The hell with it.
We observed good muzzle discipline. We saw several Does, bedded down (unusual – they were down in a hollow) and with last nights nearly full moon, The Rut should be coursing up good and hard in the Bucks. Or they took their Prozac. We saw and heard turkeys flying over, but saw no Bucks. We saw sign of bear and scat of coyote, but no Bucks. The quiet-cloth pants are excellent burr catchers, and the swish-swish of fabric pants were never such a problem compared to the outrageous and flamboyant noise of marching through a hillside of corn-flakes.
A bit of rain would help dampen the sound – and that’s forecast for Wednesday, so…maybe we’ll get luck in that weather-event. But now at least we’re on the same page, and given his enthusiasm to hunt I’m sure Aaron will want to get out there again – and I’ll go along learning.

Never say Never

Meeting my hunting guide tomorrow after work. His work. Whenever that is. He’s eager – I think, he says so anyhow. He’s also 30 so there may be some time-estimation variables askew in there somewhere. Maybe I’ll go take a drive up by the property tomorrow…
Meanwhile the A/C on the F-150 gave up the ghost after twenty years and is now mainly emitting Hot rather than Cold. So I need to get it over to Ponderosa or find a closer shop.

Country Musings

(Edited and re-posted from my comment at Sebastian’s) I’ve never been to a big NRA convention, nothing outside a “Friends of the NRA” Dinner-fundraiser. They’re too far away and politics-oriented. The Gunblogger Rendezvous is more my style, but there’s another NRA-dinner happening just before the next-next weekend gun-show, and it’s a small-scale affair run by locals for locals at the American Legion Hall on Greenstone – and it’s really just for fun. I got us tickets because that way we can meet and talk to more people and settle-in here.
What I have noticed moving away from the city/suburbia nexus to the country/rural region is that there’s a huge attitudinal shift in just 20-miles of driving. Out here in flyover country I’m only thirty minutes from the hated City, but it’s a thousand miles mentally.
People are not especially noticeably or outwardly more conservative (how would that manifest, more NRA t-shirts?), and they are as fluent in urban computer-speak and tech-culture as anyone in the Bay — but their hobbies and sports and activities and JOBS are decidedly not the kind of cubicle/paper-shuffling that exists within the City Walls.
They do ride bicycles up here but often for many-many miles, so it’s not just PC virtue-signaling (and the bike weenies are still jerks). They also ride big loud motorcycles and in packs. Some leather-clad, patch-adorned motorcyclists drive Japanese bikes too, so it’s not just Harley’s. The young men drive little econo-boxes until they grow up and buy a truck – and a ranch or farm to live-on/work-on. People ride horses, still – it’s not just for little girls. They shoot bows-and-arrows in school and then go to hunt with them – and everybody has guns. There’s a thousand square miles of very rugged country-mountain stuff as a huge backyard, and it’s criss-crossed with rough roads, so that keeps the relative population low at any given time besides weekends, and trucks with lift-kits are not just Suburban-Poseur Signaling, either.
Anyhow it’s a very different from the blinkered, concretized mentality of the Urban Space we escaped, which most Country People I talk-to, both young and old, find dangerous, decayed, ugly and unfriendly. They have self-selected and live out here on-purpose, rather than go to the bright-lights just thirty minutes away. Bright-lighters come up here to gawk and gape and think they are superior (they’re not), then drive on to more bright-lights in glittery Tahoe to lose money.
The Anti-NRA people are centered in the Coastal Cities and its fiefdom-exurbs, and it’s because they are part of that machine and they like it that way. But people escape from that all the time and especially the young who want to experiment and live a fuller life: a life with guns and with trucks, with animals and critters, and with Freedom and Liberty – things that that the oppression and demand for conformity that life in the City prevents. So they get away from all that crap and live outside the box, out in the Country.