Ill-advised or misinformed politicians in many states are proposing legislation that would ban the use of semi-automatic weapons, more properly called auto-loaders. This is a real joke. There are numerous weapons that are in the hands of hunters that provide as much, if not more, firepower than auto-loaders.
Anyone witnessing this old fool rattling shots from my pump action shotguns or rifles would swear that I was using an auto-loader. Double-barreled shotguns fire two shots faster than the auto-loader. Most lever-action repeating rifles hold far more shots than the auto-loader, and anyone who learns to handle these repeaters can make 'em sing just like an auto-loader.
So what's the big deal about using a firearm that loads its next round by the use of mechanical forces generated by recoil or gas pressure as opposed to human force?
These bills are a real laugher. Those who proposed them are either anti-gun nuts, elitists trying to impose on others what they see as higher ethical standards, just plain ignorant or some combination thereof.
If we sportsmen let these proposals fly, you can count on it just being the tip of the iceberg, as anti-hunting and shooting bills will flood state legislatures.
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HERE'S A TIP for those duck and goose hunters who have had a call turn sour and never can get it to sound the same again: If the temperatures are below freezing, it's probably because you've blown some moisture in there and it's frozen. Hold the call inside your clothing for a few minutes, and it should thaw. From then on, keep it inside your clothing.
If it's dirt that's causing the problem - and that's the case about 90 percent of the time - and you attempt to take the call apart for cleaning, make sure you mark the position of the reed and the two-piece reed holders with a felt-tip marker or some other instrument in your hunting kit.
Disassemble as a last resort, though. With a small piece of stiff wire, you can hold the reed clear of the holders while the call is still intact and flush it with some high-pressure blowing from a pursed mouth. If you wait until you get home, some high-pressure rinsing with water also should work. Don't hang it near a heat source to dry. Room temperature is much kinder to the call, especially if it's wood.
Here's another tip for those who don't like to lie prone on the ground in one of the popular layout blinds. (I'm among those who don't.)
My Buddy Brad Conner and I - mostly Brad - built a replacement for a simple blind that cost around $50 to make and served us well for several years. The structure was simply made of four pieces with 1x4 strapping, some webbing (such as used snow fencing or old netting and a few screws and some scrap plywood). Brad used plywood triangular gussets with several screws for making the simple flat to flat joints, rather than matching angle cuts.
The design calls for two sides, a back and a front. The back measures 4.5 feet in height. The front measures 3.5 feet in height. The two sides are 4 feet wide and 4.5 feet high at one side and 3.5 feet on the other side. The four pieces are only temporarily connected with short pieces of rope, both top and bottom. This makes for great portability.
Our new blind, which is set in cut corn, is camouflaged with cornstalks. When we hunt in green or brown cover, we just cut some of the natural stuff and blend it into the netting, sometimes mixing the colors to blend more carefully with the surrounding environment.
We sit on buckets with revolving covers that can be purchased online and in some specialty hunting stores. Because our blind has a top opening for us to shoot from, in order to keep from spooking birds we wear face masks and camo clothing, and try to keep our movements to a minimum when we're working birds.
Two people can easily build this blind in a day. You'll get years of use for expending that time and a very limited amount of money.
Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Suunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.