May 10, 2012
So I’ve been gathering up stuff to pack for Texas, as I’m heading back down this weekend. I guess that’s why I figured I’d just gather up some miscellanea for this post… especially since I haven’t done an update in a couple of days.
First up, I just heard from my friend, Dan, who has started trying out a new lead-free shotgun slug… the D Dupleks. Here’s what he had to say about them:
There are a number of variations of the Dupleks. They make a variety of slug weights and styles, both in 20 & 12 ga. Generally the Dupo version is the lighter weight slug and the Monolit 32’s are the heavier. My shotgun is more accurate with the 32’s (495 gr).
They also make an expanding (sorta hollow point) version called the hexolit 32. Fully opened, the distance across the petals is 1.4″. That’s the largest slug diameter I’ve ever seen. The seven petals are designed to break off in the body and go their merry way. Devastating.
The slugs are made in Latvia and they hunt grizzly with smoothbore o/u’s with those. Ddupleks are the only shotgun slug on the market rated for smoothbore and rifled barrels. There’s a nice vid on you tube showing the hexolit 32 damage on a rather large bear.
Apparently, when the Russians took over Latvia, they confiscated all the hunting rifles and the hunters were left with shotguns. So they spent quite a bit of time developing something that would work on big game for not a lot of money.
They should work VERY well on hogs and they penetrate brush without much trouble.
They are the most accurate lead-free slugs I’ve ever tried in my 11-87, and I have enough confidence in their ability to bring down game that I bought 50 boxes of the stuff while it was still $3.00/bx.
Believe me, the first hog or deer I bring down will get the CSI treatment and I’ll let you know.
I’m looking forward to hearing about how these perform on those Vandenberg hogs. The even bigger test, in my mind, will be hearing how they perform on deer.
On a similar note, I finally received a little “gift” from Federal-Premium. After SHOT last year, and again this year, I’d commented that the trend in lead-free would be the ammo manufacturers developing their own, proprietary bullets. By creating their own projectiles instead of depending on a third party (e.g. Nosler, Barnes, Hornady, etc.), production cost should be lower… so customers should see a lower price as well. Remington did it a couple of years ago with the Copper Solid, Winchester followed suit with their 95/5 Power Core and RazorBack XT.
And now Federal-Premium has developed the Trophy Copper… and even better, they’ve sent me a couple of boxes to try in Kat’s .270win Browning A-bolt. Hopefully, the rifle will like this ammo better than it likes the different flavors of Barnes TSX I’ve tried so far. You can bet I’ll be letting you know how it performs.
Finally, on a totally different front, I appreciate the responses to my request for reader stories and pictures. Please, keep them coming. This site is as much about you guys as it is about me… and heck, if nothing else, I enjoy reading these things for my own entertainment.
I got a note from another regular reader this past weekend, letting me know that he and his group of friends had been doing pretty well on their recent hunts, with a 250 lb. boar last month, and then two more hogs this past Saturday. He included a photo that was a little different than the standard “hero shot” or dead hog. I guess that, while on the hunt, they were able to catch a little sow, barely out of stripes. They decided to release the little gilt, despite the temptation to bring her home and raise her up as a backyard project.
Catching the little pigs can be big fun, and the really small ones are simply adorable and hard to leave alone. I can’t say I’ve been immune to the temptation myself, and I know many CA hunters who’ve done the same thing. I think it would be fun to catch and raise a wild pig, as they’re intelligent and like any other pig, can make an excellent “pet”. But besides any ethical implications of capturing and domesticating wildlife, such actions are also illegal in California:
§251.1. Harassment of Animals.
Except as otherwise authorized in these regulations or in the Fish and Game Code, no person shall harass, herd or drive any game or nongame bird or mammal or furbearing mammal. For the purposes of this section, harass is defined as an intentional act which disrupts an animal’s normal behavior patterns, which includes, but is not limited to, breeding, feeding or sheltering. This section does not apply to a landowner or tenant who drives or herds birds or mammals for the purpose of preventing damage to private or public property, including aquaculture and agriculture crops.
§251.5. Game Birds, Game Mammals, Furbearers and Nongame Animals, Possession Of.
- Migratory game birds may not be held beyond the period provided by the federal regulations and in accordance with the daily bag and possession limits prescribed by these regulations. (See section 500.)
- Live mountain lions may be possessed only under terms of a permit issued by the Department pursuant to section 2150 of the Fish and Game Code or if the owner can demonstrate that the mountain lion was in his/her possession on or before June 6, 1990 under a permit issued pursuant to section 3200 of said code.
- Every game bird, game mammal, furbearer or nongame animal taken under the authority of a hunting or trapping license and reduced to possession by the hunter or trapper shall be immediately killed and become a part of the daily bag limit.
You read that last one right… if you catch a live animal while hunting, you must despatch it immediately and add it to your bag limit. In the case of wild hogs, that means kill it and tag it, even if it’s an itty-bitty one. (Note: It is illegal to take any game animal without a hunting or trapping license, except under specific conditions such as scientific research.)
Am I here to condemn the reader who sent this in? No, not at all. I doubt he even knew the legal implications here… .and even if he did, he released the pig. Is this any worse than catch and release fishing? I don’t think so, personally. Others may differ.
But it is illegal. The State of California has classified hogs as big game animals, which means they’re to be treated no differently than mule deer or tule elk. Most of us wouldn’t think to sneak up and catch a fawn or an elk calf after chasing off the adults. We have to treat hogs the same way.
Word to the wise.
May 7, 2012
Here’s another one from my friend, Bruce, over in Hawaii. I’m sure glad to hear that someone is hunting these days.
The Big Island of Hawaii is full of surprises. Most people picture Hawaii as being white sandy beaches, palm trees, blue water, jungle—you know the picture. But the Big Island also has territory that looks just like the rainforest of Washington or SE Alaska, towering conifers that block out the sun and patches of fern here and there on the pine-needled ground. I left my home at 4:00 AM and was driving down a rutted 4WD road an hour and a half later. By 6:30, half an hour after sunrise, I was parked in the grassy rolling hills just outside Laupahoehoe Forest Reserve. This is public hunting but I never, ever see another hunter and it’s beautiful country, starting with the pine forest along the fence line and transitioning into jungle as you hike downhill. It’s about 6000 feet where I park and about 4800 feet where I eventually end up. This hunt was shorter, however, much, much shorter.
I loaded my Winchester 100 with handloaded, small base .308’s [I use the special small base dies, otherwise this autoloader is notorious for jamming. It doesn’t jam at all with the small base cartridges.] I hiked down into the dark and gloomy pine forest and hadn’t covered more than 200 yards when a small boar trotted along about 50 yards in front of me. I took a quick offhand shot and the pig dropped. Nothing big, maybe 125 pounds, but a good start to a day of hunting and succulent meat for smoking. I boned out the best cuts and hiked back to the truck. Once the meat was in the cooler, I hiked back into the pine forest and still-hunted for the next 3 hours. I ran into two sows with little ones and then a pair of siblings in the 50-pound class, nothing I wanted to interfere with.
It was time for a nap, so I laid my poncho on a grassy knoll overlooking a valley. An hour later, my nap was cut short by the sound of breaking branches. I sat up and a grizzled boar—gray along his back and gray in the muzzle—ran down the knoll within 20 feet of me and then disappeared into the berry vines along the valley floor. I didn’t even have time to touch my rifle. It began to drizzle so I started the hike back up to the truck and ran into a third sow and her little ones. All these piglets were a good sign. There are no predators, other than human hunters, in the Hawaiian jungle and these little pigs would grow up quickly.
I made it back to the truck and changed into dry clothes. All the way back home I was thinking about Kalua pork, wrapped in green ti leaves and smoked ever so slowly over a glowing bed of charcoal.
Just another day of hunting on the Big Island.
Aloha for now.
May 4, 2012
No, I haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth… even though it feels like it sometimes. It’s never a good sign when I have to lay in bed when I wake up, struggling to figure out where I am and what I’m doing here.
That’s a laugh. The closest I’ve been to that was the elk loin chop I had for dinner last night here at the hotel. Good stuff, for a farm-raised elk, but nowhere near the satisfaction or fulfillment of hitting the woods with gun or bow in hand. I’m starting to wonder if I even remember how to shoot… much less skin and dress a critter.
Wah wah wah… enough whining.
So, it’s back to CA for a week, and then back to Texas next weekend. Really looking forward to settling back into my Hill Country haven.
In the meantime, have a great weekend! If you get out to hunt something, send me a picture and a short story about your trip. If nothing else, at least I’ll be able to live a little vicariously through your adventures!
May 1, 2012
Well, if you’re paying attention and quick on the draw, here’s a chance to get some lead-free ammo for little more than a few moments of your time. The Ventana Wildlife Society is doing it again, giving away lead-free ammo for the asking… with a little more of a catch this time. This stuff isn’t free, and they’re doing what they can, but supplies (and funds) are limited so, read below and, if you’re interested, get your request in there!
In March of this year, Ventana Wildlife Society announced a free, nonlead ammunition giveaway for residents of Monterey and San Benito Counties and quickly discovered that the demand exhausted our supply (we spent our budget of $37,000 in one day). Since then, we raised another $15,000 that can go toward nonlead bullets. I’d like to thank the Monterey County Fish and Game Commission for their recent $5,000 contribution. The rest of the funding was made available by private individuals who care about hunting, ranching and wildlife.
Hunting and ranching has a long tradition in conservation and by using nonlead ammunition, we are continuing that tradition. We are convinced that lead from spent ammunition is the number one problem facing condors in the wild due to ingestion of lead fragments found in their food. We want to help hunters and ranchers to make a lasting switch to nonlead ammunition so that condors can survive in the wild on their own again.
This is the reason why we’re handing out free nonlead ammunition again! Starting today, May 1, 2012, we have opened a raffle drawing to win two, free boxes of nonlead ammunition. We’ll give out 100 orders (two boxes each) in May 2012 and another 100 orders in June 2012. If we could hand out free nonlead bullets to everyone, we would. We decided a raffle was the best way to go to make it fair to all those interested in receiving nonlead ammunition in central California. To everyone that is making the switch to nonlead ammunition, whether on your own or with our help, cheers to you!
To submit your entry into the raffle, go to http://ventanaws.org/ammunition/
Ventana Wildlife Society