July 30, 2012
Just browsing YouTube for interesting videos, and saw the latest update from Rod Pinkston and the guys of JagerPro. Some of you who’ve been around the blog a while may remember that JagerPro is the group of guys who specialize in hog eradication, particularly night time hunting with high-end night vision and AR-platform rifles. I had the chance to join them last fall for a couple of nights to see their operation first hand, and to try out some of Winchester’s RazorBack XT ammo. (I wrote about this on the old site, and as far as I know it’s still available if you’re interested.)
At any rate, I’ve been following JagerPro on the web, and through their email updates. While I got a kick out of the hunting (even though we had very limited success), I was really intrigued by Pinkston’s approach to trapping. Since the company is composed of former US Army guys, it should come as no surprise that they call the system “M.I.N.E.”, which is an acronym for Manually Initiated Nuisance Elimination. It’s a system I’d like to employ one day, if the opportunity to do some local eradication comes my way down here.
Pinkston has also become something of a celebrity in his field, partly because of his first-hand expertise in hog control efforts, and partly because JagerPro offers guided depredation hunts using the military-grade technology (serious cool factor). He’s been featured on several hunting television shows, and is also a go-to guy for the news media when they want to talk to someone about the feral hog problem. The quality of some of the resulting newscasts and articles has varied, but this new set from WALB News was pretty well done (despite a slightly overblown sense of drama). I thought it was worth sharing.
July 27, 2012
In 2010, I met a couple at the SHOT Show who were talking to various gun and outdoors writers about their new CD-ROM based Firearms Multimedia Guide. When they came to my table, I happily sat and chatted with them. They told me about their project, a plan to create a huge, comprehensive database of firearms from around the world. The CD would serve as a resource for gun writers, gunsmiths, and anyone who had a detailed interest in firearms from around the world. I can’t remember how many guns were included in that first edition (my review is still out there on my old site), but it was fairly impressive. I was also impressed with their plans to continue compiling the database, so that the Guide would be sort of a living research tool. At the end of the conversation, not only did I have a copy of the CD to review, but I’d made a couple of new friends.
I saw them again in 2011 with their new edition, so of course I took a copy and did a write-up. Their database had grown significantly (to around 50,000 firearms), and they were now incorporating printable schematics for all sorts of guns, as well as online listings for gun stores around the country. As an added bonus, they added in some fun stuff, like printable targets.
For 2012, they have released the 3rd edition. The new Guide is bulked up with 55,000 firearms, including military firearms, as well as air guns and ammunition listings. The schematics database is up to 3000 guns from 268 different manufacturers. In short, this thing has become pretty danged robust. Despite the extent of the data, though, the DVD offers a really solid search functionality. You can narrow down a search to fairly minute detail. For example, suppose you wanted to find an American made, 9mm with accessory rails for under $750. You can enter all of those criteria into the search fields and see all of the options available to you. Try that in Google or Bing!
Who could use the Firearms Guide?
As I mentioned earlier, gunsmiths could definitely benefit from the ready access to schematics for many firearms. It’s also a great way to look up specs and details about some less common guns and ammunition. As a “sort-of amateur wannabe” gunsmith, I can see where I will be able to use the Guide for working on some of my own guns.
Collectors, of course, will appreciate the extensive listings, photographs, specs, and even retail prices that they will find in the guide. You could use it to identify an unusual gun, or to search for something you want to add to the collection. Crazy about drillings? The guide has a whole listing from various manufacturers and in different caliber/gauge configurations. There are even several bespoke rifles in the database, should that be something of interest.
For the hunter or target shooter looking for a new gun, the Guide offers the ability to do your shopping from your desktop. You can sort guns based on the criteria you like, the price range you want to pay, and even locate a nearby dealer when you’re ready to make your purchase. Of course, it may not be the most efficient purchase for someone looking to buy just one gun, but say you’ve got a group of friends planning that big elk hunt or African safari. Split the $39.95 price three or four ways, and it’s totally worth it… especially if you’re the lucky one who gets to keep the DVD after the shopping is done. If you’re like me, sometimes it’s fun just to surf around the various listings to daydream about guns you’d like to own (my fantasies tend to revolve around the fine, express rifles).
The Guide should be an excellent resource to writers and journalists, as well as others who need solid information and data about firearms. As I’ve mentioned before, it should be a required tool in any newsroom. There’s no excuse for some of the misinformation and erroneous reporting on guns with resources like this available. For the fiction writer, there’s a wealth of cool information about guns that your characters could use (for good or ill).
All in all, the Firearms Guide 3rd Edition is a solid upgrade to an already excellent product. It is quickly becoming a definitive source for gun information, and it’s getting more extensive with every release.
For more information, or to order the Firearms Guide 3rd Edition, you can go to their website at: http://www.firearmsguide.com.
July 24, 2012
So it’s official. I have now moved to Texas. No more 1800 mile, marathon drives between states. No more rushing to get work done over a weekend, before having to drive all the way back to California. Not settled in yet, but here.
I may have jumped the gun a bit with my last post, as I obviously didn’t have anything to follow it up. Anyone who has relocated can vouch for the fact that packing up and moving after living in one place for over a decade is no mean feat. Add in the rigors of a job that doesn’t stop just because you need a little extra time, and blogging for free suddenly becomes a minor priority.
At any rate, stay tuned. I’ve got a couple of reviews coming up, the game cams are hopping (and the bucks’ horns are growing great guns!), and I’m starting to get my wind back after a busy few months. I’m not starting from scratch, but I do feel like I’m starting fresh.
July 9, 2012
I’ve been away. Maybe you noticed. Thanks, if you did.
I just spent the better part of the week on the road, looping from the southern Hill Country up to Dallas, then over to Amarillo before heading down to southern California to spend a couple of days at Malibu prior to heading back up the coast to the SF Bay. I checked in one night from the hotel, but just couldn’t get particularly motivated to write a new post, or even an update. It was sort of nice to unplug, more or less, and enjoy the world away from a computer screen. It was more of a vacation than I’d really anticipated, and it was good.
Being away from the computer for a little bit gave me an opportunity to review some of my priorities… or some of the things I thought were priorities. The Internet tends to make everything seem so immediate. If you don’t act on something RIGHT NOW the moment will pass and something else equally important will come along and then you’ll be twice as far behind.
Or something like that.
Stepping away reminds me that it’s OK to slow down. Approach life like a covey of quail. Don’t try to shoot on the rise. You’ll frustrate yourself and the dog and then end up eating store-bought chicken for dinner. Take a breath, shoulder the gun, and let the birds level off a bit. When you’re good and ready, pick a bird and shoot it. There’s no big rush.
I’ve kind of lost track of that approach lately, I think. I catch myself reacting a lot… popping off shots without picking a bird. And as a result, I’ve probably missed more than I’ve hit. There’s no way to shoot the whole flock. It can’t be done.
I know my content on this site has suffered a bit over the past year, as I’ve been working on making this move to Texas and other things have simply distracted me. I’ve lost focus, to some extent, and find myself grasping at topics to fill space… flock shooting, as it were. It’s time to slow down a bit, get my composure, and feel the buttstock snug into the pocket before my finger tightens on the trigger.
OK, I’ve pressed that poor metaphor about as far as it’ll go.
Point is, there are still a lot of things I want to write about on this blog. I think there are a lot of things you folks would want to read. And I plan to keep it coming.
But I may slow down a bit, or dispense with some of the consistency. I’ve tried hard to keep fresh content every weekday (or almost every weekday). To some extent, I’ve managed it. But in the process, quality has paid a steep toll to quantity. I haven’t spent the time examining issues, and too often I haven’t had the time or motivation to provide much more than superficial commentary.
What’s worse… comments from readers have gone unanswered. That’s no good. I value your feedback, comments, and ideas more than that. The least I can do is acknowledge you when you take the time to say something. That, to me, is what makes a blog interesting…both to write and to read. It’s the interaction.
So the posts may not come as fast and furious as they used to. But I will strive to offer more quality in the posts that do see the light of day.
The move to Texas is nearly complete, and I’d like to think that’s going to free up my mind and my minutes. I’ll be hunting again, and I know most of you are ready to get back in the woods as well. The A-zone deer season opens next week, and CA bowhunters will be hitting the canyons (sadly, I will not be amongst you this year). The second half of 2012 looks promising so far, and 2013 will be even better. I thank you all for dropping in on the Hog Blog so far, and look forward to bringing you quality content, stories, and reviews as we move forward.
July 2, 2012
As mentioned here and other places last week, there is no time to rest on the laurels of success after stopping the passage of SB 1221. The bill to ban hunting bear bobcats with hounds narrowly failed to make it out of the Assembly last week, thanks to the calls and presence of CA hunters. But it ain’t dead yet… the bill is being heard again soon.
This, from the US Sportman’s Association:
California Senate Bill 1221, banning the use of dogs to hunt bear and bobcats, is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife on Tuesday, June 26th at 9 a.m. in Room 4202.
The bill, sponsored by the nation’s largest anti-hunting organization –the Humane Society of the United States– has already passed out of the California Senate.
Bear and bobcat hunting with hounds is a humane and effective means to hunt bear and bobcat, helping control the state’s growing bear populations. Nearly 60 percent of the states that have bear hunting seasons allow the use of dogs and 70 percent of states that have more than 2,000 bears (like California) allow them.
“This bill is just the latest assault on hunters by the anti-hunting lobby’s biggest player, HSUS,” said Evan Heusinkveld, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance director of state services. “The bill ignores sound science and only serves to further the group’s ultimate goal of banning all hunting. California sportsmen need to do all they can to try and stop this bill.”
Take Action! California sportsmen must contact their state assembly members today and tell them to vote NO on Senate Bill 1221. Visit USSA’s Legislative Action Center to find your state assembly member’s contact information.