Saturday, September 28, 2013

Margarita...Saturday?

The road is calling me, so I decided on tonight as Margarita Monday. Went hi-zoot tonight with Milagro Anejo and Solerno Orange liqueur and fresh lemon juice, plus 1/4 teaspoon of Agave sweetener (depending on your lemon juice). This is the margarita you want to serve when special friends come over.

I am reading on Sports Grid that UNDER WILD SKIES has been cancelled. If so, it would really, really suck. Hopefully, the series would find a place back on OC, where we live in Politically Incorrect World. BTW, I haven't seen anything on this on the gun aggregation blogs...hey, we've asked the hunters to stand for we shooters, and they have. In turn, we need to stand for them.

A Reminder to Us All

My good friend Mike Baker got back from Africa a few days after I did, but to a substantially different reception. Mike, along with Tony Makris, produce the long-running UNDER WILD SKIES, an African safari series currently on NBC Sports channel. Here's what they came home to, from the LA Times:
In the episode, which aired Sunday night (a highlight reel is posted above), host Tony Makris and a guide stalk an elephant in the Okavango Delta of Botswana -- "a mecca for elephant hunting," according to a narrator. 
Makris boasts of his "positively lethal" rifle and the .577 ammunition ("made to kill ivory") used to take down the beast. Hiding in a bush, he fires two shots a the "cheeky" pachyderm, who runs away. Makris and his guide eventually catch up to the elephant, killing it. They later celebrate the kill with a bottle of Champagne.
Here's the really nasty stuff.

The elephant hunt was perfectly legal. Yes, Botswana is closing its borders to hunting of any kind, and if you'd like to ready an intelligent article on the subject, I suggest Dr. Kevin Robert's thoughtful article in Sports Afield
Banning sport hunting is not going to make all these problems disappear—that is for sure. You and I both know this. In fact, it is only going to make things worse. Subsistence poaching is going to escalate as rural communities lose the funds sport hunting once generated. When this happens, even more pressure is going to be placed upon the dwindling antelope numbers. When wildlife loses its economic value, it is replaced with something that is valuable. Look at what has happened in Kenya, for example. This once wonderfully rich wildlife country has, since the banning of sport hunting, lost 80 percent of its wildlife. Only time will tell if Botswana walks the same path.
I'm not going to go full rant on the level of hypocrisy that is intrinsic in the antihunting fanatics — even if you only eat free-range, grass-fed beef "harvested" in the most humane manner, and you know the name of the pig who ended up as your chops, I can assure you that the cow didn't go happily to the bolt, the pig to the charcuterie, even that wild salmon to the net. We outsource our killing and pretend that act makes us virtuous. 

We forget the admonition of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, "You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." We tamed the world, then we want to step back and let Nature — definitely with a capital "N" — take its course. The "wild" that we seek to preserve for the most part isn't any different than the park closest to your house...it requires management to exist. Even Etosha, larger than Switzerland, is not a preservation of the wild, but a recreation of the wild — by 1900 all the elephants, lions, leopards and other large animals were gone, victims of overhunting and the move to a ranching/farming economy. Etosha was created, and carefully managed.

An analogy, no matter how big a glass aquarium you get for your house, you can never simply let that aquarium go wild, that is, stop your regular maintenance and let nature take its course. Should you do that, the "course" nature will take ends up a stinking bowl of fetid water and dead fish and plants.

 I could talk about the competing economics of hunting and ecotourism, but I suspect none of that matters in this conversation. Rather, in the First World we have moved toward a culture that places value on "experiences" rather than real experience. For example, is there any need to travel the world when you can get that international "experience" at Epcot in Florida? Should we have to deal with the chaotic, often bloody mess of Africa when we can go to Busch Gardens in Tampa and:
Feel yourself being swept away to the African veldt on an open-truck tour that takes you up close to the wonders of our 65-acre Serengeti Plain, where you'll meet some magnificent animals.  
Get nose-to-nose with a giraffe. Learn a thing or two about zebras you never knew until you got this close. Understand exotic species like bongo, eland and ostrich as your guide helps bring you closer to the wildlife and wild places in this world we share.
...a wildlife "experience" as U2 might say, even better than the Real Thing.

Maybe I'm just being crotchety this morning, but my idea of a nightmare is a world of "experiences" bereft of real experience.

"Take a deep breath and remember that the whole world sucks, America sucks less, and Texas during deer season doesn't suck at all." 
— Brother Ted Nugent

Friday, September 27, 2013

Survived the Week!

Snow flurries here at the Bunker...I suspect summer may be over.

Having some trouble getting my head back into the usual war footing...the huge success of the Colorado recall...the self-inflicted stupidity of Starbucks...the U.N. treaty...Kenya...the Navy Yard...

I think I'm going to take a little time tomorrow to work on an AR I can't quite get like I want.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Imagine Being Gone for More than 2 Weeks...

I have been in a dead run since I got back in Sunday, and I'm still 'way behind the 8-ball. We had to meet with the builder on the Secret Hidden Bunker Ver. 2.0 property, and it was like driving through a maze with all the roads closed or washed out in Boulder and Larimer counties. Then, amazingly, the trusty Honda Element refused to start...a little worrisome since we were on the side of a mountain. We finally got it started and taken to the shop in Boulder (after driving all over the place), then frantically got back home to do the podcast. I haven't even uncased the Guide Gun!

As I catch my breath, some lessons from Africa...

1) Aim small, miss small. For the most part I was pleased with my shooting in Namibia. Of the 5 animals I shot — Burchell's Zebra, Hartmann's Mountain Zebra, kudu, impala and eland, 4 of the shots were one-shot heart/lung kills, at a ranges averaging around 100 yards (the kudu was 150 yards or a little better). I tried very hard not to see the great big animal, but rather the 10-inch "plate" of the kill zone, advice from Cory Trapp at GUNSITE. It worked.

2) Know the rifle/scope. Luckily, the Guide Gun uses the same stock as, and is very similar to, the GUNSITE Scout Rifle, so I was very comfortable with it. Ditto on the Leupold FireDot scope VX-6. As I mentioned in the podcast, if you're used to shooting a red dot/illuminated scope, by all means do so (I carried 3 extra batteries I didn't need, too). If not, Africa is a bad place to start. I was comfortable with the illuminated red dot and I think it helped my shooting. Be aware that as daylight fades, the illumination eeds to fade as well...that caught me off-guard once.,

3) Speed to set-up and shoot is everything. Those pesky animals actually have the gall to move! Seriously, you've got to set up very quickly. That means you need to be familiar with your rifle and how you're carrying it. I use a muzzle-down weak-side "African guide" carry I learned at GUNSITE years ago. It allows me to quickly access the rifle and "roll" it into position on my shoulder, and I can use my binoculars with my right hand. Competition training was invaluable here, because I'm used to setting up quickly for a shot.

4) Practice shooting off sticks. Because that's what you're going to be shooting off. One of the best things I did was spend time setting up sticks and shooting from different positions...two shots...move, set sticks, two shots, repeat. Make sure you practice awkward or "broken" positions...the kudu was from both knees, bending forward with the sticks almost at bipod level so I could thread the shot through the bush. It was VERY similar to a position I'd had to use in a 3-Gun match. Hmmmmm...

5) Remember, you're not shooting a group...you're making one excellent shot. It's kind of a different mindset, and it affects how you practice. If I was going to design a training program for this type of hunting, I would quickly go from shooting a reference group to 10-inch plates at varying distance. Make the practice as real as possible, which means get off the bench!

6) Run the gun. That is, work the bolt on the assumption you'll need a follow-up shot. It is REALLY easy to get into the habit of taking a shot, then pondering the universe for a bit. Run the gun...and practice. I short-stroked the bolt once, and I do practice running the gun. The solution, I think, is to NEVER be gentle with the gun...it's all blunt trauma time.

7) Walk, a lot. Because, hey, you're going to be walking, a lot. Walk with weights as you get closure to your departure date. Rifles get heavier the longer they're carried, so you might as well get used to it. In retrospect, I wish I'd walked with a 12-pound pole weight slung over my left shoulder, a la guide carry. That's what Illd do for next time.

8) Suck it up. Sometimes it hurts, but hey, as Mad Season once sang, "...my pain is self-chosen, or so I believe it to be."

This is all new newbie stuff to be sure, as I am a newbie...more as I have the time...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Back at the Slightly Waterlogged Secret Hidden Bunker...

Everybody into the pool! From Etosha National Park...

Yes, he sleeps tonight...from about 10 feet away, in Etosha...

...but after 24 hours in various and sundry planes, by brain has signaled that it's off duty right now. I will, however, throw myself into the podcast tomorrow and start posting on the trip. Cliff Notes version: Freakin' amazing!


Drone...meet thorn tree. Thorn tree...meet drone...

Bushman e-mail from 3000 years ago..."Hunting is good; there is water"

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Where Does the Meat Go?

In response to an email last night, a few quick words about hunting in Arrica and what happens to the meat. in America, hunting is a hobby and the meat belongs to the hunter. Over hre, at least where I've been in Namibia, hunting is both an important part of resource management and the food distribution system. Game animals are "ranched" in same way cattle are ranched, but at a vastly different scale.

For example, the Wildacker ranch we were on the Kalahari is more than 60,000 acres. The original plan was to run cattle, but like much of the Kalahari the Wildacker holdings are full of a particular poisonous plant that cattle just love to eat and the indigenous animals have learned to avoid (although some of the game animals routinely die from the poison). 

The ranches maintain their own butchering facilities and provide the game meat to the local tribes, who usually process the meat through drying it into biltong, sort of game beef jerky, to last through the rainy months. To be clear, the tribes have their own holdings and hunting rights, but there is no Whole Foods you can pop down to for free-range grass-fed beefsteak if daddy comes home empty-handed from the hunt. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Heart of Darkness Threshold

I have a theory that eventually trip weirdness becomes self-sustaining, a point I call somewhat unoriginally the Heart of Darkness Threshold. I can tell you categorically that home-brewed schnapps, sort of turpentine with just a hint of formaldehyde, will probably scour the lining out of your stomach. Today we were with the Himba, basically your last nomadic tribe on earth. I'm not sure but I think I could have purchased a good, slightly used second wife if I'd had the requisite cattle. BTW, the whole hair thing, red ochre worked into Rasta dreads with lard, kinda works.

This is after a couple of days in Etosha National Park, the lad of dry water, checking out the lions, rhinos and elephants...absolutely amazing! We have pics and video.

I'm still pondering the eland...4 days of tracking in the Kalahari with the Bushman, who sort of floated over  the red sand I slogged through. In the end, the old bull was like a ghost, vanishing to the thorn that shredded my legs. I just about cried when I shot him and was so tired I could barely hold the rifle. Our plan right now is to build the SG episodes around that bull.

I have 3 more days of hunting at Immenhof, gemsbok and hopefully a good impala...I'm told it will be hard but nowhere near as brutal as the Kalahari thorn. I figure it's supposed to be hard, right?


Heart of Darkness Threshold


Drones over Africa!!!

video

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hickenlooper Continues to Stumble

Read this piece in the Examiner on Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper's most recent "nervous" press conference...several points come to mind:

1) Hickenlooper repeatedly refused to meet with both representatives of the Colorado shooting sports and me personally. We were allowed to speak to a member of the Governor's staff, but she only wanted to know what number, say, 50, would we support for a magazine capacity cap. She seemed puzzled that we refused to name such a number on moral/ethical grounds. 

2) During the same period of time, Hickenlooper was in regular telephone contact with Michael Bloomberg, even though Hickenlooper would later claim -- dishonestly, it seems -- he had no direct contacts with Bloomberg.

3) During the same period of time, according to the public record, full-time lobbyists hired and paid by Bloomberg had total and unconditional access to Hickenlooper and his staff...in fact, drafting the Democratic strategy of ignoring Colorado constituents and railroading the vote.

4) Hickenlooper was never a particularly antigun politician. But his politics changed completely when he began working directly with Bloomberg. It MUST be asked what sort of deal Hickenlooper was offered --and apparently took -- to sell out Colorado! The 2-part deal I repeatedly heard, but cannot prove, from the State House (both Republicans & Democrats) was:

* Bloomberg would provide critical funding for the early exploratory days of Hickenlooper's run for the Presidency, which is now In the crapper as Hickenlooper's career continues to implode.
* Hickenlooper would be guaranteed a position in Washington should he lose the 2014 reelection...he could then use that position as a springboard to his national political career.

In your interviews you sound like a man running scared, Governor. Are those pieces of silver in your pocket weighing on you just a little bit?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Manning the Ark!

I'm halfway around the world in the middle of a bone-dry desert, and they're building arks in Colorado. Luckily, the Secret Hidden Bunker is (very) high and dry...if the water makes it to the Bunker, it's an extinction level event. I'll bake cookies!

There's an excellent piece on Fox on the recalls. I'd post it here, but I don't actually know how with this program. The short story is that when Democrats decided that Michael Bloomberg meant more to them than the people of Colorado -- the poor, lied-to saps that elected them in the first place -- the Dem's fates were sealed.

Here in Safari-World, the eland continues to elude me (note tricky alliteration)...I believe I may have walked across the Kalahari at least twice...and swallowed much of it. There are endless gemsbok...I suppose if I was hunting gemsbok there'd be endless eland. Did get a great kudu bull on a 125 yard shot through pretty thick bush. Consolation on the elusive eland, one supposes.

We're on the Wildacker Guest Farm, 15,000HA up near the Angloa border...beautiful place. The PHs from Immenhof Hunting, the von Seydlitz family operation, are doing a wonderful job of guiding.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Colorado Takes Out The Trash!

And good riddance to John Morse, one of the most reprehensible individuals I've ever had the misfortune to meet, and to Colorado's own version of "Honey Boo Boo," Angela Giron. You sold out to Michael Bloomberg, you sold out your constituents, you sold out your state. You are liars and without even any sense of ethics. I suggest you both seek asylum in some Third World pesthole, say, Chicago, where your particular brand of political prostitution is valued.

Congrat to the people of Colorado!

Now on to 2014...let's finish this!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why They Call It "Hunting..."

...as opposed to "Killing Great Big Animals." Spent hours with the Bushman on the trail of a big eland...2 important points about the Kalahari...it's real sandy, and while it's freezing in the morning, it it blazing hot when the sun really gets cranking.

The Bushman are amazing...they see a track crossing the road, and they indicate by pointing where the sun will be when they expect to intersect with the animal. They are always right, too. So we humped it to catch up with this big bull, and as predicted after a few hours of heat, sand and thorns -- Did I mention thorns? Straight ones the size of daggers, hooked ones, sneaky ones that can snatch a hole your trigger finger? I look like a pin cushion, or a blood donor -- there he is...90 yards away and behind a tree...The PH sets up the sticks...I take the safety off the big Ruger...I start taking up the slack on the trigger and focusing on the Leupold red dot...and the shot isn't there. It just isn't there...it's at best a gut shot, and I won't take a gut shot intentionally.

I juggle around, move the sticks, whine, pray and, poof, he's gone again...

Sigh.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about hacking a blind into a thorn thicket, falling into an episode of Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom and seeing every animal on the Ark...except an eland! I considered shooting a mongoose, but it was a big mongoose!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WWRRD?

SOOOOOOOOOOOOO...I'm at a waterhole in the Kalahari, and, amazingly, an eland bull the size of a U-Haul truck comes clicking and clopping in from the left. Holy crap, I think. Even my PH whispers "Wow!" Thirty yards away and me with a .300 Win Mag that yesterday hammered a big zebra into the ground.

It is a pure Robert Ruark moment.

And the the wind shifts, or the planet jinks in orbit, or my substantial bad karmic load comes back to haunt me, and the World's Largest Eland gets jiggy and launches itself into low earth orbit.

No shot.

Oh well, welcome to Africa, where safari camps have wi-fi connections. Sort of.

It is pretty much everything the SHOOTING GALLERY crew imagined. The only sounds at night are animals. The sky is very big.

Am having the trip of a lifetime. 

Dawn comes early...who knew? More later!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

On the Verge of Catching My Tail...

...if I just keep running faster and faster1 At least that's what Alf tells me. She also says it can be, "Ruff!"

Marshal and I had a conference call today where we outlined a really, really cool series of DRTV videos focusing on the AR platform. I think we're going to be able to make it happen in 2014...fingers crossed! I'm definitely going to take a carbine class with the DoubleStar C3 Constant Carry Carbine. So  very many things to do...

Meanwhile:
German town building giant rake in attempt to catch bite-happy snapping turtle 
After hunting dogs, an electric fence and traps couldn’t get the job done, a German town looking to remove a snapping turtle from a lake has asked a blacksmith to create a giant rake to fish out the sharp-beaked reptile.
Giant snapping turtles! Could this be worse that the plague of cohones-nipping piraƱa spreading across the world???  A lowly blacksmith, hammer in hand, is all that stands between Germany and a nasty nip on the butt. What the heck...couldn't they just shoot it? I mean, they'd need Congressional approval and stuff, promise to only fire one shot, between 4:47PM and 6:02PM, then assure the public that the sharpshooters will miss. But a giant rake? Reminds me of George Clooney.

I'm as ready as I'm going to get for the Dark Continent. I've been working with a DeLorme inReach SE sat communicator in the hopes of being able to Twitter or post to FaceBook from Africa. So far, I've been able to send texts. Got a few battery packs and a solar charger, so we'll see.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Let's "DeFriend" Assad!

Michael's 3-Point Plan to Solve the Syria Problem:

1) "DeFriend" al-Assad on FaceBook! Sure, it would take a lot of courage on the part of President Obama, but with the help of Valerie Jarrett and his new puppy, I'm sure he can rise to the occasion.
2) Carefully crate John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Boehner and UPS them to Damascus, making sure there is no return address...they want Syria, let them have it.
3) Have John Kerry publicly refuse to take "The Rose of the Desert" Asma (cough cough!) al-Assad windsurfing! Ouch! That burns!

Hey, Anna Wintour edited it, Vogue published it, and I for one believe it! Here's part of the Vague...oops...Vogue article we're dis'sing...the whole article has been scrubbed from the Internet:
Syria is known as the safest country in the Middle East, possibly because, as the State Department's Web site says, "the Syrian government conducts intense physical and electronic surveillance of both Syrian citizens and foreign visitors." It's a secular country where women earn as much as men and the Muslim veil is forbidden in universities, a place without bombings, unrest, or kidnappings...
Yes, weapons of mass destruction  —and the shadow of genocide — are the most serious business there is. But the hard truth is that we've spent the last 25 years expending American capital and America lives trying to save the Islamic Middle East from itself, and they hate us for it. It is time to stay home. There is nothing — NOTHING! — in Syria worth the cost of a single Tomahawk missile, much less the blood of a single American.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

When Pressure Cookers Are Outlawed...

...you know the rest. From Drudge:
China: Wife Boils Husband In Pressure Cooker 
A woman reportedly hands herself into police after allegedly killing her husband and boiling his dismembered body parts.
Well, okay...I'm going with fava beans, sliced onions and maybe some chicken stock, as I'm not sure of the quality of stock made from long pig. Serve with rice and some Vietnamese chili/garlic sauce...maybe...just saying.

For us, though, it's chili'ed grilled salmon and Margarita Monday On Sunday! Actually, I'm using Hornitos Reposado, which, in all honesty, I think is an overrated tequila, Solerno blood orange liquor and fresh lemon juice...maybe a touch of agave nectar. The Solerno has such a bite that it can hold its own again the Hornitos. I suspect the margs might have been better with Hornitas Anejo, but I have pretty high standards. Never EVER take me to a Chili's and order me a margarita!

Voting has begun on the Colorado recall elections. This from Fox:
NYC Mayor Bloomberg donates $350G to fight Colorado recalls 
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thrown $350,000 behind an effort to fight the recall of two Colorado Democratic legislators for their votes in favor of sweeping new gun control laws. 
Campaign finance paperwork filed Tuesday and obtained by KDVR.com showed that Bloomberg wrote a personal check to Taxpayers for Responsible Democracy, the group fighting the recalls targeting Colorado Springs Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron, of Pueblo.
For heaven's sake, VOTE! That nasty little fascist Michael Bloomberg wrote the "Colorado" laws, subverted the electoral process in Colorado by both buying votes and threatening that any Democrat who voted against with a Bloomberg-financed primary challenge from the left, cut a deal with Governor John MyGodI'mStupid (Hickenlooper swore he didn't consult with Bloomberg on the gun laws until a Freedom Of Information demand uncovered phone calls between the nasty little fascist and the Governor, who once considered himself a national contender and is now widely considered a joke...hey, how'z about the fact that the northern part of your state is voting on secession because you're such a crappy governor for a campaign slogan? Vote for me, because I suck so hard my own state left me!) and now contributes $350K, 3 times more than the NRA, to his continued ownership of Colorado Democrats. THIS NEEDS TO STOP! 

Frankly, recall elections scare the heck out of me...I'd much rather have put the effort into 2014, but we're in it. Colorado State Senate President John Morse is one of the most reprehensible people I've ever had the misfortune to meet. Here's why:
Talking on the Rachel Maddow show, Senator John Morse of Colorado stated that his approach to constituents who are trying to contact him about current gun control legislation, and the advice he’s giving his fellow senators, is to ignore them. That, rather than have a conversation and debate your opinion with the people who you represent, you should ignore them and “do what [you] need to do.”
He deserves not to be recalled, but to spend the rest of his life chained to a wall in a Third World prison for the damage he's done to Colorado. Unfortunately, that's not on the ballot.