Afternoon Grouse Hunting With Video

| October 26, 2016
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

I took a break from web work to see if I couldn’t bag a grouse and maybe clear my mind. I’ve been pretty distracted lately. I lost my dog and best friend to cancer a couple of days ago, and its sort of the thing dominating my head space. Anyway, I usually take my 10/22 to shoot grouse. It’s more challenging than the shotgun and you don’t have to pick out any shot. But today, after the first couple fruitless miles of walking, I decided I didn’t need a challenge, I just needed to bag something and feel good about it.

I even managed to turn on and start recording on the action cam, a knock off go pro called a Wespire for the fraction of the price. It was clipped onto the front chest strap of my backpack. Its a decent camera, although it was aimed poorly. Its still a good test of quality, and its kind of fun to share the environment I was in to hunt grouse.

I Wish I had mounted the camera a little better so that it was pointed directly at where I was pointing my shotgun, but its still a good example of the quality of the video that can be taken by the GoPro clone.

I used #8 lead, in my 12g Benelli Montefeltro, with an improved cylinder choke. Worked well for a ~30 yard shot, but really should have used #5 or #6.

I ultimately walked about 8.25 miles over about 2 hours, spent about 5 dollars in gas, driving time for the round trip is about an hour, and I got one grouse that dressed out at 10.4 oz. Considering an organic, free range, hormone, and antibiotic free, boneless skinless chicken breast can cost anywhere from 4.99 to 12.99, I did just okay.

Its more about getting out, seeing and experiencing nature, getting a little exercise, and clearing my mind for a bit. Hunting is a good experience even if you aren’t able to bag your target game. I was happy to have something to bring home.

The Wespire 1080p camera worked great, and at a fraction the cost of a Go Pro. Its currently unavailable on Amazon, but I think the next step up might be the SJ7000. It has a higher resolution and frame rate for slow motion action.

Grouse Hunt America

If you have any problems with the video, It can be seen on youtube: https://youtu.be/72_D1Lt5ges

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Dove Decoys Part 2 – Shaping

| October 24, 2016
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Just an update to the dove decoy making. The majority of rough shaping of the first decoy is done. I need to work on head shape, then detail, but in general its looking half decent. I don’t ever start a project thinking I won’t finish it, but I was genuinely concerned that I didn’t have the talent to shape wood blanks into a convincing dove.

While I have decent enough wood working and carpentry skills, and I am confident using hand tools like rasps, files, chisels, and routers, for things like dove tails, tenons, and finger joints, this sort of shaping something from nothing falls into a category of art. I can easily see how people appreciate, and collect decoys as art.

Its actually been sort of strange how many tools I’ve used so far. I’m trying to use the right tool for the job. I cleaned up old 2x4s with the table saw. Then glued them up. I did the major rough cuts for shape and 45 degree cuts to create a ’rounded’ body from the blank with my table saw.

rough-shape-dove

I glued up a head block and tail then rough shaped them with a small hand saw, and chisels. The dove decoy immediately went from a block of round wood to a dove shape. I worked the body, head, and tail with a rasp. Uneven material was removed with chisels and hand routers. I continued to work the whole thing with a rasp.

Then I started to hit the decoy with files, and work it over with the rough drum sanding bit on a Dremel 4000. A little sand paper on the whole thing, and now I can visualize what the final bird should look like. I’ll post a new update after I finish shaping the head and add a little detail.

I’m really starting to look forward to getting beyond roughing things out. It’ll be fun to get to the point where I start detailing, texturing, and painting the decoy to look like a collared dove. While I probably could have done all the work with hand tools, the Dremel 4000 was beyond helpful for removing small amounts of material quickly and smoothly, and will come in handy when it comes time to add detail. If your budget affords it, and you don’t already have a rotary tool you should get yourself a Dremel 4000. I’ve used it for so many things now, it’s paid for itself ten fold in time savings. If you have any suggestions or comments, please leave me a comment below. Thanks

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Dove Decoys Part 1

| October 19, 2016
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Collared and mourning doves frequently land in the yard and forage for food and grit. I will occasionally harvest a collared dove or two with my Crosman 1322 air gun, and cook em up with dinner.

I decided I wanted them to frequent the property more often, and broadcasting wild bird seed as well as setting up a few decoys would be the way to do it.

I’m approaching this in multiple steps. Step one, create decoys. Step two, add movement to decoys. I had some 2×4 scraps sitting around, so I decided to glue up some blanks that I could carve into decoys.

I drafted a dove pattern, but expanded the size from a mourning dove to a collared dove size. My plan is to carve the body from the glued blanks, after adding a head and separate tail piece. I may ultimately wish I just sculpted these from foam, and finished them with mastic like duck decoys, or even bondo and some fiberglass, but with the scraps of short 2×4 pieces I had on hand, it made sense to give wooden dove decoys a try.

dove-pattern

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So to re-hash, this is going to be a two step process. Step one is to create decoys, and decide if wood or foam and composite are the way to go. I could also create a mold from a wooden decoy if I am pleased with the outcome, then use expanding foam to create a lot more dove decoys.

Step two will be to add movement and realism to the decoy by use of a simple oscillating circuit, and a vibrating motor or solenoid to drive artificial wings. I know there are a million companies selling stuff like that already. However, given my skill set and knowledge of electronics and programming, I’d rather spend 2 dollars on parts, and not 15 or more dollars on a prefab item that won’t fit my decoys, or do exactly what I want them to do. Besides, I enjoy the process.

Feel free to share your thoughts, or contribute any suggestions via the comments.

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12 Foot Pounds, 600 FPS Plus, Crosman 1322

| October 18, 2016
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

In the quest for 12 foot ponds of energy, I decided after all the modding to my Crosman 1322, that I would over pump and see what I could generate in terms of power. I originally expected that I was going to have to increase the barrel length to get to 12 foot pounds of energy. As it turns out, it is achievable without. But just barely.

fps-1322-12 fpe

Over pumping resulted in shot strings that were over 600 fps with 14.3g Crosman premier domed and pointed, pellets. My highest that I could record is the 618 FPS.

The sweet spot for consistent shot strings for my pistol now lies around 16 pumps, for over 580 fps. I’ve taken rabbits past 65 yards with the 1322 in Wyoming winds, and I have no ethical or moral qualms with the dispatching energy even greater distances.

In ideal conditions, I’d like to use a rest, or shooting sticks, and try to take a rabbit or grouse, past 100 yards. I’m still toying with the idea of a few more inches of barrel length so I don’t waste air, but am not sure I want increase the gun size and decrease the backpack portability of the pistol.

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Elk Hunting, Meat, and Idiots

| October 18, 2016
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Elk 2016 Back Strap

I’ve been out elk hunting with my girlfriend. She has a few tags to fill, and so I’ve been supporting her effort to do that. It’s the reason that its been a while since I posted anything.

She filled her elk tag, as you can see from the feature photo of two beautiful backstraps. We butchered it, and we’ve been busy processing, grinding, sausage making, etc.

Elk hunting can be a little time consuming if you aren’t as fortunate as some. And by some, I mean those who just so happen to run into a bunch of elk whilst cruising on an atv, 200 yards from where they dragged their massive camper trailer. We weren’t as fortunate. We put in 5 days and a few nights, averaging between 8.5 and 10 miles on foot, much of it in snowshoes, and a few cold tent camping nights down to 15 degrees before my girlfriend tagged out 7 days into the season. Here is a picture of a nice pond with a beaver dam, as well as a road that was blocked by trees that went down under heavy snow fall and high winds during our hunt.

beaver damn elk hunt

down trees on snow covered road

The elk hunting pressure of rifle season is outrageous. Guides must be instructing knit wits to shoot at anything that moves, at any distance. I can’t imagine any other reason for hearing so many consecutive shots, firing so frequently, when nobody is harvesting an animal.

It’s obvious to me that if it takes more than three shots to take an animal, let alone continue to miss one, that the shot is unethical, and you probably shouldn’t have taken the first one to begin with.

Even if someone did hit an animal after three rounds, what are the chances the shot is going to be well placed. Its more likely the shooter will injure the animal, or the shooter isn’t going to track a wounded animal. Shooting 500 yards across a meadow, because that is how far an ATV could take a hunter, doesn’t make me confident that the hunter will chase a wounded animal a few thousand yards off of a two track and up any sort of elevations through dense tree fall and snow.

I won’t say much more about it, besides how unethical it is, and to those folks or the folks who profit off of that kind of guiding, eat a bag of Richards.

My girlfriend took her elk at 190 yards with a single shot to vitals, and the elk dropped within 20 yards. We are thankful for the meat, a successful hunt, and no predator encounters in bear and wolf country. She didn’t get the bull she wanted, but we have a freezer full of ethically harvested meat.

I’ll post up about all the great things we’ve been doing with the meat, and tools we’ve been using to process the meat soon. As of right now we have put the rebuilt kitchen aid mixer with meat grinder attachment and a Hakka Sausage Stuffer (7Lb/3L) to use.

Also as far as hunting elk is concerned, we had a lot of good action with the Mac Daddy Elk Grunt Bugle. The external reed is easy to use, and we got a bull to get within 100 yards in thick trees under heavy hunting pressure. Unfortunately, no good shot presented itself. The trees were so thick it would have required a bull come in to about 40 yards, but for all the hunting pressure, I can still vouch for the effectiveness of the Mac Daddy.

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