Benjamin David

First Time Gun Buyers

| March 29, 2020
FTGB California Pepe
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 ordered an AR15 lower ahead of a 10 day trip to rural NY. I did it before the Coronavirus really started to grip America, devastate the economy, and cause so much fear and uncertainty, that first time gun buyers would line up in droves to buy a gun.

Californians have to wait 10 days (10 24hr periods) to pick up a firearm, while background checks occur, and the CA DOJ does whatever the hell it does.

I’m not a particularly patient person. I thought buying an AR15 lower mid-way to the airport I was going to travel out of, would be a smart way to endure the wait.

SHTF, or at least began to, during that trip. My home is a 5.5 hour drive from the airport. The gun shop where I had to pick up my AR15 lower is 1.25 hours into my drive. What should have taken 5 minutes to pick up took 2.5 hours.

I arrived at the store, and waited in a line, outside in the rain for over an hour an a half. Turners Outdoorsman was responsibly only allowing 10 people to physically be in the store at a time, in attempt to limit the spread and exposure of the Coronavirus. There was also plenty of hand sanitizer on the gun and checkout counters.

I have no problem waiting in line for what I consider a reasonable and responsible social response. I didn’t however, enjoy wasting my time because of all of my uninformed peers, who have willingly through voting and willful ignorance, long since given the state over to anti-gunners, and wasted my time by being in line.

The demographic of those causing longer lines, was mostly first time gun buyers(from here on out we will call them FTGBs), complete idiots, and couch ninjas.

FTGB 1
A woman joined the line 15 minutes after I got there and was actively smoking. Sure, she observed about 6 feet of distance because of the Coronavirus, but had no issue with actively killing her self and sharing those carcinogens with me and everyone else in line. Later, in the store, she asked “what would be better, a pistol or a shotgun?”. She was pointing at things in a catalog, and based here choices on aesthetics. They were out of stock on the Mossberg she saw in the catalog anyway, and even if she did buy a 12 gauge shotgun to pick up in 10 days, Turners was clean out of 9mm and 12 gauge ammunition.

FTGB 2
ID-iots. Yep ID lacking first time gun buyers. Occasionally a Turners employee would come outside, and make very clear, what forms of ID, proof of citizenship, etc. that somebody would need to start the 10 day purchase process of a firearm. At every announcement at least a couple folks would look perplexed, and leave, or ask for clarity before leaving.

FTGB 3
LA Bros… Because LA is out of ammo… If you don’t already have ammo for at least an emergency, why do you even have a gun at home. From the perspective of a firearm owner who uses firearms, for hunting, home defense, and recreation, I don’t understand why somebody doesn’t have a small emergency stash of ammo. Why don’t you have ammo Bro? Did you skip the last Bass Pro sale like you actively skipped leg day?

FTGB 4
Couch ninjas who should stick to video games and social media trolling, because you don’t know shit about what you are doing when it comes to guns. I am no fashion expert, but most twenty something year old folks, who wear matching top and bottom sweats, where the pants hug your ankles, unmarred running shoes, and adds candy to it with a chain and diamond studs, are total dickbags. I watch this jabroni, pass over most higher priced AR Platforms, SCARS, Scropions etc. and asked to look at a Kel-tec Sub-2000 9MM. Mind you it was right after one of many announcents that there is no 9mm or 12 gauge ammo. I’m certain that dipshit couch ninja still has no idea there is no chance he is getting ammo for the firearm he ends up with.

FTGB 5
With only 10 folks allowed in the store at any given time, its infuriating to watch the lady who takes a firearm safety certificate test. Wastes an hour of employee time to administer and then subsequently go over nearly all the answers, because she got nearly all of it wrong. Please for the love of god waste your own time, go online and take some practice tests, before wasting everybody else’s time.

Whats the moral of the FTGB story?
If you are panic gun buyer, and you are just now realizing what a pain in the ass it is to get a firearm in California. Well that’s what you get. Perhaps in the future you won’t be so quick to let California politicians and anti-gun groups infringe on your second amendment rights. Maybe now you’ll realize there are indeed background checks, fees, wait times, and prerequisites to buying a firearm. It’s been like this for years and years, and it doesn’t stop criminals from acquiring firearms and doing criminal things. Gun shops in California are not like grocery stores. You don’t walk in and walk out with a gun and ammo, like you would a bag of groceries.

I am very thankful for Turners Outdoorsman for their patience, and procedural handling during the corona crisis leading up to the shutdown. I also greatly appreciate a business that is selling guns in California and not cowing to political pressure, and optics like Dicks Sporting Goods recently has. Please support those who support your rights.

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Waterfowl Concealment

| March 13, 2020
duck hunting concealment
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.

Blend In
Camouflage everything. This isn’t just about you and your personal gear, it means your blind too. The best concealment is a natural one. Vegetation or artificial netting, grass mats, raffia, and corn stalks, used to brush a blind, should match the local vegetation. It seems like a no-brainer but think about where you will hunt, and what would make blend in best. Also, work with the terrain. A tall blind set up in short vegetation, doesn’t look natural, regardless of how well the camouflage matches the vegetation of the environment.

Don’t Shine
I am a fan of the natural walnut and black gloss barrel and receiver of my 12 gauge Benelli Montefeltro. But it isn’t the best shotgun for waterfowl hunting. Fortunately, self-cling wraps, like Gear Aid Camo Form cling wrap provide a fast, affordable, and effective option for camouflaging guns, and any other equipment that isn’t well camouflaged. Cling Wraps have an added benefit of variety. Buying a couple of wraps for snowy conditions, grassy conditions etc. give a versatility to your weapon to blend in to many surroundings

Don’t Move
Like a flash of light, movement, even in a blind is a fast way for migratory birds to identify something unnatural is happening. So don’t move more than you have to.

Be Quiet
Human voices aren’t natural sounds to birds. Like a bad sheen, and movement, noise is a good way to scare of birds.

Concealment Equipment Tips
Birds have the ability to see into a range of the UV spectrum that humans cannot. This makes the sheen of the sun on your skin more visible to them, and an obvious tell that there is danger on the a spread of decoys in front of them. Wearing hood, or a hat and mask combination is an effective way to avoid being seen.
King’s Camo® Hood Mask
Hard Core® Men’s ArcTech Fleece Ulti-Mask
Cabela’s Camo Face Mask Cap

Layout blinds are a versatile option for hunting waterfowl. They bascally come in two varieties, a lot of different colors and materials, and a rage of costs.
Framed Camo Pattern Option – $249
Bulk Decoy Club Lightweight Field Hunting Layout Blind – $89 This is the blind used in the featured photo, brushed with raffia grass. It is really light at 4 lbs, and can be used to transport up to 18 decoys, and a tiny bit of equipment.

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Duck Euro Mount

| January 19, 2020
mallard duck euro mount
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 really happen to like euro style mounts across just about every animal species, so I did a euro mount out of a Mallard Drake to add to my collection.

Because of the fragile and small nature of a bird skull, they are actually more work to clean than a larger skull.

The 4 step boiling method however, is the same.

Step 1: Cleaning
Remove as much muscle and tissue as possible, then gently boil with dish soap.

Step 2: Boiling and Cleaning
After boiling for a while, use your judgement, remove any additional loosened tissue, like brain, or connective tissue, replace water with clean water and more dish soap, and continue to boil. Repeat step 2 as many times as it take to remove all tissue.

Step 3: Bleaching
Do a last boil with soap, but also add hydrogen peroxide. If the skull properly cleaned at this point, you don’t need very much hydrogen peroxide to get a nice white skull. I personally like to see a tiny bit of color in various parts of a skull. Bleaching also helps kill any bacteria that would cause any hidden or unseen tissue from rotting later. Although this step can be done with bleach, as the name implies, bleach will make bones chalky, and weak.

Step 4: Let Dry
The simplest step, let dry. I let dry in direct sunlight, as this seems to help whiten the skull to a more bright white. Make sure no critters steal your mount at this stage.

Step 5: Sealing(Optional)
I don’t ever seal my euro mounts, I’ve never found a need. However some people will clear coat, lacquer, or even paint white, their skulls.

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Bagged a Mallard Drake

| January 11, 2020
mallard drake
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.

Bagged a Mallard Drake. While its not a big deal to a lot of waterfowl hunters who do it all the time, I’ve never made much of an effort to hunt migratory birds before. I’ve spent a few good days scouting, 6 mornings and one evening setting up, hours observing and learning about weather influence, proper decoy placement, and passed on a lot of diver ducks, waiting for a Mallard, Teal, other dabbling duck, or a goose.

After an unsuccessful morning hunt, and a solid day of working, I returned to the field for an evening hunt. I set up my mallard decoys just right for the wind conditions. A lone Mallard spotted the landing zone of my decoys, dropped in like a cruise missile, then flared to land. I took my shot and folded him right at the edge of some frozen ice.

I was rewarded for my patience(something I have very little of) and my persistence. I had bagged my target bird, a Mallard Drake, and no longer felt bad about passing on a bunch of diver ducks.

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Green Teal Duck Hunt

| December 9, 2019
Green Teal Hen and Drake
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.

Its been a while since I had a chance to get out and do any successful wing shooting. So when I harvested a couple Green Teal ducks the other day, I was pretty happy.

After a late start on an overcast morning. I set up a short camouflage blind against a background of tall sage brush, and lazily tossed 6 Hard Core Brands Mallard Decoys into some shallow water in front of it. I used a blind similar to the Ameristep 4-Spur Blind and it was just way too short. I ended up doing a bunch of crouching.

Reflection on Lake

Two ducks down, on a lake with cool reflections.

A small group of ducks eventually made a mistake, and flew in over the dekes. I doubt they were enticed by my shitty calling.

I usually shoot upland birds, Dove, quail, grouse and chukar, and don’t have a ton of migratory bird hunting experience. It’s probably the reason I didn’t gauge my shooting distance too well, and thought the rather small Teal were twice as far and twice as big. I waited longer than I had too and folded 2 birds.

The birds fell into about 6 inches of water, and a friends young lab, after a significant amount of coercing, retrieved the ducks. The commotion on the side of the lake, pushed the ducks off, so we called it good for the day.

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Eat Jackrabbits

| August 13, 2019
jackrabbit
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.

Can you eat jackrabbits? The short answer is Yes.

However, if you ask most American hunters if you can eat a jackrabbit, the answers are lots of variants of No.

The most common responses are:
“You can eat almost anything, doesn’t mean it will taste good.”
“I’d rather eat boot leather.”
“They are stringy and leathery, and I leave them for coyotes.”
“They are nasty predators, full of worms and disease, and shouldn’t be consumed.”
“My friend tried it once and said…”

jackrabbit

A lot of what I’ve heard and read, are the opinions of people trying them, by deciding to clean them after their guts have sat in them warm for a while, and then sticking them haphazardly on the side of a campfire hours later, then being un-shockingly disappointed. While some people enjoy this Neanderthal method of cooking, and it works well for some quarry, I prefer the methods developed over 45,000 years of evolution, and food science to boot.

I’m not going to dive into the species and subspecies science of jackrabbits beyond stating that jackrabbits are hares, not rabbits. They are just like a snowshoe hare, which I personally think taste delicious.

Like cottontail rabbits, and other hare species, they can carry Tularemia, bot fly larvae, ticks, and fleas. The fleas can also carry disease, like Bubonic Plague. Hunting any rabbit or hare in colder months can help reduce some of the insect and larvae issues.

With all that said, the cleanest rabbit or hare I have ever taken was jackrabbit at the end of July in California at about 9,000 feet. It didn’t have a single flea, or tick, and was I completely mind blown.

Tularemia is transmittable via open wounds, eyes, maybe even possibly just normal skin contact, but don’t quote me on that.

So don’t be a jackass(original pre-concatenation of the jackass-rabbit’s name), and wear gloves when butchering any rabbit or hair species. I carry nitrile or latex gloves as part of my kill kit, and use them to butcher everything. I also only shoot any rabbits with a head shot from a 22lr or .22 air pistol to control the carnage, and keep processing very clean.

As far as jackrabbit recipes go, I’ll let you explore for yourself. Hank Shaw’s website, or Steven Rinella’s The Meateater website are a good start. See links below. I will say that Americans should shake the jackrabbit stigma, and embrace consuming them, because they taste pretty good. Granted, if you suck at cooking almost anything can taste like shit, and that’s on you.

I’ve made stews, tacos, braised recipes, and even schnitzel, from rabbits and hares. I’ve even had snow hare in my ramen.

Hasenpfeffer Dumplings
Hare Stew
Jackrabbit Bourguignon

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Better Solar Battery Bank

| July 6, 2019
solar battery wiring tight
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 built a solar powered backup battery a couple years ago, but decided to make a better solar battery bank. I originally thought I needed more room for more 12v lead acid batteries when I built the last version. I never added 12v lead acid batteries, because LiPo batteries started looking appealing, and did not want to waste time or money on increasing amps, with more lead acid batteries. They are also quite heavy.

The lead acid batteries I have, still have plenty of life, so I decided to re-use them. The new version is more compact, and better insulated against weather.

solar battery internal fitmentsolar battery wiring 2solar battery wiringside view of wiringsolar battery wiring tightold vs new side by sideold vs new top viewtop view of switches

I re-used 4 12v 7AH and 1 12v 8AH battery. I secured them into an internal holder, made of plywood. The internal holder protects the batteries, prevents movement, makes the carrier more rigid, and gives me a place to mount my screw block terminal for a cleaner wiring job.

The battery box is tactical ammo box, from Harbor Freight. On its own, its somewhat flimsy and unimpressive, but the dimension were perfect for 5 12v lead acid batteries. Its also waterproof, and has a nice little ‘top compartment’ for protecting toggle switches from the elements. The wiring is nice and clean, and fairly straight forward. All wires go to their respective polarity on a terminal block.

Three switches run three different plugs. Two of those switches run waterproof cigarette lighter sockets, which is how I am attaching the solar cell during the day time. A third switch runs a dual 5V 2.1A usb port, although this one, with a voltage indicator built in, would be the better option if I didn’t already have a mini digital voltmeter.

When we are car camping, or experiencing a power outage, we are able to comfortably power a automotive immersion beverage heater, a small USB fan, 6' led lights, and an inverter when needed.

This reduces the need to start the car and burn fuel, and lets us keep phones, GPS, watches, bluetooth speakers, and headlamps fully charged.

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Legal Lead Ammo

| July 5, 2019
lead free 22
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.

The California statewide ban on lead ammo is now in effect.  Sure condors and other critters will continue to choke on old wheel balancing weights, trash, and lead fishing weights, but that’s because the lead free movement isn’t really about the environment, its about gun control.

In California, I can hunt a variety of small game using Crosman .22 cal 14.3g lead hunting pellets 500 pellets runs $6.28 on Amazon or 1.256 cents per pellet.  However, it is now illegal for me to use lead 36g 22lr ammo to hunt anything. If it sounds stupid, its because it is.

lead free 22

So what gives? Certainly its not environmental concerns driving this type of legislation, or we’d see more effective legislation protecting the environment holistically.  In addition to the statewide lead hunting ammo ban, background checks for ammo purchases are now a thing.  The government will most definitely be keeping tabs on your ammo sales.

I went through a background check at Dick’s Sporting Goods, and bought 2 boxes of lead free CCI COPPER-22 ammo for my 22lr. *At 8.99 for each 50 round box, that’s 17.98 cents per round, a stark contrast from my average 3.5 cent lead 22lr rounds.  The process was made more simple for me, because I had given them my patronage and bought firearms through them, before they got on the anti 2a political band wagon.  I did not have to pay 19 dollars for the background check, which would have made the purchase of 20 dollars worth of ammo twice as expensive, and a deal breaker.

The combined legislation effectively increases ammo costs more than 4 fold, decreases the availability of ammo as there are way less lead free options, adds a burden of background checks, and effectively taxes the law abiding citizen a $20 fee to legally purchase ammo.

The laws do nothing to curtail gun violence, they arguably do nothing or next to nothing for wildlife, and they encourage legal gun owners to break the law and buy ammo where its less restrictive and less burdensome.

The laws do seem to do one thing, and that is to help pacify an anti-gun voter base, that keeps our legislatures at the helm of an otherwise great state. But its never enough for them.

For more on the BS about lead, read for yourself here http://www.huntfortruth.org/myths/

*I also want to be clear, that I am not criticizing CCI, they are producing a product to satisfy California’s small game hunters. It is understandably more expensive than lead.

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2018 Holiday Gift Guide

| November 7, 2018
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.
‘Tis the season of feeling compelled to buy things. So if you are going to gift give this holiday season, make them gifts that matter. These are items I highly recommend for anyone who has a lifestyle similar to my own. They are gifts that will get mileage, and repeated use.

Household

Nesco Food Dehydrator

The Nesco food dehydrator is a good value for the price. Its 600 watts, and has an adjustable thermostat ranging from 95º to 160º F. That means jerky can be made safely, without pasteurizing in an oven before or after drying. Buy It - $57.55

Lodge 6QT. Cast Iron

We only use our enameled cast irons. They don’t stick, are easy to clean, and heat evenly, even on the crappiest of stove tops. If you prefer to support an american made product, and thats why you buy Lodge, well you are shit out of luck. Lodge Enameled cast irons are manufactured in China, just like Cuisinart. Atleast there are a plethora of colors to choose from, and they still seem well made. Buy It - $59.97

Hunting

Simmons Truplex Riflescope (3-9X40, Matte)

This is an unbeatable scope for the price. Other brands can compete on price, but not quality. Easily as good as scopes that cost twice a much. Throw this on your small game 22, or your plinker, and get some more life out of your rifle. Buy It - $44.50

Vortex Diamondback Binos

The best optics for the price. I don’t think there is a better pair of binos, near the cost of these optics. If you need something better, maybe you actually need a spotting scope.
Buy It - $229.99

Bino Harness

Because you need free hands, and pulling binos in and out of a pack, is noisy, and it gets old. Buy It - $49.99

Havalon Knives

I stopped fiddling with knife sharpening and maintenance of hunting knives. Havalon knives use replaceable blades, that are a surgical scalpel level of sharp. They make field processing game quick, and easy. Buy It - $35.99

“Circe” Predator Call

Bring in the ‘yotes, and collect some pelts. Does will also come in thinking a fawn is in distress. So will bears, so be armed. Seriously though, don’t get caught calling in packs of apex predators without your firearm. Its a great stocking stuffer for any predator hunter. Buy It - $10.77

Crosman 1322

The 1322 is a simple and reliable .22 caliber air pistol. Its compact enough to stick in a pack, and because its a pump gun, it does not require compressed air or CO2. It’s accurate with stock sights, and adding a steel breach makes it more than strong enough to be a great squirrel, rabbit, snow hare, and grouse gun. Buy It - $48.00

Crosman Steel Breech

Get more power out of your Crosman 1322. Go from a stock 7.5 foot pounds to, over 12 foot pounds with a few DIY mods, and this steel breech. Buy It - $49.99

Off Grid Living

25 Watt Solar Kit

Whether hunting or traveling to remote areas, a solar cell and charger is just nice to have. Charge and maintain a car battery, or back-up battery. While it doesn’t replace a generator, its smaller, and a lot more simple. Buy It - $57.99

12v Beverage Heater

Its crude, but it gets the job done. When you are on the go, and don’t have time to fire up the stove to make a hot beverage, this will help. Stick in a cup, plug in to a 12v car outlet, add some instant coffee or tea. Having a hot beverage for such a minimal level of effort is a million times better than having nothing at all. Buy It - $11.33

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