Monday, January 19, 2009

Spending time with St. Peter

My rifle named St. Peter.

Another deer hunting season has passed here in Texas. As usual I did not get a deer. The difference with not getting a deer this year compared to not getting a deer other years was this year I actually went deer hunting. I used to do a lot of hunting while growing up back in Minnesota and a bit while in South Dakota. I had finally found some private land to hunt on in New York when I ended up moving down to Texas. I figured Texas was hunter's heaven but it turns out there's very little public hunting land available here. Worse, what public land there is is swarming with people during deer season. I don't like those odds. So I was overjoyed when Wildcat invited me out on an overnight hunting trip on private land!

My hunting rifle is a Mosin-Nagant Carbine manufactured at the Tula armory in 1944. In light of it's history (and the fact that it would hopefully send deer and wild pigs to deer/wild pig heaven, assuming there is such a place even though it is counter to current Catholic religious teachings on the ability of non-human creatures to posses souls...but I digress) "St. Peter" seemed a good name for this rifle.

Hey, if Elric can swing around a hunk of steel and call it "Stormbringer" why can't I give my updated (which is a funny use of the word considering the rifle is a relic) steel a name?

Sighting in.

Mosin-Nagants make pretty good hunting rifles as they are sturdy, inexpensive, accurate enough, powerful (equivalent to a .30-06), and the ammo is really cheap. They really only have two down sides. The first is that the sights aren't easily adjustable. In fact, it's easier to see where it does shoot and then adjust your aim accordingly. The second issue is that they do not have a hunter-friendly safety.

Step one: control the bleeding.

Okay, I'm just playing with you. The above injury was not the result of the Mosin-Nagant's lack of a safety. It was due to Wildcat's axe not having a safety! Within ten minutes of getting to the deer camp Wildcat managed to slice open his shin when his axe glanced off the log he had been chopping. It took a lot of gauze and duct tape to seal the wound. Thankfully, he was nice enough to not go to the emergency room for three days so as to avoid screwing up our hunting trip. Of course by then the doctor said there wasn't anything to be done except for painfully scrubbing it out and giving him a tetanus shot.

Same leg, two weeks later.

There's an old house on the property but it's over-run with rats and snakes so we pitched camp in it's yard. Wildcat used a hammock and I actually broke down and used the tent I used out backpacking in Big Bend.

Ready for a nice, relaxing sleep...uh, what was that noise?

The house actually started out as a school back in the late 1800's. Now it's just a convenient way of keep junk and trash from getting wet when it rains. Next to the house is a really cool well. The opening is about three feet across and it goes down fifteen feet or so before opening up to an underground cistern. Next time we go there I really want to bring my ladder and metal detector along to check this thing out.

What lies in the bottom of the well?

We saw lots of signs that prey was present, but never actually saw a deer or wild pig. However, Wildcat did come across a crow stealing grain from their cows and took appropriate action.

Yes, this is legal.

And suprisingly tasty!

I'd say better than goose or duck but not as good as pigeon.

Wildcat uses a nice little 20 gauge, single-shot shotgun whose barrel he cut down to 18" (he does his own gun smithing, not to mention forging knives, leather working, and assorted other amazing stuff). He keeps assorted shells in a carrier on the butt of the shotgun so he can take down whatever game (deer/dove/rabbit/squirrel/etc...) he comes upon while strolling through the woods. I thought a 20 gauge wouldn't kick much but because it's so light the thing really knocked me back the first time I tried it. Still, I like the concept and am looking to buy my own 20 gauge single-shot shotgun. Drop me a line if you have one for sale (Local area only, I don't want the hassle of having one shipped to me).

Sadly, the weather worked against us with rain and mugginess. Worse, it turned beautiful right about the time we were leaving. Deer season is over but luckily my license is still good for feral pigs until August. With luck a few of them will end up in my freezer and St. Peter will have earned it's name.

Adventure! Excitement! Bang!


Wildcat said...

That was a good time. Any time you want to go explore the well, let me know. I'll hold the rescue rope. :)

I'm glad I could be there to take the axe hit thus keeping you from getting hurt. :)


BigDaddyTX said...

I don't know if they have them still, but I owned the Wal-Mart single shot 20ga el-cheapo special for years before I gave it to my little brother, who still uses it today. I'd venture to guess it's 18 years old and shoots like a champ, and only cost $80 when I got it, so maybe $100 now assuming they actually still sell them, I'll look next time I stop in and let you know, but probably someone will have an older used one.

That crow is huge. Going to have to start hunting those instead of dove, looks like it would be more rewarding, but I'm guessing with my luck I'd shoot a grackle instead.

BigDaddyTX said...

That does remind me of a hilarious story about my cousin and friend who were hunting dove, and saw a turkey hopping through the bushes, and of course, we've never had a turkey on our property before, so blam, they shoot it, and it doesn't die, so blam, they shoot it again and again, since they're just using #8 bird shot meant for doves, and finally after something like 6 shots it finally stops, and sure enough, they got a turkey.. vulture.

gizmojumpjet said...

Since when do you need a license for feral pigs? PS: Mosin's do have a safety...

Christina E. Rodriguez said...

"I'd say better than goose or duck but not as good as pigeon."

No way! Really? I've never eaten crow but have a hard time imagining that it beats the taste of duck.

Wildcat said...

you do need a license to hunt feral pigs unless they are on your private property causing damage. on state or lease property, you still have to have a base hunting license for non-game animals.


Merriwether said...

True, Mosin-Nagants do have a safety, but it is more involved than just flicking a button. It requires two hands, one to hold the rifle securely and the other to pull back on the bolt knob and turn it a quarter turn or so until it locks. This requires a great deal of force and is practically impossible to do without scaring away the deer.

My experiences with duck are that it requires special care to cook otherwise it has that nasty-tallowy taste to it. The crow's breast was simply skewered on a piece of wood and cooked over the fire with no seasoning or care. Basically we cooked it until it looked done (no pink, no blood when cut) then chowed down. It was suprisingly tastey!

Anonymous said...

Nice. My M44 is a 1944 as well, but from Izhevsk.
I just wanted to make sure you know that the bayonet affects your shot. Whichever position it is in when sighted, have it that way when you spot your deer. (You thought manipulating the safety gets a deer's attention...)
I also like this post because I really hate crows.

J-Ro said...

And you wonder why I always make sure K is responsible for preparing any food you bring to our parties... :)

That was a nasty axe cut. That brings up a subject you may want to mention - reminding everyone to do an annual or semi-annual review of the contents of their first aid kits, especially the one in your car. Texas heat can play hell on some of the contents. Nothing worse than needing something and finding out that your chemical cold pack has exploded all over the contents of your first aid box...

Windrider said...

What would Doug Ritter say?


Windrider said...

p.s. be careful with that fold-away bayonet.

I almost got my arse royally hemmed up with a rather aggressive Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden because I left mine on my SKS.