Outdoors With Charlie Chalk

Outdoors Archives


December 23, 2005

Stripers to Be a National Game Fish

Stripers Forever, an Internet-based advocacy group, announced that Maine Congressmen Tom Allen and Mike Michaud have signed on as co-sponsors of HR 2059, a bill which designates the wild striped bass as a national game fish.

“Wild striped bass are already considered game fish in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia,” says Brad Burns, President of Stripers Forever.  “But because the conservation measures practiced by one state can simply be offset by the excesses of neighboring states, Stripers Forever thinks the only way to effectively manage the species is to give it game fish status throughout its migratory range.”

“I have supported national game fish designation for the striped bass since I entered Congress in 1997,” Representative Allen said.  “This magnificent species is a national asset.  I will continue to work with others in Congress to advance this important legislation.”

Stripers Forever thanks Representative Michaud and Representative Allen for their support of this very important piece of legislation.  You are asked to contact your congressional representatives in an effort to build a large list of co-sponsors of HR 2059.

For more information, go to the organization’s website www.stripersforever.org.


December 16, 2005

For our Female Readers

The number of teenage girls participating in shotgun sports is up dramatically over the past five years, surveys show.  Across the sports of trap, skeet, and sporting clays, the number of female participants age 12 - 17 rose 56 percent - from 133,000 to 208,000 - between 1999 and 2004, according to a National Sporting Goods Association report.

“Nationwide, over a third of all female participants in shotgun sports today are under 24.  There’s a growing youth movement in shooting, and it’s a credit to the many programs that are opening doors and creating opportunities for women of all ages to enjoy outdoor lifestyles,” said Cyndi Dalena, NSSF director of shooting sports development.

In a 2005 survey, 94 percent of parents said the competitive shooting program is a positive influence in their child’s development.  Overwhelmingly, parents observed improved responsibility, teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership skills.

Growth also is being documented in hunting.  Between 1997 and 2004, 2,426,000 women of all ages hunted, up more than 20 percent compared to 2,018,000 in 1998.

Programs like New Hampshire’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman program and the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) Women in the Outdoors program focus specifically on introducing women to activities like shooting and hunting.  For more information, visit www.nssf.org and www.nsga.org.


December 9, 2005

Be a Survivor

"Prepared to Survive" -- a comprehensive, intensely practical video guide for dealing with the unexpected in the outdoors -- is now available from LifeView Outdoors.

"Because the unexpected can happen at any time, being equipped with the knowledge and skills to survive is essential," says Producer Mike Merryman.  "We read every year of day hikers who become lost in the woods, or backpackers who become trapped by an avalanche or high water, or hunters who find themselves far from camp when the weather turns bad.  Anyone can suddenly be thrust into a survival situation, and knowing what to do can literally mean the difference between life and death."

The series is hosted by Gretchen Cordy, a former Air Force survival instructor and nationally recognized survival expert who is perhaps best known as a veteran of the first "Survivor" series.  Along with Cordy, "Prepared to Survive" also features three other renowned wilderness experts.

Drawing on their knowledge and experience, these experts offer easy-to-follow, step-by-step guidance that will enable viewers to master and use a wide range of skills.  Disc one includes detailed sections on preparing for the outdoors, setting survival priorities, thinking clearly in stressful situations, building a fire, sending emergency signals, constructing shelters, finding and purifying water, and improvising.  Disc two offers information on basic first aid, creating a survival kit, tying knots and lashings, and choosing a knife.  It also includes informative stories from the experience of a national park ranger.

"'Prepared To Survive” will take you a long way toward self-reliance if you lack the skills, and a long way further if you already possess some of the skills," says Tilton, who has taught outdoor safety and survival for 30 years.

Preview clips from the videos may be seen at www.lifeviewoutdoors.com.  The two-DVD set, which retails for $34.95, was created to benefit everyone who ventures in the outdoors, regardless of age or experience, from hunters and casual weekend hikers to seasoned wilderness backpackers.


December 2, 2005

Check your Outdoor Christmas List

It’s that time of year again for my outdoor gift list.  (Not for me, for someone you know).  A recent article in a major sporting magazine, by a humorist, pointed out that if people consider you "outdoorsy" they will try to get you something they think you need, even if they don't have the foggiest idea what an outdoorsy person needs.  Therefore, here are a few ideas.  Knives, compasses, folding walking staff, flashlights, and first-aid kits make great small gifts that anyone can use.  Moving up to the mid-range, consider binoculars, GPS, riflescopes, and digital cameras.

Top-of-the-heap includes rods, bows, guns, safes and sporting art works.  There you go -- a list for all budgets and in an easy format to present to friends in a fog.


November 25, 2005

Not So Good News

Rising commodity prices are a very ugly truth in today's firearms industry.  Copper, lead, zinc, steel, resins, electricity, and natural gas are products upon which firearms and ammunition manufacturers depend, and the costs for each have continued to climb - sharply - over the past 18 months. 

Today, copper sells for around $2 per pound; a metric ton of lead has risen to over $900 per ton.  If you're Remington and use 16,000 tons of lead annually, these prices represent a major impact on manufacturing costs - and the bottom line.

The marketplace will only absorb so much price pressure before there's a change in consumer spending habits.  Changes that mean less spending and lower demand.  Those potential failures may be accelerated if/when America's "big box" retailers suddenly realize they have product just sitting on their valuable shelf space.  “Big-box" observers say there are a couple of likely scenarios.  Initially, they might reduce selections and reduce inventories, hoping to regain faster product "turns."  If that doesn't work, they may simply decide to return unsold inventory and completely discontinue the entire category.

In fact, Remington's next round of cost hikes begins December 1 when a four-percent firearms increase goes into effect.  On January 1, Remington ammunition will have a six-percent across-the-board price hike.

So what does any of this business mumbo-jumbo mean for the rest of us?  It will certainly mean higher prices in the short term.  In the mid term, they say it may mean fewer choices in ammunition varieties and retail locations.  In the long term, should conditions not improve for several companies, industry observers and analysts say it will almost certainly mean fewer brands.


November 18, 2005

World BASS Pro Steps Down

Sixty five-year-old Florida pro Roland Martin announced his retirement last week.  "I'm a really proud person, but I came to the conclusion that I can no longer compete with guys like (Michael) Iaconelli because they’re just fishing better than I am.  It is just the consistently crummy fishing I've had lately."  

             Martin's retirement harkens the end of an era.  It is fair to say Martin had as much to do with the growth of tournament bass fishing as any person.  He was one of the pioneering anglers who toured the country with BASS founder Ray Scott, conducting fishing seminars and singing the praises of the fledgling organization.  His fishing exploits are unrivaled.  Today, his resume includes BASS records for victories (19), runner-up finishes (19), and CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles (nine).  In 2005, Martin's best finish was 16th place.  "It's time - in fact, it’s probably way past time," the 25-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier said.  "But I enjoyed it up to the end.  I still enjoy the fishing.”  So long to Roland, enjoy your retirement.


November 11, 2005

What’s Hot/ What’s Not

Here are some very interesting facts from a new Sports Participation Survey for 2004.

Hunting is down (1.1%), fishing (3.6%), and power boating (5.9%).  There were other areas where the news was better such as archery representing a hot growth market, boasting a 36.6 percent growth in target shooting and a 17.5 percent growth in bow hunting.

Even with a drop in firearms - hunting firearms, you see double-digit growth in muzzle loading (12.1%), target shooting (7%), and paintball (28%).  Further, there are 1.5 million more people target shooting than hunting.  There is quite likely some double counting across these segments, but it would seem to indicate a need for more outreach to the blackpowder and target shooting groups.

Skiing, however, is a divided category; with alpine and cross country measured as separate interests.  Alpine skiing, with more than twice the number of participants, shrank nearly 13 percent in 2004.  Cross-country skiing grew 21.6 percent to 2.4 million participants.  Likewise, snowboarding posted a 4.2 percent growth, translating to 6.6 million participants.

So, as you can see, the traditional outdoor sports continue to change, and with those changes will come new people getting outdoors.  I welcome all those who read this column to let the paper and me personally, what your interests are and what you would like to see covered in this column (Sources:  The National Sporting Goods Association).


November 4, 2005

Mounting a Deer Rack

Here are some tips for mounting a first deer, or a simple rack, and not spend a lot buying the professional kits.

Skin the skull and pull away any flesh possible.  On an outdoor stove, simmer the skull in hot water with a small amount of dish detergent for 30 minutes, keeping the skull covered with water.  The deer antlers should stick out of the pot, so cover the whole thing with aluminum foil to help steam circulate and keep the antlers out of the water.  Use needle-nose pliers, and metal picks to pull any remaining ligaments from the skull.  If desired, glue loose bones in place.  Coat the cleaned skill in a solution of tri sodium phosphate substitute (found at the hardware store), and water paste for 24 hours.  If doing a deer skull, do not let the solution touch the antlers, as this is a strong whitening agent.  Air dry.  Plaques for mounting can be found at craft stores, pine furniture stores or make one from something like a board covered with birch bark.


October 28, 2005

Deer in the Headlights

   I would like to urge you to take precautions to avoid deer-vehicle collisions, especially during the fall months when most crashes occur.  The peak time for deer herd movement, and the danger of crashes, occurs in early to mid-November.  The issue of vehicle-deer crashes becomes more critical as traffic volumes increase and development extends further into rural areas.

   Although deer-vehicle collisions can cause extensive vehicle damage, most serious injuries and fatalities are caused by drivers taking evasive action.  Drivers need to avoid swerving into oncoming traffic or leaving the road, which can cause them to hit a tree or other roadside object.  It is safer to hit a deer than to risk hitting another vehicle or roadside object.  Apply your brakes firmly, hold onto the steering wheel, and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop.

   Drivers can improve their safety by following these suggestions:

  • Slow down and prepare to stop as soon as you see a deer.  It is much safer to stop than to take evasive action.
  • When you see a deer, watch for additional animals.  Deer are herd animals and frequently move in groups.
  • Deer travel most often at dawn and at dusk.  Most deer-vehicle crashes occur just before sunset to just after sunrise.  Deer eyes may reflect in your headlights.  Watch for them.  For maximum safety, assume that deer will cross your path.
  • If you hit a deer, call 9-1-1.  Law enforcement officers will assist with injuries and write a report to provide to your insurance company.
  • It is illegal to take a deer without an authorization.  If you hit a deer or find a deer carcass, you must obtain a permit to tag the deer before it can be legally transported.

   I say that if they put little headlights and a little horn on bullets, I would get my deer every year.


October 21, 2005

Long Hunter Recognition Program

   We are only a few weeks from the opening of muzzle loading deer season.  If you know me, you know my passion for the guns and for the season.  

   However, do you know that when you take a deer that you can proclaim your success by submitting to the "Longhunter Recognition Program,” and obtain a pin?  You do not need a trophy; just one taken by a muzzleloader, traditional or modern.  What an opportunity to show that you or another member of your family has the skills to be successful.  The program is part of the world record keeping books similar to Boone and Crockett.  They score records, but this new program is to recognize the extra effort that muzzle loading requires.

   To get more information go to nmlra.org or contact me through the paper for the form you have to submit.  There is a $10 fee and photo required to be sent with the form.  The pins also cover bear, turkey, elk and pronghorn.  Seasons:  Small game is open now.  Youth deer is this weekend.  Muzzle loading opens October 29.  Stay safe.


October 14, 2005

Gun Laws to be Voted on Soon

   When a pro-gun bill is introduced in the House or Senate, you would not expect it to contain anti-gun clauses.  That is exactly what appears to be happening with SB 397, one of two Lawful Commerce in Arms proposals. 

   SB 397 and HR 800 were drafted to protect firearm manufacturers, importers, and dealers from such lawsuits.  The two bills are not identical; however, SB 397, the bill that seems to be favored by the House and Senate, contains gun control measures whereas HR 800 does not.  SB 397 would promote "safe storage" designed to prevent unauthorized persons from obtaining a handgun.  The bill is not clear about what constitutes "safe storage."

   Another provision of SB 397 would ban "armor piercing" ammunition.  This could eliminate jacketed hunting ammunition.  Since the bill does not specify what constitutes "armor piercing,” we have no idea what rounds of ammunition this includes.

       HR 800 does not contain any anti-gun clauses.  And yet, your elected officials have decided to pursue SB 397 instead.  We need to contact our representatives, and let them know that we need them to support HR 800.


October 7, 2005

Home Shooting Range

   Often when hunting season appears, our young children want to go out, but cannot, due to safety reasons.  

   Consider this, parent, that with a little effort, you can set up an inexpensive pellet gun target range in the backyard for young hunters to practice their accuracy.  Such ranges can be constructed with common items like plywood, for use as deflectors, and cardboard-covered phone books, for use as back-stopped targets.  Cut out targets of cardboard for young hunters, but make them big to start, then smaller as confidence is built up.  Teach safety and responsibility, above all else.  Who knows if you may be teaching the next generation of hunters and sportsmen?  Remember that small game season is open, so take care in the woods, and come home safely.


September 30, 2005

   Last week I shared about my caribou hunt up in Newfoundland.  Some very fine equipment suppliers provided me with products that I tested in that harsh environment.  Those products came through in a very wet climate.  I thought that I would share what I found with you. 

   Hunting or just spending time outdoors?  These products really work.  First, Outdoor Beagle Wear™ clothes of Vermont sent their waterproof wool clothes.  They really kept me dry slogging through bogs, knee-high brush and days of constant rain:  www.beaglewear.com.

   Muck Boot Company™ provided the footwear, which you can’t believe just how comfortable they can be on long walks (we did 6 to 10 miles per day).  They actually feel like pillows around your feet.  They are available at some of the large shoe stores over in Nashua:  www.muckbootcompany.com

   Finally, MDM-Muzzleloaders of Maidstone, Vermont made the gun for the hunt.  Their guns are truly waterproof.  I will attest to that after a full day in the rain.  Their Dyno-Core™ bullet worked very well, so consider them for this season in your gun:  www.mdm-muzzleloaders.com

   As always, contact me through the paper if you want more information on the products or the Victoria River Outfitters.  Please let the makers know where you heard about their products.


September 23, 2005

   I have just returned from a hunting trip to Newfoundland.  I took a fine Woodland Caribou, which weighed around 400 pounds and rough scored 270.  I want you to know that the province of Newfoundland and Labrador is a beautiful place to visit.  The land consists of high mountains, large lakes, bogs too big to see across and vast forests of spruce.  I drove up, crossed on the Marine Atlantic ferry and the trip took around 23 hours, of which seven were on the ferry where I got some needed rest.  You can consider this form of travel should you go up.  The people are extremely friendly to Americans and the province caters to sportsmen.  Take time to visit http://www.gov.nl.ca/tourism, and go to the hunting and fishing section.  You can see what is available for the province.

   My outfitter can be found at http://www.victoriaoutfitters.com.  Dave runs a top notch lodge in the back country.  Next week, I will share some information on some of the products I used on the hunt that may help you in the upcoming season.

September 16, 2005

Better Shooting

   I was just asked about how to be a better pistol shot.  Well, that is a real tough question.  First, what type of pistol/revolver makes a big part of the equation?  You have to be comfortable with the gun.  Too big, too heavy and you fight just to get it on target.  Then there are the sights.  Get target sets, if that is what you plan to shoot.  Adjust them from a solid rest before you do anything.  Then get a good set of grips. My favorites are Crimson Trace Laser Grips.  They have a built in laser, which puts a laser beam out to 25 yards that is about 1-inch in diameter.  They really make shooting fun and easy.  My wife loves the set on our S&W .38 revolver.  Crimson Trace tells me that women are a good portion of the purchasers, for both target and home defense.  Finally, get good ammunition and spend some time at the range.  That should make you a better shot.  Remember, to introduce someone to the shooting sports.


September 9, 2005

Rare Gun Goes Home

   The Outdoor Wire is reporting a weapon stolen from Springfield Armory in the early 1970s prior to National Park Service administration has been returned to the park.  On August 9, a rare, specially-modified "trapdoor carbine" was returned.  The carbine was one of two modified by Springfield Armory to solve a battlefield defect - its tendency to jam.  Little was done to solve the problem until the Battle of Little Big Horn, when the armory took some of the blame for the disaster.  That summer, 1876, Springfield Armory experimented with attaching a cleaning rod under the barrel of the carbine.  Only two of these modified carbines are known to exist and now both are back in the Springfield Armory collection.  The recovery of the "trapdoor" carbine is an example of a successful partnership between federal agencies and the private sector.  The National Park Service is grateful to the private citizens who took action to recover a piece of cultural heritage that belongs to all Americans.  If you have never visited the first American Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts, plan to do so.  The museum special collections room is now open for tours.  This area has been off limits for many years.  My recent visit provided the opportunity to see thousands of rare guns up close.  Contact the Armory for details.  


September 2, 2005

Septemberfest at KTP

   Kittery Trading Post announced the headliners for the 29th annual Septemberfest 2005:  Rusty Wallace, Dave Genz, Tom Knapp, and Eddie Salter.  For all NASCAR fans who would like to meet Rusty in person, he will be appearing at the Kittery Trading Post on Wednesday, September 7.

   Dave Genz - Ice Fishing's True Pioneer.  He is the inventor of the Fish Trap, which allows people portable shelter out on the ice.  He is also the innovator of the Ice Box, which is a portable sonar holder that customize depth finders for use in the same hole that you fish in.  Dave will be at the Kittery Trading Post on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 9, 10, and 11, and will be giving a seminar on Saturday at 6:30 pm.  Tom Knapp.  The greatest exhibition shooter of our day.  "The Shooting Star" has set two world records for shooting hand-thrown clay targets with two different shotguns.  Tom will be at Kittery Trading Post on Tuesday and Wednesday 5:00 p.m. (offsite).

   Eddie Salter.  Top-level competitive turkey caller for over 25 years.  Eddie has earned four Alabama State Championships and two World Championships.  With over 35 years of hunting experience, Eddie is recognized as one of the country's leading authorities on deer and turkey hunting.  Eddie will be at the Kittery Trading Post on Monday, September 5, 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.  For more information go to www.kitterytradingpost.com.


August 26, 2005

Big Game Record Book

   Did you know, the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association (NMLRA), with headquarters located in Friendship, Indiana, just published the fourth edition of The Longhunter Muzzleloading Big Game Record Book?  The Fourth Edition features the stories and photographs behind the top trophy animals taken using blackpowder firearms.  All trophy animals that have qualified for record book entry since the last edition was released in 2001 are also included in this volume.

   In addition to updated records, the NMLRA's new record book includes Boone AND Crockett scoring standards and forms, Rules of Fair Chase, as well as species-specific information and geographic boundaries utilized for record-keeping purposes.  Where appropriate by species and sub-species, sections are devoted to typical and non-typical scored trophy animals.  Price is $40 per volume, plus $7.50 shipping and handling.  Checks made payable to the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association may be sent to:  Longhunter Muzzleloading Big Game Record Book, NMLRA, P.O. Box 67, Friendship, Indiana, 47021.  Credit card orders will be accepted by phone (812-667-5131).


August 19, 2005

Take Care When Swimming

   Following the death of a Maryland man from the rare bacterial blood infection Vibrio vulnificus, health officials are cautioning residents to take steps to prevent the infection.  The various forms of Vibrio are microorganisms that occur naturally in saltwater.  Vibrio can enter the body through open cuts and sores or by eating raw shellfish.  Those most at risk for serious Vibrio infections include people with liver disease or weakened immune systems.  Vibrio bacteria also occasionally can cause serious infections in healthy people.  Otherwise healthy people who have open sores or cuts also shouldn't swim in open water.  Health officials suggest the following precautions for avoiding Vibrio or other illnesses:

   Cook shellfish thoroughly, including oysters, clams and mussels.  Don't swim in natural bodies of water if you have an ear infection, perforated eardrum, open cut or immunity problem.  Wash well with soap and warm water after swimming in natural bodies of water.  Clean any cuts or wounds suffered while swimming, boating or fishing.  It's a good idea to carry hand sanitizers and first aid supplies.  Vibrio is rare and that good judgement should prevail when making decisions on swimming and eating raw seafood.  Also; good news.... Cabela's Incorporated announced yesterday it is in negotiations to build one of its huge destination superstores on a portion of a 624-acre mixed-use development at historic Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.


August 12, 2005

Kids and Bikes

   Did you know that there is a program for kids that was formed to help them enjoy mountain biking?  On their web site you will find this information:  Trips for Kids National provides the materials, moral support and inspiration that an individual or group needs to help disadvantaged kids discover the joy of mountain biking.  Operating in the United States and Canada, we open the world of cycling to at risk youth through mountain bike rides and Earn-A-Bike programs.  The more than forty Trips for Kids chapters that we support combine lessons in personal responsibility, achievement and environmental awareness through the development of practical skills and the simple act of having fun.

   Today, with support from our many generous sponsors, Trips for Kids National provides a new challenge for youth from many different backgrounds and who face many different challenges in life.  Some come from homes where there's just not enough money to buy a bicycle.  Despite their difference, all the kids have one thing in common.  They are kids and kids love bikes.  To launch chapters in new areas, go to www.tripsforkids.org.


August 5, 2005

Sportfishing Funding Increase

   A most significant legislation for sportfishing and boating since 1984 is now waiting for President Bush’s signature.  The centerpiece of the legislation is the successful capture of the federal fuel tax on motorboats and small engines, which will now be dedicated to sportfish restoration, angler and boating access and boating safety.  Approximately $110 million per year of federal fuel taxes currently being paid by anglers and boaters which was being diverted to the general treasury.  Funds are appropriated to the states for sportfish restoration and boating programs based on license sales and water area.  That means that New Hampshire will fare well, under this program.

   The Transportation Bill also included two other significant victories for sportfishing.  They are:  $10 million for fish passage improvement under the U. S. Forest Service road system; and $1 million for highway signage to direct anglers and hunters to access points.

   Also, the Senate passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a landmark victory for the firearms industry and gun owners everywhere.

   With passage in the Senate, this legislation is expected to quickly pass the House.  President Bush has said he will sign the bill when it reaches his desk.  The new law will block wrongful civil liability lawsuits - an ongoing scheme to litigate firearms manufacturers into bankruptcy.  Call our Representatives and ask them to vote on this legislation.


July 29, 2005

   Last weekend, I took a day over on the Maine coast.  The weather was good, and the fishing boats were out.  Looked like the Blues were hitting, so it would be a good time to charter a boat and head out to sea.  What I am hearing is that sharks are abundant, which should be interesting trying to get your bait down.  Also, they say that whales are real easy to find, so perhaps the family would like a whale watching cruise.  August weather can bring in some changes, and they could be gone.  Locally, smallmouth Bass are hitting well on large top water baits.  Rivers seem to me to be up higher than usual, with all the rains.  Ponds are still producing, but they are warming up.  Get out in the mornings and evenings for the best action, and take someone with you.  Remember to get your license on line at Fish & Game web site, before you go. 


July 22, 2005

Walking Stick Self-Defense

   This past year at Massachusetts Becoming an Outdoors-Women they offered the Walking Stick Defense Program through Chris Konelas, who instructed.  Chris has a studio in Derry and he has Steve Tarani, an exceptional instructor, who will be in the area for a very brief time and is offering this same program at Chris' academy in Derry. 

   You can use a simple walking stick, hiking staff, or even an umbrella as an extremely effective self-defense tool.

   Simple, reflexive, easily retained, and can be mastered by anyone of average physical ability.  Beginners welcome, but even accomplished martial artists will learn something new.

   Steve Tarani of Operational Skills Development, LLC is one of the most widely recognized trainers of instructors for the military, law enforcement, and government agencies in the U. S. and abroad.

   16 hours - $295.00 - Age 18+

   New England Academy of Martial Arts, 10 A Street (at Gold's Gym) Derry, New Hampshire

   Contact:  Chris Konelas at 603-432-5800 or ckonelas @verizon.net.


July 15, 2005

Smith & Wesson Hosts First Annual Club 1852 National Convention

   This weekend, the first annual Club 1852 National Convention will occur at the company's headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts, July 15 - 17, 2005.

   Participants will witness the creation and development of quality firearms in an exclusive "behind-the-scenes" tour of the Smith & Wesson Factory.

   The newly opened Smith & Wesson Museum, showcasing rare artifacts and photographs from the company's extensive heritage, will be open to all visitors.

   Smith & Wesson Professional Shooters will provide attendees with a rare opportunity to see world-class, award winning competition shooters in action.

   Adult attendees will have the opportunity to visit the nation's oldest private training facility, the Smith & Wesson Academy, to fire Smith & Wesson pistols and revolvers, including the 460 XVR, which was named 2005 Handgun of the Year by the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence.

   Kids in attendance will be able to show off their driving skills at the Smith & Wesson go-cart races, participate in shooting simulations at the laser shot range and demo Smith & Wesson replica air guns at the Air Soft(TM) shooting range.

   Smith & Wesson, 2100 Roosevelt Avenue, Springfield, Massachusetts

   Hours:  Activities begin daily at 9:00 a.m.  Entry Fee:  $5.

   Additional fees will be charged to the general public for special events and activities, based upon availability.  For additional information call 1-800-331-0852.


July 1, 2005

The Passing of Old Friends

   I just returned from a great day of teaching two new shooters the art of skeet shooting.  I believe two ‘converts’ are hooked on fun activity.  Try it yourself, if you have the opportunity.

   Getting home tonight, I went to the shop to clean the old Browning, and realized that I was out of an old classic cleaning product Hoppes #9.  Now, I have plenty of products to clean firearms, but nothing has the aroma of #9, that classic gun smell that emanated from my Father’s gun room.  So, you may ask, where am I going with this?  Well, just last week it was publicly announced that Ithaca Gun was closed.  Ithaca Gun moved from their longtime home in King Ferry, New York to an old paper plant in Auburn this past April.  At a May 5 Auburn City Council meeting, the company announced its arrival and their employment of about fifty people.  The company made a classic pump shotgun, with an action as smooth as butter.

   Should Ithaca not emerge, the 124-year-old company would join Schrade Cutlery as yet another casualty of a tough business climate.

   So, next week I will pick up a few bottles of #9, and while in the gun shop I will look for a used Ithaca and just to round out my trip, pick up one of the few remaining Schrade knives in the hardware store display.  I guess we can’t turn back time; just appreciate what we had in our generation.

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