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Hunting solo, a nasty fall, and redemption

Started by Steelhead, August 15, 2021, 08:51:54 PM

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Just a VERY short life expectancy.  That's the tough


Until a couple of years ago I had family living in Petaluma, and visited a couple of times since the 1990's. My grade 12 year was in Novato, not far South from there, and I spent many hours running the dry hills, often running into small herds of deer. Once I almost collided with about 15 of them during a late evening run on a goat path, only noticing them by the sudden inhalation of breath of those in the herd closest to me as they noticed my footfalls. We took a moment to look at each other then each went the opposite way, as I didn't want to make them run in the dark. Such amazing creatures! And such beautiful country, even if very dry. I often miss California's hills.

I'm wondering about the politics around shooting a rifle so near to housing. Or even just carrying one. Aren't there a lot of anti-gun folks going for runs and bike rides, and if you do run into them on your hunts, do they ever panic and start dialling 911 about an 'active shooter'? I'm finding it hard to wrap my brain around carrying a rifle in that region. Seems even less likely to go over well than carrying one anywhere near Vancouver, were the soy-weakened masses just seem intent on eliminating any connection with firearms.

Loved reading your account of that adventure by the way. I've taken the odd fall while out climbing steep mountains in search of target practice spots, and understand how suddenly things can go very sideways. As I approach 60 later this year it becomes ever more crucial to stay in top condition, so I hit the weights and do my runs in hopes of being able to go out hiking and shooting for a long time to come. All I've hunted so far are rats and squirrels, strictly pest control, but hoping to get it together for proper hunting next year.


Steveoh can vouch for me taking insane pleasure in letting loose with my (our) big bores next the road next by my house when the parade of cyclists come by in droves on weekends. When the 909s, or either of the Texans let fly perfectly timed shots with an oblivious rider going by the reactions are quite varied. Everything from the nasaly 'Oh my Gawd, did you see that? Doesn't he watch the news?' to 'Holy shit! Whoa, nice airgun!' is uttered.

I also love walking into the post office or police station with a deer head in a garbage bag with the antlers poking out (law requires that a deer be validated by a cop, postal employee, or fireman after harvest)  Every time I've gone into a PO or cop shop, I've been asked to leave because 'nobody here can do that and please get that thing out of here'. I remind them that it is their legal duty that they're being paid (by me) to do what is in their job description and they have no right to refuse it. Inevitably I have to drive around to a fire station that has someone over the age of 45 so that they have a clue and aren't some snot nosed, entitled little bitch...but I digress.

I'm not ashamed, nor am I going to be about being a hunter. I'm proud of who I am and I don't hesitate to acknowledge that I kill most of my own meat and fish. If Biff and Muffy are offended that their weekend bike ride through the Marin hills is disrupted by gunfire, then they should stay in town.

In the timeless words of the honey badger, 'I don't give a shit'.
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Nice. All of that. Nice.

You know, a few years ago, or even a couple, I'd have been somewhat likely to make a suggestion that you tone it down as much as possible to avoid further anti-gun activism being fuelled by your obviously high visibility shooting. Now? I'm over it. Out of patience with these idiots. For about 35 years I didn't touch an airgun, let alone a firearm. I may have missed the airguns of my childhood but not enough to put them anywhere significant on my list of priorities, and for me, money has never been easy enough to come by that I could get that far down that list.

But around 2011 something changed - primarily my tolerance of squirrels in the garden ran out after many years of failed efforts shy of killing them. I just had enough. The police had told me I wasn't allowed to live trap and transport them to a big park. Common sense told me I couldn't poison them, lest I kill a pet incidentally. Same for leg hold traps and dispatch with a steel pipe - didn't want to harm a cat or dog, or skunk or raccoon for that matter. It was just the squirrels, then a little while later the rats suddenly blooming to unprecedented numbers, which needed some killing. So I got back into airguns and dealt with the problem.

Now that I'm well into airgun as well as firearm use, I can see that our days are numbered if those who don't appreciate the utility or the simple joy of shooting get their way. And it's just as plain to see that no amount of hiding, of keeping a low profile, is going to help against their efforts one bit. The Canadian government has banned almost 10,000 models of firearm and quite a few models of airgun because they deem these to be 'military-style assault weapons.' Which is nonsense, as there is not a full-auto gun among them. One of the prohibited class is the Edgun Leshiy, which in the Canadian version, sold for a year or so, had an extended barrel going through the space where a suppressor's baffles live in all other countries where it's sold. But our RCMP took it upon themselves to ban this single-shot airgun because it was in their opinion too dangerous. I really wanted one of those. Not interested in the semi-auto newer version, just wanted a nice, compact, versatile airgun I could stuff in a pack and take on hikes. Nope, too scary.

It's nonsense like that, which has absolutely nothing to do with public safety or criminal enterprise, which has burned up the last of my patience with government and activist interference. The UN and their global civilian firearms ban agenda can go jump in a lake. I've shifted into Charlton Heston mode... "...from my cold, dead hands."

In all those years of not owning guns of any kind I never once, not for a moment, considered that others should be deprived of their right to legal ownership and uses of guns. How was that my business? I was frequently alarmed by criminal use of firearms, and even criminal use of airguns such as replica guns, but this had no relationship I could see to honest citizens pursuing their hobbies. Going for rides past a couple of gun ranges and hearing the blasting of big guns, at worst I thought something along the lines of 'Wow, that's loud, and housing is getting built pretty close to this... wonder how long this range will last?' Well not long, as it turned out. New homeowners lobbied politicians who enacted new bylaws and closed down those ranges. Easy stuff. And not being a gun owner, I didn't give it a lot of attention. Seemed a bit sad that people would have to drive twice as far or further to shoot, but not a crisis. But it was, and is. This is a death by a thousand cuts. Every small change. Every time they ban a model of gun, a type of ammunition, a shooting location, shooters suffer just another step on the way towards total gun bans. Such bans are never reversed. And soon we'll all be outlaws if we retain our guns. And... so be it. If they want to make me a criminal, a criminal I'll be. A criminal who does not break any reasonable laws of course, but a criminal by their constantly-revised definition.

Happy shooting Steelhead. May you get very old and fade away while enjoying shooting in Marin, and take many a deer's head to the post office along the way, at least so long as there's a law requiring you to do so. It'd be nice if they took that one off the books, but it seems unlikely.


I guess I could get into a lengthy diatribe about this situation, but I'd only be stating the obvious. So I'll just say....

Well said!

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A couple weeks ago I was reminded that falling down on rocks is yeah, humiliating and painful as all get out.

I was casting for Salmon on the riff raff down on First Street in Benicia. Folks were shuffling around as someone left the line up of a gazillion fishermen lining the shore. I moved to the west, and deeper water. I spied a nice flat rock I wanted to get to, and I tested a big rock that was about 24" square. Seemed steady, so I stepped on it, and as I did so, it shifted, and I found myself falling. Not sure if it was Jujutsu that had me turn about 180 degrees or if it was just momentum, and the angle I was moving, but I landed flat on my back on another much larger rock. Luckily it was flat, and angled in a beneficial way. I hit hard, as that flat rock was lower than the teetering rock by a good three feet.

Knocked the wind out of me, and though I had no knots on my noggin, I figure I hit the back of my head also. I could not breath for a good 30-45 seconds. Two guys came to my rescue, and encouraged me to stay put, and to breath. I think I was making some ungodly howl. I finally mustered all the strength I had bring my arms up and essentially bring them down and smash my chest, and let out a big arrrrrrrrrrrrr. That did the trick and I started breathing. I lay there gathering my senses, and the fellows suggested I inventory all my limbs. So I moved my hands and arms, and looked at my right hand which, at some point had evidently smashed the rocks. Finger tips, and nails were all scarred up, and the top of my hand started bleeding profusely.  Moved one leg at a time, and though my left foot ached (it always aches after breaking it in Jujutsu), the right knee was starting to burn. But I was able to move it. No broken bones. I started to climb out of the hole I ended up in, with the two guys each helping me up the hill, and over the rocks. I got up to a park bench where I sat and recovered.

The 9' rod and bait casting reel had flown from my hands and landed in the mud, glasses flew off and landed under the big flat rock, and my hat landed in the water.  The guys retrieved all my stuff and brought it to me and I was grateful for these fellows.

On further examination, I lost a silver dollar sized chunk of skin on my right knee. But I had a first aid kit in the truck and I busied myself cleaning my wounds and applying anti-biotic cream, and bandages. I was thinking about all rat and seagull crap on the rocks and figured I'd better take care of my wounds.

In hindsight I think a couple things should be considered.

1. I do not have as awesome of balance that I once had. No doubt as a younger fellow I might have been able to correct when that rock teetered, and avoided the crash and burn.

2. If I'd had my hands free, I might have been able to bend my knees, lowering my center of gravity, and reached out to catch myself. Or at the very least been able to apply Jujutsu falling skills and lessened the impact. Maybe.

3. Really test a rock carefully before hopping from one rock to the next.

4. Fish, Hunt, and Hike with others for safety.

So, Kevin had a serious wake up call, and I had a serious wake up call. We both need to heed the experiences, and adjust accordingly.

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