Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday Blog Rodeo 03/06/10

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.
Blog Rodeo: 03/06/10

Wow, my first Saturday since I arrived, and it is time for my usual fare: another Blog Rodeo! How time flies when you are having fun, or getting shot at!

Once again, I've been roaming the hinterlands of the hunting and outdoorsmen's internet and as usual, I've picked out posts that I especially enjoyed this past week from all of blogs I follow, and some that I found. There have really been some better than great ones this week.

(Remember if you bump into a post you especially like, drop me a note and I'll include it in the Rodeo. You can even feel free to copy this whole post and run it on your own blog; it spreads the word, and it's always nice to give a little link love to your fellow bloggers!)

First up is a new blog for me, I have been following Eric Nuse's Blog Fair Chase for quite a while now, and I have always found it to be elucidating and educational. This week he highlighted a post by Orion board member Tammy Sapp, from her exceptional blog, The Outdoor Scene. In Understanding Issues: It's Complicated, Ms Sapp discusses the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, its impact, and the guidelines that have made it a success in managing wildlife for all. "The model’s two basic principles—that fish and wildlife belong to everyone and are to be managed so their populations will be sustained forever—are explained through a set of guidelines known as the “Seven Sisters for Conservation. I strongly recommend that you take a moment and read the post, it is short, and again, elucidating!

Rick Kratzke over at Whitetail Woods has some interesting anecdotes posted on the Wild Turkey, which is a new "passion" for Rick.  His post, The Wild Turkey, Did you know that... has some well known and several little known facts about our friend the Turkey. Rick also found a good video on dressing out a turkey: A How-To Video Cleaning a Wild Turkey Check out Rick's blog, it is one of my favorites.

Hubert Hubert, our intrepid philosopher, intellectual, and shootist, at Rabbit Stew has given great thought to the oftentimes acrimonious debate over .177 vrs .22 caliber in air rifles. With careful deliberation, and some handy charts, he makes the case for the .177. Why a .177 for Hunting Rabbits? Because Hubert says so!

Bruce has some great photos of Torrey Pines State Park over at his Blog The Log of Spartina.  "I think I have mentioned before that my wife and I love to hike at Torrey Pines State Park. It is one of my very favorite places. It is located on the coast between San Diego and Del Mar. A great set of trails, a nice visitor's center and some great scenic beauty." Steve built the Spartina well over four years ago, using a John Welsford designed yawl, called "Pathfinder." There are a lot of great tips and techniques on single handed sailing and camping. You owe it to yourselves to take a look.

And as usual, Borepatch the miester of web security and muzzle control has an interesting bit of correspondence between Her Majesty's subjects and Her wonderful Ministries. They really have gone off the deep end over there... SBW? Are you feeling ok? How many fingers are we holding up?

Here are a couple of older posts that should be revisited:

My Favorite Marlin brings us a great, short essay: Bush Living by Sharron Chatterton. Eloquent, direct, and full of insight, it is a must read this Saturday morning.

Hodgeman's Thoughts takes a shot at the fools that come from the Hail Mary School of Shooting: "From the hunting field this year I'm hearing more and more tales of these outrageous shots. Hunters in the field being tempted to squeeze the trigger on a moose or caribou at distances well over 300 yards. Maybe they're desperate for a moose, maybe they've watched shows like "Best of the West" and feel confident anybody can whack an elk or a moose at 700 yards, or maybe they feel its reasonable to even try." Are you seriously kidding me? Look I spend a lot of time defending hunters, but if that's what people think is acceptable, then we are getting just what we deserve.

Remember to let me know if there is something you want me to highlight for you! And don't forget, leave a little note on folk's blogs and let them know you stop by and appreciate their work.

Best regards,

Friday, March 5, 2010

Roy Rogers Firearms Collection to be Auctioned

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

I'm having one of those mornings.

As you all know, I am back from Afghanistan, and I am having a hard time adjusting to being back. Loud noises, crowds, television, and stupid headlines all make me distinctly uncomfortable.

I go to bed early, and get up even earlier, and I find some comfort in catching up with all my old friends from the Blogosphere. Y'all should know Borepatch by now; he's an internet security wiz, and firearms buff. I rely on him for all sorts of security updates and news from the underbelly of the computer world.

This morning I was lying in bed, feeling melancholy, I decided to get up and go to the computer and fire Ubuntu up and see what is going on in Al Gore's Internet.  The first thing to pop up was an alert from Borepatch concerning the Roy Rogers collection.  Seems that the economic down turn is going to see to it that the collection of memorabilia is dispersed to the four corners of the world.

At first I was pissed.

I mean seriously, Roy Rogers is an American Icon, he represents everything that is good about our nation. And here we go and allow his legacy to be parceled out by an auction house to the highest bidder. I might add that Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction seems to have the best interests of the Rogers family on their mind, and they are in the business of auctioning things off. They are just doing their job.

We can manage to send billions of dollars all over the world, helping murderous thugs, the ungrateful and undeserved, but we can't come up with a few hundred thousand to place his collection in the Smithsonian? Who's in charge around here anymore? Is there not a lick of sense in Congress (Stupid question...) or at the Regents of the Smithsonian?

I'm tired my friends, very tired. It is an exhaustion of the soul and the mind. It is the sheer friction of seeing what needs or should be done and being worn down by it everyday.

Later today I will be writing a letter to the Regents of the Smithsonian, my Congressmen, and Senators, and I will beg them to do something, anything.

Albert A Rasch
Member: Bagram Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Zen and the Art of Gun Cleaning

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Is that a cleaning rod,
or are you just happy to see that gun?

“Be one with the rod,” said the Buddha. “It is important that you learn how to clean your gun.”

My wife always says that cleaning guns is my best therapy. That, and sharpening knives; there’s nothing like putting a keen edge on an edged weapon. There is something about using your eye, a stone, and what amounts to a hunk of steel, and finishing up with a lethal weapon, that appeals to my more sensitive side. But this is about cleaning guns not sharpening knives.

I make it a policy that if I shoot, I clean. It is very simple. If it is fired it gets cleaned top to bottom, left to right. How to clean a gun is one of the first things I taught the boys when they started shooting. We always made time for a thorough cleaning after a day at the range. It boils right down to the fact that if you know how to clean your firearm, it is unlikely to let you down, and that is what I instilled in them.

Start with your setup and get all your things together. I have a few worn out towels that the Mrs. has saved for me that I lay out. That keeps you from damaging the table you are working on, and from a savage beating from the Mrs. when she finds out you did it even though you tried to pin it on the kids.

Before you go any further, make sure all your weapons are unloaded.  That's the most important thing to do!

If you are using a rod, wipe it down with a patch and a couple of drops of Hoppe’s, same thing with a cable. I prefer take-down steel cleaning rods or the one-piece enamel coated ones. Either way, keep them clean. Stay away from the aluminum rods, as the soft metal will pick up grit.

I buy Hoppe’s #9 in the large bottle by the way. If I could cook with it I would. And I don’t know about you fellows out there, but I find that a little H#9 in the air sets the mood, if you know what I mean… and uhhh, if for some reason I can’t clean the firearms right then and there, at minimum I run a mop through the bore so it gets a good soaking with Hoppe’s #9 until I can get back to it.

You should have a bore guide. It's a plastic tube that guides your brush and rod, and protects the action from getting any cleaning fluid in it. If you have an auto loader, get a muzzle guard. This will keep the rod from contacting that all-important last couple of inches of rifling at the muzzle.
Image Credit: Bore Tech Inc
Jags will help get your bore clean!

I’m a big fan of jags. Buy them individually for the calibers you own. A jag with a tight patch will tell you if your barrel is clean. Check your bronze brushes; they do wear out you know. Did you know that if you wash them with dish detergent and hot water when you are done, that they will last longer?

I also like those mops. I use them on dirty guns that I take in for cleaning. You can really get a good amount of cleaning solution in a barrel with one of them. I also use a clean one for the final wipe down of the bore before I put it up. That particular mop is used only for that duty so that it stays pretty clean.

You will need plenty of bore patches. I tend to use two at a time. Try to buy them in bulk rather than the little packs that you get in the hunting aisle at Walmart. You will save money that way and you won’t feel like you need to be miserly with them.

If you use copper removal solutions you will need either nylon or stainless steel brushes. Copper removal solutions will eat your bronze brushes while you are trying to clean. All you will have left is the twisted wire in the middle when you are done, and a still dirty bore. I rarely use the copper cleaners. The only times I have been forced to use it, are when I clean someone else’s firearms and find the copper build up to be too heavy for Hoppe’s #9. Never leave it in a barrel longer than necessary; it can etch the bore.

The Otis Advanced Bore Reflector
A good accessory to have with your cleaning kit is a bore light. A bore light is nothing more than a small flashlight with a plastic tip that will allow you to light the inside of a bore. Inserted the plastic tip in the breech, and the light shines up the bore, and makes it easy to see the inside of a gun barrel. You can use the Advanced Bore Reflector from OTIS with a light source to accomplish the same thing.

I recommend the purchase of a silicone cloth. This is used to wipe fingerprints off the gun. Silicon cloths leave a protective layer on the metal and are excellent protection against "rust fingerprints." I carry a silicon cloth in a Zip-Loc when I am out in the field, and I have yet to get a firearm rusted.

One thing to keep in mind on the subject of gun cleaning is to go easy with the gun oil. Keep excessive oil out of the bore and action of any firearm. Only a small amount of oil is required to lubricate the action, and any excess will work its way back into the wood adjacent to the action. You really don’t need too much in the barrel either; a light coating is more than sufficient to protect your bore. If the gun is to be stored for an extended period of time, cosmoline might be a better choice for the bore and chamber. All of my firearms are stored muzzle down to allow any excess oils to drain down the bore and away from the stock. Before I go shooting though, I like to use a brake cleaning spray to get any oils out of the chamber and barrel. You can get it at any auto parts store, and a can will last you several years.

Don’t forget your scope. Buy yourself a proper lens cleaning liquid and cleaning paper. Or get a good kit like Clear Shot. Even coated lens are delicate and shouldn’t be abused by using your shirttail to clean them. Rubbing grit into a lens is the number one cause of damage to optics. Leaving them to broil in the sun is a close second. You should also have a lens cleaning cloth in a small Ziploc in your pocket while out in the field.

For protection, I also keep most of my firearms in gun socks. Most gun socks are siliconized and the fabric add a layer of protection from dings and scratches.

Remember, clean firearms are functional firearms that will not let you down when you need them. So keep 'em clean!

Albert A Rasch
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Trout Zone: A Little Help

Howdy Folks!

David over at The Trout Zone needs some guidance on fishing the Florida Everglades. You would think I might know something about it, but I mostly fish Suburban ponds and lakes, or inshore salt water waterways.

If any of you can give him a little hand or advice he has his post at: The Trout Zone: A Little Help

Best regards,

Hunting Corsican Sheep: Tips and Techniques

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Hunting Corsican Sheep

We discussed Hunting Trophy Fallow deer in our post on July 28th, but another exotic that is becoming very popular to hunt is the Corsican Sheep.

Also called the Corsican Ram, it is a commonly available exotic on many concessions throughout the United States. Its history began about fifty years ago in Texas when Mouflon and Barbados sheep where crossed in attempt to create tough capable sheep that could thrive in harsher environments but produce meat quickly and at an early age. The breeders got some of what they wanted, but they definitely got more than they bargained for.
Image Credit: E Borshoom

The Corsican sheep turned out to be tougher and more tenacious than expected. They not only survived, but thrived in the harsh and intemperate near desert conditions of the Texas scrub lands. Within a couple of generations, they were as cagey as a whitetail, tough as a boar hog, and capable of defending themselves from most predators. They went all out native!

A full grown male Corsican Ram will weigh between 130 and 160 lbs. They have horns, which they do not shed, and which continue to grow throughout the sheep's life.The females, known as ewes, are much smaller averaging about 75 lbs. The ewes also have horns, but they are smaller. Weighing as much as 30 pounds, the ram's horn configurations can vary between a tight or loose curl, to a wide, flaring, helix. Horns typically tape anywhere between 26 to 36 inches in length. The accepted length for trophy starts at 30 inches with exceptional Corsican rams growing them to 40 inches, maybe even a little more! Some males have long black hair on the neck that is called a ruff. The horns, along with their ruff and heavy beards, make them a unique and noteworthy addition to any hunter's trophy wall.

A trio of goats. Note the curls and ruff of the one on the right!

Another trait of the Corsican Sheep is the variety of colors that are available. There are actually several different lines that have been developed, each with a unique configuration and name.

The Texas Dall Sheep is a white colored Corisican, with horns that approximate that of the Dall sheep. The Hawaiian Black Sheep is an all black Corsican, black hide with black horns. The Painted Desert sheep is the latest color selection to be refined. These are Corsican sheep that have up to four different colors, harlequins if you will.

As you might imagine, the opportunity afforded by the different configurations have created a "Corsican Sheep Slam!" Trophies of the Mouflon, Corsican, Texas Dall, Hawaiian Black make up the "Corsican Slam."

These sheep are tough, so good shot placement is very important. A wounded sheep will go further, faster than any other comparable animal. So make your first shot count. Any reasonable caliber will suffice with my nod going to the 6.5 Swede, 260 Remington, or the 7mm-08. A light rifle coupled with a good cartridge and projectile will make the job of collecting your trophy much more likely, just not necessarily easier. As I mentioned in my Fallow deer post, if all you have is a 308 or 30/06 then by all means bring that! If you are going to hunt wild boars at the same time, then perhaps a minimum of 30 caliber would be prudent. The range that they are shot at can vary substantially, so check with your outfitter to determine the conditions you are likely to face, and what they recommend.

This is a wonderful quarry to chase on foot with archery tackle, and there is by no means a guarantee of success even on a game ranch. Here the poundage should be around fifty at your draw, and good tough, sharp broadheads are a must.

Muzzy Phantoms are a good choice for tough goats!

The Corsican's eyesight is sharp, and stalking into shooting position can be a real challenge and result in a well earned trophy. While guiding clients at Native Hunt, Phillip Laughlin of the Hog Blog, recounts just how difficult sheep can be. "We’d wait and wait, and just when we thought we’d have the opportunity, they’d catch wind of us or spot us, and off they’d go again." Oh, they got their goat in the end, but not until they had worn the soles off their boots.

Capeing out your prize is not difficult, but unless you are well experienced, it is a task best left to the guide. Ranches like Native Hunt have experienced guides who are also accomplished skinners to assist you in this so that your cape and horns arrive in the best possible condition to your taxidermist.

The meat is edible although it will have a gamey taste. There are several ways to marinate and prepare the meat to help reduce the gaminess. Personally, I haven't found anything that can't be fixed with some hot sauce. For the more culinarily inclined, quite a few Middle Eastern dishes revolve around the goat, as do many Caribbean island recipes. The American Meat Goat Association has many recipes in an easily printable PDF: Chevon Recipes. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Mr Hank Shaw over at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, who undoubtedly has something to turn a stringy old goat into something remarkable. Somewhat like turning water into wine, but without the metaphysics. He does something similar when he turns a goat leg into Mocetta.

My good friend Mike Riddle at Native Hunt has been managing several herds of Corsican Rams on his properties for many years. He has impressive rams that you will be proud to hang on your wall.

"At Native Hunt, we focus on providing guests with absolute Tier I service. Our goal since we began operation in 1990 is that guests should be able to spend their days in the rugged outdoors hunting exotic game or exploring the property with one of our adventure tours, yet still be provided with great comfort and luxury in the wilderness. Native Hunt’s focus is entirely on the guest; giving them a memorable, successful hunting experience, while at the same time providing an extravagant retreat."
Mike Riddle, CEO Native Hunt

If you are considering a trophy hunt for Corsican Sheep, or perhaps a mixed bag of exotic game, give Native Hunt a call and book a hunt. Mike runs an exceptional operation that caters to his clients needs and desires. Native Hunt is a licensed, state-bonded, and insured hunting guide service. They have been in business since 1990 with ranches located in beautiful Monterey and Fresno counties. A hunt at Native Hunt will be a hunt to remember!

Native Hunt

Contact Native Hunt with any questions or to make reservations:
General Questions:
Hunting Questions:
Bookings: 408-837-0733
Or call toll free: 1-888-HUNT-321

Related Links:
The Hog Blog: Busy Weekend!
Phillip takes a Fallow
Fallow Deer: Hints and Tips
Little Grey Rockets, Skittish Sheep, and a Sheepish Guide

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Home for R&R!

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.
Rest and Relaxation

Charlie and I on Main Street

Well folks, I am home for a little well deserved rest and relaxation. I've been to Starbucks and had myself a delicious breve latte. I think I missed those more than just about anything else. The weather is certainly more pleasant than what I left behind in Afghanistan, I had almost forgot what a brilliant sunny day looked like!

My scheduling became a little convoluted, so I am here a month earlier than I expected, but such is the life of a contractor and contracting.

I'll be busy lying around, sleeping late, hanging out at Starbucks, and other important matters such as that. My Afghan cell phone doesn't work here, and I see no good reason to get it or any other phone activated while I am here. That's too bad, because I won't be able to get any calls until I get back to Bagram!

Anyway, I am going to try to squeeze in a fishing trip or two, some long bicycling rides, a trip to Miami, and maybe I'll go and rustle up a hog to shoot. I am looking forward to having a restful break before I go back again.

I have a half dozen hunting and fishing posts ready for posting, so you will see some good stuff coming across the boards over the next few weeks!

I am glad to be back!

Albert A Rasch
Member: Bagram Polo Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rocket Attack! Or, Are Those Fireworks for Me?

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Rockets! The Gifts that Keep On Giving...

“SON OF A BITCH!” I muttered vehemently at no one in particular as anger took hold of me.

Any miss is a good one!

Under the harsh glare of the sodium vapor spotlights in front of the Customs building, I watched as my Vietnamese green tea, (Alokozay, best damn green tea I have ever had the pleasure of drinking.) with the two teaspoons of rich and delicious honey I had carefully stirred in, seep into the grimy, dust coated Afghan gravel. It was the last of the honey I had from my Florida hives, and the Mrs couldn't find the Mason jars that I knew we had in the garage. Now what was I supposed to do? It is one of my few pleasures here in Afghanistan, green tea and honey. The damned rocket had almost knocked me off my feet, and cost me a cup of fresh brewed tea. Somebody was going to pay, someone had to pay for this travesty!