“Hunting is not a sport. A sport is when both sides know they are in the game.”
– Jim Corbett (1875-1955) British hunter, tracker, author of ‘Man-eaters of Kumaon’
If you want ta start hunting like a pro, listen very carefully….
Here is how it goes down here in Canada. First, you get yourself a hunting license . It is around a hundred bucks, you attend a one-day course on hunting regulations and firearms safety and then at the end of the day, you have ta pass an exam on everything you learned.
But don’t worry, you’ll pass – the system is rigged to see that you pass. The Departement du Faune et Parcs of Quebec needs your membership for their financial survival and the gun manufacturers need your order. Remember the way a company hires it’s external auditors, who then go into a stupid pantomime of auditing the same company that is paying them ta do the audit and in the end gives it pass anyway? Same thing.
Just an aside – when you settle in the west there is one thing you learn very quickly – that it is not that the system in the west is less corrupt and more law abiding than in developing nations. The law in the west is stretched to bring inside its umbrella of legality all those things that other nations would consider illegal and prosecute. One glaring example is the US President, who has been positioned, safely ensconced far above the law, by the constitution. The American Pres cannot be prosecuted for any conflict of interest. Donald Trump can commit fraud, embezzle, lie, deceive and cheat (stuff that he has already shown ample propensity for), but it’ll all be legal.
Likewise, you want ta buy a gun in Canada? Just go through a process that is in fact nothing more than a sham.
Your hunting licence, a piece of plastic that looks like a debit card, will arrive in the mail within 10 days. It is permanent and you don’t ever have ta renew it, unless you turn out ta be a schmuck and break the hunting laws down the road.
Next, armed with your hunting permit, you apply for a ‘Firearms Possession Licence’, renewable every five years. A week later another card will arrive, this one with your mugshot on it, that says that henceforth you are permitted ta buy, carry and sell your ‘non-restricted’ firearm (a non-restricted firearm can either be a single shot shotgun or a rifle – bolt action, pump action, breech loading, whatever, but single shot, ie: you have ta manually reload after every shot).
Then there’s the ‘restricted’ category of firearms – long barreled, heavy caliber handguns and semi-automatic rifles that you can keep on firing one shot at a time, the rounds falling into the chamber automatically one after the other every time you pull the trigger, until the magazine runs dry. Most first-time licence holders don’t get ta have a restricted firearm permit off the bat. You have ta apply separately for them, with a convincing reason as to why you want ta possess one (though sports shooting at a range can fall under ‘convincing reason’).
There is a third category – ‘prohibited’ firearms. Those are handguns with short barrels, revolvers and pistols that can be easily concealed and are used solely for firing at close range (read : killing other humans). Also under ‘prohibited’ are automatic weapons, military assault rifles and firearms that have been modified (like sawn-off shotguns).
I don’t have ta tell you why these categories exist. Unlike our neighbors in the south, Canada lets you fool around with guns only for the purposes of hunting. That ‘right ta bear arms and protect’ crap that you hear down south of the border is nothing but a pile of horseshit that has turned putrid, with flies buzzing around it.
Oh yeah, it is very different down south of the border. Let me show you just how different through a real life example – Christmas 2014, a doting dad takes his 8-year old son to a gun show and gets him a cool 9mm Uzi Pro-1W1 with a 36-round magazine. That is the kid’s Christmas present. It doesn’t bother daddy dear that the Uzi Pro is a deadly military assault rifle with a hair trigger, that is meant primarily for the use of the members of special forces.
Not even five minutes pass since he has removed the gift wrapper in the parking lot of the show and the kid is dead, killed by his own little playful fingers. Schmuck dad is now a gun control advocate.
So now you have your hunting permit and your firearms permit and now you trot over to a gun retailer.
Me, I didn’t have ta buy my first gun, since I already had one – Dory, my trusty Lapua338 with the Nikon Monarch scope from my days at the SOAS. Dory is an all-in-one – lightweight, accurate at 5000 feet, the 8mm round leaping out of the muzzle at an astonishing mile per second, it can drop a half-ton moose in its tracks with one shot.
Gun owners are never satisfied with just one gun. This is as plain as Pythagoras’ theorem, trust me. You buy one gun and you’ll get hooked. Soon you’re spending a better part of your savings on guns, rounds of different grains, scopes and accessories. My colleague, Michel, owns no less than six different scopes alone and has turned a large closet in his house into an armory. He has a Sako A7 .338, A Nosler M48 .306, a Mossberg Patriot .306 and has just struck a deal on his brother-in-law’s Ruger18004 Limited Edition.
Another thing – gun owners don’t just own guns, they brag about them – how they acquired them, what a great deal they got, how it was going ta go away if they hadn’t bought it right there and then, how they got a whitetail at 500 yards with it and so on.
Me, I just have a gun rack along one wall of my walk-in closet. I too have some beauts, but I’ve been carrying on and on about guns and you must be sicka listening. But before I change the topic, let me tell you how I got my Marlin. Last spring, my buddy Simon was going off on a bear hunt and said he had a place open in the package with the outfitters because his bro had dropped out. I had vacation time left.
Bears need a heavier caliber, if you don’t want them ta keep coming at you even after you’ve shot ‘em. You need something that’ll stop them dead in their tracks. I went off to Baron and got myself a Marlin .450 lever action. With bears, you got ta go with lever action because with a charging black bear you won’t have the time to work your bolt. If you’re nice ta me, maybe I’ll tell you all about my first black bear kill some day.
Hold on a moment. There are other very interesting stuff you can go for, besides a rifle or a shotgun. In fact, for some of them, the hunting season is way longer, an advantage given to them because it is harder to get a kill with them, but that’s something I’ll come ta later, if you’ll have some patience. Those others are bows and arrows and crossbows, but they are close-quarters stuff, accurate only within just 50-60 yards. Besides, the turn-around time (ie : reloading) takes too long and the whitetail may be gone by then.
Never ever try ta hunt black bear with crossbows or bows and arrows (though some folks do). With a maximum range of 60 yards, if you miss (the chances of which are very good), you will have no time ta reload. A charging black bear covers 60 yards in three seconds. I mean, we all have ta die some day, but being gradually crushed and mauled, your skin torn of your back, your spinal chord severed with one twist, isn’t the way you’d like ta go, is it? Or if you’re up on a tree stand and a 500-lb black bear is tearing the bark out of the tree in rage, he might just starve and freeze you to death, if you’re hunting alone and don’t have cellphone coverage there. In hunting, there are many interesting ways ta die and if you’re a schmuck, chances are that you’ll find one of ’em.
Then there are guns that fall under the category officially known as ‘Black Powder Firearm’. A black powder rifle is nothing but a modern version of the old musket that was in military use in the mid-18th to early 19th centuries, where you dropped a steel ball into the barrel from the front and then stuffed a measure of gunpowder after it, pulled back the hammer over a sliver of flint, cocked it and fired. And then you cleaned the barrel with a long narrow brush and repeated the whole procedure for your next shot, the time lapse between shots around 3-5 minutes.
(The white settlers in those days preferred those leather powder pouches to store their black powder. They gave them a sense of supremacy. And that is because in 19th century Mid-West America, the most popular powder pouch material was squaws’ tit, no kidding. Ask Nevada Smith, if you don’t believe me.)
The Black powder guns used taday are nothing but a sleek fad. You can get one with a Zeiss scope and the powder comes in the form of neat little pellets, so you don’t get your hands dirty. So, instead having to pour a measured quantity of gunpowder down the muzzle from a powder pouch like Daniel Boone used ta do, you just shove the round in and stuff two little pellets down the muzzle. You fit a percussion cap (which is like a tiny explosive charge), under the hammer, cock the hammer and fire.
The feel of firing a black powder gun isn’t exactly the same as a regular rifle. If you are using those older black powder pellets, the gun will take two seconds ta fire, after you’ve pulled the trigger. And when it does, it will look like the whole thing is exploding in your face. Flames will shoot out not only from the barrel but also right in front of your nose where the percussion cap explodes after being hit by the hammer.
So, hold steady after you’ve pulled the trigger and wait for the gun ta fire. Second, immediately after the flames, there’s an awful lot of smoke that the barrel discharges, which will block your view and leave you coughing and spluttering unless you take care ta hold your breath. If you have managed ta just injure a whitetail, it’ll be gone before you are able ta clearly see once again through the smoke and you won’t know which direction it went. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
(to be continued…..)
Don’t go away. Part-6 is where the action begins……