Posts Tagged ‘fishing’

Next 3-4 Weeks Are Best Deer Hunting of The Year

Posted: October 14, 2014 by gamegetterII in hunting
Tags: , , , ,

Those who live in Ohio,Pa,W.Va,N.Y.Michigan, and Indiana should see the best deer hunting from now until mid-November,as bucks are in pre-rut,and does are getting ready to go into estrous.
Here in NE Ohio the rut usually peaks the first or second week of November,most of the time,it’s the first week.

The last week of Oct. will see does going into full estrous,and the start of bucks seeking and chasing.

Starting the last week of Oct,rattling and grunt tubes can bring bucks running,the key is to not use grunt tubes until you have seen signs of rutting activity in your area. Fresh scrapes are a good sign.

Now is the time to make fake scrape lines near your stand/blind,use a rake,or a garden claw to remove all leaves,twigs and debris from an area at least 2’x3′. make your fake scrapes along field edges that have treelines with branches hanging down at the height of a deer,the overhanging branches are important because bucks lick the branches,and rub their head/antlers on them to spread their scent from the glands located on the buck’s head.

(so the wildlife biologists say) I have seen bucks licking branches over scrapes-I haven’t seen them rubbing their heads on overhanging branches though. That doesn’t mean they don’t do so,just that I’ve never seen it happen.

Back to your fake scrapes-after you have cleared the 2’x3′ or so area,put a few drops of doe in estrous urine in it,some regular doe urine,and some dominant buck scent-Many guys also piss in their fake scrapes,I do,I figure I’ll have to take a leak in the woods anyhow-so why not do it in the fake scrape.

Hang scent wicks with doe in estrous urine between the fake scrapes and your stand/blind,as you are leaving your stand,pick up the scent wicks and take them home with you,re-use them the next day. If you leave them there,the bucks will find them when they pass through the area at night,then ignore them. Only put the scent wicks out when you are hunting.

Once in your stand/blind,rattle every 15 minutes or so,if you have seen signs of rutting activity in your area,start using a grunt tube every 15 minutes or so. I alternate between rattling, doe bleats, and grunt tube.

Days when there’s a breeze,I’ll tie an all white paper towel to a branch/bush/shrub that’s about deer height 20-30 yards from my stand. The white paper towel swinging back and forth in the breeze looks like a does tail to a horny buck,and a lot of times,a buck will walk right up to the paper towel. A few drops of doe in estrous urine on the paper towel helps to attract a buck too.
If it’s legal to use bait in your state/area,it’s a good time to start putting out corn. Use both shelled corn,and cob corn,spread it out rather than putting it in a big pile-this helps reduce chances of deer spreading diseases among themselves. The cob corn helps keep deer at the bait pile longer. Don’t worry if all you see are does eating your corn-bucks are looking for does,so having does close to your stand can only help.

As the rut heats up,sit in your stand during daytime,as bucks are moving constantly this time of year,and most really big bucks are taken between 10am and 3pm.

Bring plenty of food,water,a thermos of coffee,binoculars if you have a clear view for any distance,and dress in layers as temps can go from upper 20’s/low 30’s to 70+ this time of year. I bring bug spray as well,sometimes the bugs can be bad in fall.

The weather was in the 70’s for Ohio’s doe only early muzzleloader season last weekend,so I didn’t bother to go,venison just tastes nasty until temps are going down enough to frost at night. We had frost here Sun am,so it’s getting cold enough to improve the taste of venison,a few more good,hard frosts will do the trick.

I like to shoot the does for my freezer after end of November,or when it’s under 40 for daytime highs.

This is the time of year to take big bucks,so I pass on shooting does,and just concentrate on bucks for now.

Good luck to everyone-get in the woods-now’s your best chance at a big buck.

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“One of the largest bull elk ever recorded in Pennsylvania was killed illegally, along with two other elk, in Clearfield County in September. Three local men are being charged with “teaming in a poaching effort,” the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced yesterday.

In its statement, the Game Commission confirmed that the largest of the illegally harvested elk had a 10×9 non-typical rack that would have scored 432 7/8 inches B&C. It would have ranked as the third-largest bull elk in the state’s history. The other bulls were a 5×7 and a 4×5.”

http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/field-notes/poachers-killed-one-of-the-largest-elk-in-pennsylvania-history?cmpid=enews100314b&spPodID=020&spMailingID=7177074&spUserID=NjI2NzA0MjQyMzcS1&spJobID=540337616&spReportId=NTQwMzM3NjE2S0

Guys like this give hunters and hunting a bad name because to the anti-hunting crowd-they are hunters.

They are not hunters,they are scum sucking pieces of shit who need to spend years in prison,lose their rights to hunt in every state,pay fines that cover the costs of replacing mature bull elk in the Pa. elk herd.

I believe under Pa law,they will lose the rifle that was used to kill the elk. In some states,people lose all of their firearms,the vehicle used during the poaching,any camping gear they used,along with any other hunting gear and game processing equipment.

I could see shooting an elk out of season if your family had no food,these guys killed the elk,sawed off the antlers,and left the animals to rot. They deserve to spend years in prison,and pay the game commission the cost of replacing the elk they killed. When released from prison,they should have to perform at least 1,000 hours of work for the game commission improving elk habitat,and other wildlife conservation work.

These dumb fucks took a huge elk out of the gene pool of the Pa elk herd-that bull would have sired many young bulls that would have had antlers at least as large as his-and these idiots took it out to sell the antlers on E-bay. They killed the elk due to greed,nothing else. Then,they left the animals in the woods to rot,the dickheads could have dragged the elk to a point near the road,and made an anonymous call to the game warden and said an elk was dead near the road-that way at least the meat could have been used to feed  people.

People like this disgust me,they give the anti-hunting crowd fodder to use in their campaigns to ban hunting,claiming these pieces of shit were hunters.

Hopefully the local people cuss these dumb fucks out whenever they see them,maybe they’ll go to the local bar,and someone will smack the shit out of them. They deserve much worse.

Hunting and Fishing Post SHTF Part II

Posted: September 29, 2014 by gamegetterII in fishing, hunting, prepping, survival
Tags: , , ,

For those who intend on hunting and fishing as a big part of their food supply post SHTF,things will be much different than they are today.

The big game animals near any large city/urban area is going to either be shot out,or very skittish when any humans are in the area.

The farther away from urban areas-the better. There will be fewer people hunting the game,and the game will not be stressed and skittish due to a huge increase in the number of people in the woods.

The areas just outside of the cities outer ring suburbs should be okay to hunt,the game may be pressured and skittish,but as long as there are still signs,the animals are still there. Hunting will be more of a challenge,there will be fewer animals,and they will be even more wary of humans.

The key to taking big game in those conditions will be finding bedding areas,food sources,and water sources,along with the trails/travel corridors used by the game in the area. The best spots to hunt will be near bedding areas,and between the bedding area and water source,second best will be between water source and food source. Once you locate the trails,pick a spot for a blind,using as much of the surroundings as possible,use grasses,branches,sticks,leaves,downed trees,etc. to make a makeshift blind-unless you somehow managed to hang onto a few large pieces of camo burlap.

Pick your spots for your blinds-you should always have more than one,due to wind direction making hunting one location impossible,as long as your blinds are downwind of the direction of the game’s travel,you should be able to take a deer,elk,moose,etc. If the wind is blowing towards the direction game is most likely approaching your blind from-do not use that blind.

Using a compound bow or a crossbow would be the best method to use,if it’s at all possible,gunshots will likely cause game to scatter quickly,as the animals will not be used to the sound of gunfire-unless it’s common in the area due to fighting between groups of people.

One big deer,or an elk or moose will feed a lot of people. Some can be dried to make jerky,some can be smoked,some can be eaten right away. The bigger your group of people to feed,the better off you are hunting big game.

Another animal that will feed a lot of people is feral hogs-we are sure to see an increase in the number of them in any long-term SHTF situation,they multiply very quickly,and become very adept at avoiding humans. The number of them in the U.S. is growing pretty much monthly,with no signs of slowing down. They may be the one animal still available near large urban areas after most people have left.

Small game can be trapped or snared along with being hunted,and can easily feed smaller groups of people,and help feed larger groups.

Air rifles are great for taking small game,they are quiet,and a tin of 250-500 pellets can provide a lot of meals.

Rabbits can be taken in grassy areas when feeding early and late in the day,in winter,if you have a shotgun,you can kick brushpiles and many time a rabbit will take off from the pile.

Ducks and geese can be hunted near decent sized streams,ponds,lakes,rivers and bays,game like pheasants,chukars,quail,partridges,doves and wild turkeys can be taken in woods and in brushy areas. Pigeons can be taken in cities/urban areas-if you end up stuck in one.

Squirrels can almost always be taken in woods containing oak,hickory,beech,and black walnut trees.

You can make jerky out of the bigger small game animals,smoked duck,turkey,pheasant,or quail are very good,and will preserve your food for a while without refrigeration.

Fishing is kind of hard to predict in an extended SHTF situation,if too many people start using gill nets,large seines,and fish traps-the fish will disappear from smaller streams,creeks and rivers,along with smaller reservoirs,and river mouths and the bays where rivers enter big lakes like the Great Lakes,or the ocean.

Big river systems like the Ohio,Mississipi,Missouri,James,St. Johns,Delaware,Susquehanna,Columbia,Snake,Red,etc. should continue to hold large numbers of fish,as there are so many smaller streams that feed the river systems. The fish populations in big river systems will be hard to fish out.

The systems of reservoirs,such as the TVA should also hold plenty of fish for years.

Having a boat,canoe,even a small raft will be a plus.

The freshwater version of a longline-commonly known as a trotline,will be one of the best ways to insure a steady supply of freshly caught fish,there’s sure to be plenty of empty 2-liter soda bottles,bleach bottles and other plastic jugs available to use as floats,both to keep baits off the bottom a little,and as markers,so you can follow your line.

Lines like this can either be anchored to the bank,or allowed to drift if you have a boat of some type. Hooks can be baited with worms,grubs,grasshoppers,crickets,small frogs,clams,mussels,shrimp,cut up pieces of fish,minnows,even entrails from small game.

If you have managed to keep some fishing rods,reels and tackle,you will be able to fish in more conventional ways as well.

The fish should be available much longer than big game animals in urban areas,likely longer than much of the small game as well.

I  do have several spools of fishing line,several hundred hooks of various sizes,snap swivels,3 way swivels,sinkers,floats, and a wide array of lures.

Supplementing your survival food supply with fish and game is a good plan-relying on hunting and fishing as 100% of your survival food supply is a very bad idea.

That’s my opinion on the subject-it will not be like an extended hunting and/or fishing trip,and relying on only fish and game is simply not a good survival plan.

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Hunting and Fishing Post SHTF – Part I

Posted: September 28, 2014 by gamegetterII in fishing, hunting, prepping, survival
Tags: , , ,

I have read tons of articles over the years where people believe that they are going to survive simply by hunting and fishing post SHTF.

There are many things wrong with such a plan,number one being that most people simply do not have the skills needed to harvest enough fish and game to sustain themselves,much less feed a family.

The only scenario where this is a viable plan is when you live so far away from major cities that your location is not going to be overrun by those who have the same plans. Plus you have to have enough actual experience fishing and hunting to be able to catch enough fish,and harvest enough game.

Every area near major cites will have no game left in a matter of weeks,months at best. Fishing is a bit harder to guess,all it would take is a few small groups of people with nets to harvest all fish big enough to eat from a creek,stream,river,or small lake. Once that happens,it will be several years before enough fish big enough to eat return.

Many of those who plan to hunt and fish to survive are in for a rude awakening,they seem to feel that surviving a post SHTF event will be like an extended fishing,hunting and camping trip.

I’ll look at hunting first,starting with big game.It’s not like those who have spent their lives in the city are experienced hunters,of the few who are,the majority of their recent hunting experience is going on guided hunting trips. They are missing a very,very important part of hunting-the scouting,finding travel patterns,trails,knowing what food sources the game uses at what times of year,along with where those food sources are located. Another important thing to know is water sources,along with bedding areas. All north American big game animals,with the exception of bears, are ungulates,they eat mainly grasses and grains. Because of this,they must,no mater what,drink water at least twice a day-that’s why knowing the locations of the water sources for the game you are hunting is so important.

There are simply not all that many people who are going to be able to walk into a new area,whether in the state they live in or another state,and find currently used game trails,food sources,water sources,bedding areas,and know where to set up a blind,stand,or use natural cover to be able to harvest a deer,elk,antelope,bighorn sheep,moose,caribou,etc.

This is a good thing for those of us who do know how to find the right areas to hunt.

The problem is that all the starving people leaving the cites are going to scatter the game,making all the animals skittish. Some will actually shoot and kill some big game animals,most will just scatter the game,those who do take a deer or an elk are most likely going to have no idea how to butcher the animal. It’s not really something you can learn from a book.

Eventually,the city people are going to figure out how to do a deer drive,and will start having some success,that’s when the number of deer,or elk,or moose will drop dramatically.

The problem is that once too many people kill too many big game animals-the population of the animals is going to crash,there will not be enough fawns or calves born to sustain the population.

That will likely occur within 3-6 months. Then that’s the end of being able to hunt big game for food-with the exception of the truly rural areas of the country.

Small game will probably  last a little longer,as there’s more of it,and it’s harder for inexperienced hunters to kill. The inexperience of most of the city people will help the small game to last a while longer than big game. After they shoot a few squirrels and/or rabbits with their A-R’s,they will figure out that they need to be using a .22 rimfire,or shotgun with game loads-shooting a few rabbits with 00 buckshot will have the same effect as shooting them with a .223/5.56.

As with big game,small game populations will crash before long due to over hunting. Same with waterfowl. The waterfowl probably has a better chance-except for the Canada geese hanging around every city park east of the Mississippi-just because they migrate,follow rivers or coastlines,and are hard to hit when flying.

Those who live far enough away from big cities will be able to survive by hunting for much longer for several reasons. There’s more game,there’s more experienced hunters,and there’s fewer people hunting the same herds of game.

This is the only group of people who can survive by hunting both big and small game.

Fishing is a different situation,as long as you have some fishing line,and fishooks,you can catch fish from about any body of water,creek,stream,river,lake,bay,or ocean.

Those in or near big cities,unless on the coasts will have the same problem as with hunting-too many people fishing for what will quickly become too few fish.

Those farther from the cities will have fewer people trying to catch fish,so the populations should remain sustainable for quite a while.

Until people start using gill nets and fish traps extensively,a lot of people can survive on fish,it’s when too many are harvested that the fish will become scarce,and will take several years to recover.

That’s it for part I-in part II, I’ll get into techniques and tactics,along with preserving your harvest.

Quarter Inch Groups

Posted: September 6, 2014 by gamegetterII in firearms, shooting
Tags: , , , ,

Petzal sums the subject up nicely:

 

“If you’re looking for a quarter-minute rifle, you run into the fact that you yourself have to be a quarter-minute shooter, and there are not a lot of people who can turn in .250 groups. It takes a particular kind of ability of a very high order. And if that weren’t enough, you have virtually no margin for error, anywhere. Your ammo has to be perfect. Your judgment of the wind has to be perfect. If anything is even minutely wrong, you can kiss .250 good-bye. 

Thus it is that we have broken the 1.00 barrier, and the .500 barrier will probably fall eventually, but I have my doubts about .250. Eventually we may have rifles that are capable of that kind of accuracy, but the shooters who can milk them for all they’re worth will still be in very short supply.”

http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/the-gun-nuts/the-elusive-quarter-inch-group?cmpid=enews090514b&spPodID=020&spMailingID=7047348&spUserID=NjI2NzA0MjQyMzcS1&spJobID=520530022&spReportId=NTIwNTMwMDIyS0

 

I’ve been a hunter all of my adult life,and quite a few years prior to being legally an adult.

I have shot exactly zero 1/4″ groups,but I came close as possible with what I was shooting-that was at 100yds,with a Savage model 11 in .308,with a mid-priced Bushnell scope,using Federal Power-Shok hunting ammo.

That particular rifle generally shoots 1″ to 1 1/2″ groups at 100 yds,depending on ammo,weather,humidity,shooting position,temperature,and geographic location.

Point of impact in Ohio is way different than point of impact in the northern Rockies in Montana,and it’s slightly different in the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests in W.Va.

 

Petzal’s point-and my point is no matter what the capabilities of the rifle you are shooting-it’s only as good as the shooter.

The more you shoot-the better you get.

If your shooting is not improving-go take a class-learn what you are doing wrong-and stop doing it !

 

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Those who live in states where the use of bait is permitted should start putting out corn now.

Use some shell corn,and some cob corn,spread the shell corn around,do not just dump it in a pile-as this can lead to the spread of disease from deer to deer.

I go to my local feed store and buy a block of what I call sweet feed-it’s a mix of grains,with molasses added for sweetness.

Since it’s compressed into a block,it keeps the deer at your feeding location longer,as does the cob corn.

The blocks are kinda heavy,but so what,it’s good exercise.

I also place some extra mineral blocks along the trails leading to and from the place I put the corn out,this also keeps deer in the area longer. Mix up the “flavors” of the blocks,around here,I use apple,acorn,stockman’s mineral blocks,and plain salt blocks. I buy a big salt block,then cut it up with a sawzall,using a pruning blade,I cut a 50# block into 6 pieces,which makes the salt blocks much more manageable to carry.

As soon as acorns start dropping,I’ll rake up piles of them from my yard,and scatter them among the corn and salt/mineral blocks.

Those who live where baiting deer is not legal just have to keep scouting your hunting areas,find out what the main food source is,main water source is,the bedding areas,and the trails the deer use to get from one place to the other. (you already did that back in early August,right?) Watch for acorns to start dropping,as deer will eat acorns over any other food source once they start dropping in significant numbers.

You should place your stand/blind along the deer’s route to the stand of oaks that are dropping the most acorns,just at the edge of the stand of oaks,as deer will hang back in the cover at the edges of the stand of oaks before entering them,as there’s more open space among stands of mature oaks than there is at the edges of the stand,where there is a mix of trees,and most likely some brush.

In either scenario,look for faint trails that do not show signs of heavy use if you are hunting for a mature buck. The main,heavily traveled trails are made by does and fawns,the older  bucks will walk their own trail,parallel to the main trail,usually no more than 10-15 yards back from it.

Pick your spot for your stand/blind,and hang a trail camera along the trail,then you will know what bucks are using the trail. If trail cameras are not legal in your state,take a small garden claw type tool with you,and clear all leaves,branches, sticks and other debris from several areas along the trail,if the ground is hard,pour some water into the cleared area to soften up the ground. Check the spots you cleared for tracks,keep adding water as needed,so the deer leave good tracks. Using this method,you can judge the size of the deer,and how often he travels the trail.

Yes,all this takes time,and effort,that’s why it’s called hunting-besides-the exercise is good for you!

 

I’ll post some rut hunting tips/techniques soon.

 

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I just returned last evening from a 5 day camping trip. This was not at a campground,it was just on a piece of property on which I am given written permission to hunt,fish,camp,and target shoot on. There is no city water there is no well water,there are no restrooms,there are no showers,there’s no sink to wash pots and pans in,or dishes. Had the wife and our 16 year old nephew with us.

We had to dig a latrine- in the woods-in ground filled with hard rocks and tree roots.

There is a nice lake on the property,fed from several small streams,some natural springs–and farm field runoff. Carrying water,filtering it twice,then boiling it and treating again with bleach is a lot of work.

So is cutting down dead trees-of which there are a hell of a lot-as the emerald ash borer-another invasive species from China-has killed every mature ash tree on the property.

After felling the trees,they have to be cut into logs,then the logs have to be split for firewood for the fire to cook on,boil water on,and sit around in the evenings.

We cut split and stack hickory for our cooking fires along with the ash.

Besides that-I humped a bunch of camo burlap and wooden stakes that have been spray painted a sort of camo pattern,twine,zip-ties, a 3# mallet, a folding saw,hand pruners,and a hatchet-along with a half dozen mineral blocks to insure the deer herd on the property stays healthy- into the woods either in my pack,or strapped to it.

Then set up a half dozen hunting blinds for the upcoming deer season.

Then there was the better part of a day spent cutting grass and weedwhacking the 500′ long dam that makes the lake possible,along with clearing a bunch of Russian olive brush that some dumb ass in the USDA decided made great windbreaks for farms back in the aftermath of the dust bowl-idiots-the shit spreads everywhere.

I did have some help in our camp-the wife took care of a lot of the cooking,and clean-up,the kid helped with the firewood,and hauling water. On day 3 our kid and her boyfriend showed up,so that meant lots more time for target shooting,which we did a lot of,even shot a couple boxes of clays.

I had started working out 5 days a week recently rather than the 3 days I had been doing-should have been working out 5 days a week the entire year-3 days a week simply is not enough-now imagine rather than just camping,clearing brush,felling trees,cutting them into logs,and splitting/stacking firewood,hauling and purifying water,we had to worry about people trying to attack us to take our supplies,and we had more than just the 5 people to feed and provide water for-and it was winter time in NE Ohio…

 

We just did this shit in the summer-and it took a hell of a lot out of me-even tired out the kid and nephew.

If you had to do this type of stuff every day-just to survive-and you don’t exercise much-you ain’t gonna make it-period. It would kill you,you would be so sore,and so tired,it would take everything you had just to keep the food,water,and firewood stocked up-you would have nothing left if you had to fight off attackers trying to take your shit-

They would just kill your out of shape ass and take your shit- kill your family-or maybe keep your wife and daughters for sex slaves-hell maybe even your young sons for sex slaves nowadays…

Think about that last sentence for a minute…

 

Still think there’s no reason for you get up off the couch,out of the laz-e-boy recliner,or up from the computer chair????

 

Do you know whether or not you can hit a target at 300 yds when you are out of breath? Hell-can you hit a target at any range after some strenuous exercise?

Try it-I’ll bet one hell of lot of the prepper community can’t hit a target at 100 yds after doing just 25 push-ups.

Been paying attention to the news? See all the bullshit that’s going on?

Still think you have time to get in shape? Just working out ain’t gonna cut it-you have to hump your gear in the woods and fields-you have to target practice for real-world scenarios.

If you need to take a class to learn how to do these things take a class-there’s plenty of guys offering training-Max,Mason Dixon,Mosby,DTG,look at the “blogs I follow” on left side of the page-while you’re looking at it-check out the III% Society-when you join-you get training discounts from those I mentioned,plus some others.

Don’t forget about comms,or intel-try Guerrillamerica for intel info,there’s plenty of guys offering comms info on the ‘net as well-don’t forget about the III% Society,and the training discounts offered by the groups I mentioned,and many more – that alone makes joining worthwhile.

Remember the sentence about how they would just kill your out of shape ass and take your shit?

You can still change the outcome of that scenario-but not by sitting on your ass,or buying more gear,or more freeze dried food, or more ammo,or more tacticool shit–you have to train,you have to have a team,group,tribe,neighbor hood protection team-whatever-you ain’t gonna make on your own,and you ain’t gonna make unless you train.

 

 

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In this post,I’m going to focus on sidelocks,and modern inlines,the poor man’s inlines,not the high dollar Thompson Centers etc.

In many states,as long as it’s a muzzleloader,it’s legal to hunt deer with in muzzleloader or “primitive weapons” seasons.

Some states,such as Pa,restrict hunters to using only flintlocks during muzzleloader/primitive weapons season.

I do not currently own a flintlock,and have only limited experience with them,so I will not be writing about them.

I currently use two muzzleloaders for hunting,and old-(mid 80’s or so)- CVA Woodsman,and a new-(last year)- Traditions Buckstalker.

Neither of these perform well with any of the high velocity bullet/sabot loads.

You can’t load 150 grain charges in them,so the bullets do not stabilize properly in flight,and end up hitting far to the left. 10″ at 100 yards for my Buckstalker,using the black sabots,and the 240 grain round nose lead bullets that I bought a box of 200 of to use for target practice. They are accurate out to 50 yards or so,and have almost the same point of impact as my hunting load at ranges up to the 50 yards,at which point they start hitting to the left-3-4″ at 75 yds,10″ or so at 100 yds.

I can use either pellets or powder in my Traditions Buckstalker,but only powder in my CVA Woodsman-so I use powder in both.

I prefer Triple7 over Pyrodex,as you get higher velocity with the same amount of powder.

You use FFG equivalent powder in muzzleloading rifles,you can also use FFFG as long as you are using .50 caliber and under.

There is a big difference in velocity with the FFFG,I use it for my hunting load,95 grains of Triple7,with a 240 grain  .44 caliber Hornady XTP bullet,with the Hornady green sabots.

I buy the bullets in boxes of 100 from Midway USA,or any of the plethora of online sellers of bullets.

I use the .44 caliber bullets with the green sabots because I can use them in my old CVA,and my new traditions.

Another reason I use powder, not pellets is because I can use a lighter powder charge for target shooting-I don’t have to use a 100 grain charge-(2  50 gr  pellets),or an 80 grain charge-( one 50 gr and one 30 gr pellet).

I use 70 grains to target shoot,except for the month before hunting season,then I use the 95 grain charge,and the XTP bullets.

I target shoot with the 230 gr round-nosed lead bullets,because the have almost the same point of impact as the 240gr XTP’s, and a box of 200 and the sabots to go with them only cost about 50 bucks including postage.

Beats the hell out of paying $15.00 or so for a package of 20 bullets with sabots.

100 240 gr .44 caliber Hornady XTP’s plus sabots only costs about 50 bucks including postage-again-beats the hell out of $15.00 for 20 bullets+sabots.

With the newer inlines that use the 209 shotshell primer,you get more accuracy,and can make longer shots. Using my Buckstalker,I can put 3 shots into a 3″ group at 100 yds,and a 4-5″ group at 150 yards,more than accurate enough for a kill shot on a deer,elk,or a feral hog at those ranges.

I’ve tried a lot of different bullet and sabot combos,patched round balls,and conical bullets that are sorta like an improved minie ball. The best load I’ve found is the Hornady XTP and XTP magnum. The load I found to be the best for what I hunt is the .44 caliber 240 gr jacketed hollow point XTP with the Hornady green sabots.

Using 100 grains of Triple 7 FFG I get 1820 fps,using FFFG Triple 7, I get 1970fps.

The 95 grain charge gives me almost the same velocity,and seems to be the best charge to use,I get the same accuracy,about the same velocity, a little bit less of a smoke cloud after the shot.

Any charge between 80 and 120 grains works in the Buckstalker,in the old CVA,I never use more than 100 grains.

You have to try different powder charges,and different bullet/sabot combos to see what works best for you.

Most older muzzleloaders are more accurate after a few shots have been fired.

That doesn’t seem to be the case with the newer inlines,as my Buckstalker has the same point of impact for 3-4 shots,then begins to lose accuracy until I run a patch or two down the barrel.

I choose which muzzeloader to use based on where I’ll be hunting,if it’s going to be mainly close range shots-under 50 yds,I use the CVA sidelock,if most shots are going to be beyond 50 yds,I use the Traditions.

Another bullet to try is the newer conicals,you will need a felt patch between the bullet and the powder charge for optimum accuracy and velocity.

Most of the conicals bullets are heavier than the 200-300 gr range of the most popular bullet/sabot combos.

The conicals have the “knockdown power” of the jacketed hollow points,but don’t have the velocity. They will take all North American big game animals.

After you have tried a variety of bullets,and bullet/sabot combos,pick which type works best for you,then pick the exact bullet,or bullet sabot combo that works best for you,in your muzzleloader.

I picked my load after a few years of shooting a whole lot of different bullets,it’s what works best for me,it may work for you-it may not.

Some other bullets work good,but I have not found anything that beats the performance of the Hornady XTP in my muzzleloaders-if you have a top of the line,newer inline,there are 150 grain powder charges/bullet combos that will work better for you.

If you are like me,and can not afford to buy the top of the line muzzleloaders-you can’t go wrong using the Hornady .44 caliber 240 grain JHP XTP bullet with the green Hornady sabot.

Some other great bullets to use are- Sierra Sports Master 240gr JHP,Nosler Sporting Handgun .44 caliber 240 gr JHP-(handgun bullets work just fine in muzzleloading rifles)-Swift A-Frame Bullets 44 Caliber 240 Grain bonded hollow point, Speer deep curl,Barnes XPB, Winchester Silvertips,

Then there’s these…Hunters Supply hard cast Bullets,Goex Black Dawge Bullets,Montana Precision Swaging Cast Bullets 44 Caliber (440 Diameter) 380 Grain Lead Straight Sided Paper Patch.

As you can see-there’s a lot of choices out there,including patched round balls-which were killing deer,elk,bison,feral hogs,bears,cougars,wolves,and any other game animal long before any of us were born.

When hunting,you want to be able to reload as fast as possible. There are “speedloaders” available from many companies,they are just an plastic tube with removeable caps on the ends,the diameter matches the caliber you are using,and you can put your pellets or powder,along with your bullet and sabot,or bullet and paper patch,or felt patch in the tube.

Since I use powder,not pellets,I put the measured powder charge and bullet already in the sabot in the tube. Then,all I have to do to reload is dump the powder down the barrel,start the bullet in the barrel with the plastic bullet starter I carry on a string around my neck,then use the ramrod that’s attached to the muzzleloader to seat the bullet on top of the powder charge. If I’m using my CVA sidelock,I put a percussion cap on,if I’m using the inline,I break it open-(like a single or double barreled shotgun)-and place a 209 shotshell primer in the breech plug,and I’m ready to shoot again. There are plastic “dogbones” for sale to hole 209 primers-get one-beats the hell out of trying to pick a primer out of the box with half frozen fingers !

I know the above description sounds like a lot to go through to reload-but it takes 30 seconds or less with practice.

Hunting big and medium sized game with a muzzleloader is not much different than hunting with a rifle or a shotgun using slugs. You still have to do your scouting,find the food and water sources,along with the bedding areas,and trails to and from theses areas. The newer inlines are more like rifle hunting,it’s just a lot more important to make your first shot count,because it takes so much longer to reload.

You do have more range than a shotgun with slugs for the most part-unless you have a rifled barrel for you shotgun,then it’s about the same range.

With the muzzleloader using loose powder,you have as much control over the load you use as you do if you are reloading your rifle ammo.

I use my inline during Ohio’s shotgun season,because I can make a longer shot,since I don’t have a rifled barrel.

Plus I get strange looks when using my Mossberg 590 for deer hunting-must be the heat shield…

You can get a new inline like the traditions Buckstalker I have for under $200.00,add another $50-75.00 for all the accessories you will need,and for under $300.00 you have a rifle that’s fun to shoot,is accurate,and can take any big game animal in the USA-even a Kodiak brown bear.

You can also find used muzzleloaders for under $150.00 at most gun shops-just be sure to inspect the barrel to make sure it’s not corroded due to poor cleaning practices.

Another benefit is you get more time to hunt with a gun,as most states have a season for muzzleloaders only.

If you don’t have a muzzleloader-try shooting one-it’s fun,less expensive than shooting most rifles,and it’s a great back-up weapon to have in case you run out of ammo during a SHTF situation…

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Train.

Do more PT.