The white-tailed deer in my van

This morning I finished cleaning my heavy barreled AR-15 and then cleaned my .300 Win Mag. It was raining but was supposed to stop by midday where I was headed (they were wrong). I packed up my rain gear (a poncho), gun gear, hunting knife, computer, some food, and water. I had to mail some stuff to one of my lawyers and finally got out of town a little after noon. I arrived at the Boomershoot site a little after 13:00. I walked from near the 380 yard line to the Taj Mahal about a quarter mile away taking about 1.5 hours going slowly around the area, nearly twice, in opposite directions. I expected to find a deer in the tall grass or under a tree where I had seen two deer before. Lyle and his son and I had seen three deer about two weeks ago. No such luck today. I got soaking wet from the knees down. I did a little work at the Taj Mahal and dried out a little bit. I didn’t warm up any though. After an hour or so I left and as I drove south over the hill toward South Road on Meridian Road I saw two deer. One was stopped looking at me from about 100 yards away. I stopped and watched as the first one ran away and the other just stared at me. It was on land I didn’t have permission to hunt on. On the other side of the road was more land I didn’t have permission to hunt on. If it crossed the road I couldn’t shoot it while it was on the road. It was safe from me for over 400 yards in any direction. I drove on and it ran away as I got closer.

I was cold and damp and was enjoying the warmth of the van. I decided to do some “road hunting.” I would drive around for a while and see if I could see anything from the roads on any of the land I had permission to hunt on. I drove slowly north into a field we call “The 120″. Nothing. I turned around and slowly drove back out to the main road. I drove east on South Road and then north on Newman Road. I turned west into another field where Lyle, his son, and I waited for dusk and deer to appear before. Last time dusk and then darkness had arrived without any deer.

About 16:00 I parked and set up to wait for dusk and the hoped for deer. An aerial image of the location is here. The top strip of green is trees and brush. Just to the south (down) is my parents land. In the middle of the picture, going north-south, is a strip of grass in a draw. It is called a grass waterway. I had parked my van just south of where the grass waterway bends to the east. Using the van for shelter from the breeze and the rain I setup and waited. I fired up my computer and used the hot air from the fan to dry the ocular lens that had water drops on it. I checked temperature, 46 F, and the barometric indicated altitude–3000 feet above sea level. I put the information into Modern Ballistics and used the laser range finder to get distances to the nearest trees and various landmarks in the grass waterway. I set the scope angle to an indicated 5.75 MOA. Using the 180 grain Federal Power-Shok cartridges for my .300 Win Mag that would give me a zero of 234 yards and a point blank range of 273 yards with a point blank size of 4.8 inches. The nearest trees were about 270 yards. Anything my side of the trees could be hit within 2.4 inches of my point of aim without adjusting for elevation–assuming perfect ammo, gun, and shooter. None of those were perfect but from 200 to 260 yards the point of impact should be +/- 1.4 inches assuming everything is perfect. The deer, almost for certain, would be within that range if it appeared.

At 16:40 my daughter Kim called to discuss snow tires for her car. I chatted for a while then saw two deer walk out of the woods and stroll slowly to the east. I told Kim, “I’m out hunting and I just saw two deer come out of the woods. I want to shoot them now.” We said good-bye and I turned my attention to the deer. The deer were together in the center of the grass waterway having just come out of the woods. My laser range finder said I was 255 yards from the lead deer which was broadside to me and a better target. I was aiming just ahead of the shoulder as it was walking into the shot. The gun went off without a conscious thought from me–IPSC does that to you. In IPSC when I’m doing things right I find that as the sights are aligned on the target the gun goes boom without me knowing it was going to happen–even when it’s happening three times a second. Just as I pulled the trigger the deer stopped and put it’s head down to eat. In the 0.3 seconds the bullet took to reach it’s target the deer would have put it’s heart into the path of the bullet. But because it was stopped the bullet got it’s spine instead of the heart and lungs–we both got lucky. It would be hard to get a cleaner, quicker death than a completely severed spine between it’s head and heart. I got an easier job of cleaning the chest cavity and have more eatable meat.


The untouched deer after being shot. Click for a larger image, then click again for still larger.

Another example for doubters of Myth Busters. The deer fell toward the shooter (actually it turned 90 degrees toward me then fell over so the long axis of it’s body was aligned with me). You are looking at the exit wound side of the deer. It did not get pushed or knocked down by the bullet impact. It’s spine was severed and whatever muscle twitches remained caused it’s only motion as it crumpled to the ground.

The other deer jumped and ran a few steps before stopping and looking in my direction. I wondered at first if I had missed and this was the deer I had shot at. I looked closely through the scope and could see the white from the belly of the deer I had shot. It was motionless. I quickly packed up enough to drive to the downed deer. The still standing deer didn’t run away until I had started up and was moving toward it.

I parked the van next to the deer and started cutting on it. I then called Doug to tell him and hoped he would volunteer to come help. He did. When he and his son Brad arrived about 10 minutes later it was getting dark and it was still raining. I was doing this for the first time and progress was slow for me before Doug arrived. Doug brought a hatchet that we used to break open the pelvis and the sternum. After tagging it and emptying the body cavity we put it on the tarp in my van and drove back to his place to skin it while hanging up in the machine shed.

I called Kim back after the gutted deer was in the van and on the way to the shed for skinning. She asked if she was still going to get some of the meat. I told her, “Of course”. After talking to Kim I called Xenia and told her I would be home a little late because I had got my deer.

In the shed we had artificial lights, a roof over our heads, and equipment to hoist the deer up to chest height for easy skinning. 1.5 hours after I took the shot it was gutted, skinned, and wrapped in a tarp in my van.

I went inside to visit with my parents and clean up a little. I wore plastic gloves and my poncho while working with the deer so I didn’t get much blood on me. I just had to clean my knives and a little bit blood from one sleeve of my shirt. Mom fixed me a peanut butter, jelly, and lettuce sandwich and gave me a glass of milk for my supper. I left my parents place at 18:30 and was home, parked in the driveway with the carcass of a white-tailed deer in my van by 19:30. Tomorrow it will go to the meat cutter who will age it, then cut, and wrap the meat.

Interesting coincidences–I have harvested (using Barb’s Jeep rather than my rifle) only one other deer before. It also was on Halloween and just seconds prior to downing it I got a call on my cell phone. That time I was on the phone talking to Barb when the deer jumped out in front of me and the impact caused compound fractures in both it’s hind legs. I killed it with my pistol and again Doug came to field dress it.

Doug asked me if I got sick to my stomach as I pulled the trigger. He still does sometimes. Other people get very excited and can’t shoot worth a darn when a deer gets into their sights. I didn’t feel any excitement or sickness–just the recoil of the rifle on my shoulder. There was no particular joy or sadness either. Just another four legged, crop eating pest was dead and I would have some meat to share with my children over the next few months.

More pictures from my first hunting season are here. Tomorrow, after the light is better, I plan to update the photo album with pictures of the entrance and exit wounds.

Update: I took the deer to the meat processor Tuesday morning. While on the scales with head and legs still attached it weighed 79 pounds. The photo album has been updated with pictures of the entrance and exit wounds.

Update2: Information on whitetailed deer. Also of interest is that in Clearwater county, where this deer was harvested, a collision with a deer is the most common form of car accident.

Walter Gaya in the news

Walter Gaya was one of the Boomershoot Precision Rifle Clinic Instructors in 2004. His best friend Adam, also a Boomershoot instructor, was killed last February in Iraq.  Walter was seriously injured in July.  Now Walter is in the news again.

As Barb said, “That stinks.  That’s just so wrong.”

Please do what you can.

Update: The news is that things seem to be under control now.  Thanks everyone.

Lack of postings

Sorry for the lack of postings lately.  Here is what I have been doing for the last couple of days that has kept me away from the computer.

Most of the day Thursday I was looking at apartments and roommate situations after having lunch with some friends at Dixie’s Barbeque in Bellevue.  It was good to see Mike in good spirits and apparently healthy after his bicyle wreck which resulted in seven broken bones, a punctured lung, and other injuries.

Probably the most interesting potential roommate was the room in the basement of the owner of a house in Bellevue.  This is her business.  A professional matchmaker–who is single.  Another was a travel agent who was having some difficulties because of the hurricane that wiped out a Cancan resort where a big group of his had made reservations for late November.  His comment was “You know not to make reservations during hurricane season, but who would have thought the resort would be closed for two months after the end of the season?”  Then there was the potential roommate that said, “You can hunt all the coyotes you want from the backyard.”  I would have had to watch out for:

…one llama, 2 alpaca, 3 angora goats, 1 jacob sheep, 9 indian runner ducks, 2 Cayuga ducks, 1 leonberger dog (who rarely comes inside, his job is guarding the flock/herd) and a personable, ancient cat that lives in the garage.

And those were just the animals outside the house.  I was tempted.  I grew up on a farm and it would have had some similarities to “home”.  However the commute to work was a little farther than I really wanted and I turned them down.  I have one more potential roommate to check out on Tuesday when I arrive back in the area.

I finished the visit with the last potential roommate and left the Seattle area for the long drive home at 22:00.  I got into bed with Barb at 02:38.  Barb had Friday off and after she took Xenia to school we celebrated my new job by staying in bed all day.  No time for the computer except for the reaching over the side of the bed for the laptop long enough to post the Quote of the Day while Barb was getting us something to eat from the kitchen.

Yesterday after continuing our celebration in bed until mid morning Barb and I went to Lewiston for a walk along the levees and a visit to Costco.  Barb has been reading a book on Alford Hitchcock and we watched one of his early movies before going to bed early.  Which explains why I woke up early this morning.

One of my tasks for today is to create a blog for Jason’s parents and other friends visiting him in Walter Reed to post information in.  That will be easier for them than making lots of phone calls and keeping lists of all the people than need to be on the To: line of the email.  Once I get that set up I’ll post a link here too.

I’ve got lots of other things to do too.  Lots of stuff to take care of before I head back over for my new job.  I’ll try to get in a gun related post soon.  The deadline for the latest postal rifle match is coming up soon and I still need to shoot it.  I’m thinking of going hunting, shooting the postal match, and working an the Taj Mahal tomorrow.  The Taj is in good shape now but I need to do inventory, check the battery charging system, and empty all the jugs of water (used for cleaning) before it freezes.  And if I have enough time I’ll test some targets using the .223 at long range.

Quote of the day–Tench Coxe

Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress shall have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American ….The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or the state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the People.

Tench Coxe
Pennsylvania Gazette
Feb. 20, 1788.

Quote of the day–Jeff Cooper

Family member and full-time California cop Gabriel Suarez, who is gradually working up to his Ace Rating in police actions, contributes the following:

Gun control is a band-aid, feeling good approach to the nation’s crime problem. It is easier for politicians to ban something than it is to condemn a murderer to death or a robber to life in prison. In essence, ‘gun control’ is the coward’s way out.

Jeff Cooper
From Jeff Cooper’s Commentaries
Vol. 2, No. 12
27 September 1994

Proof of derangement

I’ve been trying to reverse the situation in my mind and look at it from all the different angles I can.  I still just can’t imagine doing this sort of thing myself in any sort of situation.  These nutcases are protesting against the war on terrorists at Walter Reed hospital:

The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., the current home of hundreds of wounded veterans from the war in Iraq, has been the target of weekly anti-war demonstrations since March. The protesters hold signs that read “Maimed for a Lie” and “Enlist here to die for Halliburton.”

The anti-war demonstrators, who obtain their protest permits from the Washington, D.C., police department, position themselves directly in front of the main entrance to the Army Medical Center, which is located in northwest D.C., about five miles from the White House.

Among the props used by the protesters are mock caskets, lined up on the sidewalk to represent the death toll in Iraq.

I could be walking past them soon.  I’ll maintain my composure but I’ll be steaming inside.

Passports to get RFID chip implants

Here is some disturbing news:

All U.S. passports will be implanted with remotely readable computer chips starting in October 2006, the Bush administration has announced.

Sweeping new State Department regulations issued Tuesday say that passports issued after that time will have tiny radio frequency ID (RFID) chips that can transmit personal information including the name, nationality, sex, date of birth, place of birth and digitized photograph of the passport holder. Eventually, the government contemplates adding additional digitized data such as “fingerprints or iris scans.”

Over the last year, opposition to the idea of implanting RFID chips in passports has grown amidst worries that identity thieves could snatch personal information out of the air simply by aiming a high-powered antenna at a person or a vehicle carrying a passport. Out of the 2,335 comments on the plan that were received by the State Department this year, 98.5 percent were negative. The objections mostly focused on security and privacy concerns.

In regulations published Tuesday, the State Department claims it has addressed privacy concerns. The chipped passports “will not permit ‘tracking’ of individuals,” the department said. “It will only permit governmental authorities to know that an individual has arrived at a port of entry–which governmental authorities already know from presentation of non-electronic passports–with greater assurance that the person who presents the passport is the legitimate holder of the passport.”

To address Americans’ concerns about ID theft, the Bush administration said the new passports will be outfitted with “antiskimming material” in the front cover to “mitigate” the threat of the information being surreptitiously scanned from afar. It’s not clear, though, how well the technique will work against high-powered readers that have been demonstrated to read RFID chips from about 160 feet away.

Sure, shielding the passports is a good idea.  If they weren’t made with that built-in the private market would have supplied them. 

The article goes on to discuss some concerns about the security of the encryption and some legal issues but misses one of my big concerns.  The government tries to reassure us that everything is going to be okay because they are making efforts to make sure only they will be able to read the information.  And that they will only read the information at ports of entry.  It’s government that is the biggest threat to the individual person.  It’s government abuse that I’m worried about.  This technology makes it practical for automated reading, recording, and tracking of the passports.  When the passports were nothing but paper it took a human time to retrieve the information and verify it’s validity.  It simply wasn’t practical to put a human at the entrance to every government building, every boarding gate for planes and trains, and monitor every banking transaction.  This technology changes that.  And it is likely to creep into more and more of our lives.  Then there will be little reason to not require the same technology on whatever government mandated ID U.S. citizens will have.  The temptation will be just too great.

And of course mandated ID and/or tracking of people violates my Jews in the Attic Test.

Jason Update 10/27/2005

From his dad:

Sent: Sunday, October 23, 2005 3:45 PM

Athough it has been a bit of tough weekend, it ends on an up-note. Jason is in his room with Jodi and Dan watching a Bears game (Bears were winning the last time I checked). This afternoon is probably the best he has felt for the last several days and certainly his ability to communicate has greatly improved this afternoon. The swelling in his face has gone down enough so he can now see at of this right eye which is fantastic news.

Tomorrow Jason is schedule for two sets of surgery. The first is a cleaning and treatment of the Buddock, and the second is for this arms. They may close his right arm and it looks like the elbow will be saved. Second, they will place the pins in the left arm.

On Tuesday, they will do the face reconstruction. The surgeon feels like a good job will be done.

There have been numerous calls and the following is, in some cases, third hand.

The hospital would like a friend or family member with Jason 24/7.  Currently there isn’t enough people in the area to do that.  Barb and I will probably be going back to spend a few days (Barb perhaps a week or more).  Our daughter Kim may spend even more time there.  Barb’s sister Susan will probably spend some time there too.

Jason’s eyes are still a concern.  The bones around his eyes are broken and more reconstruction is needed.  He did watch a football game over the weekend with a friend of his.  He has nightmares and gives orders to his men in his sleep.  He “sees” Star Wars characters sometimes too.

Quote of the day–Sarah Brady

I commend Senator Durbin, Congressman John Porter and the rest of our friends in the Congress for introducing this important legislation.  To allow this nation to return to cash-and-carry tragedies is unimaginable.

Sarah Brady
Chair of HCI (now The Brady Campaign)
February 24, 1999
Regarding a proposed federal law for a permanent waiting period for firearms purchases after the temporary waiting period expired when the “instant check” came online.
From http://www.bradycampaign.org/press/release.php?release=164 (as of October 27, 2005)
[This is how the other side works.  Get something through then incrementally "improve" it.  We need to do the same.  -- Joe]

Cool story in the Washington Post

Gun positive coverage in the Washington Post. It must be April Fools Day.  Nope, but it is a gun positive story. Getting women and children involved in the positive use of guns makes a difference in the media perception of firearms.  Getting a third grade girl involved makes a big difference:

Girl, 8, Credited With Year’s 1st Bear Kill

2 Rounds Did In the 211-Pound Animal, Third-Grader From Western Md. Says

By Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 25, 2005; Page B03

MOUNT NEBO, Md., Oct. 24 — There’s a new hunting legend in the mountains of Western Maryland.

Born to the woods, she’s 4 1/2 feet tall and 8 years old, with a shock of light brown hair and a steady trigger finger that put two bullets into a black bear’s chest cavity Monday, according to her and her father and granduncle, who were hunting with her. State officials backed the claim by Sierra Stiles and credited her with the first kill of Maryland’s second bear season since hunting the animals resumed after a half-century ban.


Sierra Stiles,8, put two bullets into a black bear’s chest cavity Monday in Western Maryland, according to her and her father and granduncle, who were hunting with her.

Of course there were people complaining about it:

The Humane Society of the United States, which has urged Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) to ban bear hunts, expressed concern Monday over the age of the hunter and noted that the first bear killed last year was a young bear.

“Governor Ehrlich is personally responsible for exposing young children and young bears to this cruelty,” read the news release.

But even that is a good thing.  It exposes them to even more ridicule.

Room for rent?

I’m getting a new job in the Seattle area and won’t be moving my wife over from Idaho for about another 1.5 years. Our youngest daughter is still in high school and we don’t want to disrupt that. I would like to rent something cheap where I can shower, sleep, fix a few meals and connect to the internet. I typically would only be there four nights a week and go home on weekends.

I would like for the place to be “gun friendly” in that I could carry concealed or open and clean my guns (if there were no other guests at the time) without causing any alarm. Discussion of the recreational use of explosives shouldn’t be cause for calling the cops.

I’m 50 years old, a non-smoker, only rarely drink alcohol, and have never used illegal recreational drugs. I would bring my own small refrigerator/freezer. If you don’t have a high speed internet connection I would supply a wireless router and all the technical expertise to get that up and running in your home.

I can move in as early as November 2nd or wait until the middle of the month. I’m in the Seattle area now and will be for another day and would like to find something soon.

The jerks at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

I just got a call from American Express.  They claim I am past due on a bill.  When I worked at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory I was (nearly) required to have a “Corporate Account” with AMEX.  The last travel I did for PNNL was in April and there were airplane tickets and a hotel room put on the card.  There was also planned travel for the end of May a few days after they suspended me.  I signed travel reports for both those trips and I thought everything was all settled.  Apparently it wasn’t.  Perhaps the hotel charged for a room that wasn’t canceled or something.  I don’t know.  In any case the jerks at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory didn’t forward me the statements that came to my former work address.  The account has been turned over to collections. 

For those of you that don’t quite understand why I have to pay the bill for a “company card” the way PNNL and AMEX arranged things was for the individual to be responsible for the bill. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory then paid AMEX for the charges which were legitimate company expenses.  Fair enough.  I could take my wife on a company trip, put all the expenses on the card, then pay the portion due to the extra expense of my wife at the end without having to split hotel bills, etc.  It would also put more responsibility on the individual to not abuse the card.  I didn’t have a problem with it… until now.

The bottom line is that AMEX now has a valid address for me and will be sending me all the missing statements.  It’s my responsibility to pay the bill, try to collect from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and get my credit reports straightened out.  A bad credit report could even affect the job offer I have in hand.  I don’t think it would be possible to fully communicate the level of ‘annoyance’ I have for the jerks at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory at this moment.

I brought my favorite rifle and pistol with me to the Seattle area where I am now.  They both need to be cleaned.  Cleaning them will make me feel better.  Wish I had brought my chemistry set and had a place to play with it here.  That would help even more.

Nukes for Iran?

If anyone suggests that Iran has just as much right to have nuclear weapons as any other country then point this out to them:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has openly called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

“The establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world,” the president told a conference in Tehran on Wednesday, entitled The World without Zionism.

“The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land,” he said.

“As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map,” said Ahmadinejad, referring to Iran’s revolutionary leader Ayat Allah Khomeini.

His comments were the first time in years that such a high-ranking Iranian official has called for Israel’s eradication, even though such slogans are still regularly used at government
rallies.

Ahmadinejad, a veteran of Iran’s hardline Revolutionary Guards, took office in August after scoring a landslide win in a June presidential election.

His tone represents a major change from that of former president Mohammad Khatami, whose favoured topic was “dialogue among civilisations” and who led an effort to improve Iran’s relations with the West.

Hitler wrote about his plans for the Jews.  Ahmadinejad is telling us what his plans are.  Connect the dots.  If you have a better solution than destroying the extremist Islamic culture then let’s hear it.  Until then we need to offer discount prices on missiles and warplanes to Israel and give booze and porn to Arab Muslims.

Nice press coverage

It’s rare to get pro-gun press coverage on the politics of gun owner rights.  This article from the Gainesville Sun is so refreshing:

WASHINGTON – Ginny Brown-Waite pulled into a parking lot in Chiefland around midnight to rest her drowsy eyes before continuing her drive to a state legislative session in Tallahassee.

She awoke that night in 2000, she said recently, to four or five young men rocking her car and demanding she open up.

“I said, ‘No, I’ve got a gun in the glove compartment,’ ” recalled Brown-Waite, 62, who was then a state senator and now is a member of Congress. “You’d better leave.”

She was bluffing, but the men fled. And Brown-Waite later got a concealed weapon permit after training on a .357 magnum.

The experience helps explain why Brown-Waite, who owns a .38 and a .45, gets riled when the Second Amendment comes up, as it did last week when Congress passed landmark legislation to shield gun manufacturers from lawsuits. After the vote, she lashed out at the “out-of-touch and dwindling minority of Congress” that opposes gun ownership.

Brown-Waite, one of at least three members of the Florida delegation to carry permits, shows that Florida isn’t just well armed. The state is a significant player in gun-control debates nationwide.

Brown-Waite, a 5-foot-2-inch grandmother, seems the last person to be “packing heat,” as she calls it, but she might be when in Florida.

“I have the permit,” she said, “and at least one weapon, I guarantee you.”

Yeah, the stereotype is she would be “the last person to be packing heat”.  But when you think about it you come up with a different answer.  Who is it that most needs a tool to equalize the odds in a violent confrontation?  It’s not the young, large, adult male.  It’s the weak and the slow. The people most likely to become victims of predators are the ones that should have the training and the tools to defend themselves.  Even though the Gainesville Sun didn’t come up with quite the right conclusion they gave everyone enough information they can break through the stereotype on their own.  And that is breaking through still another stereotype–about the MSM.  Thank you Cory Reiss, Gainesville Sun.

Quote of the day–Greg Hamilton

Shooting at the head is a tough one.  There’s really only two spots you can really do any good with a handgun.  The eyes.  Any higher and even if you do get through the armor you’ll only take off the top half of the brain that he never uses anyway.  It will be impressive with lots of blood, but it won’t stop him.  You have to take out the lower part of his brain, the monkey portion of his brain.

Greg Hamilton
Self Defense Instructor
Nov. 19, 1995

An offer

After months of looking for work I have an offer in hand.  There was a sudden incredible flurry of interest in me in the last two or three weeks after almost nothing for months.  I can’t remember how many different phone interviews I did with various companies.  I think it was five–with another one scheduled for tomorrow.  Today I had three in person interviews with one group and they made me an offer–almost on the spot.  It’s not quite what I wanted–it’s a contract position which they are saying can lead into what I really want.

Last night I left Moscow about 19:30, arrived at Ry’s place about 01:00, got settled in by about 02:00, woke up at 05:00, Ry came home from work about 05:30, we talked until about 06:30, I sort of slept until 08:00, I then had interviews from 10:00 until 15:00.  Came back to Ry’s place through the traffic and I’m now soooo tired.  I must get some sleep now.