Friday, February 1, 2013


You wanna talk about a frustratin' chunk of wood and metal that just makes ya wanna spit and cuss, look no further than a flintlock rifle. If the slow re-load time and the weight of the beast isn't enough to drive you to insanity, the tendencies to give a massive hang-fire, or not even go off at all, certainly will. Cleanin' the thing is about as fun as shovin' your arm down a garbage disposal. Worst of all, if you don't clean the damn thing within a few hours of shootin' it, Ye Olde Rust Fairy is always quick to descend upon the beast with her carnal intentions.

My ol' man carried the Hawken for many years. After a particularly damning hunt that resulted in several no-fires at a nice buck, and promptly killin' the stump he shot at on the way out the woods, the Hawken was unceremoniously thrown handed down to my older brother. To my knowledge, the ol' man hasn't touched it since except maybe to shift if in the gun cabinet.

Jesse never really took to it, so Joe and I were the primary handlers for the beast. Now, suffice it to say that Dad didn't exactly take exemplary care of it, nor did I in my youth. The beast actually looks far more beast-like than the pretty new one at the top of the post. The Rust Fairy has worked her wicked ways on it, so the best I can do is clean it religiously and hope for the best.

So what's the point of all this?

As much as I hate that damn thing, I feel the need to carry it. Perhaps is the primal urge to make meat the old-fashioned way. Maybe I just like the thought of success with an arm that I find more challengin' to use than my bow. Perhaps I just like the torture. Regardless, I've been luggin' that beast and all it's necessary accessories around for years to no avail. Runnin' deer, dreadful hang-fires and the dreaded "flinch" have been to blame.

Well, I finally got 'er done.

We've been watchin' deer come out into Grandma's hayfield around dusk now for years. The only reason that we never go after 'em is that her 33-acre farm is lined on two sides by roads, a business, a church, and other sorts of suburbia hell. The only place to successfully sit is about 15 yards off a well-traveled road. The last thing we need is a mortally wounded deer runnin' in front of heavy traffic and into the neighbor's front yard to die, so we have kinda avoided puttin' ourselves in that situation. To my knowledge, nobody's killed a deer there since my grandparents bought it in the sixties.

I finally bit the bullet and tucked myself into the brush along that road, and low and behold, the plan came together. I made the best of a marginal shot; I remembered my breathin', focused through the hang-fire and made a dead-nuts shot on a young doe at 40 yards. Dropped her in her tracks before she could cross the road, which was my goal.

Certainly not the biggest deer, but I'm damn proud of her. Finally gettin' over the hump with a difficult gun was great, but it sure was special to take a deer on my grandparent's farm.

Even though I've crossed that little task of the bucket list, I'm sure next winter you'll find me luggin' that big bitch around some more, prolly cussin' and fussin' the whole way. Besides, I ain't killed a buck with it yet....

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