Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gone Shootin...

...but before I did that I enjoyed the Arizona Game & Fish Department's sportsman's expo today at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. The first thing I did after parking the car was to head to the tent in which the National Muzzle Loaders Association had their table. Nope, I do not shoot a muzzle loader, don't even own one though i have had one in the past, so you may be wondering why that was number one on my list. Well, a gentleman with whom I have communicated - via emails and forum posts (at The Gun Counter) - was going to be there until 11AM. I got there around 10 or so and headed right there to meet him. That gentleman is Dana D., also known as Rumpshot over at The Gun Counter forums. Once there Dana introduced me to another gentleman manning the NMLA's table by the name of Ben B. All three of us had a nice conversation for 25 or 30 minutes about this, that and another thing. I am very happy to have met Rumpshot someone I have known from The Gun Counter forums for some time now but had never met before. Meeting his fellow association member Ben was also a plus.

After that, I said farewell and took off to enjoy the rest of the expo. The expo consisted of several tents housing various outdoors organizations such as hunting organizations, fishing organizations, boy scout troops, wildlife funds, conservation groups, and so on. One of these was the table. There I met, Amanda Moors. I asked her a few questions about the Coues Whitetail Deer. I had only heard of them, that I remember, this past Friday when I stopped in at Cabelas in Glendale, AZ. They had the usual Cabela's natural history display of game animals and that included several mounted Coues Whitetail Deer. I read an informational plaque there saying they are found in southeast AZ. Hmm, that got me to thinking that the small whitetail deer I had seen while I visited Madera Canyon several times over my 4 month stay in Tucson, last spring and summer, were probably Coues Whitetails. Ms. Moors said I was right. She said they are fairly common there. That made me pretty happy since I had seen several of what, according to the info at Cabela's, is a hard species to get close to during a hunt. I walked up to several of them while hiking and got as close as 30 feet or so to ones that were off the beaten path, closer still to ones that were used to hikers near the parking area. There were also any commercial displays by companies such as Dick's Sporting Goods and so on.

Outside the tents there were various shooting events going on where folks could plop down anywhere from $2 to $5 to shoot a variety of firearms from black powder arms to Glock semi-automatic pistols. These events included events for young shooters and I saw many children enjoying, along with their parents, what were probably the first shots fired by many of them. There were also other displays out side of the tents that were dedicated to shooting events. One of these that I watched for awhile was a competitive shoot from horseback. The shooters rode around cones in a corral, several of the cones having balloons tethered to them. As the shooters rode past the balloon they shot them, or tried to, with single action revolvers. Most of them hit every one, i think there were about 10 balloons set up for each shooter. This was no easy task as it combined not only shooting skill on the move but horsemanship as well and it was all timed. The youngest shooter in this event was 12 years old or just older.

Both inside of the tents and outside there were some other interactive events taking place such as an archery shooting gallery where you could shoot at facsimile animal targets and one, maybe two, fishing tanks in which kids could cast a line and try to catch one of the fish. There were also displays of live animals from hawks, to buzzards, to bats, to fish, to reptiles. Along the way around the expo, I came across a mobile display set up by the Phoenix Herpetological Society. Yes that meant reptiles on display and what they had ranged from tortoises, an alligator and ball pythons in a petting area to several locked displays quite a few species of some of the worlds most deadly venomous snakes including a Gaboon Viper, an albino Monacled Cobra, and many species of rattlesnakes. There were also several non-venomous species of snakes and quite a few lizards on display. Many of the animals on display were enclosed in tanks, the tanks all held in the open sides of a van/trailer belonging to the herp society. Pretty impressive display for a local herp society, I can say that I have never seen anything else like it!

The shame of all this was that I forgot to bring my camera with me. I was able to get a few shots with my cell phone but they never come out all that good.

After having made my way around most of the expo, I headed back to the main range area of the facility. I had a few hundred rounds of ammo that needed getting rid of and what better way to get rid of ammo than by shooting it. It had been a tough week and I need the soothing effect that shooting would have on me. As usual it did its magic because by the time I was dome shooting I had forgotten about all of the things that had been troubling me and I felt great. Being that I shot pretty good today was an added bonus and that always goes toward making me feel pretty good. Add to the shooting the fact that I really enjoyed the expo and that I also had enjoyed my fishless day fishing yesterday and I think you can tell that I had a great weekend.

All in all, I shot 250 rounds of 9MM through my Glock 26 today, another 100 rounds through my issued SIG 229, and about 50 rounds through my Henry U.S. Survival Rifle. It was a good shoot and I had a great time. Not a bad day considering I also did my laundry and some other small household chores earlier in the day. One more household chore left to do before the day comes to an end, I have to clean my pistols. Maybe when that is done, I'll g out to get a bite to eat.

All the best,
Glenn B