Tuesday, March 27, 2018

I Went To Pigeon Roost Range Yesterday...

...first of all to locate it and secondly to see if it was worth going there for a day with Brendan before I leave AR. We shot at Bear Mountain Range on Sunday but that place was a pig sty of old targets, shell casings, ammo boxes and other debris. AS guy shooting there, Drew XXX told us about Pigeon Roost Range saying it was a nicer range. I decided to wait until today, when I figured I would be calmer than I was yesterday, to write this - why will become evident shortly.

When I got to the area where Pigeon Roost Range was located, I drove around for about 15 minutes trying to find it. Google Maps had it on the map but not in the right place. It kept telling me it was just where a small forest road, probably an old logging road, met Pigeon Roost Road but I sure did not see any sign of it there. I was going to drive up that little logging road but thought better of it with the Corolla and decided to park the car and walk up the road. I walked for about half a mile and found nothing but more road ahead so I headed back to the car.

I found some interesting animal remains just off the logging road that I had missed on the way up. At first I thought it was the bones of a long dead bear but later came to realize it was probably the remains of a wolf. That was after Brendan saw them and said it was the skull of a dog of some sort. Only if it was a Great Dane would it have a skull that big and I figure there were not many of them running around in the woods. Not many wolves either according to the Arkansas Fish & Game Commission but there are what they call wolf/dog crosses. My guess is still that it's a wolf after having viewed the images of quite a few wolf skulls online and comparing them to the one I came across.

The skull was pretty much intact and there was one lower jaw from it there next to it on the ground. I could not find the other. The bones were strewn about in maybe a 15 to 20 foot wide area. There were a bunch of other bones too. Some obviously from a pelvis, others were leg bones, and there were quite a few vertebrae. I was none too sure that they were all from the same animal and the reason for that was because there were at least two hooves in the mix, they were right near the pelvic bones. I was thinking that maybe the wolf or wolf-dog had eaten a hooved critter shortly before its death and still had the undigested hooves within its gut when it died. They were not deer hooves but the type that would maybe come from a pony and there were many ponies on the surrounding properties in the area. It will forever be a mystery I suppose but that's my best guess. Anyway, I digress so let me get back to the range.

I found Pigeon Roost Range, maybe a half mile or less from the spot where the logging road intersected with Pigeon Roost Road; it was actually on Forest Service Road 27A, that forks off of Pigeon Roost. I parked in the parking area that had to be big enough for at least 8-10 or more vehicles and headed to the range on the concrete walkway from the lot. That was already an improvement from Bear Mountain Range. A short walk brought me to the firing line of the range which was protected under roofed structure open on all sides. There were six points, each with a bench, all atop a concrete slab under the roof. The range itself looked to be 100 yards or so and had a concrete walkway from the firing line all the way to the 100 yard line along the left side of the range. At about 25 and 50 yards there was a walkway at each that went across the range from side to side and where target stands once were position but evidently have long since been missing with only rusted stubs remaining.

I walked out to the 100 yard line and noted a lot of trash all over the range despite there being a trash bin behind the overhang at the firing line. The trash bins being full of trash might have had something to do with the range being strewn with a lot more of it but I think it was just due to slob shooters. There was a pile of trash next to the bins at least indicating that some shooters felt obliged to clean the range if not carry away their trash with them when they left it. While I was at the 100 yard line, I heard a vehicle pull into the range parking lot. As I walked back to the firing line, a young man stepped up to the first or second point, puts his rifle case on it, pulls out an AR15 or similar rifle, loads a standard magazine into it (20 or 30 round) and proceeds to point the rifle downrange with me walking back toward him. There was no mistake he saw my car and no mistake he had seen me because he nodded when I said hello and waived to be sure he knew I was there. I was at about 15 or 20 yard line when he pointed the rifle in my general direction, at least his finger was off of the trigger, and I wondered if he was a nut or just an asshole. I was ready to run for cover and to draw my pistol and start shooting should he even twitch his finger and I mean that quite seriously.

I spoke up and politely said: "Excuse me, please do not handle a firearm on the line when you know I'm downrange - it's not safe". To that, he replied: "Who the fuck are you". He said it in a bitterly angry voice as he turned toward me scowling with his rifle in his hands. I almost drew my pistol to defend myself but gave it another verbal try at getting him to put it down or at least point it in another direction. I said: "I have been a firearms instructor for 16 years (it is actually longer) and can say without a doubt that what you are doing is dangerous". My right hand was strategically placed and had a good grip but I am fairly certain he did not notice that because he kept looking at me in the eye and he replied: "Go Fuck yourself..." and muttered something else unintelligible.

I said one last thing: "I am also the guy who is downrange of an asshole who is pointing his rifle my way from the line and for that you could be arrested". At that point his demeanor changed and he turned his rifle 45 degrees toward his right instead of how he had been holding it a bit canted toward his left where I was walking. I got out of there quickly - my right hand still placed on my Glock 26's grip. I was quite happy it had not escalated but I did not take my hand off of the pistol grip until I was in my car. As I departed I took a picture of his vehicle and license plate just in case he got into it with someone else and maybe shot them or even shot himself - he was that much of an arsehat.

Looking back, maybe I could have handled it differently and maybe not but there was no way I was not going to say something to him. I had only wanted him to put it down while I was downrange or at least point it elsewhere so that I would be safe and I was quite polite since he had been holding an AR. Based on his attitude though, my guess is that no matter what was said he would have gotten angry. I got the impression he was an angry young man, quite immature, undisciplined with firearms, and a fool who had to have it his way. I wonder if my telling him I had been an instructor for many years, coupled with the implied threat of arrest, may have had him think I was active law enforcement. Whatever - that seemed to do the trick at last. In all it took maybe half a minute from when I saw him pointing it downrange and angled a bit toward me until he pointed it the other way. It was one hell of a long 30 seconds.

I told Brendan about what had happened an warned him never to go to any of these Forest Service ranges on his own. I had a bad experience at one last year with three assholes who were repeatedly covering me and themselves with loaded weapons, had to deal with an arsehat this past Sunday at Bear Mountain Range who covered us at least twice and maybe three times while loading his handgun behind the line and then this incident yesterday. I am now wondering if maybe we need some form of nationwide mandated firearms training in as much as anyone wanting to shoot should be required to take and pass a basic firearms course before heading to the range.

All the best,
Glenn B

"...but I mean facts are facts - so..."

Yes sir, facts are facts. On the other hand: Emotionally fired blithering idiots spewing balderdash, like the gun control crowd, are just that - blithering idiots spewing balderdash but even they can be awakened by the facts!

All the best,
Glenn B