Throwback Thursday

I think this photo is from somewhere around 1995.  My dad had tagged out during the West Virginia rifle season and came to my grandmothers to rescue me from a boring week of Thanksgiving break.  That evening, this spike walked out into a small clearing we were watching on a ridge top.  One shot with a .243 was all it took.  To this day, I remember how excited I was.  I wouldn’t trade the memories I made with my dad growing up in the woods for the world.


Trail Cam Photo

Yesterday I retrieved a trail camera from one of my hunting spots.  Nothing remarkable, but I did get a photo of a doe with a split ear that I saw a lot last fall.  She’s an older deer and very wary.  Good to see she made it through the brutal winter up here.  The seven point with her is the biggest buck I’ve seen in this spot so far.  Hopefully the giant that roamed this place last year shows back up.

Pennsylvania Trail Cam


First Shots With the CVA Accura MR

With the Kansas early muzzleloader season only 55 days away, my dad decided to test out his new musket.  We’ve always been T/C shooters, and I still am, but last year a friend gave Dad the new CVA Accura.  For full disclosure, the first rifle he was sent didn’t work.  For whatever reason, the hammer wouldn’t strike the 209 primer hard enough for ignition.  CVA’s customer service was pretty spot on though, and replaced the stainless steel rifle he sent back with the blacked out nitride coated version.

CVA Accura MR

Out of the box, I was rather impressed with the fit and finish of the CVA.  It breaks open smoothly and it action locks up tight.  There’s no play or slop in the hinge pin.  The stock is coated with the rubberized Softtouch finish that is the right amount of grippy.  This rifle has a 25 inch fluted Bergara barrel and it is worth noting here that Ed Shilen had a big hand in the design of the barrel for CVA.  Who is Ed Shilen?  Just the best target rifle builder of all time.  He owns 13 world records with guns he built.  Shilen is synonymous with accuracy.

One of the cool things about modern muzzleloaders is a lot of them are made of stainless steel.  The Accura takes it a step further.  It’s a stainless rifle with a nitride coating to inhibit any kind of corrosion.  Is it necessary to coat stainless steel?  Probably not, but it’s black and black rifles look good.

Like most modern inlines, the CVA Accura has a removable breech plug.  It’s big and has a good textured surface very rarely do you need to use the tool to remove it.  That’s handy.  What sets this rifle apart from all the others though, has got to be the trigger.  Out of the box, the trigger breaks at 3 pounds with absolutely zero creep.  It is perfect and really stands out against its competitors.  You want to shoot accurately?  You need a light crisp trigger and the CVA has one.

Using the included DuraSight one piece scope mount, we installed a 3×9 Alpen Apex XP scope and took it to the range.  I know there are a million different powder/bullet combos, but we kept it simple. 150 grains of Pyrodex pellets pushing a 250 grain T/C Shockwave.  The picture below is the target with six shots from 50 yards and they’re numbered.  Shot three is a flyer.

CVA accura targetSo there you have it.  After correcting for being 5 inches right, the Accura shoots great.  Aside from the flier third shot, all others were touching right in the bullseye.  Dad is going to shoot at 100 and 150 later today and see what this thing can really do but so far I think he has a winner.  Great fit and finish and 2 shots to zero it.  No complaints here.  I’m a die hard T/C Encore shooter, but I think I’m ready to toss mine in the weeds and go get a CVA.


Why I stopped carrying a traditional hunting knife

Havalon PirantaI’ve carried the same hunting knife every deer season ever since I was 6 years old.  It was a gift from my grandfather.  He bought it for me when I was an infant and I’ve carried it dutifully every fall since I was 6…until 3 years ago.

I was deer hunting in northern Missouri and killed a great buck the first evening of the hunt.  The following morning when I went to cape the buck out, my buddy Shane tossed me this weird folding knife with an orange handle.  “Use mine,” he said.  “You can repay me by caping my deer.”

The knife he tossed me was a Havalon Piranta and 30 minutes later, I was a firm believer.  It’s a simple plastic handled folder that accepts scalpel blades.  I made short work of caping that deer and later in the week, I repaid my debt by caping Shane’s 160 inch 10 point.

I don’t get too excited about hunting gear.  I’m the eternal skeptic when it comes to hunting products but this thing is the real deal. It comes with 12  of the 60xt blades which are 2.75 inches long.  It will accept other sizes but I’ve found the 60xt perfect for field dressing, skinning, and caping the head so there’s no need for swapping sizes.  It’s most useful for caping heads and doing the delicate work around the eyes, nose, and lips.  It also makes zipping around the antler burr pretty easy.

The Havalon makes up all the shortcomings a traditional knife has.  You never have to deal with a dull knife.  When it does get dull, you simply snap off the blade and get another.  And unlike my old standby knife, there is no sentimental attachment to it.  If I lost it, I’d just buy another.  It’s also orange so losing it in the fall leaves is pretty difficult.

There are some drawbacks, however.  After a lifetime of using a knife that I thought was sharp, using a scalpel blade took some getting used to.  It makes a traditional knife, no matter how sharp, look dull.  Over the years, you get used to being sloppy without consequence, but with the Havalon, one slip can spell a trip to the E.R. for stitches.  You learn fast to keep this thing away from what you don’t want cut like fingers and deer stomachs.  Two years of heavy use later, mine is still going strong and I couldn’t imagine life before it.  Get yours here.


Got my deer head back

I got called off today so I hopped in the truck and made the drive up to Wintersville Ohio to pick up my 2012 Missouri rifle buck I dropped off at the end of last summer.  Nick Krivoniak, owner of Vivid Taxidermy did the mount and I’m pretty blown away by the quality of his work.  I wanted something a little different so I chose an open mouth pose with the lip curling since that’s what this buck was doing when I shot him.  I’ve got quite a few mounts but this one is by far the best one in the collection.  I know who will be doing my mounts from now on.  Outstanding job Nick!  Head over to his Facebook page and give him a like.  Vivid Taxidermy

Deer Mount

open mouth deer mount


open mouth deer mount

The attention to detail is amazing.



Flashback Friday


Missouri buck from a couple years ago.

Missouri buck from a couple years ago.

My taxidermist posted this on Facebook.  Here he is right after he got him mounted.  Can't wait to see it finished.

My taxidermist posted this on Facebook. Here he is right after Nick got him sewn up. Can’t wait to see it finished.


Flashback Friday


Kansas Early Muzzleloader Season 2011

Marc Anthony accused of faking it

MarcAnthony Looks like bowhunting celebrity Marc Anthony is caught up in a little bit of a scandal.  I’ll keep my opinion to myself until I know more about it.  Here’s what Field & Stream has to say:

When Marc Anthony shot what appeared to be 190-class buck with his bow in the fall of 2010, he caught a lot of people’s attention. Anthony, who hunts from the ground with a ghillie suit, had already killed a pair of net Boone & Crockett bucks using this method, so tagging Booner No. 3…

LINK (Via: