Well folks, the opening weekend of Black Powder/Muzzleloading Season has arrived here in Zone C, as the Florida Wildlife Commission dictates. I’ve heard some great news from the Croom WMA on the Northeastern edge of our county, that a good many hunters have enjoyed success over the past weekend with their smoke poles. I didn’t hunt with a muzzleloader, but I still hunted. I visited a small farm on the edge of Brooksville with my Black Hunter recurve and I too enjoyed success, by inviting a fat, little six point buck home for dinner. He was well into the rut, with his tarsal glands swollen and black, following the scent trail I’d laid out using my Rebel Yell Game Attractant and the limb I’d hung my scent wick from held his attention while I snapped off a shot from my traditional bow at a close twelve yards. It was pure adrenaline once I had gotten the shot off and it took me a good thirty minutes before I calmed myself enough to go and make the recovery.
Now don’t be mistaken; I’m not continuing to hunt with my bow out of any sort of disdain for the ancient muzzleloader. In fact, I’m quite fond of them. However, I’m out of the percussion caps required to make the gun work and can’t find them for sale in any of the usual places. But, recently a friend and quite talented taxidermist, Tim Ellis, has donated a tin of percussion caps, so this coming weekend I’ll be carrying one afield.
The rifle I’ll be using is a reproduction model of a 1790s Kentucky long rifle, the same carried notably by historical figures such as Daniel Boone and Davy Crocket. To make this weapon work, you have to pour a charge of black powder (not the same stuff as is used in modern rifle cartridges), next down the barrel is a round lead ball wrapped in a cloth patch. You seat that patched ball firmly atop of the powder with your ramrod. Next step is to pull back the hammer, located on the side of the weapon, exposing a hollowed nipple; it’s onto that nipple you’ll place your tiny percussion cap. When you fire the gun, the hammer strikes down upon the cap, igniting a spark which alights the powder charge in the barrel which forces the patched ball out of the barrel ahead of a cloud of smoke, the likes of which you won’t even see at a heavy metal concert! So, you can see why those little caps are important.
I’m looking forward to hunting with this vintage weapon. I’ve always been drawn to the old ways and find a lot of satisfaction in acquiring my venison the way the early settlers did.
As always, I want you to know how much I appreciate you visiting here each week and if you have any questions, or just want to share a story of your own, please share a note at [email protected]. God Bless and good hunting!