Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Next Hunting Magazine--The New York Times

Knock me over with a feather, a piece of string, or a small pillow. The New York Times is becoming the next hunting magazine. In the last three days, they've published two largely favorable stories on hunting. The first came out on November 22 and covered a new turkey hunting season on Long Island. Yes, Long Island.

Turkeys were almost extinct on the East Coast, but careful introduction and management brought them back with a vengeance. In fact, there's so little hunting in some parts of the East that in the words of one hunter, "They have been dying of old age out here." This hunter struck out, but that's turkey hunting for you.

Then, the Times somehow found another reporter who wrote a story on "urban" hunters. Most of these hunters are deer or wild boar hunters. Most never grew up with hunting. Many had never shot a gun in their lives.

They are coming to hunting as part of the locavore movement. Hunting is the ultimate in local eating. These new hunters are foodies looking for high-quality protein and trying to reconnect with their food. A few believe that they need to hunt to reconnect with their humanness. These people are from New York City, San Francisco and places in between.

I suspected that locavorism could lead to more hunters. Maybe hunting will make a comeback. Also, these new hunters are dusting off inherited guns, buying new guns, going to gun ranges, and sharing shooting and hunting tips. All around a win-win.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Complete Book of the 22--A Review

Yosemite Sam and I took a vacation back in May of this year. On the way back home from the NRA Convention in sunny Phoenix, we stopped at the Whittington Center. We poked around a bit in the gift shop where I found an autographed copy of The Complete Book of the .22: The Guide to the World's Most Popular Guns (link below) by Wayne van Zwoll. With a title that long, it had to go home with me.

Due to the press of work, other books, fun, traveling, and stuff, I never got around to reading it until recently. As is my usual pattern, I'm posting a review here of books my fellow gun nuts may want to read.

Van Zwoll's name shouldn't be new to most of you. He's written many articles, a number of books, and appeared in cable TV shows. He's shooter and a scholar having recently received a doctorate.

His Complete Book pretty much lives up to its name. Van Zwoll first walks us through memory lane recounting his adventures with .22s while growing up. He tells about woodchuck shooting and even tosses in a few recipes--Pasture Poodle Stew might just hit the spot.

He then turns his spotlight on rimfire guns and includes the .17 HMR. I guess his book should be renamed and include .17 in the title. His next section is about the history of various gun makers and the .22s they produced. I got to admit that I've read a lot about gun makers and there was little new in these synopses. It was slow going for me here, but the brief histories are useful to someone who hasn't read much about these companies and their products.

The most important section is about shooting the .22. Van Zwoll doesn't include much discussion of handguns. He's a rifleman while I'm more of a pistolera. But, each to their own. The book has some very good pointers on marksmanship, ballistics, zeroing, and mindset.

The Complete of the .22 is a good entree into the world of the .22. It's not the final word on .22s and for that matter isn't really complete when the subject is that big. American's shoot more .22 caliber than any other round and logically own more .22 guns than any other. That's a mighty big topic. Still, van Zwoll does credit to his subject. It definitely found a place in my firearms library.