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Blackpowder season not necessarily a throwback

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Drizzt, Oct 17, 2003.

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  1. Drizzt

    Drizzt Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Moscow on the Colorado, TX
    The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

    October 16, 2003 Thursday metro Met Edition


    LENGTH: 1079 words

    HEADLINE: Blackpowder season not necessarily a throwback;
    New in-line guns stretch definition but please hunters


    Byline: GARY GARTH

    Source: Special to The Courier-Journal

    On his forays through the Cumberland Gap and into what was then the unexplored frontier, Kentucky's most famous woodsman, Daniel Boone, carried what became known as the Kentucky l ong r ifle.

    The legendary gun, which Boone labeled "Tick-Licker," was a 44-caliber flintlock more than five feet long and weighing nearly 11 pounds.

    By modern standards it was a massive firearm, bulky and unwieldy. But it was the finest gun of its day, surprisingly accurate, and was crafted with the durability that survival on the frontier demanded. In the hands of its famous owner, Boone's flintlock helped keep him, his family and his fellow travelers fed and protected.

    I mention this because the first segment of Kentucky's muzzleloader deer season will be Saturday and Sunday (the second half will be Dec.13-19), and for a few diehard blackpowder traditionalists - myself included - this hunt serves as a throwback to Boone's time.

    However, thanks to the evolution of firearm technology, the muzzleloader season has become almost an extension of the modern gun hunt. Compared with today's sleek, in-line muzzleloaders (so named for their "in-line" ignition system), the traditional sidelock blackpowder guns of frontier times are as antiquated as Boone and his contemporaries.

    Most in-line muzzleloading rifles are highly accurate at 100 yards or even beyond and will fire in the foulest of weather. They look and handle much like modern centerfire rifles. Though they can't yet match a centerfire's ballistics, a few models can deliver a killing shot up to 200 yards. Add a scope and you have a firearm suitable for hunting any strip of deer cover in Kentucky.

    For these developments you largely can thank - or blame - Tony Knight.

    In the early 1980s Knight was working in his Missouri gunsmith shop when a few of his customers who had been drawn for a blackpowder elk hunt in Colorado returned from the high country unhappy. The weather had turned sour, and some of their sidelock muzzleloaders - always fractious in damp conditions - had fouled. Why couldn't someone come up with something more dependable, they wanted to know.

    Knight went to work. His solution was a simple, cylinder-type ignition system that eventually played a large role in revolutionizing the muzzleloading segment of the multimillion-dollar hunting industry.

    On a traditional sidelock rifle, the percussion cap nipple (or in the case of a flintlock, the powder pan) is on the side of the rifle. A side-mounted hammer strikes the cap (or powder pan), sending a shower of sparks through a fire hole in the side of the barrel, where it ignites the powder.

    Knight placed his nipple-and-hammer assembly in line with the barrel. A striker replaced the sidelock hammer and worked similar to a firing pin on a centerfire rifle. And the whole mechanism could be removed easily, which made the guns much easier to clean than traditional sidelock guns.

    Knight added a safety to his new in-line firing mechanism and, in 1985, introduced the MK-85 muzzleloading rifle. It was an immediate hit with hunters and helped spawn a resurgence in blackpowder hunting across the country.

    Many states now offer special blackpowder deer seasons, but a few have imposed fairly strict definitions of a muzzleloader. Pennsylvania, for example, allows only flintlocks to be used during its blackpowder deer hunts. However, in-lines are welcome in most states, and hunters have embraced them.

    The same year that Knight introduced the MK-85, Kentucky offered its first special muzzleloader deer hunt, tacking two days onto the end of the modern gun season and designating them blackpowder only.

    The following year the seven-day December blackpowder hunt was established, and in 1990 the Fish and Game Commission established the October blackpowder hunt weekend.

    Since Kentucky hunters aren't required to obtain a special "muzzleloader" tag or license, state officials have no way of knowing precisely how many are taking advantage of the blackpowder season. However, during the 2002-03 deer season, 15,709 of the 115,082 deer checked were taken with muzzleloaders. Officials figure the state's hunter success rate hovers around 35percent, which would put the number of muzzleloader hunters at around 40,000.

    Regardless of the exact numbers, the deer managers in Frankfort are certain that interest in the blackpowder season has climbed during the past 15 years.

    "Muzzleloading rifles were always allowed during the normal (November) rifle season," said Norm Minch, a spokesman for the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "I know they ( October and December muzzleloader hunts) expand the season for some people who enjoy using blackpowder.

    "Muzzleloader hunting has obviously gained in popularity since the industry has produced easier- to- use muzzleloaders, and people have more increased deer opportunities across the state than they did in the mid-' 80s."

    During Kentucky's early muzzleloading deer season, Zone 4 hunters are limited to antlered deer only. Bucks and does are legal in zones 1, 2 and 3 . Regular bag and zone restrictions apply. For more information check the current Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide.

    2 duck-calling events scheduled for Nov. 2

    The Kentucky State and Kentuckiana Regional Duck Calling Contests will be held Nov. 2 at BSA Camp Crooked Creek near Clermont.

    The state contest is open only to Kentucky residents. The Kentuckiana regional contest is open to all callers. There also will be a youth competition for callers age 15 and younger.

    The entry fee is $40 for the Kentuckiana regional, $30 for the Kentucky state competition and $10 for the youth contest. Registration will be held the day of the events.

    The state and regional winners will qualify for the Stuttgart World Championship duck-calling contest Nov.29 in Stuttgart, Ark.

    For more information call Cindy Lausman at (502) 484-0508.

    Where the deer are

    Muzzleloaders account for slightly more than 7percent of the total number of deer checked by hunters in Kentucky each season. Last year 18 counties surrendered 200 or more deer to blackpowder hunters. The top 10:

    Owen (579), Shelby (368), Lawrence (339), Carter (285), Henry (284), Anderson (281), Crittenden (263), Franklin (244), Nelson (236) and Pendleton (230).
  2. 1911

    1911 Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    And his point was?/

    First it sounded like he was against In-lines and towards the end it sounded like he was making a case for them.

    Strange article.
  3. BluRidgDav

    BluRidgDav Member

    Feb 1, 2003
    The in-lines have corrupted the sport so much, that they should do away with the special muzzleloading season. We should just have; "deer season".

    I'll still carry my civil war musket or my custom flintlock and all those in-lines will be gone, because their owners will go back to their 7mm Mags and scopes. They were never interested in muzzleloading & blackpowder anyway.
  4. smokemaker

    smokemaker Member

    Sep 21, 2003
    Western NY...yes, The Peoples Republic of New York
    Two sided article... can't really tell the author's take on way or the other.
    Oh, and by the way...
    Some of us use both styles throughout the season. I use a zouave in .58, or a .54 GPR in good weather and depending where I'm hunting, but in the rain or heavy snow, the Omega comes out. No scope on it, by the way. Williams aperature sight.
    Oh, and I have given up the modern, smokeless stuff except for my little .22 lr remington 572. It's just too good a shooter to give up. (and cheap too)
  5. swampsniper

    swampsniper Member

    Aug 2, 2003
    St. Augustine, Fla
    I remember when laminated recurved bows started to edge out solid carved wood stave bows, and then, along came compounds. Each step was an improvement in technology of course, but to me there is just nothing as pleasing to me as the lines of a longrifle. I still look at women, of course, but they are harder to maintain than the most cantankerous flintlock, and a lot more likely to backfire. Make a lot more noise too!!
    I hunt, when I can, in the swamps around here, and don't have much trouble getting ignition. I carry a small roll of Teflon plumbing tape, and after I prime the pan I simply put a piece of the tape on the pan and lower the frizzen on it. When I cock the piece, I just flick the tape off. By the way, don't run the tape end up over the barrel, bring it back over the frizzen, where it won't channel rain into the pan.

  6. Tommy Gunn

    Tommy Gunn Member

    Mar 15, 2003
    The Windy City
  7. JerryN

    JerryN Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Some people think only Medieval long bows are proper archery equipment. Some folks only shoot side by sides for ducks. Others think only double rifles manufactured by Weatherby should be allowed for big game. Still others believe that deer should not be shot with anything other than buckshot out of an old shotgun. There were native American cultures that only let their sons become warriors when they'd killed a deer with a knife.

    The zealotry shown by "true black powder" shooters with their flintlocks and miniscule percussion caps or flints is misplaced. In-lines are still single shot. You still have to shove a bullet down the business end. They still fail in bad weather. Its not a modern weapon.

    Complaining that modernized muzzle loaders are not true to the "spirit" is just so much whining. Get on with your hunt. Be superior. Have the "spiritual edge". Look down on the others. Thats what you guys want, it seems. Why are you blasting other hunters for liking something different?

    This controversy just seems so shallow.
  8. Redlg155

    Redlg155 Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    NW Florida
    I am in no way a traditionalist, yet I enjoy BP hunting. Whatever floats your boat is what I say.

    So if you want to use a flintlock and insist that everything else is a corruption.....by all means great! At the same time why don't you chuck the insulated gore tex boots for moccasins. Then take your realtree camo thinsulate hunting jacket off and put on some buckskins. Throw away that fancy hat and put on a coonskin cap. Of course you have to get rid of your fancy GPS system that got you in the woods. Ohh..did you ride in? Was it on a horse or the newest SUV?

    All the above help folks in a hunt. Are there folks out there who shun modern conveniences and hunt that way?..Yep. And if you do then I think you have a leg to stand on in an arguement. If not...

    Good Shooting
  9. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 19, 2002
    Gotta start somewhere...

    It's a start and if they find they really enjoy it, they may go traditional smokepole.
  10. swampsniper

    swampsniper Member

    Aug 2, 2003
    St. Augustine, Fla
    Only problem is that many if not most would not bother with even an inline unless for the chance to hunt during muzzleloading season, a season once set aside to be traditional. It is one of those legal but not quite right issues, and brings many of the things into the woods that a lot of us were trying to get away from.
    By the way, next one that sidles up to me and my handmade flint long rifle and asks me where I got the "musket", don't be suprised to see an old man go berserk on you. With out all the history and tradition, muzzleloading season just becomes a bit of extra hunting season. If you don't know a musket from a longrifle, I wonder if you know enough to share the woods with me. Next thing you know I will be listening to someone telling me about his trip into town to have his knife sharpened!!

  11. Ed

    Ed Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    I debated posting this when the topic started but resisted. Now I'll say it though. I hunt with a handmade, by me flintlock longrifle. My father hunts with an inline. Thats what we want to do. No problems here with that. I don't think its always the weapon but the mentality that goes with it. My father and I'm sure some others that hunt with inlines, won't shoot anything under 8 points, and older deer. Doe if they are trying to harvest them. He, like me, hunts to enjoy the outdoors and is rewarded with a successful hunt by just being able to be there. The weapon is not the issue. If you go all season and don't shoot a deer thats not the end of the world. The problem that I have with inlines are that they have flooded the hunting season with everyone who just wants to buy a $99 rifle take it to the range the day before season and then go try to shoot anything that walks. Gun season is pretty much like that now in lots of places. BP season used to weed out those people and let us enjoy the woods and nature. Now you can't anymore. I'm 29 years old and started BP hunting when I was 14. And I've not killed a deer with one yet. Not that I havent seen any, I just have a set idea of what I'm waiting on. So do I think Inlines are "evil" no. Do I think they let the fun get taken out of BP season, in a way. In Arkansas one topic that has been discussed is having a BP season and a seperate Traditional BP season. I'm all for that. It would make everyone happy. Part,and a large part, of BP is the having a traditional flintlock or caplock and being in the woods. But hey I don't even own any synthetic stock modern rifles. so I may not be the norm.
  12. Jack T.

    Jack T. Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Great State of Oklahoma
    That would be me. I enjoy deer hunting. . .Whatever I can use to extend my hunting season is good with me. If they had a deer season for bean flips, I would start target practice with a bean flip.

    FWIW, I use a scoped Thompson-Center in-line.
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