I tired of seeing does and never a buck at the Lauderdale Wildlife Management Area during my mid-teens. I turned 18 in 1975. They were still building a herd in those days. After viewing the primitive weapons hunters' takes of either sex deer at the management area's weighing station, I decided to get myself a muzzleloader. With nothing like today's vast array of choices, I eyeballed a .58 caliber H&R Huntsman at The House of Guns. $59.95! That was tough for a high school senior to come up with in the dead of winter with no yards to mow. My Dad heard me talking to a buddy about the Huntsman at supper one night. The next day he proposed, "Dan, I'll pay ya' forty bucks to finish digging out the back of the basement. I dove into the dark cavern at the west end of my folks' basement and had the dirt moved after a few after school pick, shovel, and wheelbarrow sessions. I added the excavation proceeds to some Prince Albert-can-cash and having turned 18, I acquired the first firearm ever purchased on my own. I ordered a Lee bullet mold a few days later. Over the spring and summer, I put more than a few big lead projectiles into paper targets, cans, and one unlucky Starling (only found a wing). The next fall and winter rolled by and I had no luck with my Remington 742 Woodsmaster .30-06 Carbine during the gun season. The season ending Lauderdale primitive weapons hunt arrived on the last two days of January 1976. I was sitting patiently at the base of a big oak when a doe trotted by and stopped behind me (maybe 20 yards). I had to quietly stand and turn to get a shot. The big Lee "target minie" passed through the deer's lungs and after a 50 yard sprint, she was down and bleeding out. Another doe fell to it a few years later. I have not shot the rifle in two decades, but I was giving it a wipedown a few moments ago and the memories of days afield on cold late season mornings came flooding in. I had to share. I recall these things were going for a premium in the 80s or 90s, but the plethora of inlines have erased that demand spike — not that I would ever consider selling the rifle I took my first deer with. I missed a big doe at about 80 yards the next year. Some longer range work at the gravel pit showed the big minie bullets were tumbling past 50 yards. I did some reading and discovered that the H&Rs were slow twist weapons designed for patched round balls. I purchased a box of Speer swaged balls and never looked back. This patched ball combo could bust water filled plastic bottles at 100 yards with regularity. The second doe mentioned above fell to one of these round balls. A sitting position shot across a small hollow, I figure the distance to target was about 50 or 60 yards. I need to take this old friend out for a walk, huh?