Who’s the Sniper? An Eastern Shore Hunting Adventure

Goose Hunting on the Eastern Shore

Goose Hunting on the Eastern Shore

Many of you who read the L.C. Smith story, “My Trophy Wife” are wondering “who turned this guy loose with a 12 gauge in the first place”?  Well, this series of short stories shows that, compared to my hunting buddies, I may not be the nutcase after all.

Who’s the Sniper?

Let’s call him “Ritchie”, our caretaker at the time and one of the most avid hunters on the Eastern Shore …. as avid as my great grandfather and he followed great grandpa’s rules.  Seasons were respected only because shotguns are not generally available with silencers.  However, Bag Limits were another story – applicable to normal humans, not Ritchie.

Ghillie Suit

Ghillie Suit

Six of us, guided by Ritchie, started shooting geese at 6:50am on a Wednesday in January, wearing normal eastern shore business casual.  We had our limit within 45 minutes and I took off for work.

As Ritchie headed for his day job, he remembered the pair of Mallards that had been feeding in the shallows less than 50 yards from the pool. No matter that we already had our limit, these mallards were too good to pass up.  Ritchie hauled his ghillie suit out of the truck, struggled into it and plopped himself in the middle of the lawn, mid-way between the pool and the horseshoe pit – totally invisible – at least to the mallards.

Ghillie suits were developed by Scottish gamekeepers in the 19th century as a portable hunting blind.  Lovat Scouts, a Scottish Highland regiment formed by the British Army during the Second Boer War, is the first known military unit to use ghillie suits and went on to become the British Army’s first sniper unit in 1916.

After 45 minutes or so, the Mallards came to feed and, within several seconds, were toast.  Five minutes later, Ritchie was toast.

A DNR (Department of Natural Resources) agent clambered out of my neighbor’s tree, packing his binoculars back in the case as he shouted at Ritchie … “Hold it buddy”!  Turns out this goose cop had been perched in that tree since O-dark-30, watching us bag our limit, seeing Ritchie sling his geese into the back of his truck, watching him climb into his ghillie suit and taking the mallards

As I recall, that little episode cost Ritchie a couple of grand in legal fees, more than that in fines (may not have been his 1st offense) and a year or two probation.  Pretty expensive mallards.


Miranda Lambert Shoots Wedding Deer

Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton - Venison Lovers

Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton - Venison Lovers

Continuing with her down-home demeanor and laid-back style, country star Miranda Lambert has gone huntin’ to stock the banquet tables at her upcoming wedding. Prior to tying the knot with country sensation Blake Shelton, Lambert decided it was Time To Get A Gun and fetch her wedding reception vittles.

While Miranda is clearly made of Gunpowder & Lead, the deer in question did not appear to be as ruggedly built, as it was quickly turned into the main wedding feast entre.

Inside sources with Ms. Lambert’s catering company hinted that in addition to the venison main course, other local delicacies would be served including:

  • Cream of Cooter
  • Mixed Kudzu Greens with Muscadine Vinaigrette
  • Coon Seviche
  • Armadillo Tartare
  • Twinkie Flambe
  • And last but not least for the city folk, Braised Squab with Creme Fraiche Foam

Things could get out of hand as there will be an open bar featuring moonshine on the rocks, Mad Dog 20/20 Appletinis, and of course PBR.


My Trophy Wife: LC Smith

Trophy Wife

Beware the Trophy Wife

As a kid in Los Angeles, my exposure to guns was pretty specialized – ever hear of a Zip Gun?  Now, ex-altar boy that I am, we only made them for fun, like shooting at lizards (shooting at is intentional phrasing; never hit one), but I’m really lucky to have all my fingers and both eyes.

We moved to the eastern shore of Maryland in 1996 and at the ripe old age of 57, never having owned a gun (other than the Zip), I quickly learned that ‘ol eastern shore maxim, “ if you got a d**k, you gotta h**t”.

After a couple of not so successful hunting seasons wrestling with an old Remington 870 12 gauge that resulted in very few dinners on the table, the geese and ducks were flocking to my place – they knew they were as safe as under their momma’s wing.

Jean and the kids decided that my lousy track record had to do with that old male standby, the “E” word …. Equipment.  I needed a better gun.

Knowing my absolute passion for almost anything antique, the boys talked Jean into springing for a 1930’s LC Smith 12 gauge, side by side, for my 60th birthday.  What a gorgeous piece of mechanics; everything locked precisely in place with a satisfying click, the engraving was a perfect shade of blue with gold and yellow highlights.  The English walnut stock had the warm, soft patina that only years of skin oil can produce.  From September until the early season in late October, I cleaned, polished and caressed (a stupid visual, but that’s what I did) that beautiful piece of workmanship.  Old LC and I tackled the sporting clays a couple of times with less than spectacular results – I chalked it up to “having to get used to the gun”.

LC Smith Side by Side Shotgun

LC Smith Side by Side Shotgun, img: prices4antiques.com

Finally, opening day of goose season.  The other guys had their limit in short order and the geese actually started cackling as they swooped over my blind.  They knew, as I did, that I couldn’t hit a thing!  This went on for a several years, me rarely hitting anything, and suffering unbelievable abuse from my hunting friends.

Finally, one cold January day, I was so frustrated after missing my 9th shot (that is 9 shells after everyone else had their limit) that I threw the LC Smith down, grabbed the old 870 and nailed 2 geese with 3 shells, all in a few seconds.  Mike and Rodney were awe struck and chalked it up to luck, but we know better, don’t we?

Several years too late, I took ol’ LC to the pro at the sporting clays range.  He fired several shells, missing every single clay at first, but then hitting them consistently.  He handed LC back to me saying “it’s simple Mike, just aim 5’ low and 3’ to the left”.

Hell’s bells, I can hardly stay focused 1’ ahead of a slow moving goose; how in the world could I aim 5’ low and 3’ to the left?  Needless to say, LC and I parted company shortly thereafter; some marriages just ain’t worth saving.


Long Lost Kahles Scope Used By Minnesota Iceman

Minnesota Iceman Kahles Scope - Scooby Doo

Minnesota Iceman - Owner of Lost Kahles Scope (Image: Hanna Barbera)

Kahles, Austrian manufacturer of fine rifle optics, recently unveiled the result of what was perhaps the longest field endurance test of hunting equipment ever – a Helia rifle scope lost in the Alps for what initially appeared to be nearly four decades. After showing the long lost rifle and scope at the 2011 SHOT Show, Kahles officials made an even more startling discovery about the scope’s origins.

“When we embarked on a carbon dating test, to settle a bar bet mind you, we discovered that the Kahles scope had been lost far longer than we originally thought” stated Kahles CEO Ben Cartwright. “Imagine our surprise when we found out that the rifle and scope were over 5,300 years old.”

Kahles Lost Helia Rifle Scope

Kahles Lost Helia Rifle Scope (Image: Kahles)

Further research on the scope’s origins yielded more surprising discoveries. Given the location of the find, compared with known hunting trails of the era, it was determined that the rifle and scope were likely owned by the Minnesota Iceman, discovered in 1968. “While most cavemen of that era hunted with rocks and spears, the really well-heeled ones could afford a nice bolt action” commented Cartwright.

Kahles engineers were thrilled with the scope’s perfect operational condition when it was originally believed the scope was in the wild for 30 years. “That in itself demonstrates an amazing feat of engineering” observed Kalhles Product Manager Carl Sagan. “When we found out it was really over 5,000 years old we weren’t really all that surprised. We build these things to last you know. However we were a little shocked that the Minnesota Iceman got his hands on a pre-production model. We hadn’t released those to the market 5,300 years ago. We’re guessing one of our interns borrowed it from the lab or something and got careless.”

After an exhaustive genealogical search, company officials were able to locate a descendant of the original owner in hopes of returning the scope to the family. On hearing the good news, modern day iceman Grrrug was ecstatic. “Mrmffphh urrgghhumpp grrrgxvz Kahles Scope arrgmph grrrrrq frumph” exclaimed the happy descendant of the rifle’s original owner.

Fox shoots man

Good thing it wasn’t a moose. They carry bigger guns I hear.

Fox shoots man: MOSCOW (Reuters) – A wounded fox shot its would be killer in Belarus by pulling the trigger on the hunter’s gun as the pair scuffled after the man tried to finish the animal off with the butt of the rifle, media said Thursday.

(Via Reuters: Oddly Enough.)

Hoppe’s No. 9 Scratch ‘n Taste Now Available


Hoppe's Scratch n' Taste - 'aggressive' according to some early customers

Following closely on the heels of the successful release of Hoppe’s No. 9 Air Freshener, Hoppe’s, the gun care people, have announced Hoppe’s No. 9 Scratch n’ Taste.

According to Hoppe’s, the No. 9 Scratch n’ Taste is targeted at those who want more than the “olfactory bliss between gun cleanings” offered by the No. 9 Air Freshener product. “It’ll definitely wake you up in the morning” stated company CEO Ben Cartwright.

Hoppes  Air Freshener

Hoppe's No. 9 Air Freshener

Described by early customers as ‘aggressive’ the Scratch n’ Taste is aimed at a relatively small market niche of truly fanatical gun lovers. “We’re really trying to capture the market segment defined by people who actually drink Hoppe’s No. 9 gun cleaner” stated Don Draper, Vice President of Marketing at Hoppe’s. “We figured if people were that dedicated, we ought to provide a safer means of savoring the Hoppe’s experience.”

While admitting that the Hoppe’s taste experience may be expanded in the future, Draper would not comment on rumors  about Hoppe’s No. 9 Breath Mints.

Speer Bullets Launches New Smokin’ Hot-Cor Ammunition Line

Speer Hot-Cor Bullets

New Speer Smokin' Hot-Cor Bullets

Speer Bullets  recently expanded its already broad line of hunting bullets with the addition of the Speer Smokin’ Hot-Cor series. Intended to provide an extension to the successful Hot-Cor line, the Smokin’ series is targeted at hunters and sportsmen with a more ‘randy’ side. In addition to minimal jacketing that leaves much to the imagination, the new Smokin’ Hot-Cores feature beautifully proportioned measurements, regardless of caliber offering. And based on early evaluations, they perform in the field, but only for tips. “These bullets typically retain 152% of their original weight” noted Speer CEO Ben Cartwright. “And they’re not hard on they eyes either. For bullets, they sure are lookers.” When asked how the new bullets could retain more than their original weight after expansion Cartwright explained “It’s just like Smokin’ hot people. Our bullets tend to attract others as they go and before you know it, it’s a stalker entourage.”

Don Draper, Speer Vice President of Marketing

VP Marketing Don Draper

Don Draper, Speer’s Vice President of Marketing shared details of a new promotional strategy for Speer. In a newly minted marketing pact with ‘Girls Gone Wild’ Founder Joe Francis, the companies intend to create a video series entitled “Bullets Gone Wild!” which will feature the new Smokin’ Hot-Cor lineup. “We hope to show our new bullets in action – raw and uncensored – so people can see how they really behave, or maybe misbehave, in the field” said Draper. “When these bullets get out of the gun, they tend to lose all inhibition and who knows what will happen. We hope to capture that on film under our new agreement with Mr. Francis.” Draper also announced availability of the new Speer Smokin’ Hot-Cor calendar in time for the upcoming holiday season. “We wanted hunters to have a new look at our bullets throughout the year. Of course, the calendar will be rated PG-13, so we recommend discretion.”

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