Category Archives: Hunting

Choosing the Right Cartridge – Craig Boddington

CHOOSING THE RIGHT CARTRIDGE… Out of dozens of good ones!
(Craig Boddington)

“Which cartridge for me?” is a question I’m often asked. It may come from someone looking for a first centerfire rifle to get a youngster or spouse started, but just as frequently I am asked, “What should I get next?”

Photo by Craig Boddington
Niece Megan Lurvey had never shot a rifle. We started with a .22 rimfire, then, to introduce her to centerfire muzzle blast, we went to a .204 Ruger. The various varmint cartridges are great for introducing shooters to centerfires, with the .223 the most popular and available.

These are altogether different questions. In both cases, it’s essential to know the intended purpose; for the second question, obviously, I also have to ask what that person already has. Either way, we have so many great cartridges today that’s it’s a bewildering mess! The good news is that there are few wrong answers—no “bad” cartridges make it to factory production, and there’s all manner of overlap and redundancy in power requirements. There are dozens of good “deer cartridges,” only slightly fewer great “elk cartridges,” and so forth.  Continue reading

Craig Boddington: Submit your Hunting Permit Applications Now!

Tag Time: Not in the Drawings? Now is the Time! (Craig Boddington)

North American hunters enjoy an amazing bounty of both wildlife and opportunity, but things almost didn’t turn out this way. By 1900, most of our large game species were in serious trouble. Protection and management brought them back, some to incredible plenty, such as our 35 million whitetail deer. Along the winding road to recovery, a unique system of wildlife management developed that we call the North American Model.

Photo: Craig Boddington
My Dad and I with a wonderful Montana bighorn, the first sheep tag I drew. Concerned about disease caused by overpopulation, Montana doubled the tags in this unit after the applications were in. It takes luck, but you must apply!

The North American Model is said to have seven tenets:

  1. Wildlife as a public trust resource
  2. Elimination of markets for game
  3. Wildlife allocated by law
  4. Taking of wildlife only for legitimate purposes
  5. Wildlife considered an international resource
  6. Science as the proper tool
  7. Democracy of hunting

Implicit in the model is the principle is that hunters and anglers provide the primary funding. The first and the last tenants—which hold that we believe wildlife belongs to everyone, not just private landowners or the government—are almost unheard of elsewhere in the world.

The last tenant, democracy of hunting, holds that all citizens in good standing may hunt—subject to seasons and licensing requirements, of course. Due to scarcer resources, both science and law dictate that not everyone can have a license every season. We have a system that allocates permits by a public drawing, a system that serves as one of the very best examples of the democracy of hunting that we enjoy.

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Hunting Chamois in New Zealand

Hunting Waterfowl and Chamois in New Zealand

Relaxing in a duck blind with a six-pack of cold ones, some BBQ, and a colorful collection of hunters in a foreign country… They say there are better things in life, but not many. This was another one of my New Zealand adventures, albeit, a much tamer one. In the company of other New Zealand hunters, I waited in a duck blind on the southern coast of New Zealand. Our game was waterfowl and we looked out on a saltwater marsh separated from the South Pacific by a rocky berm.

We shot 80 or 90 ducks from our blind that day. When we were done, shells littered the wooden floor and my ears rang with the echoes of shots from my Beretta and the other shotguns. Our take was a combination of mallards and paradise ducks. Paradise ducks are a particularly interesting breed because they mate for life, and, unlike most other breeds, it is the female who has the most colorful plumage. Continue reading

Hunting in New Zealand

Hunting Tahr in New Zealand

Hunting in New Zealand - Image of huntersOn a hunting trip to New Zealand. I started my expedition at 3:30 a.m. in the cab of a 4×4 pickup truck, or ute, as my guide called it. My guide was a native New Zealander, a highly experienced hunter and his assistant a British man, an experienced mountain climber. We had all of our gear unloaded and ready before dawn broke. We had a long day ahead of us.

Most people accessed the area by helicopter because of how rugged the area is. However, the small animals located near the base of the mountain, usually tracked by helicopters, were not my intended game I had my sights set higher on the larger animals which resided near the summit, the Tahr, large Asian Ungulates closely related to wild goats. Continue reading