Thursday, November 29, 2012
GUNS OF THE BUSH PILOTS
Outdoor Life is one of those magazines I've read since childhood. Like many other publications, it's changed over the years, with casts of changing writers and editors and the like, and of course like many things perhaps I recall the old Outdoor Life better than it really was. I still think it's a pretty good read.
This month's Outdoor Life has a one pager on a survey done with 10 Alaskan Bush Pilots.
Not surprisingly, the majority carry a mix of a 12 gauge pump and the Model 29 or a Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44 Magnum. One of the fellows carries a Glock 10mm in a chest rig.
Three of the pilots opt for lever action Marlin Guide Guns in .45-70. Several of the pilots pack their normal hunting rifles and I think .30-06 was the caliber mentioned.
All of the shotgunners carried a mix of buck and slug. All of the cartridges had bullets that were heavy, large and flat nosed.
I was surprised not to see at least a mention of the Marlin take-down Marlin Guide Gun called the Alaskan Co-Pilot get at least a mention.
One of the pilots said he used to pack a shotgun and a 1911, but then gave up guns in favor of bear spray.
In any event, it's a good read, and I'd like to see some expansions on what gear they carry with them. One guy mentioned that he wore his gun on him because he assumed that in the case of a crash and he survived that he might just have what he had on his person to survive.
It's highly unlikely I'll be in the Alaskan Bush anytime soon, despites some desires to do some Alaskan or Yukon backwoods "fish jump jump jumping on the hook" fishing. I'd like to stay in America, and be able to tote my own firearms for fishing expeditions, so although parts of the Yukon are mighty cool for fishing trips, they have draconian firearms laws.
I have no desire to hunt a beautiful creature as the bear or his other way up yonder breathren. However, I strongly believe in protecting yourself in the wild from four and two legged predators as well as snakes.
I do have a desire to catch fish in the great white north, and that's where the bear problem comes, as they also like to catch fish and that puts us in the same place same time problem.
In my ordinary sporting life, anything from a .22 to a .357 to a .45 ACP is likely to be my companion. There's a lot of possibles in between those calibers listed as well. We don't have a bear threat in my part of Texas, and only a very slim bear population in our state. They are black bears, and there is almost no chance at all I'd encounter one.
It's more likely I'd encounter a cat, like a bobcat, or even a mountain lion in some of the Texas areas I fish. Rabid skunks have been a problem over the years, both near populated areas and in the wilds. I assume they're rapid when not avoiding people and in fact chasing folks in some cases.
Hogs are frequently encountered in the Texas wilds. Hogs and pigs and javalina and probably some other type of pork I'm forgetting. They are usually only a problem if they feel trapped. They are frequently encountered near water at night or at the times of dawn and dusk.
The State of Texas says there are about 2.5 million wild hogs and pigs in the State, and I think that is a conservative estimate. The different species all have their characteristics, but I was once tree'd by several hundred angry javalinas in South Texas. They eventually went away, and I'm glad I had a substantial tree to clamber up into. I had a shotgun and a Thompson Contender pistol, and not near enough shells to do anything but really rile up the javalina.
If there is a problem with a hog, it can usually be solved with a .357 or a .45 of some sort. Of course, a .44 magnum will do, but that's overkill. The .45 Colt and ACP do just fine for hogs as well, particularly with some of the hotter ammo for those guns that's available. Of course, a 12 gauge pump is also a great problem solver with the hog and pig population.
Lots of folks carry rifles when going fishing in areas with large wild hog or pig populations. Lever actions from .30-30 to .45-70 are popular, but lesser recoiling calibers like the .243 have been used to great success by many friends. Others like using calibers like .308, .270, .30-06 and 7mm. And many friends also carry rifles in .223/5.56 and 7.62 x 39 for hog hunting with semi-auto style.
So Texas Bush considerations are less than those in Alaska where the Grizzly is the biggest worry, at least in the areas fisherman would visit.
Still, it's interesting to see what these guys working and living in the last frontier do and see for a living. It's probably same old same old to those that have been doing it for 20 or so years.
So if nothing else, it's a quick read you can do at the store the next time you are shopping. It's a one page read in Outdoor Life.
Posted by THE FISHING MUSICIAN at 8:40 PM