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Going Turkey Hunting, April 4

March 28, 2011

A Georgia 2-year-old Tom taken with a Navy Arms Co., .45-caliber flintlock rifle and 3000-year-old chip from an Indians atlatl point.

  Starting with wake-up yawns and ending with taking a Georgia turkey with a flintlock rifle and a chip from a 3000-year-old atlatl point, I take you through  three typical days of Spring turkey hunting that end with a successful climax.

  In reflecting on this hunt, I cannot say that this Indian hunter finished making this atlatl (spear thrower) point, as it was broken when I found it. I would like to think that he  might have killed something with it, just as I did thousands of years later using a technology that he could not have imagined.  When the bow and arrow came into use in North America, the atlatl was dropped in favor of the less cumbersome bow. However, the Aztecs were still using atlatls when Columbus arrived, and they are now legal for hunting in a few U.S. states.

  Although not as long-lasting as an English flint, I did get a sufficient number of  good sparks from it to take this bird. After a few resharpenings, it dulled to the point of being no longer functional. However, this unnamed Indian knew a good rock when he saw one. It hopefully worked for him, and it did work for me. Thanks.

  This ended something of a saga for this particular rifle. I purchased it from Val Forgett, the founder of Navy Arms Co., 20-odd years ago. I chose a .45-caliber because this was a transition caliber between the .32-.36 caliber small game muzzleloading rifles and big-game-capable guns. (I am aware that .40-caliber muzzleloaders are legal in Tennessee and that thousands of deer were killed with smaller-caliber guns.) However, in Georgia, the .44 was the smallest legal caliber for deer taken with muzzleloading guns, and this rifle used a patched .440 round ball.

Stand made of a drilled block of wood and three supports to keep flintlock guns upright so that the prime in the pan is not shifted, and the hunter does not have to continuously hold the gun.

  I also supposed that this would be a fine turkey-hunting gun. I killed two deer with the gun, squirrels, rabbits and won some matches with it; but turkeys escaped the gun for decades. I regularly took it out including to two game management areas and several hunts on private land, but no luck. I could not get a turkey in front of  it. This year I finally succeeded with the recycled fragment of an atlatl point for a flint.

Navy Arms Co., .45-caliber Kentucky rifle against a chimney from the late 1700s.

  I use one load in this gun for all of my shooting. It consist of  85 grains of GOEX FFg black powder, a .45-caliber felt over-powder Wonder Wad, 20 grains of Cream of Wheat, a patch made from an old canvas drop cloth lubricated with Thompson/Center Arms’ Bore Butter  and a .440 pure lead round ball.

  I did a brief video after the hunt as a companion to the radio show. You can see the video now on YouTube by clicking on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_9czyje188.

  For more information on muzzleloading turkey hunting you can go to my website www.hoveysmith.com where you will find my books and other blogs. I will have another book out later this year, X-Treme Muzzleloading,  that will discuss many of my muzzleloading hunts with Cantank and other guns in the U.S., Europe and Africa.

 To go directly to the radio show page and listen to the hour-long show, go to:  http://webtalkradio.net/shows/hoveys-outdoor-adventures/.

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