Wednesday, October 7

National Fishing and Hunting Day: A Few Good Calls

   Sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, this year's National Fishing and Hunting Day was a wonderful way to further introduce my children to these outdoor activities. Not only were there many vendors and state agencies represented, but also a multitude of hands-on exhibits and demonstrations.   
   Held on the property of a hunting and shooting lodge, there was something for all ages to participate in. This range of events provided an experience, which my children and I were thankful to the DNR for sponsoring. For example, my son and daughter were able to learn the fundamentals of archery with sized down compound bows. Taught by the capable Maryland Bowhunters Society, they went through safety instruction and three flights later were hitting full body targets.  I was able to try the new Benelli Vinci at the Benelli booth.  While it mounted well, it was light in the stock and did not feel as well balanced as my Super Black Eagle II.  It is a fine shotgun and if you are looking for a right handed semi-auto that takes up to 3" shells, give it a serious look.
   Our favorite exhibit of the day was a gentleman with an early Frontiersman's camp.  Dressed the part in deerskins and working in his hand constructed camp, he casted .50 and .62 caliber balls for a period rifle.  We learned more about the life of a frontiersman in a few minutes than a day at the library. Our knowledgeable guide enlightened us on edible plants (and their Latin names), as well as colonial furntiure building, and how a razor sharp adze would produce a finish so smooth that sanding was not required.
   Walking back to the truck, we stopped in to talk to the folks at Sean Mann Outdoors, makers of well-regarded duck and goose calls.  Within five minutes, I was in the middle of a private lesson and was able to make a few solid highball calls with their Wingnutz Wingmann short reed calls. The Northern Louisiana gentleman who coached me provided excellent instruction. After hours of practicing on the way to work, it was refreshing to know that an iota of my past calling catalyzed in a few good calls.