Neil Sedaka said that breaking up is hard to do, but so is catching up.
I started writing a weekly column for the Shawano Leader around September 2007, and other than a short pause called the pandemic, I’ve been cranking out regular outdoors and adventure musings ever since.
With the revised Living columns, I went to a twice-a-month rotation that my non-analytic mind still has trouble keeping track of (basically the second and fourth Fridays of the month). I’m continually impressed with the amount of great and useful copy cranked out by the other Living columnists and of course the hard-working staff that create both digital and print content at an impressive rate.
There’s so much going on right now in the outdoor world, with the archery deer season, fall turkey, waterfowl and upland game seasons all going strong. Blaze orange will blanket the woods Nov. 18 when the gun deer season opens for nine days, followed by the muzzleloader deer season Nov. 27-Dec. 6, then the Dec. 7-10 antlerless-only hunt. Our ever-expanding deer herd offers plenty of opportunities, whether you hunt with a modern rifle, slug shotgun, muzzleloader, bow or crossbow.
You can always hunt with a bow or crossbow during any gun or muzzleloader deer season. The archery season continues immediately after the gun seasons and ends Jan. 7 in some counties, Jan. 31 in others (county Deer Advisory Councils decide this each year).
I’m still chasing deer with a recurve bow, trying to fulfill a dream that started with my first bowhunting in 1974 back in Illinois. Although I’ve shot many deer with compound bow, crossbow, handgun, muzzleloading rifle, slug shotgun and modern rifle, I still haven’t dropped one with the simple stick and string. Fingers crossed. My freezer’s still full of venison from last fall’s big doe shot during the muzzleloader season, so I’m not going hungry. If I had to depend on my recurve for food, I’d have starved long ago.
I hate not keeping readers up-to-date on previous columns, the same as journalists who pack hunt some emotional or sensational story only to vanish in the mist with no follow-up.
One of the most dramatic moments of my life occurred in April during one of my Wolf River Concealed Carry classes. I normally don’t get time to shoot at these classes, because I’m teaching my students, but one student had fired an exceptionally good group with my Glock 43 single-stack 9mm. I decided to see if I could match it, and on the fifth shot at 7 yards, the gun exploded in my hands. My right index finger and thumb stung for more than 30 minutes, and I had powder burns and a little swelling but didn’t lose any digits.
In the aftermath, I sent the Winchester factory ammo back to the company for testing and the cracked-frame Glock went back to them. A Glock rep told me it had to be the ammo’s fault, because claims about Glocks blowing up from firing out of battery or having unsupported chambers were all BS. (Search online for “Glock kaboom,” a term created by lawyers who dealt with hundreds of similar explosions over the years.)
I learned that the same weekend, a Glock 43 had exploded in the hands of a Scheels worker I personally know on the same weekend mine did. I also learned that Glocks have a one-year warranty: one of the worst of any firearms maker. Yikes. Needless to say, my faith in this brand carried by law enforcement and military worldwide was shattered. (Polymer is still plastic.)
Winchester’s testing was officially inconclusive, but the company agreed to fix my damaged Glock. Glock was going to replace the frame for $100 but later found damage to the slide, so Winchester then picked up the full cost of the replacement gun, plus shipping, and sent me a box of 200 rounds of ammo to boot. I was thoroughly impressed with Winchester and not at all happy with Glock.
Overloaded ammo (typically from reloads) is the normal cause of most exploding guns, but that was not the case here. At least one writer for the NRA did a story on his own personal Glock that would fire out of battery (slide not fully forward) and articles have been written about Glock modifications that did correct some issues with unsupported chambers in early generations of their guns.
As we move forward toward some major elections, we are reminded almost daily about the relentless anti-gun folks who would rather disarm honest folks than send criminals to prison.
One mantra I hear a lot from the antis is, “Nobody’s going to take your guns.” We only have to look south to our neighbor, Illinois, to see that yes, politicians will take your guns. They already have.
Illinois last year banned about 150 models of firearms, including many versions of AR-15 rifles. Did you know this?
So far, the state has prevailed on legal challenges and residents who own any of these guns have two options: turn them in (there’s no compensation, which essentially violates the Constitution) or register them with the state police by Jan. 1. They are not allowed to sell them in or outside of the state (huh?) and if they don’t register them, they can be considered felons. Apparently the peasants are not cooperating, because so far, only a few thousand have been registered.
We often laugh at our neighbors to the south (they are Bears fans, after all) but we all really should be watching their situation – in terror. I for one – who grew up in Illinois and saw the first Firearms Owners Identification Cards come into use there (papers, please) – am sad that those who see citizens as only sources of revenue and votes have made this much ground while many others slept.
Thanks for reading, and good luck this deer season.
Ross Bielema is a freelance writer from New London and owner of Wolf River Concealed Carry LLC. Contact him at Ross@wolfriverccw.com.