Josh Montgomery: Firearms You Should Bring To The Woods.

Landscape, Scenic, Porphyry Mountain

We were designed to thrive in the wilderness. We’ve come a long way from the era of cavemen, moving from pointy sticks to boomsticks. While we enjoy more comfortable lifestyles today, it’s always best to stay as close to nature as possible. Part of our well-designed nature is creating well-designed tools to help us out.

There are a lot of firearms that are useful in different situations, so you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. We’re gonna give a rundown of choices for different purposes.

All Around Survival Gun

The Ar-7 was designed with survival in the wilderness in mind. It was created in 1959 by Eugene Stoner who also designed the legendary AR-15. It was originally created for Air Force pilots who needed a great survival tool in case they ever found themselves stranded in the wild. It’s still used today by bushfire pilots and outdoor enthusiasts.

One of its greatest features is compactness. The rifle breaks down into a few parts. The barrel, firing mechanism, and two magazines are stored in the butt of the rifle. It can be broken down and reassembled with ease. This allows it to be snuggly stored in whatever bag you’re bringing, adding only a few pounds to your pack. If you’ve been on long trips in the wild before, then you know how valuable this can be.

Today, Henry manufactures an updated version of this rifle. It uses .22 ammunition which means its perfect for small game hunting. It’s also robust enough to handle some dirt and moisture.

While the AR-7 is a personal favorite of mine, there are many .22 rifles that will be your best friend in survival situations. The semi-automatic Marlin 10-22 is one of the most popular and wallet friendly models today.

Shotguns

There’s a reason that shotguns are so popular among people living on the frontier. That reason is versatility.

Much of its versatility comes from the different types of shotgun shells on the market. Bird shot can be used for birds and other small animals. Buck shot is great for deer and other larger animals. You can load slugs if you need to shoot at longer ranges. It packs enough power to defend you against bears, wolves, or whatever the woods send your way.

There are different types of shotguns to choose from. The first gun I was given by my father was a Remington 1170. It has beautiful wood furnishing and makes for both nice shooting and a nice art piece. However, I wouldn’t want it in the brush with me. The Mossberg 930 is a great all-around semi-auto shotgun. It comes with synthetic furnishing and a mid-length (22”) barrel. Its tubular magazine, holding up to 9 shells, was a major upgrade involved in my choice of it. Its well roundedness makes it useful for competition, self-defense, and especially the wilderness.

.357s and .44s

Bears, Grizzly, Mother, Cubs, Young

If you’re carrying for safety, you need something big. Many of the most beautiful places in the world are also home to some of the most dangerous animals. Grizzlies, black bears, cougars and more are real threats in many woods. While these are beautiful animals, they can also rip your head off.

You need a caliber as big as them, which is where .44 and .357 revolvers come into play. If there are large animals like grizzly bears where you’re at, you need the .44. If you’ll be somewhere where you’re worried about smaller beasts such as black bears, the .357 may suffice.

When hunting, you generally have time to set up your blinds, stands, equipment and whatever else you need. However, when it comes to defending yourself, you need something that is always at the ready. You won’t have your rifle or shotgun seconds from firing while collecting wood, setting up camp, or sitting by the fire, but you can always have a revolver on your side. You may feel that a handgun is not powerful enough to stop as ferocious an animal as a bear, but they are actually effective roughly 95% of the time.

A side benefit of buying a .357 is that many of them can also shoot .38 caliber rounds. .38 rounds are preferable for target practice and new shooters. Of course, that’s only a benefit if you don’t need the increased firepower of a .44.

Big Bore Rifles

If you want to hunt large game at long distances, big bore rifles are generally a necessity. They pack enough punch to put game down with one well placed shot. They can also be outfitted with scopes and range finders to shoot over incredibly long distances.

Like shotguns, lever action 30/30s are a staple of the American woodsman’s arsenal. Marlin and Henry make versions that call back to the American west. Bolt action rifles tend to be preferred for accuracy over the longest of distances. The exact caliber you need will depend on what you’re hunting and your personal preferences.

Hopefully you have an idea of what you need now. As a closing note, make sure your weapon of choice is reliable. You don’t want to be stuck in the wilds with a jammed or broken-down gun. Review the area you’ll be in and what you’ll be doing, and pick firearms appropriate for the situation.

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Jon Sutton – How To Get Kids Into Hunting.

Our right to bear arms was not necessarily designed in direct association with firearms being used for hunting, but today the two are critically linked. While second amendment supporters place substantial value on maintaining widespread gun rights, hunting is an area that people on the fence about gun control deem a sensible use of firearms. Obviously, being able to hunt with a firearm is highly dependent on gun laws, but it would appear that gun rights and hunting are connected on multiple levels.

suttonAnyone who is passionate about guns, hunting or both is very aware that preserving our rights and opportunities requires an ongoing battle. It is important that as gun owners and hunters we band together to continue our defense of those rights, but we also look forward to the future. That means getting today’s youth involved with hunting and guns so they can carry on the traditions as well as the defense of our rights.

The Value of Getting Kids Involved

Clearly, there is value in getting kids started hunting and using firearms when it comes to preserving the rights, opportunities and culture of the sport. There is also significant value to the individual kids. Both shooting and hunting are great ways to promote maturity and respect, as both are fun, but come with a lot of responsibilities. As you begin to teach your kid about serious topics like safety and ethics, it should help develop their ability to make sound decisions.

Hunting and shooting sports both encourage exercise and time spent in the outdoors- both things kids today could use a little more of. They also include quality time spent with friends and family, something that today’s youth lacks whenever their lives become a little too focused on technology-derived entertainment.

How to Get Them Started

If you are a hunting or shooting parent, many kids will take an early interest in participating, because that is what kids do- try to emulate their parents. Early introduction to any hobby or sport should be done with a certain amount of caution and patience since burnout is a real possibility. We have all seen the prodigies that are great at something when very young, but lose interest before adulthood because they overdo it early on. Hunting and shooting are no different. Try to involve them at a level and pace that mirrors their interest; do not force it on them.

A good way to start is to get them behind an air rifle and then a .22. If they have toy guns when they are younger, start to explain to them the rules of gun safety. These obviously become significantly more important when the gun is real, so you want to make sure they are old enough and mature enough to grasp the differences and the gravity of using guns before introducing them. Once they reach that point, target practice is a great way for them to start developing marksmanship skills. Some kids may develop a love for shooting but not for hunting. Transversally, some people end up liking hunting but shoot guns only for that purpose.

The next gun you buy them is a critical step. Make sure it is appropriately sized and in a reasonable chambering. Too much gun is a great way to turn a young shooter away from the sport or cause them to develop bad habits. Starting with the pellet gun and moving on up, make sure they always have more than enough ear and eye protection.

Getting them out Hunting

When it comes time to start taking your kid along on a hunting trip, safety will be of utmost importance. Hopefully, they will be old enough to have the patience and stamina for a decent amount of time hunting, but a shortened trip because they are worn out matters little compared to an accident because safety rules were not followed. Many states require kids to pass a hunter safety course before hunting, but some do not. Either way, it is ultimately up the parent or guardian to make that final call as to whether the kid is mature and safe enough to start carrying a firearm in the field.

Once you make that decision, follow these guidelines to make their first trip enjoyable:

  • Go on a good weather day
  • Pick a hunt where encounters are likely
  • Pack lots of snacks
  • Dress them to stay warm and dry
  • Be patient and do not put too much pressure on them
  • Encourage questions and take advantage of teaching moments
  • End the hunt when they are ready to be done

Moving Forward

Just like when they are very young, allow the kid to dictate how often, how long and how hard they hunt. Not everyone will fall in love with hunting and guns, but many become very passionate about one or both. The best you can do as parents, guardians or mentors is to put it out there for them, try to make it special for them and see if it sticks. Hopefully, they will join the masses of people who love the sport and support our related rights and opportunities.