The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


January 5, 2013

Ken Maurer's Inside Line column: Of fire and steel

Welcome to the late seasons. There are various small game species back in the hunt, all great challenges in the cold and snow. The last deer season is underway, the flintlock season.

If you are heading out for deer with the flintlock, you are after a very different animal now. They've been chased around quite a bit, and even though they've not been bothered for a while, they are still very eager to keep distance between predator and prey.

I like to dabble a bit in black powder hunting. I'm not into it as some are, but it is fun to carry a flintlock rifle in the woods. It is a much different feeling than carrying a regular rifle or even a bow. If you have your flintlock tuned right, it will go off, but lots of things can go wrong. Just ask old Craig Pretzel. If I have it right, I believe his clicked about four times before the deer ran off. Your pan powder can leak out and disappear. The pan powder can collect moisture. The flash hole can clog. The flint can break. Then if everything is right, you still have to hold the gun still and follow through on the hold when you pull the trigger.

All that said, there are some very deadly flintlock shots out there. There are also a lot of guys who can't hit the broad side of a barn door. It comes down to practice. Cleaning the gun is a bit of a pain, but it's part of the routine. The guy that is good and quick at cleaning his gun is probably the guy that is a good shot with it.

I have to admit I missed my share with the muzzleloader. I'm not sure why, but I've gotten better with it lately. Part of it is patience and part of that is waiting for a good shot.

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