While Washington and Greene Counties have more than their share of knowledgeable hunters and shooters, there are still those who know little. Even worse is the gun owner who thinks he knows and is beyond the lessons that life exposes us to.

An example is the man who came into the gun store and wouldn’t consider buying anything but a 30-06. He made everyone listen to his reasons that are as follows. Since the 30-06 is a 30 caliber cartridge, it is very versatile. When you are woods hunting, you can use the 30-30 round in it and if you go out west for Elk, you can use 300 Magnums. Such behavior is asking for disaster because where is the headspace? Of course, one should never mix rounds and when shooting off the bench at our club, I will only have one box of cartridges on the bench and they are for the gun I am shooting.

Another time, I had an elderly fellow enter the store and was just looking around. It was really the reloading paraphernalia that seemed to attract most of his attention. I asked him if he still loaded his own and he told me he had loaded a long time ago but had quit. Now he was thinking of taking up the hobby again. He asked me as he walked toward the exit what powder cost. I told him about $30 a pound. With that, he paused, looked at me and said, “Wow, it sure has gone up. You wouldn’t have any used powder around would you?” Dave Garrison was standing nearby and overhead the conversation and he spoke up. “Hey buddy,” he said. “I don’t have any used powder but I do have a coffee can full of spent primers.” Used powder is like buying used gasoline. This reminds me of that saying that to catch fish, one must think like a fish. However, fish are incredibly dumb. Using Algebra, that means the person who catches fish, isn’t the sharpest tack in the box.

But back to guns, I have heard more than once that a cartridge that moves the bullet too fast will result in bullet failure. It seems that there are those who hunt and reload who believe that the bullet passing through the animal doesn’t have time to open up. Bull-ooney! The fast moving bullet will do just the opposite and sometimes open too fast. One must remember there is also an effect on the rotational speed as the bullet speeds up. That rotational speed doesn’t slow down like the forward speed does on its way to the target. If the bullet is not constructed heavy enough, the rotational speed might just rip the jacket apart on contact and not penetrate. For that reason, the slower moving bullet just might reach deeper into the target than one of the super modern speed demon cartridges.

Sometimes the person using poor judgement or believing a false premise is a really caring intelligent person. Raised by caring parents, I was taught early on to treat other people with respect and to respect what they own. We were parked along Empire Ridge Road, drinking coffee and taking a break before looking for that elusive bear. Our gear was heaped on the tailgate of John Dino’s truck. An SUV came to a stop and three fellows dressed like hunters got out of a vehicle and came over to us and asked to see our hunting licenses. No problem but a fourth fellow got out and went straight to our equipment on the tailgate of the truck and started to rummage through the equipment. As he picked up John’s Sako, we heard the clunk of a rifle meeting the tailgate. With that John told the deputy that if he handled his rifle again, there was going to be a physical test of strength. What did I think? Courtesy means the man should have asked. After all, that Sako was a $1,000 investment.

All this proves is that there are not so bright people in all walks of life. Courtesy doesn’t cost a cent and might keep one’s head from being pinched off.

The George H. Block Conservation Scholarship applications are available at Orndoff’s Sporting Goods Store, 175 Main Street, Graysville, Pa., 15337. He is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday. I know school is just starting but all the schools in Washington and Greene should be receiving a copy of this scholarship in their guidance offices. It is open to anyone 18 or under in Washington or Greene County. Submit entries with a brief description of what you have done for our environment and-or any outdoor sporting accomplishments. Applications have all information. Let’s encourage our kids to become good stewards of the earth.

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