The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


December 6, 2008

Muzzle-loading season and a talk with an MDC official

This week in Missouri, another deer season is in progress.

The muzzle-loader season runs through Dec. 7, and while it is a far cry from what it was originally intended to be, it is better than in recent years because this year it comes before the wild and wooly “everybody shoot does only” season which turns loose the whole orange-clad pack again, trying to fill whatever tags they have left.

Those folks were permitted out in the woods the last few years before the muzzle-loader hunters, and anyone who saw a nice buck during the “does-only” season usually knew they could kill it and check it during the muzzle-loader season to follow. When the doe season was over, you knew there were going to be a lot fewer bucks in the woods. I always found two or three dead bucks the last few years when I was out hunting with my muzzle-loader. Some had nothing but the antlers removed.

I love to hunt with a muzzle-loader because it a chance to really “hunt.” You can get out there and walk a little because usually there are very few deer hunters in the woods, and they are good hunters. If you hunt during the week instead of weekends you can really feel like a deer hunter from the old days.

Some nefarious muzzle-loader hunters who are a lot like me, take the blaze orange clown-wear off and stuff it in a stump somewhere on the way in and retrieve it on the way out.

As a muzzle-loader hunter there is much to know, and a chance to use some woodsmanship. You have to know how to keep your powder dry and what the slug you are shooting will do; whether it is a ball or a bullet, its range, drop, and velocity. You are going to get one shot, you take it when you are sure.

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