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Important BCSC rules meeting March 4

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If you're planning on joining in the activities of the Becker County Sportsman's Club's trap shooting league this summer, we urge you to attend a meeting at the DL American Legion club rooms. Convening at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 4, trap shooting and other matters will be discussed. This will include possible changes in rules, procedures, fees and costs, which are never constant. Get your roster ready. Ask team members to come, and seek out new members for your team. Sponsor fees can be paid, and memberships renewed at the meeting.

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The trend towards tactical arms

When great grandpa came marching home from the trenches of France after WWI in 1918, he was singing the praises of the .30-06 and the bolt action Springfield rifle. And after WWII in 1945, sporting arms following that Great War were influenced by the .30-06 Garand semi-automatic.

After Vietnam in 1965, the tactical firearm was here. These black ominous things are the ultimate firepower. Gone is the .30-06 and here to replace it is a bundle of small caliber, speedy bulleted cartridge -- the .223 Remington and others like it. The guns don't have the traditional blue with varnished walnut. Replacing it is a weapon with a pistol grip, a very long clip that will fire 20 times before reloading.

The type of action, of course, is semi-automatic. In the case of the military, it's automatic, but civilian-hunting versions must be semi. That is, one pull of the trigger delivers a single shot. The tactical rifle, however, is considered to be sporting. And they're extremely popular. One nationally syndicated outdoor writer lost his position and sponsors when he was honest enough to state his position in opposition to tacticals.

Most young men enter military service with little or no experience or familiarity with guns. Since tactical, black semis are going to be the only type they'll see or train with, tactical will be the only type they know.

Sporting firearms have followed suit. The popular 22 Ruger 10/22 is dressed up to look like the U.S. Army's AR-15. A holding company bought Remington Arms and Bushmaster, lock, stock, and barrel. Both make a lot of tactical models and the blue with varnish guns are still there, but fewer. The trend is now spreading to shotgunning as well. Why all of this potential firepower is so popular, I can't see. One seldom gets to throw a second shot at a deer with any certainty. But the tactical guns offer that speedy follow up shot if needed. There's little need for a super speedy second, or third shot in the marsh or blind, or in the uplands. I've found it much more satisfying to march down the corn rows or crossing the grasslands carrying a shotgun at port arms, the firearm having a nice deep blue, semi-fancy walnut and some tasteful checkering. I still get satisfaction in this.

The black, ugly, military style tactical guns are here, for sporting use, whether I like them or not.

The Red will flood again

There is excellent walleye fishing that's available in the Red River of the North. Every weekend sees Mother Nature delivering a knockout blow of heavy snow. One pile upon another -- it's happening again this year, and there continues another potential flood. The spring thaw arrives in mid April in the south end, while the northern part is still choked with ice and snow. There's no place for the snowmelt to go but over the banks and the cities and towns adjacent will again suffer. The upstream region has good small mouth bass angling. High water eliminates stream bank fishing at most of the river's course. The Red is plugged at the north while the south wants to send its waters northward toward Winnipeg and eventually Hudson Bay. The Red doesn't get much press as an angler's paradise, yet it is there, but cursed with the annual flooding, and it is there with certainty again this year. The early part of the fishing season is always lost. Mother Nature seems to have forgotten what a mid-winter thaw is and we get no warm spells that can spread out the snowmelt and relieve some of the pressure. The Red is a better fishery than it gets credit for, but many anglers choose not to cope with that flood.

Weatherby

Back in 1948, a young California attorney named Roy Weatherby got the attention of the shooting-hunting world with a sensational new cartridge. The Weatherby .300 Magnum featured great speed and resulting killing power. With the financial backing of his friend, Herb Klein, a Texas oil millionaire wildcatter, Weatherby was finding bolt-action receivers worldwide. They were mostly German Mausers, military firearms and they weren't new.

The Weatherby rifles were built in an abandoned machine shed in southern California. Marketing was a one-man sales force, Roy himself. There was an eager demand for his magnums. Surprisingly sales took off, and Weatherby was able to build an arms plant. Other sensational calibers appeared in 270, 257, and 35 calibers.

Detroit Lakes own big game hunter, Milton Swedberg, became a big fan of the Weatherby magnums, and had numerous successful elk, sheep, and moose trips in the western U.S. and Canada.

Roy Weatherby established the Weatherby Big Game Awards, and he annually honored some prominent hunter or firearms expert with a rifle at a dinner.

Jack O'Connor, the .270 guy, Elmer Keith, Charles Askins and Dwight Eisenhower were among the recipients so honored. All of this glitter was of course good for business. Weatherby's big magnums continue to be big sellers, but the prices have accelerated, too. Norma, in Sweden, loads Weatherby cartridges.

The Weatherby outfit began manufacturing or importing 22 caliber rifles and semi-automatic shotguns, the latest being 12 and 20 gauge guns made in Turkey. They startled American hunters with their great fit and finish, nice wood, and very light weight -- only six pounds in 20 gauge. And the price is equally startling, being $400 less than a comparable Browning, Beretta, Benelli or Remington. The new semis deliver outstanding value and great performance at an economical price.

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