Weather Forecast


Milo Martinson -- one of the great trap shooters

Milo Martinson of Perham died on Saturday March 27. Milo was one of Minnesota's greatest trap shooters ever. He shot clays until the age of 87 at the Minnesota state shoot at Alexandria. Always a friendly competitor, Milo particularly liked doubles. Taking two widely separated clay birds simultaneously is the most difficult phase of claybird shooting. He was a master of it, and won state honors regularly at matches in Fargo and at St. Cloud. Milo shot a Winchester Model 12 slide action initially, but he saw the over-under as a better gun for trap, and used an un-single Perazzi, when that shotgun was imported from Italy by Ithaca Gun Company. Milo will most certainly be named to the Minnesota Trap Shooting Hall Of Fame.

Along with Gene H. Johnson of Detroit Lakes, Milo went into producing lead shot, melting automobile wheel weights over a gas flame and dropping the molten lead into a bath of liquid oil. The result was a very shiny, very hard lead shot, #7 1/2 in size. Milo and Gene were able to shout a great deal with this shot, and sold the surplus, packed in half-gallon milk jugs. Many of us used it.

League trap shooting begins

Next Thursday, league trap shooting starts. There's still time to get your team organized and your sponsorship settled. Each team member must be a club member and your member number posted on the wall scoreboard. Get organized and get on board for a summer's season of excitement and competition.

The Over-Under Shotgun

It is the style of fusil that everyone wants. Seasoned shooters or new young guys just beginning in the shooting sports, the gun with the barrels positioned one above the other is lusted for. Positioning the barrels this way isn't anything new. It was popularized in the 1950s by Browning, with its shotguns made in Belgium. It didn't sell like hot cakes, as it cost $225 while a good semi-automatic cost $89, a Beretta or a Remington. It came to be that Browning began importing a cheaper over-under called the Citori made in Japan. At about $125, it became a best seller.

Ithaca Gun Company began importing a line of over-unders made in Italy by Perazzi. They cost a pretty penny but they sold quite well. Browning's Citori and an extensive line of these guns made in Italy by Beretta came onto the American market. Along about this time, about 1960, Winchester upset everything with a sensational new line they manufactured in Japan. This was the great line of Model 101 shotguns, and it captured a lion's share of the market overnight. The 101 had figured wood, checkering, interchangeable choke tubes, a fitted wood case, and it under priced most by nearly a century note. The 101 was offered in trap and skeet models and came in 12-20-28-410 gauges, so there was something for everybody. The over-under appeared to be here to stay, and this is the situation today.

There developed a single barrel version of the Superposed guns. This was a single barrel with the barrel positioned at the lowest possible point.

This resulted in less felt recoil, and a more pleasant gun to shoot at the traps. In order to provide a shooting plane, it became necessary to provide a very high rib. Some look like a picket fence riding atop the single barrel, and require a bit more care and protection. Shooters seem able to live with this, however, and the un-single is now here to stay. Fewer true over-under guns are in evidence on the trap fields now. But the over-under concept is now well entrenched and shooters, new and old will continue to save their nickels and dimes waiting for the day when they too will shoot clay birds, or go hunting with a superposed shotgun.

Winter hit wildlife hard

In southwestern Minnesota, which has always had great deer hunting, and is, of course, our principal pheasant area. The winter just past had an above normal amount of snow. It isn't possible to put an exact number on the losses, but 10 percent has been mentioned. The losses were principally fawns and yearlings. In Nobles County, there was 70 inches of snow this winter, where the average is a whopping 40 inches. Without a doubt, southwestern Minnesota was hit hard and the deer herd suffered. Yet, the DNR does not anticipate severe hunting restrictions for the area.

The ringneck pheasants, too, were hard hit. The loss was probably somewhat more than the deer losses. The total effect will not be quantified until later this year. Northwestern Iowa got hit hard too. There was deep snow in road ditches, normally good protection areas. One Area Game Manager said that perhaps half of that areas pheasants didn't survive. Heavy snow stretched from New Ulm, up to the Lac qui Parle area.

The shotgun for turkeys

If you're fortunate to be legal for wild turkeys in Minnesota this season, you should acquire some butcher paper and assemble it on a frame about 40 yards or less to determine the pattern that your shotgun is likely to produce. A 12 gauge shotgun is the usual choice, but some have good success using a 16 or 20 gauge gun. With a so-called turkey choke screwed in at the muzzle, ammunition choice is next. If you use very hard non toxic premium loads, avoid the big sizes. Most hunters use #5 or 6 shot. What you want is pattern density. Shooting requires concentration.

The turkey may be making a commotion out there. Wait a bit for him to settle down and then take deliberate aim at the head. Keep your cheek down on the comb of the gun stock, or you'll shoot over the bird. The range ideally should not be more than 35 yards. Standard full choke in a 12 gauge will do just fine. A 20 gauge will do it too. Young, or lady hunters will like the reduced recoil and noise of a smaller gauge shotgun. Don't let anyone tell you that you need "a real turkey gun." The shotgun you now have is going to do the job for you.

A monster walleye

Ice fishing is long past and the open water angling is here. Just after ice out at Pierre, South Dakota, reports came in that a really big walleye had been taken by a man using crankbaits. The fish was finally reported as being 15.59 pounds, and 54" long. It isn't a new state record, however.